Now in its fifth year, the NEC Scholarship Program, sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Foundation and the Renewable Fuels Association, seeks to attract students of higher learning who wish to pursue a career related to ethanol. By offering scholarships that waive the conference registration fee, this program provides eligible students with opportunities to hear from and meet with top industry leaders, policy makers and academic and technical experts. The aim of the program is to reach aspiring ethanol advocates and open new doors and present new perspectives on biofuels’ place in our world today and beyond.

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and the Renewable Fuels Foundation (RFF) are proud to announce the National Ethanol Conference (NEC) scholarship winners Gavin Kenney, Tyler Machado, and Aaron Walsh. “We are proud to extend scholarships to these three bright young minds that have shown an interest in ethanol and the future of the industry. The best way to really learn is to dive right in and the National Ethanol Conference is a one stop shop for learning. The conference will give the students a chance to discuss the future of ethanol, network with key decision makers, and learn about the intricacies of ethanol production during the breakout sessions,” said Mike Jerke, RFF chairman and general manager of Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company.

Scholarship recipients include:

Gavin Kenney, a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is pursuing a degree in Agricultural Economics with minors in Agronomy and Entrepreneurship. He grew up on a family farm and ranch operation near Amherst, Neb. He spent two summers interning first at a biodiesel facility, and then at an ethanol facility working in the feed department.

Tyler Machado was born in Guasave, Mexico and grew up in Apex, N.C. He is currently attending San Francisco State University studying Environmental Studies and Spanish. His interest in renewable fuels began when he converted a 1981 Mercedes 300D to run on vegetable oil. He plans to travel to South America this summer to learn about renewable fuel projects and sustainable energy methods.

Aaron Walsh was born in Lansing, Mich., where he is now attending Lansing Community College. He recently testified at the Environmental Protection Agency’s field hearing in Virginia opposing the EPA’s proposed reduction of the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard blending requirements. He has also expressed an interest in ethanol, advocating for ethanol as a solution by speaking to drivers at the pump.

The Renewable Fuels Foundation (RFF) is dedicated to meeting the education, research and strategic planning needs of the U.S. fuel ethanol industry. The goal is to assure a growing healthy renewable fuels industry well into the future. The focus of the RFF is toward academia, industry and public policy makers as we address issues related to new users, new feedstocks and new technologies that will impact the future of ethanol. For more information visit