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Education
Southside High School Senior Awarded 2023 OGE Positive Energy Scholarship
Emma Smith celebrated by cheer team with white confetti
Apr 27, 2023

Earlier today, OGE Energy Corp. Foundation, Inc. announced Southside High School senior Emma Smith as one of its 2023 OGE Positive Energy Scholars. As a Positive Energy Scholar, Emma will receive a total of $60,000 in scholarship funds over four years to cover tuition, books, fees and on-campus room and board.

Classmates, school administrators, teachers, mentors, representatives from Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. (OG&E), Fort Smith Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Terry Morawski and other members of the community gathered at Southside High School to surprise Emma, celebrate her academic accomplishments and cheer her on as OG&E officials surprised her with the scholarship award. Thanks to the assistance provided from the Positive Energy Scholarship, Emma can now attend the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith and major in electrical engineering without the financial burden often associated with obtaining higher education.

“Congratulations to Emma, one of our 2023 Positive Energy Scholars and the first-ever winner from Southside High School," said Sean Trauschke, OGE Energy Corp. Chairman, President and CEO. “Emma is an intelligent, inspiring and diligent student, and we are thrilled to present her with this meaningful scholarship. It is an honor to play a role in bolstering our state’s STEM workforce by empowering tomorrow's leaders and trailblazers.”

Emma was selected as one of this year’s Positive Energy Scholars from a competitive pool of more than 200 applicants. In addition to her academic accomplishments, extracurricular activities, professional experience and community service, Emma's commitment to learning and passion for building things impressed the PES selection committee.

“Emma is a bright, hard-working and dedicated student with a thirst for knowledge,” said Randy Kent, a technical instructor at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith who nominated Emma for this award. “I’ve had the honor of teaching Emma over the last two years and have been impressed by her grace, intelligence and consistent commitment to her studies. She is incredibly deserving of this award, and I know she will do wonderful things in her future.”

Emma is an active member of several organizations, such as the National Honor Society, Student Council, DECA and the Fort Smith Junior Leadership Academy. Notably, she served as the DECA vice president during her high school career. Emma took several college-level courses while in high school to increase her knowledge, garner college credits and challenge herself. Through her involvement at church and in youth group, Emma volunteered more than 75 hours of community service on top of the multiple different jobs she worked, including at the local tire shop, car wash and frequent babysitting gigs. She has earned multiple awards honoring her dedication to academia and leadership skills. In her free time, Emma enjoys rebuilding trailers, working on cars, cooking and spending time outdoors.

“Pursuing a degree in higher education is an important investment for students, but the financial burden that comes along with it is often a significant obstacle,” said Eddie Lee Herndon, OG&E Community Affairs Manager in Fort Smith. “Our hope is that, through the Positive Energy Scholarship, Emma will be able to focus fully on her studies instead of worrying about how to pay for tuition or housing. Providing this kind of impactful financial assistance to well-deserving students is just one of the ways that OG&E energizes education in the communities it serves.”

Established in 2019, the OGE Positive Energy Scholarship empowers academically strong students to pursue a degree in a STEM-related major by providing critical financial need. Eligible students must meet specific criteria to be considered, including:

  • Be a graduating high school senior from the OG&E service area.
  • Attend a college in the states of Oklahoma or Arkansas.
  • Have an unweighted grade point average greater than or equal to 3.25.
  • Achieve an ACT score of greater than or equal to 25 and/or SAT score greater than or equal to 1200.

Since 2012, OG&E and the OGE Energy Corp. have provided more than $2 million in scholarships for more than 300 students in the OG&E service area. Since launching the Positive Energy Scholarship program, OGE Energy Corp. Foundation has awarded 15 Positive Energy Scholarships – totaling $720,000 – to high school seniors.

OG&E’s dedication to education investment is evident in the company’s continuous support to deserving students, teachers and schools. In addition to scholarships, the company also funds teacher projects, offers energy efficiency grants, provides classrooms with energy education materials and partners with educational institutions to cultivate a pipeline of strong industry professionals. To learn more about how OG&E invests in education across its service area, visit oge.com/education.

Contact

OG&E Media Line: ogenews@oge.com or 405-553-3616

Tags

Education, Community, Scholarship, Positive Energy


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