The Department of Technology is proud to recognize Brittany Weber, a sustainable and renewable energy senior. Weber has been selected as a 2020-2021 Bone Scholar. The Bone Scholar is the highest honor an Illinois State University undergraduate student can receive. Students are nominated by their department to apply for the scholarship. Weber is the first Department of Technology female and SRE student to be selected as a Bone Scholar. As a Bone Scholar, Weber receives a scholarship, commemorative medallion, and is recognized in a display in the Bone Student Center. Bone Scholar eligibility requirements include a 3.7 or higher GPA, attendance at Illinois State University for at least four semesters, be an undergraduate during the Fall 2020 semester and anticipate graduating between December 2020 and August 2021. The selection committee awards the Bone Scholar based on the breadth, diversity, and quality of nominees’ academic work, type and extent of university and community involvement, and personal qualities including dependability, cooperation, and initiative.
Originally, Brittany Weber just was at Illinois State to get her degree and graduate. She thought as a non-traditional student, she should mind her own business and keep to herself. During the TEC 100 class, Ashley Berg, the undergraduate advisor stressed the importance of being involved and experiencing everything Illinois State University has to offer. This made Brittany Weber’s experience at Illinois State University life changing. First, she joined the Renewable Energy Society, a student organization, and then at the end of the Spring 2019 semester, she was elected president of the Renewable Energy Society.
“Leading the Renewable Energy Society and the Solar Grill Project has been the highlight of my time here at Illinois State University. The opportunities I’ve had to get involved in the community, take trips, and manage the grill have all been so much fun and great learning experiences.” Brittany Weber, Bone Scholar
She has been an avid promoter of the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Program through the Technology Ambassador Program she learned about in TEC 100. She feels the Technology Ambassador position allows her to share what she learned during her first time at college. She stresses how going to class and participating in class is what it takes to be truly successful in college. She also feels your personal drive to succeed and pursuing a major that you enjoy and are passionate about makes learning easier and more fun. She excels in every assignment in her major because Sustainable and Renewable Energy means so much to her.
“Brittany is frequently a self-starter with great motivation and enthusiasm on the subjects she works on. While her analytical ability is impressive, Brittany also displayed the often more important ability to develop relationships with professors and classmates. Brittany stands out as one of those truly special students I will always remember. Brittany’s uncanny work ethic, ability to work with others and her splendid personality allowed her to build relationships and accomplish great success unsurpassed by the rest of her fellow classmates. I closely worked with Brittany this year to promote the Sustainable and Renewable Energy major by reaching out to high school technology and science teachers and counselors in Illinois. I am very glad that I had Brittany assist with these outreach activities and she always exceeded my expectations. Brittany is an intelligent, motivated, and conscientious student leader.” Jin Jo, SRE Professor
Being a non-traditional student has been simultaneously a benefit and a disadvantage. Her family always reminds her of why she is at Illinois State University and that helps her remain laser focused on her dreams and goals. She wants to make a difference for her family and our planet. The disadvantage definitely stems from how difficult it is for her to be involved in all of these things she wants to do. Everything has to be organized and planned ahead of time so someone is always there to pick up and take care of her daughter from daycare and drive her the 40 minutes back home, make her dinner, and put her to bed. Her husband works in Champaign so anytime she stays late, he really has his work cut out for him. Finding a balance between home life and school has been difficult, but it’s something all college kids experience one way or another.
In the future, Weber plans to pursue a master’s degree once achieving a balance between school and her personal life is easier. Currently, her career goals are to find a way to integrate solar into the Illinois energy mix more efficiently. Farmland is very valuable here, so solar has trouble finding space to be put into production. She wants to find a way to bring farmers and solar together so that both systems work for each other, just like wind and farms do now. Along with SRE, Weber is pursuing a food studies minor to learn more about plants, farms, and the agriculture industry to learn where and how solar can be integrated.
In addition to the Bone Scholar Award, Brittany Weber received the Midwest Renewable Energy Association Straubel Foundation Clean Energy Leadership Award and the Philip E. Ghantous Memorial Scholarship.