SPE Foundation and Brightmark® Announce First-Of-Its-Kind Scholarship Fund for Georgia Tech Students

The innovative scholarship from the SPE Foundation and Brightmark meets students' prolonged interest in plastics sustainability and circularity while addressing the workforce shortage by supporting students seeking careers in the field.

The SPE Foundation is proud to announce the establishment of the Brightmark Scholarship in Plastics Circularity endowment. In collaboration with the SPE Foundation, Brightmark, a circular innovation company with a mission to Reimagine Waste®, has created an enduring legacy by establishing an endowed scholarship intended for students attending the Georgia Institute of Technology. The initiative underscores the Foundation and Brightmark's dedication to fostering the next generation of talent while addressing the global waste challenge and workforce shortages in the circularity industry.

Brightmark seeks to inspire and empower future leaders to develop innovative solutions that address some of the world's most pressing waste challenges while supplementing new talent in the industry. The Brightmark Scholarship in Plastics Circularity endowment will support exceptional undergraduate and graduate students committed to advancing sustainability within the plastics sector.

“The development of the scholarship is a significant milestone in Brightmark's enduring dedication to cultivating the next generation of those wanting to develop solutions to solve the world's biggest waste challenges," says Bob Powell, Brightmark founder and CEO. "By investing in the education and development of future leaders at the Georgia Institute of Technology, we are supporting a pipeline of talent equipped to tackle intricate sustainability issues and drive ingenuity.”

As a Georgia Institute of Technology graduate, Mr. Powell credits the university as one of his best decisions, galvanizing his confidence and passion to make a positive impact. Mr. Powell and Brightmark commit to funding one annual scholarship and providing financial assistance to deserving students. Applicants for the Brightmark Scholarship must be enrolled as undergraduate or graduate students pursuing degrees relevant to the plastics industry with a focus on sustainability and/or circularity. To qualify, candidates must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and submit an essay showcasing their contributions to sustainability or circularity through research, projects, internships, or volunteer work. The deadline for applicants interested in applying is April 30, 2024.

"One of the most critical transitions of a sustainable chemical industry will be the ability to process solid feedstocks like pre- and post-consumer, mixed waste plastics and biomass,” says Professor Carsten Sievers of Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. “Developing new technologies to regulate landfill-bound plastics will require a fresh, educated generation of engineers to solve today's most pressing environmental problems."

In general, sustainability is a significant driver of student interest at the Georgia Institute of Technology, as student enrollment in Professor Sievers’ course “Fundamentals and Challenges for a Sustainable Chemical Enterprise” demonstrates. Today, the university recognizes an increased interest in sustainability, seen by an upswing in conversations from current and incoming students at the university.

"We are honored to partner with Brightmark in this transformative initiative," said Eve Vitale, Chief Executive of the SPE Foundation. “The establishment of this scholarship reflects Brightmark's commitment to nurturing future plastics professionals and underscores the positive impact that strategic partnerships can have on education and industry. By empowering students to explore the intersection of plastics, sustainability, and circularity, Brightmark is laying the foundation for a brighter, more resilient world.”

To learn more about the Brightmark Scholarship in Plastics Circularity or to apply, visit www.spefoundation.org/scholarships
About the SPE Foundation
 The Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Foundation is the philanthropic arm of SPE, a global professional association dedicated to advancing plastics and polymer technology. The SPE Foundation supports educational initiatives that promote plastics education and equitable career opportunities, empowering students, and educators worldwide. Through programs like the PlastiVan, the SPE Foundation aims to inspire the next generation of plastics professionals and foster sustainable solutions for the future. Visit www.spefoundation.org.

About Brightmark
Brightmark, LLC is a circular innovation company with a mission to Reimagine Waste, developing solutions that make a positive environmental impact on the world and communities where it operates. Brightmark’s established anaerobic digestion and proprietary Plastics Renewal® technologies make the company a veteran in a burgeoning marketplace. The company works across sectors, including agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation, to decarbonize operations, displace reliance on virgin fossil fuels, and solve circularity challenges at scale. Committed to systems change in waste, Brightmark works collaboratively to address gaps where traditional methods fall short through its innovative closed-loop approach to recycling and renewables. To date, Brightmark has repurposed four million pounds of landfill-bound plastics and reduced more than 800,000 tons of CO2eq from the atmosphere through anaerobic digestion. The company is also deeply committed to conservation, education, and sustainability career training by partnering with local and national organizations that help protect land and oceans. For more information, visit  www.brightmark.com.

About Georgia Tech 
The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is one of the top public research universities in the U.S., developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition.

The Institute offers business, computing, design, engineering, liberal arts, and sciences degrees. Its more than 45,000 undergraduate and graduate students, representing 50 states and more than 148 countries, study at the main campus in Atlanta, at campuses in France and China, and through distance and online learning.

As a leading technological university, Georgia Tech is an engine of economic development for Georgia, the Southeast, and the nation, conducting more than $1 billion in research annually for government, industry, and society. Website: www.gatech.edu.

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