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(Thursday, April 14, 2011)

     The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority is reminding high school seniors and college freshmen and sophomores that the application deadline for the Twentieth Annual Alva C. McFarlane Engineering Scholarships is Monday, April 18, 2011. Completed application packages are due in the human resources offices on St. Thomas and St. Croix by 4 p.m.  


     According to Denise P. Nibbs, Director of Human Resources, the utility offers two $60,000 engineering scholarships and two $20,000 technology scholarships annually. “We definitely support higher education for Virgin Islands students. WAPA needs a technical workforce with the expertise to produce the best quality services for our customers,” she said. “We know that our engineers can help us reach our strategic goal of more diverse energy generation, at more affordable prices, in the near future,” said Nibbs.


       This year, applicants seeking a bachelor’s of science degree in mechanical, electrical, civil, environmental, or industrial engineering will receive priority consideration for the $60,000 awards. Technical trades such as machine tool technology and electronics technology are priority areas for the $20,000 associate of science award. However, WAPA welcomes all scholarship applicants seeking careers in the engineering and technical fields, Nibbs said. 


       The scholarship will pay for tuition, room and board, fees, books, and supplies. Applicants must be accepted by an accredited institution, and will be awarded the scholarship based on academic achievement, college entrance test scores, financial need, and community involvement. Scholars can intern at WAPA facilities each summer and once studies are completed, must return to full time paid employment for a period equal to the years financed.  


       Hugo V. Hodge, WAPA’s Executive Director (CEO), said that in the last 19 years, the utility has awarded more than $2.5 million in scholarships to over 50 of the Virgin Islands’ brightest students. “We are pleased to have one of the most generous scholarship programs offered by any corporate entity in the territory,” said Hodge. 


       WAPA employs McFarlane Scholars as engineers, technicians, supervisors, managers, and directors. “We are proud of all of our McFarlane scholars, and we especially appreciate those who have committed to a career at the Authority and positively contribute to our operations on a daily basis,” Hodge said.


     Currently, 13 McFarlane scholars are studying at some of the nation’s top schools. Previous recipients now on staff include Andre Olive, Instrument Technician; Elva Polimis, and Gabriel Dore mechanical engineers; Lionel Eddy, Jr., Manager of Mechanical Projects; Cara Pascal, Steven Samuel and Brian Leonard, civil engineers; Ambi Monsanto, Glenfield Jarvis, and Jodi Hodge, electrical engineers; Coury Hodge, Power Plant Superintendent, Shawn Scotland, Water Distribution Superintendent, and Noel Hodge, Director of Water Distribution.


       The scholarship was named in honor of Alva C. McFarlane, a strong advocate for vocational and technical education, who died in the mid-eighties while serving as a governing board member.


       For more information about the Alva C. McFarlane scholarship, and to download an application, visit or see a high school counselor.