AWRA Water Blog

AWRA Awards Record $8,000 in Student Scholarships

scholarship winners

2017 AWRA Richard A. Herbert Memorial Scholarship winners (l to r) Amy Shaw, Johanna Eidmann and Amy Plechacek.

AWRA is pleased to announce the recipients of our 2017 Richard A. Herbert Memorial Scholarship Fund awards. Considered by AWRA and our members to be one of the organization’s greatest accomplishments, the scholarship fund, established in 1980, has helped more than 50 students continue with their studies in water resources management.

Application packets for 2018 may be submitted starting in January 2018. For more information on our scholarship program email

The 2017 AWRA Richard A. Herbert Memorial Scholarship Fund winners are:

Amy Shaw, 2017 recipient of the Graduate (Ph.D.) Student Award ($2,000)
Amy is entering her final year of the Environmental Engineering Ph.D. program at Vanderbilt University with a focus in water resources. Before starting her Ph.D. work she earned an M.S. in Environmental Engineering and a B.E. in Civil Engineering from Vanderbilt, graduating magna cum laude. Her dissertation work focuses on reducing negative water quality impacts while optimizing hydropower dam operations through integration of high-fidelity simulation models within decision support tools for hydropower facilities operators. Amy presented this work at both the 2014 AWRA Annual Conference and HydroVision International, where her conference paper received an award.

After graduate school Amy plans to work initially as a water resources engineer and to earn her Professional Engineer license. Once she has gained experience as a professional engineer, she aspires to a career in the policy arena, providing the technical basis for policy decisions.

In her own words, “Through my undergraduate and graduate work, I have turned my passion for engineering into expertise, which I plan to apply to engineering and policy problems that can improve peoples’ lives. Both my undergraduate and graduate educations at Vanderbilt would not have been possible without generous support from external scholarship and fellowship programs such as this.”

Johanna Eidmann, 2017 recipient of the Graduate (M.S.) Student Award ($2,000)
Johanna is currently pursuing her M.A. in Geosciences (Fluvial Geomorphology) at Colorado State University (CSU).  She selected CSU for her graduate work because of its emphasis on conducting academic research with a practical application. Her thesis research, in collaboration with the City of Longmont, is to understand the past, current, and future sediment impacts of a September 2013 storm on the Ralph Price drinking water reservoir.  It is focused on understanding the mechanics and hydrodynamics of sediment transport into a drinking water reservoir after an extreme sedimentation event. This research is particularly critical, as this single flood not only devastated the community, but also added a volume of approximately 100 years of sedimentation into the reservoir, thereby decreasing the reservoir’s overall lifetime and capacity.

In her own words, “Support for my graduate research will not only help me pursue my ultimate goal to learn about sediment transport to enhance environmental remediation and water resource problems, but will also help achieve my personal goal of using research to shape management policies that impact communities.”

Amy Plechacek, 2017 recipient of the Undergraduate Student Award ($2,000)
Amy is majoring in Geosciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) with a focus in geochemistry and a minor in chemistry. Her involvement with the Virginia Tech Honors Program and Geology Club has encouraged her development as a leader who is determined to make a difference in the field of water resources, and her experience with undergraduate research has solidified plans to pursue a master’s degree in hydrogeology.

In her own words, “Water availability will become one of the most important issues as the population continues to grow. The world needs leaders such as myself to help address this issue. This scholarship will support me in my last year at Virginia Tech and strengthen my path toward my career as a hydrogeologist.”

Due to the overwhelming generosity of AWRA members, the Board of Directors and Scholarship Committee are pleased to announce three ancillary scholarships. Recipients are:

  • Chelsea Kolb ($650), Ph.D. Student, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Sara Goldstein ($650), M.S. Student, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Savannah Smith ($700), Undergraduate Student, University of Texas at Austin

If you would like to show your support for our next generation of water resources managers, please consider making a donation to our scholarship program. You do not need to be a member of AWRA to donate.

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