Northwest Association of Environmental Professionals

2024 DEI Scholarship Recipients

Our DEI scholarship, established in 2021, supports the next, more-diverse generation of environmental professionals by providing up to $2,000 for NAEP/NWAEP Membership and NAEP conference expenses like registration, travel, and room and board.

     2024 DEI Scholarship Recipient: Vokhidjon Kakhramonov.
     Honorable Mentions: Jessie Bell and Pierce McClendon.

We are so excited to offer this scholarship! Thank you to the NWAEP community for making this scholarship possible. 

DEI Scholarship Recipient Update     |      July, 2024

We have some exciting updates about our 2024 DEI Scholarship recipient, Vokhidjon Kakhramonov.

As reported earlier, Vokhidjon was a graduate student at Oregon State University in the department of Water Resources Policy and Management. He has completed his Water Cooperation and Diplomacy joint master's degree, for which he analyzed the links between the source of water-related conflicts and the effectiveness of river basin organizations.

As a recipient of NWAEP's DEI Scholarship, he was able to attend the NAEP Annual Conference in Minneapolis in May, where he presented a poster on his research, entitled: “Does the source of the conflict impact the effectiveness of a river basin?”.

In anticipation of the conference, NWAEP board member Kim Wetzel met with Vokhidjon to prepare for his poster session and help him maximize conference networking opportunities. National conferences can feel overwhelming — but every meal and coffee break is an opportunity to visit a sponsor’s table or introduce yourself to a speaker who caught your attention. It's important to make the most of those opportunities.

As an additional part of his scholarship, Vokhidjon was partnered with GSI Water Solutions for mentoring. Knowing Vokhidjon, we're not surprised that this connection quickly led to a job offer! Vokhidjon recently joined the Water Rights practice in GSI's Corvallis office as a Staff Water Resources Analyst.

Congratulations Vokhidjon! We are so proud of you and can't wait to see what you accomplish in your career!

DEI Scholarship Recipient Announcement     |     February, 2024

In our Scholarship Committee's review of applicants, one candidate's unique and inspiring story stood out: Vokhidjon Kakhramonov, a graduate student at Oregon State University in the department of Water Resources Policy and Management. Vokhidjon plans to use his water management expertise to help ease conflict in Central Asia's Fergana Valley, his childhood home — a full description of his work and future plans can be found below.

We found two other candidates worthy of a special shout-out. Jessie Bell and Pierce McClendon have been awarded NAEP/NWAEP memberships, which will give them a leg up as they enter the world of environmental professionals. More information on these two outstanding students can be found below. 

Vokhidjon Kakhramonov
Oregon State University, Water Resources Policy and Management

I grew up in the Fergana Valley in Central Asia, where Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan meet; the region is full of conflict. When I was young, I often heard phrases like "Kyrgyz people did not release enough water, it will be a dry season for us" and "prices will increase because the harvest was not good this year." When I heard these things, I wished people could just live in harmony and not fight over resources.

The valley was also beautiful, which inspired me to love nature and try to preserve it. Every fall, while I pursued my undergraduate degree at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy, I volunteered at Tashkent Botanical Garden. Additionally, I have been always part of "Hashar," a public event held on the eve of National Holidays in Uzbekistan, where we cleaned our waterways, disposed of litter, and neatened our city parks.

In 2022, I found out about a Water Cooperation and Diplomacy joint master's degree program. Although I had a decent job in South Korea, I decided to apply for this program without hesitation; I also received a full scholarship from Rotary International to pursue this degree. Over the last year, I gained valuable knowledge and expertise from the best professors at University for Peace (Costa Rica), IHE Delft (the Netherlands) and Oregon State University (USA).

Currently, I'm working on my master's thesis at the Water Resources Policy and Management program of Oregon State University. My research topic is to analyze the link between the source of water-related conflicts and the effectiveness of river basin organizations.

I will finish my master's degree in the next term, and NWAEP's scholarship provides a steppingstone to the next stage of my career. I am excited to attend the NAEP annual conference, meet professionals from the field of environmental science, learn from their experience, and present my research. For a first-generation college student from a developing country, this is a huge opportunity. Thank you, NWAEP!

Honorable Mention:

Jessie Bell, a graduate student at Western Washington University (WWU) in Environmental Sciences, is examining Halosphaera, a poorly-documented single-celled green algae that lives in the Salish Sea. Her data collection will shed light on the life cycle, composition, and genetics of this important phytoplankton. Her background includes teaching high school chemistry, biology, and environmental science at a low income public school in Austin, Texas; she was awarded teacher of the year in 2020.

Honorable Mention:

Pierce McClendon, a second-year Master’s student in the Water Resource Science program at Oregon State University, studies agricultural runoff and water quality. He hopes to pass along his knowledge about the effects of manure application on water quality directly to farmers. He also leads the Water JEDIs – a student organization that promotes and celebrates justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion within the “water world.”

Northwest Association of Environmental Professionals     •     PO Box 11583, Portland, OR 97211         TheNWAEP at gmail dot com 


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