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Mesalands wind student receives $2,500 Women of Wind Energy scholarship at 2016 AWEA Conference

June 6, 2016

Casey West 1

Casey West, wind energy technology student at Mesalands, gets a quick photo with a model turbine on display at the 2016 American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)  Windpower Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans, LA last month.

Mesalands Community College is pleased to announce that Casey West from Moriarty, NM majoring in Wind Energy Technology, received the Women of Wind Energy (WoWE) “Wind at Our Backs” Scholarship at the 2016 American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Windpower Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans, LA last month. West was only one of five students in the nation that received this prestigious scholarship in the amount of $2,500. This new scholarship was developed to empower women toward degrees or certifications in the wind industry.

WoWE works to promote the education, professional development, and advancement of women to achieve a strong diversified workforce and support a robust renewable energy economy, according to the AWEA website.

As a dual enrollment student, West began taking college courses at Mesalands Community College while attending Moriarty High School. She started the Wind Energy Technology Program at Mesalands in the spring 2016 semester. Last month she obtained her Occupational Certificate in Wind Energy Technology from Mesalands. After receiving the WoWE scholarship, she plans to pursue her Associates of Applied Science Degree in Wind Energy Technology, starting in the fall.

“It was kind of mind blowing knowing that they accepted me of all people,” West said. “This gave me the opportunity to continue my college education without worrying to have to take out student loans, that’s just amazing in itself. It’s just very exciting!  I’m also excited to be able to support Mesalands.”

Casey West receives her Women of Wind Energy “Wind at Our Backs” Scholarship at the 2016 AWEA (American Wind Energy Association) Windpower Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans, LA last month.

Casey West receives her Women of Wind Energy “Wind at Our Backs” Scholarship at the 2016 AWEA (American Wind Energy Association) Windpower Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans, LA last month.

Recipients of this WoWE scholarship award received a trip to the industry’s premier trade show and educational event, the 2016 Windpower Conference and Exhibition. West was presented her scholarship award at a special luncheon during the event. She also attended some of the seminars regarding current wind energy issues, viewed state-of-the-art technology, and connected with other individuals in the renewable energy field, according to the AWEA.org.

Andy Swapp, Wind Energy Technology Faculty at Mesalands, attended the AWEA Conference with West. Swapp said during the conference West distributed some business cards she developed that had her projected graduation date and contact information, to potential employers. She also talked to them about her experience at Mesalands. Swapp said she made a great impression on them and has been a delight to have in his class.

Casey West takes a ride on a lift truck approximately 350 feet high, with New Orleans, LA in the background, at the 2016 AWEA Windpower Conference and Exhibition.

Casey West takes a ride on a lift truck approximately 350 feet high, with New Orleans, LA in the background, at the 2016 AWEA Windpower Conference and Exhibition.

“Casey is a go-getter! She is very keen and alert to opportunities. She is also very lucky, but luck is where preparation meets opportunity,” Swapp said. “Here at Mesalands, Casey is getting the skills, the training, and building her self-confidence. She now has the confidence to apply for things like this scholarship and a Granite internship. It’s just exciting when you have a student willing to try and not be afraid to fail. That’s very rewarding for an instructor to see. She is really going to make something of her career.”

West has also been selected for the Granite Services International, Inc. Wind Technician Internship Program for the summer. She will begin this internship later this month. After successfully completing the internship program and obtaining her degree, West will be guaranteed full-time employment with Granite International.