Avangrid scholarships support grad students
Edward Cheswick (far left) with Iberdrola CEO Jose Galan. Mark Freithaler (far right) with King Felipe of Spain.
Binghamton University’s Edward Cheswick ’16 and Mark Freithaler ’16 had two once-in-a-lifetime experiences this summer.
Both received scholarships from the Avangrid Foundation and Fundación Iberdrola España to pursue post-graduate research in energy, the environment and data science for the next year. They also both met the royal family of Spain.
"I’m a kid from Long Island and I suddenly found myself in Spain getting ready to meet the king and queen and be presented with a life-changing scholarship. 'Amazing' is an understatement," Cheswick said.
"At first, it was very surreal. Never in my life would I have expected the honor of meeting such kind and influential people," Freithaler said. "They were very personable, and it was a pleasure to enjoy the beautiful weather with them and the other scholars."
The other 11 scholars are from across the United States and Scotland and, along with Cheswick and Freithaler, received a total of $750,300 in scholarships to cover graduate school enrollment expenses, plus a stipend, for the next year. This is the first year that Binghamton students were eligible to apply for the scholarships that are offered to just a select group of institutions.
"Understanding and meeting the world’s energy needs, and protecting the environment, are challenges that are closely linked," said Robert D. Kump ’83, president of the Avangrid Foundation and a member of the advisory board for the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science. "This scholarship program will help to ensure that some of the brightest young minds are focused on finding solutions to these issues."
Cheswick and Freithaler are in the 4+1 Combined BS/MS program in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department within the Watson School. They graduated in May with undergraduate degrees in electrical engineering and are currently working on their master’s degrees at Binghamton.
"The scholarship has allowed me to pursue my master’s in electrical engineering with a focus in power and energy," Cheswick said. "I’d like to develop a better understanding of how green energy can be used to supplement our growing energy needs. This scholarship is giving me the ability to focus on my academic work and not worry about a financial burden. It has also given me a connection with Iberdrola, which has a substantial amount of resources devoted to alternative energies, which I would like to pursue in my future career."
"My graduate research has been focused in the area of micro-scaled microbial fuel cells, which use electricity-producing bacteria in an eco-friendly packaging to replace batteries. I have been furthering my understanding of physical electronics and optoelectronics," Freithaler said. "Having the opportunity to work on meaningful research, without the burden of supporting one’s self is a great gift and will hopefully yield positive results. I hope to leverage my experiences into further research changing the world for the better, while pursuing a PhD."