NHA ‘Legacy’ Scholarship Helps Fund Students’ Educational Costs, Builds Water Power Career Awareness

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NHA ‘Legacy’ Scholarship Helps Fund Students’ Educational Costs, Builds Water Power Career Awareness


June 10, 2024


Jeremy Chase-Israel, Content Development Specialist, National Hydropower Association


NHA ‘Legacy’ Scholarship Helps Fund Students’ Educational Costs, Builds Water Power Career Awareness

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The future of the United States’ water power industry is dependent on workers. With almost a quarter of the active hydropower workforce eligible for retirement by 2030, the industry must invest in students to ensure the current Administration’s goal of securing a 100% clean electrical grid by 2035.

Understanding the great demand for water power workers, a group of past chairs of the National Hydropower Association’s (NHA) board of directors created the Past Chairs Legacy Scholarship in 2008 to help encourage students to become part of the water power industry by funding expenses for a scholar pursuing relevant studies.

Through the ongoing support of students seeking degrees relevant to the industry, continued educational and networking opportunities for career professionals, and by championing initiatives aimed at deepening the career potential of water power, the future workforce will be well equipped to carry the industry forward.


Kiersten grew up in Minnesota, and while in high school, she fell in love with chemistry and biology. Her passion for these subjects led her to pursue a degree in Environmental Engineering from Colorado School of Mines, where she’s learning the skills necessary to create positive change in the world.

Currently in her sophomore year, Kiersten came across the Past Chair’s Legacy Circle Scholarship while researching funding opportunities online, and she was ultimately selected out of 233 total applicants!

Kiersten’s interest in water power originates at the intersection of her engineering and environmental education. In fact, Kiersten is already working as an “energy engineer” through a Department of Energy initiative. With an internship lined up for the summer at an engineering firm specializing in designing water treatment and wastewater management operations, she is actively learning all she can to further her ambitions.

While Kiersten plans on attending graduate school to obtain a master’s degree, the sophomore is still deciding whether she wants to focus on advanced energy systems or environmental engineering.

With the future looking bright for Kiersten, she had some thoughts regarding increasing the visibility of hydropower. Kiersten’s knowledge of hydro grew out of an on-campus club’s goal of identifying and educating students interested in sustainable design and energy.

During her conversation with POWERHOUSE, Kiersten shared her thoughts about how to increase the desirability of water power topics amongst college and university students: “If you don’t understand how it works, then you can’t be excited about it.”

It is Kiersten’s opinion that water power education needs to begin earlier, including the addition of water power topics into STEM programs and campus clubs. “It comes down to the availability of information, and if there is no professional organization on campus talking about water power, then people aren’t going to be aware of the opportunities.”


The Past Chairs’ Legacy 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.

For more information on the scholarship, click here.