PLAN!T NOW Hurricane Relief Scholarships Awarded to Three Students

PLAN!T NOW has awarded $30,000 to three students as part of its PLAN!T NOW Hurricane Relief Scholarship program. The scholarships were given to undergraduate students who have been affected by major disasters and those who plan to pursue careers that will advance the cause of preparedness.

The 2010 PLAN!T NOW Hurricane Relief Scholarship winners are Lee Picard of the University of Miami, Ashley Irvin of Loyola University New Orleans and Jessica Alvey of the University of Alabama.

This year’s recipients are underclassmen at Gulf Coast universities. In 2009, PLAN!T NOW awarded $40,000 to four students also representing storm-sensitive states along the Gulf Coast have been named recipients. Hurricane Relief Scholarships are awarded to students who have experienced major life changes as a result of severe weather, or who plan to pursue a career field that will aid in disaster preparedness or weather and climate studies.

“Through the PLAN!T NOW Hurricane Relief Scholarship, PLAN!T NOW is able to recognize the potential of students with an interest in disaster preparedness,” said Donna Lee, president of PLAN!T NOW. “We are excited to help these students achieve their educational goals, as they will someday serve their communities through disaster preparedness programs. The experience of these students will serve them well in charting their professional futures.”

The scholarships are part of P!N’s work to enhance disaster preparedness in storm zones. The 2010 awards are the organization’s second annual scholarship giving, and P!N plans to continue such grants in the future. Furthering grassroots advocacy is a core component of P!N scholarships. Thus, the 2010 Hurricane Relief Scholarship winners demonstrated not only a unique combination of academic and/or service excellence, but also a willingness to use their experiences to teach others.

WHO ARE THE 2010 SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS?

Jessica Alvey, a native of Pelham, Ala., is a senior at the University of Alabama, majoring in Psychology and Criminal Justice. She was also a 2009 recipient of the Hurricane Relief Scholarship award.

Alvey, who is also a contributor to the PLAN!T NOW website, said she wants to pursue a career in federal law enforcement.

“My goal is to use what skills I acquire to repay my country for the help it extended in my family’s time of need immediately following Hurricane Katrina,” she said.

Ashley Irvin is a sophomore from New Orleans who is attending Loyola University New Orleans. She is majoring in Journalism.

Irvin said she wants to become a news anchor or correspondent for a television network, and to start a hurricane awareness program for residents of Gulf Coast states, to direct them to local tools and resources when a major storm is imminent. She and her family lived in New Orleans during the landfall of Hurricane Katrina, she said, and attended four high schools in the years following the storm.

“I’m so thankful that PLAN!T NOW chose me because I am someone who wants to be successful one day and I have a dream,” Irvin said. “I want to also spread the message about weather preparedness.”

Lee Picard, from Port Charlotte, Fla., is a junior at the University of Miami who is majoring in Meteorology and Mathematics.

Picard said he wants to pursue a graduate degree in atmospheric science and work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a forecaster or researcher.

“I do believe that educating the public is the best way to help them prepare for severe weather,” Picard said. “If I work in research in the future, I think I would work in improving forecasts of tropical cyclones, which would help communities make the short-term decisions necessary when a storm is approaching.”