The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) today announced the names of five students receiving the Glenn English National Cooperative Leadership Foundation scholarships this year, including a $10,000 scholarship awarded to the top applicant. The Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was formed in 2013 to commemorate the many years of public service of NRECA’s former CEO Glenn English, a tireless advocate for the consumer and for the cooperative business model. The awards go to students who have shown a commitment to one or more of the seven cooperative principles.
The following individuals were selected after a rigorous review of all the outstanding applicants:
- Sean Southard, a University of Louisville political science and history major from Kenergy in Ky., received the $10,000 award
- Stephanie Dooper, a University of Louisville Latino studies major from Kenergy in Ky., received a $1,000 award
- Lexi Slack, a South Dakota State University pre-veterinary medicine major from Southeastern Electric Cooperative in S.D., received a $1,000 award
- Dustin Toale, a University of Northern Iowa real estate and finance major from East Central Iowa REC, received $1,000
- Blake Ward, a University of South Carolina history major from Black River Electric in S.C., received a $1,000 award
In his video submission, Sean Southard, who received a $10,000 scholarship, credited NRECA’s Youth Tour with helping him to “break out of his shell” and setting him on a path to public service. He cited education and commitment to community as the co-op principles that have guided him; he won a McConnell scholarship (after Dennis Cannon with the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives recommended he apply) and volunteered for Project Warm, helping low-income residents winterize their homes.
In order to be considered, applicants had to meet the following criteria: they participated in NRECA’s Youth Tour and had completed at least one semester at an accredited institution. Full eligibility details are available on NRECA.coop. NRECA evaluated applicants on their GPA, internships, extra-curricular activities, leadership and involvement in the cooperative program.
Cooperatives around the world operate according to a core set of principles. The following seven principles, along with the cooperative purpose of improving quality of life for their members, make electric cooperatives different from other electric utilities:
- Voluntary and open membership
- Democratic member control
- Members’ economic participation
- Autonomy and independence
- Education, training and information
- Cooperation among cooperatives
- Concern for community
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.