Maui Students Earn Top Honors in First Wind Scholar Program
By Wendy Osher
Maui’s Rysen Otomo, of Wailuku, earned the top scholarship award issued by First Wind, a US-based renewable energy company that operates the Kaheawa Wind I & II project above Māʻalaea.
Otomo, of HP Baldwin High School, is the recipient of a $5,000 scholarship, which is renewable for up to four years for a cumulative sum of $20,000.
A company press release indicates that Otomo plans to pursue an engineering degree from Stanford University.
Company official say Otomo was selected for the competitive “stand-out” award out of a nationwide list of 125 applicants.
“We look forward to seeing the positive impact these students will have on Hawai’i, as they become energy, environment, science and technology leaders,” said Carol Grant, senior vice president of external affairs at First Wind in a company-issued announcement.
Three other high school seniors from Hawai’i were also selected as First Wind scholarship recipients. First Wind announced the following recipients of one-time $3,000 awards:
- Sarina Kong: Kahului resident and Kamehameha Schools Maui student. She plans to pursue a degree in biology from Santa Clara University.
- Kamakani Richeson: graduate of Kahuku High School, plans to study environmental science at Santa Monica College.
- Theresa Tasani: Wahiawā resident, attends Leilehua High School. She plans to pursue a degree in biology at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.
According to officials at First Wind, this was the first year in the program’s four-year history that all scholarships went to Hawai’i students.
Recipients were selected based on their “strong potential for a successful post-secondary experience,” and their “interest in pursuing studies focused on the environment, energy, or the sciences.”
In addition to the 51MW Kaheawa Wind projects on Maui, First Wind also owns and operates the 30MW Kahuku Wind project and the 69MW Kawailoa Wind project on O’ahu.