At Direct Energy, we are committed to helping our customers and communities live brighter through making better energy choices. What that means is dedicating the time to ensure our customers have the tools and resources necessary to use less of what we sell. In conjunction with these efforts, we created the Live Brighter Scholarship in 2015 as a way to award students who live brighter within their communities.
After a successful first two years, we are excited to announce our winners for the second annual Live Brighter Scholarship:
- First place: Emily J. from Michigan
- Second place: Amanda H. from Michigan
- Third place: Makenna L. from Pennsylvania
All college students, above the age of 18, who live or attend school in any of the states we offer energy services to were encouraged to apply in Fall 2016. Each applicant had to submit either a 60 – 120 second video or a 500 word essay explaining all the great things they’re doing to live brighter within their communities.
This year, we received great applicants of students all over the nation accomplishing amazing things in their communities, schools, and world. Unfortunately, we couldn’t offer the scholarship to every student living brighter within their communities, but we do want to tell you a bit about our three winners!
For as long as she could remember, Emily had been interested in technology and engineering. Determined to pursue her passion, Emily threw herself into robotics competitions and college engineering programs, but was faced with ridicule and stereotypes from the predominately male environment.
As a result, she decided to design Girls ENgineering Imaginative Inventions (GENII), an engineering club, to encourage disadvantaged fourth and fifth grade girls to continue to explore and pursue their technology-related passions. Emily dedicates her time to these girls with a weekly after-school program, offering them age-appropriate and hands-on activities to spark their creativity in engineering and technology. Emily lives brighter within her community by encouraging young girls to use their ideas and skills to help make the world a better place.
In 2013, Amanda received devastating news that her 19-month daughter had a congenital heart defect, requiring her to undergo open heart surgery. In an effort to keep her mind off of the stress during this difficult time, she began to make cute and comfortable hospital clothes for her daughter to wear during her recovery period.
After receiving heaps of praise and multiple questions about her daughter’s attire, Amanda decided to give back to the community by started the Heal-A-Boo-Boo Project. Today, Amanda has created and donated customized over 300 hospital shirts, legwarmers, and hair bows to children undergoing surgeries or medical procedures all over the world. Amanda lives brighter within her community by helping children and their families feel more comfortable and normal in the harsh and sometimes scary hospital setting.
Determined to live up to the meaning of her name, “one who brings joy,” Makenna has made it her mission to use her anthropology degree to help fight human rights issues in South and Central American cultures. As a student at Bryn Mawr College, Makenna has put her career goals into action by founding a non-profit organization called Little Known Help Zone, which is dedicated to fighting for human rights for underrepresented groups in Central America.
Despite the geographical distance, Makenna and her charity developed a fund to initiate startup entrepreneurial projects in El Salvador that help workers escape the injustices in the coffee factory system, a fund to send Mayan children to school, and a fund to keep alternative projects alive in Honduras to keep children out of gangs.
Little Known Help Zone also helps its own community by donating leftover donations not suitable for countries abroad to animal shelters and funding educational events that create a safe space for people to learn about human rights violations. Makenna lives brighter within her community by utilizing her anthropological skills to help fight for human rights all over the North and South America.
Thank you to everyone who applied to our 2016 Live Brighter Scholarship! It was inspiring to read about all the different ways students across the nation are living brighter and giving back to their communities. We wish the best of luck to all applicants, and encourage eligible applicants to apply again later this year!
Congratulations to the three winners of our 2016 Live Brighter Scholarship!