Oceantic Network Announces Winners Of Rising Star Student Scholarship


Recipients represent the future of the offshore wind industry, with interests ranging from engineering to economics 

For Immediate Release:  May 29, 2024 
Media Contact:  Luke Jeanfreau | luke.jeanfreau@oceantic.org | 504-302-8079 

BALTIMORE – Oceantic Network today announced three winners of its 2024 Rising Star Student Scholarship, which supports college-bound high school seniors who have demonstrated impeccable academic achievement and a keen interest in pursuing a career in offshore wind and ocean renewable energy. The 2024 scholarship winners hail from Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia, and represent aspirations and the future of the growing U.S. offshore wind industry, with interests ranging from engineering, project management and public policy.  

The Network launched the Rising Star: Offshore Wind Student Scholarship in 2022 with proceeds from the Network’s annual Ventus Gala as well as industry donations. This year, winners were selected from over 80 applicants and will each receive $5,000 to use toward tuition fees. This year’s recipients of the Rising Star: Offshore Wind Student Scholarship are: 

  • Alyssa Taub (East Brunswick, New Jersey) Alyssa has been enamored with the technical side of offshore wind throughout her high school career. She took several STEM classes which included designing a wind turbine as part of a physics project. She showed great aptitude for physics throughout her academic career and, after a senior-year marine biology course, cannot wait to put her skills to work to create a more sustainable future studying civil engineering at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. 
  • Mariah Hicks (Southaven, Mississippi) Mariah served as president of her high school’s Environmentalist Club. She led her team to the state competition, leveraging her understanding of offshore wind initiatives to represent the objectives of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Mississippi project. By studying economics at Spelman College, she hopes to contribute to offshore wind projects that protect the environment while also being economically viable. 
  • Shelby Huffaker (Smithfield, Virginia) Shelby is a two-year veteran of the KidWind program where, in the 2023 national competition in Chicago, her team won a turbine design challenge. She was also co-captain of her high school’s Green Club and maintained an impeccable academic record, all while achieving a black belt in karate and teaching self-defense techniques to members of her community. She hopes to obtain internships in offshore wind while studying engineering at Old Dominion University. 

“Offshore wind’s success as an industry, and the adoption of other ocean renewables alongside it, is dependent on creating a consistent pipeline of people working to build a clean energy future,” said Oceantic Network CEO Liz Burdock. “This scholarship demonstrates not only the Network and our members’ support for the next wave of leaders, but the growing interest in ocean renewable energy among America’s youth. We received dozens of applications from impeccable students but, in the end, we’re confident that our three winners will go on to make waves in the industry.” 

All applicants were reviewed by leaders representing the breadth of the industry: Jay Borkland, Director of Ports and Supply Chain at Avangrid-Renewables; Kevin Pearce, Business Development Principal at Aker Solutions; Matt Palmer, former President of Wood Thilsted USA; Tony Appleton, Director of Offshore Wind at Burns & McDonnell; and Zachary Skelton, Business Development Manager, Renewables US at Seaway 7. 

For more information or to arrange an interview with the Network, contact Luke Jeanfreau at luke.jeanfreau@oceantic.org or 504-302-8079. 


As a non-profit organization, the Oceantic Network’s driving purpose is to inform, coordinate, and mobilize human ingenuity, enterprise, and labor to take advantage of the urgent need to tap the vast offshore wind and renewable energy resources that lie in the world’s oceans. The collective, coordinated efforts of our 600+ members equip communities and nations to accelerate the transition to clean energy and create economic opportunities. 


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