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Amplify Green Innovation Scholarship

Funded by
user profile avatar
Steph Smith
2 winners, $1,307 each
Application Deadline
Mar 1, 2021
Winners Announced
Apr 1, 2021
Education Level
Undergraduate, Graduate
Recent scholarship winners

We only have one planet.

As a society, we’re increasingly faced with solving the complex and multi-dimensional issue of climate change. And while there is reason for concern, there is also one very clear reason for optimism: innovation.

History demonstrates that there’s almost nothing humans cannot achieve when they’re put to the test and have the right incentives.

Environmental scientists are constantly developing new technologies that completely shift what we once knew about sustainability. 

For example, even a decade ago, it was clear that renewables were the future…it was just a question of how soon the science could catch up to the economics. Fast forward to 2020 and solar efficiency has skyrocketed, meaning the costs have plummeted, faster than anyone could have imagined. Now, we live in a society where new renewables cost less than existing fossil fuels. 

The solution to the climate problem will always be tethered to policy, public opinion, and the economy, but the one thing that has the potential to completely change the game is innovation. And I believe it will. 

However, in order for innovation to succeed, it needs two things: 1) funding, and 2) brain power. We need the smartest people in the world to be incentivized to work on the most important problem facing the world’s 7 billion people.

And while most scientific research is funded by companies, it’s important to support scientists tackling important environmental issues independent of a company’s agenda. With that, the Amplify Green Innovation Scholarship will support one student who is dedicated to preserving our planet through green innovation and science.

The scholarship is open to undergraduate and graduate school students in any field of study.

This scholarship is part of a 12-part, AMPLIFY Scholarship Series, spanning topics including women in tech, continuous learning, environmental science, and more. These scholarships are announced quarterly and awarded monthly throughout 2021. Follow along here!

Selection Criteria:
Essay, Innovative, Environmental, Impact
Published November 18, 2020
Essay Topic

What’s the problem that interests you most with climate change? How do you plan on working on this problem, and what potential solutions are you most excited about?

100–500 words

Winning Applications

Ethar Hussein
University of Illinois at ChicagoJustice, IL
In summer 2019, I was fortunate to graduate from Girls Who Code, an intense seven-week coding program that taught me JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Python, as well as other topics including robotics and Morse code. In our final project, my team and I created an environmental application, Conserve (available in the Google Play Store). The purpose of the app is to raise awareness about climate change, allowing individuals the opportunity to understand their global impact. Our product demonstrated our ability to engineer a means to improve our quality of life and leave a positive impact on the world. I was encouraged by my internship mentors to apply for the Congressional App Challenge, an annual contest for high school students to submit their applications. With Conserve, my group and I were recognized as the 2019 Congressional App Winners of District 11 in Illinois and were invited to the annual House of Code conference in the U.S. Capitol to present our work. This experience sparked my greater involvement in computer science. I became co-director of an organization, GenZCoders, where I held coding workshops for interested community members. In addition, I became an instructor with Wave Learning Festival, a platform that gave me the opportunity to teach middle schoolers coding basics. Computer science is a field with endless possibilities and the culmination of my experiences with Girls Who Code catapulted me into an environment where I can share my passions with others. Moving forward, I hope to raise awareness in my community about climate change. It takes one person to ignite the spark and a whole team to make a change. Because together, we can make a difference, and every attempt is a step forward to making our world green again. Through computer science, it can easily make a difference to inspire others, such as advertising, websites, apps, and more. Personally, as someone who has asthma, it is very important to me that we try our best to lessen our carbon footprint for the health of others in our society.
Gabriel Willis
Johns Hopkins UniversitySumrall, MS
I am most interested in protecting riparian systems from harmful industrial structures while providing clean water, healthy food, and efficient energy to the world’s growing population. To that end, I believe that creative agriculture and advancements in solar technology together have the potential to reduce overall demand on waterways and mitigate the deleterious impacts of their industrialization. Since the 1800s, industrializing economies around the world have harnessed the power of rivers to build their nations. Starting in the 1970s, however, scientists began to study the harm which these rivers have endured throughout the industrialization process. They found that dams, a key component of this process, cut off modes of transit for aquatic species and limited the interchange of nutrients up and down river systems. Moreover, they revealed that the rerouting of riverine channels and the canalization of entire waterway systems had the sum effect of weakening stream beds and depleting the soil nutrient bases in surrounding forests and farmlands. When rivers are unable to bring rich sediment downstream un-impeded and fish and other aquatic animals are unable to transport nutrients back upstream, entire riparian systems and the forests, grasslands, and farms they support become endangered. While certain mitigating techniques have been advanced, like the introduction of fish ladders to dams or the construction of wider culverts to facilitate greater nutrient interchange, I believe the more exciting innovations lie away from rivers altogether. Creative agriculture designs offer a unique solution to producing sustainable energy, increasing crop yields, and lessening overall demand on waterways. Namely, a burgeoning agricultural method, which combines solar farming with the growth of traditional crops, has the potential to address all three concerns. In this style, farms are outfitted with solar panels around which crops are planted. The panels not only generate sustainable electricity, but they also protect the soil from overexposure to the sun. In such a system, since the soil does not dry out as quickly, farmers produce higher yields with less water and retain healthy soils for longer. As we see further innovations in solar technology, like the production of high-efficiency crystalline photovoltaic cells and the introduction of thermo-radiative photovoltaic devices, this method will only become more effective and further reduce the demand for hydroelectric power. By operating at the intersection of ecological research, environmental policymaking, and responsible land management, I will seek to promote this pioneering form of agriculture and other sustainable solutions to further stimulate more regenerative farming, less monocropping, and healthier vegetative buffers among farms, forests, and waterways. Through this technologically innovative, socially aware, and policy-driven approach, more dams can be decommissioned and more rivers de-industrialized, while access to clean water, healthy food, and abundant energy increases. As such, creative agriculture, solar technology, and integrative decision-making offer a most exciting path to meeting our energy and food needs, while simultaneously revitalizing the waterways on which a well-fed and energy-secure populace can depend for generations to come.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Mar 1, 2021. Winners will be announced on Apr 1, 2021.

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