Awards Recognize Women Working Toward Wind Power Careers


The Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy (WRISE) has selected six 2018 Rudd Mayer Memorial fellows and five 2018 Wind at Our Backs scholars. The group plans to recognize them at a luncheon on May 9 during the WINDPOWER 2018 Conference and Exhibition in Chicago.

The Wind Energy Foundation (WEF) created the Wind at Our Backs scholarship in 2016 to empower women working toward degrees or certifications in the wind industry.

The 2018 Rudd Mayer fellows are as follows:

  • Casey Fontana, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Sarah Fischer, Ohio State University
  • Elpiniki Apostolaki Iosifidou, University of California – Berkeley
  • Delaney Williams, Bryn Mawr College
  • Jeri Wisman, Old Dominion University
  • Usgal Zandanbal, Pennsylvania State University

The 2018 Rudd Mayer fellowship is made possible with the support of Siemens Gamesa, TPI Composites and NextEra Energy.

The 2018 Wind at Our Backs scholars are as follows:

  • Ashley Hobbs, High Plains Technology Center
  • Amanda McAulay, Mesalands Community College
  • Elaine Schalen-Hutchison, MIAT College of Technology
  • Erin Vazquez, Texas State Technical College
  • Desiree Walker, Mesalands Community College

The Wind at Our Backs scholarship – conceived by NextEra Energy and sponsored by Blattner Energy, GE Renewable Energy, the NextEra Energy Foundation and Suzlon – will allow WEF to offer $2,500 scholarships to as many as 15 individuals over the next three years. Scholarship recipients will also receive a trip to WINDPOWER.

“The women receiving this year’s awards are already making a positive impact in the renewable energy field,” says WRISE’s executive director, Kristen Graf. “The addition of the Wind at Our Backs Scholarship is allowing us to bring more women to this important annual event and help jump-start their careers in the field. Both the fellows and the scholars continue to build on the legacy of Rudd Mayer with their passion, desire to pursue an education and potential to make important contributions in the future. I look forward to seeing their careers grow in the years to come.”

“Wind turbine technician is one of the fastest-growing jobs in the nation,” adds John Kostyack, executive director of WEF. “This year’s Wind at Our Backs scholarships recipients are a group of bright young women that are well-positioned to put their immediately put their educations to use.”

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
John Durham
John Durham
2 years ago

One other comment, In “Todays Day and Age” why would this (WRISE) women’s group and “Wind at our Back” scholarship even exist. I thought women were the first to stand and complain against the “good ole boys club” attitude. Is it time for maybe West Point or Annapolis to go back to male only?? No that’s would not be acceptable in societies eyes. Am I wrong or do I not read right here in this article of discrimination in 2018 toward male students in the wind field. Certainly reads as such. Thank You

John Durham
John Durham
2 years ago

So in this day why is such awards given simply because of them being female??? Are they somehow awarding them because they have accomplished what male counterparts have been doing for years?? So, by these awards your saying ” Wow these women have accomplished the same education as a man can do” RIGHT!!!

Women want equal. So someone please explain how these awards make them equal in a field that both male and female have been working for years.