Lackawaxen River Conservancy Scholarship Winners

The Lackawaxen River Conservancy has been supporting our area’s future environmentalists since 2012. The Scholarship has been awarded to students studying a wide variety of conservation topics, in a wide variety of locations and universities. These are the past recipients of the scholarship, and what they are doing currently with their education.

If you would like more information on the Lackawaxen River Conservancy scholarship for this year, click here.

2021 Scholarship Winner

Samantha Howey

The Lackawaxen River Conservancy is pleased to announce that Samantha Howey, graduate of Honesdale High School, is the winner of the 2021 Lackawaxen River Conservancy Scholarship.  Samantha received her award at Senior Class Night on June 16, 2021.  She will be attending Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where she will study both management and environmental science in pursuit of a career in sustainability management or eco-diplomacy.  Samantha’s particular concern is the environmental impact of the fashion industry. 

Samantha Howey

            In her application essay entitled, “What Not to Wear,” Samantha explained her concern clearly and effectively.  She pointed out that the fashion industry accounts for 10% of all humanity’s carbon emissions and is the second largest consumer of the world’s water supply. After learning of the dangers that the fashion industry poses to the environment, Samantha did further research and found that although many companies encourage their customers to discard clothing in order to be on trend, there are companies focused on sustainability.  Samantha decided to pursue a career to help businesses in the fashion industry adopt plans to reduce carbon emissions and the production of waste.  She hopes to raise awareness about the effects of the fashion industry on the environment.  “The latest fashion trend comes and goes but the environment is always around us.”

         Samantha is an outstanding student.  She graduated summa cum laude after a demanding program with a strong emphasis on science.  She used her time and talents well and was able to participate in a number of extracurricular activities.  Her activities included the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership for Service and Seminar.  It was through this program that Samantha learned about the harmful effects of the fashion industry on the environment.  She also participated in the Science Olympiad, Student Council, and the Junior Academy for four years as well as the One Goal Organization for three years. She participated in the Conservation Leadership Academy and the Pathways in Ecological Research Program at the Lacawac Sanctuary and was a member of the National Honor Society.  In addition to this busy schedule, Samantha worked part time at Home Depot.  Samantha is a welcome and much needed advocate for the protection of the environment.

2020 Scholarship Winners

Marilyn and Sinclair Ogof, Western Wayne High School

Marilyn Ogof

Marilyn and Sinclaire Ogof, graduates of Western Wayne High School, in Lake Ariel, have each won a 2020 Lackawaxen River Conservancy Scholarship.  The presentation of awards for 2020 graduating high school seniors was like no other year.  Diplomas were presented in virtual ceremonies and students arrived by car to presentation podiums.  The Lackawaxen River Conservancy Scholarship awards of $500 could not be delivered in person.  That task was given to the United States Postal Service.  However, board members of the Conservancy were able to enjoy meeting Marilyn and Sinclaire via Zoom.  

Marilyn and Sinclaire are looking forward to careers supporting environmental conservation.  Marilyn plans to attend Juniata College and will major in Conservation and Wildlife Management in preparation for a career as a wildlife biologist.  Caring for wildlife and protecting animal habitat has been an ongoing passion for Marilyn.  Sinclaire plans to attend Rochester Institute of Technology and will major in Public Policy and minor in Environmental Studies.  She is looking forward to a career in which she plays a role in the creation of policy that will support change on a public and legal level to address global warming and the impact of energy use on the environment.

Sinclair Ogof

Marilyn and Sinclaire are stellar students.  They have both taken highly demanding and rigorous programs including several AP Classes with a heavy emphasis on math and science.  Both graduated at the top of their class.  Sinclaire was co-valedictorian.  Their extracurricular activities have focused on their environmental concerns.  Sinclaire was a participant in the Wildlife Leadership Academy and a volunteer at the Lacawac Sanctuary.  She has also spent a summer working with the Student Conservation Association as a crew member.  Marilyn has worked for the past two years for the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center in Stroudsburg and as a crew member for the Student Conservation Association.  Both girls have found time to participate in athletics as well.  Marilyn was a member of the tennis team and served as its captain, in addition to participating in track and field.  Sinclaire has participated in volley ball as well as tennis, and track and field.

This summer both Marilyn and Sinclaire were engaged in environmental work.  Marilyn worked as an intern for the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center and lived on their campus in Stroudsburg.  She performed intakes of animals, fed them, and kept their environment clean.  Sinclaire volunteered at the Lacawac Sanctuary collecting water samples on Lake Wallenpaupack.  She also cared for the chestnut trees that she planted at the sanctuary last year. She helped with a roadside cleanup and helped the NEPA Audubon Society with their craft fair.  In addition, she helped the Lackawaxen River Conservancy with their website update and their plans to increase their online presence by establishing a Facebook page.  

Both Marilyn and Sinclaire have a deep devotion to the protection of the Earth.  Their high school activities attest to their dedication to combating the forces working to endanger the health of our planet.   Their future plans are further commitment of their time and talent to bringing about the changes that they hope to see in the care humanity takes of the natural world.

2019 Scholarship Winner

Alicia Utegg

Alicia Utegg, Honesdale High School

Alicia graduated in June 2019. She is attending
Delaware Valley University and is majoring in
Conservation and Wildlife Management. She is
particularly interested in rehabilitating native
animal environments and working in zoos that stress
natural habitat. Alicia is in her sophomore year at DVU
where she is part of the only school chapter of the
American Association of Zoo Keepers. She is also part of
the DVU Cheer team, the Alpha Lambda Delta National
Honor Society and a volunteer for the American Red Cross. Next year, she is hoping to find an internship with
a local zoo.

2018 Scholarship Winner

Travis York

Travis York, Wallenpaupack Area High School

Travis graduated in June of 2018.  He is entering his junior year at North Carolina State University.  Travis has had a life-long love of the outdoors. He is majoring in Fisheries, Wildlife & Conservation Biology with a Wildlife Concentration in preparation for a career as a game warden and wildlife biologist.  He is deeply concerned about the proliferation of invasive species and the threat they pose to our ecosystems.

2017 Scholarship Winner

Olivia Troiano, Western Wayne High School

Olivia Troiano

Olivia began her college career at LaSalle University, where she majored in Environmental Studies.  She is now attending the College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) in Syracuse, New York, where she is entering her senior year. She is continuing to major in Environmental Studies with a focus on Policy Planning and Law in preparation for a career in the conservation and protection of the environment, possibly as a forest ranger. 

Olivia’s original summer plans for an internship were canceled due to Covid-19.  As it turns out, she is loving her alternative plan.  She is working at her local zoo, Claws N’ Paws, in Lake Ariel.  She has especially enjoyed shadowing the zookeepers and learning all that they do.  She is hoping to find more opportunities to shadow environmentalists. One of Olivia’s abiding environmental concerns is the widespread proliferation and unchecked use of plastics.

2016 Scholarship Winner

John Sloane

John Sloane, Wallenpaupack Area High School

John is entering his last year of study in Architectural Engineering at Penn State University.  He is close to finishing his preparations for a career in architectural engineering, with a special interest in the use of environmentally sound materials and principles.  John is passionate about helping others.  He is the Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity at Penn State and has built homes in Pennsylvania, Florida, Colorado, Michigan and Portugal.  He has also developed a passion for lighting design and how lighting can change human experience.  He seeks to craft ways to harness the sun in lighting environments that are hyper-sustainable, visually impactful, and have minimal negative impact on wildlife and the environment beyond the property line.

2015 Scholarship Winner

Jake Burkhardt

Michael “Jake” Burkhardt, Western Wayne High School

Jake was a freshman at Keystone College in LaPlume, Pennsylvania, where he was majoring in Wildlife Biology in preparation for a career as a wildlife biologist.  Jake was killed tragically in an automobile accident in January, 2016.  Jake’s family has given generous support to The Lackawaxen River Conservancy Scholarship.

2014 Scholarship Winner

Noah Pietraszewski, Honesdale High School

Noah Pietraszewski

Noah graduated from Syracuse University in June 2018. After his first year at Syracuse, Noah changed his major from Environmental Engineering to Mechanical Engineering.  Today, he lives in Huntsville, Alabama, and is an aerospace engineer for Dyanetics, an aerospace and defense company.  Noah works with a team on the next generation lunar lander for NASA called the Human Landing System, which will eventually employ a re-usable spacecraft for manned missions. Yes, they’ll be recycled.  Part of his role includes that of thermal-fluids engineer.  It is part of his job to ensure that the spacecraft’s propellant is properly delivered to the thrusters and that components stay within their thermal tolerances.  In the first moon landing some renewable energy technologies, such as solar and fuel cell, were vastly improved to make the mission possible.  It is part of Noah’s job to help advance sustainable technologies in pursuit of the project’s goals.

Noah’s concern for the well-being of our planet is still very much a part of who he is.  He takes pride in recycling and drives a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle to work.  He says, “I’d like to think I’m still setting a good example of what it means to be ‘environmentally conscious’.”

2013 Scholarship Winner

Carmen Francesco, Honesdale High School

Carmen Francesco

Carmen graduated from Prescott College in Arizona in May, 2017 with a degree in Environmental Education. She had some very interesting conservation experiences while she was in college.  She worked as an intern in Maharashtra, India.  She taught local school girls how to practice sustainable farming skills with the creation of a school garden.  She was also able to document the damages that result from the extraction of local resources and toxin exposure by outside industries.  She also worked in Iowa, New York and Norway.  She earned her Master’s degree in December 2017, after having begun her work on her graduate degree while still an undergraduate. 

Carmen is currently employed by the Girl Scouts of America as their Outdoor Experience Specialist and Camp Director.  She works to build the girls’ outdoor leadership skills and appreciation for the environment.  “I love that I get the chance to be outdoors and teach girls how to be comfortable with themselves and the natural world.”

2012 Scholarship Winner

Devan George, Honesdale High School

Devan George

Devan was the first Lackawaxen River Conservancy Scholarship winner.  She graduated after three years from the University of New Hampshire in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Conservation and Sustainability.  After graduation, she worked as an intern for Dow Agroscience and as an intern for the US Department of Agriculture.  While at the University of New Hampshire, Devan worked as a summer scholar and entomology lab assistant at Cornell University.  She decided to return to academia at the University of Delaware where she earned a Master of Science degree in entomology in 2019.    

Devan has now returned to Northeast Pennsylvania.  She is the Communications Coordinator for the Pike County Conservation District, where she handles education, outreach and communications.  She lives in Honesdale and currently serves on the boards of directors for NEPA Audubon, SEEDS (Sustainable Energy Education and Development Support) and The Lackawaxen River Conservancy (she even made this page!)