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A1 Solar Scholarship 23/24 report: Results and best parts

In the fall of 2023, we have set up a competition for American students: $1,000 for the best essay on climate change, its impact and ways to fight it. Almost six months and dozens of applications later, it is time to report on the project and announce the winner.

Results: Congratulations to Michael Schoff!


of actively publishing climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming and climate change

The winner of the A1 Solar Scholarship 23/24 is Michael Schoff from Dartmouth College, New Hampshire. Michael is pursuing a bachelor's in electrical engineering, with a particular focus on renewable energy and climate technology. A $1,000 will be provided to Dartmouth College in the form of tuition.

Michael is a member of Dartmouth Energy Alliance, Sustainability Action Program, and Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering club which works on solar projects to sustainably heat water in sub-Saharan Africa. You can read more in our article on heating water with solar energy where Michael shared his perspective.

Michael T. Schoff
Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering club’s member

After graduation, I aspire to work in the climate technology field with a focus on renewable energy. The decarbonization plans that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change put forward are reliant on technology that is still in the design and development stage, particularly with carbon capture and storage. Thus, there is a great and urgent need for engineers to help create new technology that will mitigate the worst impacts of climate change. I want to help fill that gap and prevent further damage to the environment in New Hampshire and beyond.

Look back: A1 Solar Scholarship overview

The A1 Solar Scholarship was designed to support an engineering student who decides to pursue an educational program in the field of renewable energy. The participants had to write an essay answering the questions: “What’s your stance on climate change? Do you think it is going to impact your future? How do you envision your life and the life of your family in a world with climate change 30 years from now? How do you see yourself as an engineer contributing to solving the problem of climate change?” We went over dozens of essays until eventually we were left with just one.

Sergey Fedorov
Co-founder & CTO

On the one hand, we believe that solar energy is a big part of the solution to climate change and we feel that we have to contribute to solving this problem. On the other hand, for us this scholarship was a chance to learn what the students think, meet new friends, partners and possibly future colleagues.

Rewind: Best from essays for Solar Scholarship 23/24

Since the topic of an essay was broad and the volume requirements were strict, participants took various approaches to an essay. Some focused on imagining the world 30 years from now.

Capps Amir
Amite High Magnet School

It is summer 2053 in Lousiana, it is 108 degrees. The news is warning that New Orleans flights are delayed due to heat. I go on my weekly grocery trip for my ration of two 24-pack cases of water for $25 each.

We have been in the water crisis for 15 years. Years back, the United States water infrastructure started reaching dangerous lead levels. The people who could afford it would consume more bottled water. Those who couldn’t afford the rations risked jail time and fines by capturing rainwater. The government made rainwater capture a crime. It is considered aquifer theft. The governments seized any property with a well or borehole. Many kids are born with birth defects due to drinking lead-contaminated tap water.

Katerina Soroka
Georgia Institute of Technology

If climate change were to keep escalating, I can imagine that in 30 years by the time I’m living in Colorado the outbreaks of wildfires in the mountains would be more violent and frequent. The rising temperature as a result of the Greenhouse Effect would increase the chances of wildfires and as a result, wreak havoc on the air quality in the state and surrounding regions. My family would have to undergo evacuations because of the poor air quality that harms the lungs, eyes, and cardiovascular systems if exposed long enough at high concentrations.

However, it is not only the Western United States that is dealing with the effects of climate change, it is the whole world. While not every country encounters wildfires some are suffering from rising sea levels that drown the land. Some beautiful tourist spots such as the Maldives are drowning while Greenland and Antarctica’s glaciers are melting.

Others described the changes that happened around them in the last few years. For our jury, these stories have turned out to be the most moving.

Manoj Nath Yogi
Howard University, Washington, DC

Growing up in Nepal, surrounded by the beauty of snow-capped mountains and green hills, I have seen changes in our environment. The world I've known is evolving, and my stance on climate change reflects concern and responsibility. In my homeland, where nature once thrived, the effects of a changing climate are evident—hotter summers, colder winters, and the gradual disappearance of trees and vanishing snow from the mountains. The picturesque landscapes are slowly giving way to the harsh realities of black rocks. Mount Everest and the Himalayas, once covered in pristine snow, now tell a tale of environmental degradation. These changes go beyond the environment, impacting the very essence of our lives.

Michael T. Schoff
Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering club’s member

Having lived my whole life in New Hampshire – a state that has warmed twice as much as the rest of the contiguous United States – I have experienced the harmful repercussions of climate change firsthand. Outdoor activities that I love, such as skiing and fishing, have faced great challenges from the warming temperatures and sporadic precipitation patterns that climate change has brought.

For over 30 years, my extended family had a tradition of going to Maine’s Moosehead Lake region in June to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. Recent degradation of the ecosystem, however, led to reduced tourist demand and the subsequent closure of my family’s go-to lodging site. The tradition has since died. If global warming continues unmitigated for the next 30 years, I fear that many other human connections with nature will be severed. 

The projects that students have already undertaken made the most uplifting and inspiring parts of the essays. It was amazing to learn about the achievements of mostly undergraduates in the fields of robotics, chemistry, machine learning, project management, and more.

Manoj Nath Yogi
Howard University, Washington, DC

During the summer, I immersed myself in anaerobic digestion research. This technology converts organic waste into energy, addressing waste management, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and generating energy from waste—an incredible prospect. Developing machine learning models to optimize and automate the system, my work aimed to enhance efficiency and provide a scalable solution to environmental issues.

Сhloe DeKorsey
Roanoke City Public Schools

I went to the state science fair last year and am continuing work this year on a robot that could autonomously paint roofs white in order to reflect sunlight back into space. There is a paint made of barium sulfate crystals that reflects up to 99% of sunlight, while black can absorb up to 90% of it. This absorbed sunlight can increase city heat anywhere from 2-12 °C, and though reflecting it would not significantly affect global warming, it would prevent city heat from reaching dangerous levels. This also serves as an inspiration for how light reflection could be used to help decrease climate change, replacing the role of disappearing ice and snow cover.

Closing words: Until next time

Andrey Gorichenski
Senior Editor

As is always the case with projects like this, we had an extremely hard time making the final choice — there were just so many good applications. Well, it is what it is. Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to relaunch this program in the future and do it all over again.

We thank all the participants for your amazing essays. Our jury was amazed by the projects that some of you undertook and described in your works. Your efforts, ideas and hopes for a better tomorrow are inspiring.

Illustrations: Darya Vasina

Andrey Gorichenski
Senior Editor

Andrey had been a news editor and freelance writer for a number of medias before joining A1SolarStore team. Climate change and its impact on people's lives has always been among his interests and it partially explains his degree in Philosophy and Ethics.

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