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About the Scholarship

WSSC Water offers annual scholarships to college students majoring in engineering fields vital to its mission. Named in honor of former Commissioners Joyce Starks and Gene W. Counihan, the goal of the scholarship program is to provide financial assistance to students from WSSC Water’s service district in furtherance of their engineering studies and encourage applicants/winners to consider careers in the water and water resource recovery industry; preferably, at WSSC Water.

Two new scholarships for $2,000 each may be awarded; one to a Prince George's County resident and one to a Montgomery County resident. Winners are eligible for additional awards of $2,000 each year for up to four consecutive years as long as they meet residency and grade point average (GPA) requirements. Winners also receive priority consideration for paid summer internship opportunities at WSSC Water.


To qualify, students must:

  • Complete an application by Monday, April 17, 2023;
  • Provide proof of permanent residency in WSSC Water’s service district; and
  • Be enrolled* full time in a degree program at an accredited college or university that leads to an engineering degree in one of the following areas: Civil Engineering (i.e., Environmental, Sanitary, Structural, Geotechnical, Water Resources, Fire Protection, Transportation, Project Management, Construction Management); Electrical Engineering; Material Science and Engineering; Chemical Engineering; Mechanical Engineering or Computer Science/Engineering. *High school seniors who have been accepted into such a program are eligible; proof of acceptance/enrollment must accompany application materials.

2023 Application Process

  1. Essay (see topics below) between 500 to 1,000 words.
  2. Video Introduction/Infomercial. Tell us who you are and why you’re the best candidate for the scholarship. Video should be no longer than five minutes;
  3. Official Transcript (high school seniors must submit their official high school transcript along with proof of acceptance/enrollment into a qualifying engineering program);
  4. Two Reference Letters; and
  5. Proof of Permanent Residency in WSSC Water Service District. Acceptable forms of documentation: Copy of driver’s license, voter registration card or other government- issued ID, reflecting your permanent residency in either Prince George’s or Montgomery County, Maryland.

2023 Essay Topics

This year we are offering three essay topics. Students are to pick one of the three following topics for a 500- to 1,000-word essay:

  1. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law delivers more than $50 billion through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to improve our nation’s drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure – the single largest investment in water the federal government has ever made.  If you were WSSC Water and applied for this funding, what types of projects would you spend it on and why?
  2. If you were General Manager/Chief Executive Officer for WSSC Water, how would you ensure racial equity and social justice were part of project selection for infrastructure projects?
  3. The water sector continues to face increasing pressures to fix aging infrastructure without increasing customer costs.  Innovation and technology play a vital role in helping utilities meet these goals.  What technological advances or innovative solutions would you adopt at WSSC Water to address the challenge of aging infrastructure without breaking the bank?

Submission Deadline: Monday, April 17, 2023.

The online application will open on Wednesday, March 15, 2023.  Click here to access the online application. You may also submit your application package by U.S. Mail to: Julianne Montes de Oca, Corporate Secretary, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, 14501 Sweitzer Lane, Laurel, MD 20707. Mailed applications must be postmarked by Monday, April 17, 2023. For mailed applications, please submit the video on a flash drive.

Get notified when applications are accepted for the 2024-2025 academic year.

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Last Modified: March 15, 2023, 4:55 am EDT