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Students, Young Professionals Receive Scholarships to National Ethanol Conference

February 1, 2023

Events, NEC, RFA News


The Renewable Fuels Foundation announces six 2023 recipients of the Robert Sather Memorial Scholarship, which annually offers opportunities for students and young professionals to attend the National Ethanol Conference.


Student scholarship recipients are Xueli Chen, who is working toward a doctorate from the Dept. of Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Purdue University and serves as a research assistant at Purdue University’s Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering; and Tianbo Tang, who is in the doctoral program in Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Riverside and is the lead graduate researcher for recent work on the “Comparison of Exhaust Emissions Between E10 California RFG and Splash Blended E15” report, emissions testing for E15 approval in California.


Members of the RFA Young Professionals Network who are receiving scholarships include Ben Parsley, Innovation Manager, Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy; Ben Rhodes, Ethanol Program Manager, Nebraska Ethanol Board; Bailey Arnold, Director of Clean Air Initiative, American Lung Association; and Alex Stanley, Lab Manager, Ringneck Energy & Feed.


“It was great to see such a positive response to our call for applications—the highest number ever received, in fact—and the impressive resumes of these young adults,” said Tony Leiding, chairman of RFF and President of Trenton Agri Products LLC in Trenton, Neb. “Their participation in the upcoming conference will certainly help them learn more about renewable fuels and build important connections that will last a long time. We are excited about where this will take them in the years ahead, as our industry faces a dynamic and innovative future.”


Now in its 14th year, the NEC scholarship program is named in honor of Robert “Bob” Sather, an educator who helped found RFA member company Ace Ethanol in Wisconsin. Sather was a longtime Chair of the Renewable Fuels Foundation, whose mission is to meet the research and education needs of the U.S. fuel ethanol industry. The aim of the Bob Sather Memorial Scholarship is to reach young adults aspiring to a career related to renewable fuels, open new doors for them, and present new perspectives on ethanol’s place in our world today and in the future.


The 28th annual National Ethanol Conference takes place February 28 to March 2 in Orlando and is the nation’s most widely attended executive-level conference for the ethanol industry.


Pictured: 2022 scholarship recipients and RFA leadership at last year's event in New Orleans.