How a Book Report on Hoover Dam Led to a Career Direction

How a Book Report on Hoover Dam Led to a Career Direction

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Addie Daniels is a 5’2”-tall track and field athlete from Arizona who loves water and mathematics.

She is majoring in civil engineering, with an emphasis in water, at LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas.

And, she now has a strong connection to hydropower, after receiving the National Hydropower Association (NHA) annual Past Chairs’ Legacy Scholarship in 2021.

Applications for the 2023 scholarship open soon, January 3, 2023, and are due on February 15, 2023. (If you know of university students who should apply, please pass the deadline along to them!) 

Learning about Water from an Early Age

When Addie was 12 years old, her 6th grade social studies teacher assigned a group project as part of a National History Day national competition. “My group decided to do a play…about the Hoover Dam! This may seem like an unusual choice for a group of young girls, but my ancestors were mid-1850s pioneers to Mohave County, Arizona, and were cattlemen. Even at 12, I understand the importance of well-managed water. So, I managed to convince my group mates that this was a good topic.”

Through that project, Addie says she learned why Hoover Dam was needed, how it was constructed, and the purpose that it served following its completion. “This project was the beginning of my interest in topics surrounding hydroelectric power development, dam construction, and water treatment.”

The group’s work on Hoover Dam must have been impressive – the team moved on to regional and state competitions and competed at nationals held “across the country” at the University of Maryland. “While we didn’t win nationals, we had the chance to bring the issue of water management to the forefront…and I developed a passion that is still continuing.”

Addie, with a cumulative grade point average of 3.873, is interested in exploring a variety of possibilities for life after college, including potential continuing her education in a graduate program.

Her coursework this semester includes geotechnical engineering, surface water hydrology, and introduction to GIS.

She says she’s looking for a job that’s the best of both worlds … where “I can wear steel-toed boots and jeans one day and heels and a skirt the next.”

Making a Commitment to Future Generations

Former NHA Board of Directors Chairman George Martin, of Georgia Power Company, initiated the scholarship in 2006.

“The scholarship program is envisioned to grow national hydropower resources by attracting students and young professionals to industry-related fields including new and emerging hydropower engineering technologies, earth sciences, environmental resource management and regulation, land and shoreline management, public policy and stakeholder collaboration,” says Kimberly Costner, manager of administration for NHA. “We have now awarded the scholarship to 15 undergraduate students from 13 universities.”

The annual $2,500 scholarship is made possible because of the generous donations from past chairs of the association’s board of directors, NHA, the Hydropower Foundation, organizations throughout the industry, and other individual givers.