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SPE Foundation & Brightmark Unveil Scholarship for Future Leaders in Plastics Circularity

New endowment meets Georgia Tech students' prolonged interest in plastics sustainability and addresses the workforce shortage by supporting students seeking careers in the field.

Spe Foundation

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The SPE Foundation is proud to announce the establishment of the Brightmark Scholarship in Plastics Circularity endowment. In collaboration with the SPE Foundation, Brightmark, a circular innovation company with a mission to Reimagine Waste®, has created an enduring legacy by establishing an endowed scholarship intended for students attending the Georgia Institute of Technology. The initiative underscores the Foundation and Brightmark's dedication to fostering the next generation of talent while addressing the global waste challenge and workforce shortages in the circularity industry.

Brightmark seeks to inspire and empower future leaders to develop innovative solutions that address some of the world's most pressing waste challenges while supplementing new talent in the industry. The Brightmark Scholarship in Plastics Circularity endowment will support exceptional undergraduate and graduate students committed to advancing sustainability within the plastics sector.

“The development of the scholarship is a significant milestone in Brightmark's enduring dedication to cultivating the next generation of those wanting to develop solutions to solve the world's biggest waste challenges," says Bob Powell, Brightmark founder and CEO. "By investing in the education and development of future leaders at the Georgia Institute of Technology, we are supporting a pipeline of talent equipped to tackle intricate sustainability issues and drive ingenuity.”

As a Georgia Institute of Technology graduate, Powell credits the university as one of his best decisions, galvanizing his confidence and passion to make a positive impact. Mr. Powell and Brightmark commit to funding one annual scholarship and providing financial assistance to deserving students. Applicants for the Brightmark Scholarship must be enrolled as undergraduate or graduate students pursuing degrees relevant to the plastics industry with a focus on sustainability and/or circularity. To qualify, candidates must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and submit an essay showcasing their contributions to sustainability or circularity through research, projects, internships, or volunteer work.

The deadline for applicants interested in applying is April 30, 2024. 

"One of the most critical transitions of a sustainable chemical industry will be the ability to process solid feedstocks like pre- and post-consumer, mixed waste plastics and biomass,” says Professor Carsten Sievers of Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. “Developing new technologies to regulate landfill-bound plastics will require a fresh, educated generation of engineers to solve today's most pressing environmental problems."

In general, sustainability is a significant driver of student interest at the Georgia Institute of Technology, as student enrollment in Professor Sievers’ course “Fundamentals and Challenges for a Sustainable Chemical Enterprise” demonstrates. Today, the university recognizes an increased interest in sustainability, seen by an upswing in conversations from current and incoming students at the university.  

"We are honored to partner with Brightmark in this transformative initiative," said Eve Vitale, Chief Executive of the SPE Foundation. “The establishment of this scholarship reflects Brightmark's commitment to nurturing future plastics professionals and underscores the positive impact that strategic partnerships can have on education and industry. By empowering students to explore the intersection of plastics, sustainability, and circularity, Brightmark is laying the foundation for a brighter, more resilient world.”

Click here to learn more about the Brightmark Scholarship in Plastics Circularity or to apply.

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