CPA Voyager Scholarship: Working to Create Future Green Leaders

Since May of 2019, CPA’s Board of Directors have awarded the annual $150,000 Voyager Scholarship to support students at seven community colleges throughout Los Angeles County and Ventura County.

The scholarship provides financial aid to students enrolled in energy-driven career pathways, such as electric vehicles and advanced transportation technology, energy and environmental science, and alternative energy, with all the funding equitably distributed to Antelope Valley College, Compton College, East Los Angeles College, Rio Hondo College, Ventura College, Oxnard College, and Moorpark College.

Recently, the CPA team sat down with scholarship administrators of Anteleope Valley College and Moorpark College to discuss the impact of the scholarship on the schools and local communities.

According to Dianne Knippel, the Executive Director of the Foundation Office for Antelope Valley College, electrical engineering is a burgeoning career choice for students in the region as a result of the outsized renewable energy investments in large scale photovoltaic farms in the high desert.

“There are great opportunities when students graduate from Antelope Valley College to either to go on to a full four-year program, or to stay in the region and support the incredible growth of our local solar industries. To have a scholarship of this value given to students makes a huge impact.” Ms. Knippel added, “We are able to encourage students locally. We do a lot of outreach highlighting the benefits of students attending a local community college, and now we are also able to share this opportunity with students with green energy interests.”

Students at the seven colleges that are scholarship recipients receive disbursements in $1,000 increments, with the vetting of candidates led by the local community colleges.

Maria Perez-Medeiros, Scholarship Technician at Moorpark College, believes that the Voyager Scholarship allows students to match their green energy goals with their neighborhood focus.

“We have students who want to do things that are environmentally and community focused, who think about how they can incorporate these things into their community service. Through this scholarship, students with interests in environmental science and electrical engineering are able to receive additional support and that opens up new career options.”

Ms. Perez-Medeiros believes that this scholarship fits into Moorpark’s larger goal of supporting a renewable energy future. “Along with the scholarship we also launched “Solar Village” on campus where students are able to see renewable energy generated through a series of solar panels with a really great community space-built underneath. So, the college is able to receive more green energy, and the students are able to benefit and enjoy the gathering space.”

To create the Voyager Scholarship, CPA worked with our Community Advisory Committee (CAC) to evaluate scholarship distribution options before working with the CPA Board of Directors to officially launch the scholarship program.

CPA staff additionally engaged community college representatives and consulted with local partners, collaboratively working to identify the seven schools in Los Angeles County and Ventura County.

To learn more about the Voyager Scholarship and our award recipients, take a look at CPA’s recently published 2021 Impact Report here.