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Sanford N. Young Scholarship

The Sanford N. Young Scholarship was created by AWRA Florida in 2005 in memory of one of its longest serving members. Sandy Young joined AWRA Florida in 1980 and was a member of the Board of Directors for 20 years until his untimely death in April 2005. Sandy’s professional work with Florida’s water resources spanned four decades.  After serving as a Captain in the U.S. Navy, Sandy returned to Florida and spent the remainder of his career working in the water resources arena. With an educational background in both civil engineering and aquatic biology, and a keen philosophical mind, Sandy’s expertise crossed a broad array of disciplines, including interests in scientific investigation, environmental regulation, water quality improvement and aquaculture technology.

AWRA Florida offers a $3,000 scholarship to assist exceptional graduate students with tuition, educational fees and/or research expenses. Applications should include a discussion of the applicant’s educational and professional goals, with as much specificity as possible. If support of a research project or program is being sought, a description of the research should be included. Applicants should also have at least one letter from a faculty member in support of the student’s request. Applications must be received by April 12, 2024.

The 2024 Application form is available here.

The Sanford N. Young Scholarship may be given for work in any area of water resources science, technology, or management. However, AWRA Florida's Board of Directors may give preference to applicants seeking to continue their education after U.S. military service, as well as those working in areas that combine biological sciences and engineering or that focus on aquaculture or improving the environmental regulatory process. Scholarship recipients will be invited to attend the AWRA Florida Annual Meeting to receive the award and be acknowledged by the members.

AWRA Florida, as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, welcomes contributions to the Sanford N. Young Scholarship Program, which are tax deductible.

2023 Recipients

Jinsheng Huang – University of Florida, PhD student in Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Jinsheng is researching the use of environmental nanotechnology in removing emerging water contaminants from wastewater. He has developed innovative nanomaterials using chemical, physical, and biological modification techniques to remove phosphorus (P), antibiotics, and microplastics (MPs) from contaminated wastewater, including engineered Biochar. After completing his next round of papers and presentations, he plans to intern at a wastewater utility to learn more about treatment operations to research the opportunity of applying nano environmental media to community wastewater treatment processes. He is also investigating postdoctoral opportunities in Florida.

Bibek Acharya – University of Florida, PhD student in Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Bibek has over eight years of experience in agricultural water and nutrient management, employing a multi-disciplinary approach that includes field research, process-based modeling, remote sensing, and machine learning techniques. Bibek obtained his undergraduate degree in agriculture science from Tribhuvan University, Nepal, where he developed keen interest in agricultural water management. He received his master’s degree in plant sciences from the University of Wyoming, where he focused on quantifying crop water use through satellite remote sensing. With the aim of disseminating his research findings, Bibek has presented at several international conferences and has authored four publications to date. Through his research endeavors, Bibek aspires to develop sustainable approaches to address water quality issues in agricultural settings, ultimately striking a balance between improved water quality and agricultural productivity.

Past Recipients


Amanda Chappel - University of Florida


Taylor Hancock - University of Florida

Michelle Platz - University of South Florida

Conor MacDonnell - University of Florida

Miles Medina - University of Florida

Carrie Schuman - University of Florida

Ian Hahus - University of Florida
Felicia Nudo - Florida Gulf Coast University

Alice Alonso - University of Florida
Wesley Henson - University of Florida

Natalie Nelson - University of Florida

Drew Liddick - Florida Gulf Coast University

Yogesh Kahare - University of Florida

Hollie Hall - University of Florida

Miguel Morales - University of Florida

No award

Ruben Kertesz - University of Florida

Stuart B. Norton

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