2021 AWWA Woodard & Curran Scholarship Recipient Announced

On Tuesday, June 8, Maia Ferris was awarded the American Water Works Association (AWWA) Woodard & Curran Scholarship. Established in 2017, this scholarship is earmarked for females and/or Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students pursuing advanced degrees in the water profession. The funds will support Ferris as she begins her graduate studies at University of Maine at Orono in the field of water resource engineering.

Ferris obtained her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Northern Arizona University in 2010. Since 2017, she has worked for the Maine Drinking Water Program, currently acting as the lead project manager for a statewide school water sampling program. “Maia’s work has helped the program succeed in managing some very complex regulatory requirements,” said Nathan Saunders, Senior Environmental Engineer at the Maine Drinking Water Program. “Whatever engineering discipline she pursues, she will be an asset to the engineering community and the public as a result.” 

Growing up on a farm in rural western Colorado, Ferris knew water was critical to crop success. However, due to water rights and frequent droughts, she also experienced water scarcity. After completing her undergraduate studies and working for a few years in the biomedical field, Ferris taught middle school mathematics and computer science through the Peace Corps in Ghana. While the village she was in had a borehole, the dryer seasons in northern Ghana sometimes required collecting water from the river dam in an area that also collected raw sewage. 

“My lived experiences have directed my interest in water resources,” Ferris wrote in her scholarship application. “I want to take my education and career a step further by obtaining a graduate degree…I hope to become a more knowledgeable engineer and dedicate the rest of my career to [the water resources] profession.” 

AWWA is an international, nonprofit, scientific and educational society dedicated to providing total water solutions assuring the effective management of water. Founded in 1881, AWWA is the largest organization of water supply professionals in the world. 

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