College of Engineering News Room
Wainella Isaacs Awarded Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future Fellowship for Women in STEM
Wainella Isaacs, a PhD student in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of South Florida, has been awarded a highly competitive Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future Fellowship for Women in STEM. The fellowship covers a stipend, tuition and fees, medical insurance, and research and conference travel. She was one of 38 new awardees out of more than 500 applications received for the 2019-2020 academic year. Fellowships are awarded based on the applicant’s academic ability, leadership qualities, and engagement in STEM outreach activities in under-served communities in their home countries.
Wainella is completing her doctorate in Environmental Engineering under the supervision of Professor Maya Trotz. She holds a Master’s Degree in Engineering Science – Concentration Environmental Engineering from USF, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry and Environmental and Natural Resources Management with a minor in Economics from the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine. She graduated at UWI as the first Dual Valedictorian for the Faculties of the Science and Technology, and Food and Agriculture.
Wainella’s research interests are at the nexus of sustainability, resilience planning, and gender mainstreaming of water and energy infrastructure development. As part of her graduate training she has co-written grant applications (including technical reports – gender analysis; environmental and social impact assessment) for the Green Climate Fund on behalf of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and the Barbados Water Authority. During her PhD studies she has also worked on projects related to green infrastructure for stormwater and nutrient management, water resources management for mosquito vector control (Aedes aegypti), and taught classes at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Wainella has received support from the USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy (WLP) program, USF Education Abroad, College of Engineering scholarships, and the NSF PIRE (Context Sensitive Implementation of Synergistic Water-Energy Systems) award. She has also worked for the last 3 years as a Graduate Student Assistant for the College of Engineering’s Diversity Programs. This past year, Wainella received the People’s Choice award in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition organized by the USF Office of Graduate Studies.
The long-term goal of the Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future Fellowship for Women in STEM Program is to generate conditions that result in more women pursuing scientific careers. Faculty for the Future Fellows are expected to return to their home countries after completion of their studies to contribute to economic, social and technological advancement by strengthening the STEM teaching and research faculties of their home institutions, and to pursue positions in the public sector where their newly acquired technical and scientific skills can help provide evidence-based support for STEM policy making. Wainella has collaborated with WHYFARM (We Help You-th Farm), a NGO in Trinidad and Tobago, in the writing of a successful Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant that is promoting the importance of sustainable agriculture among youth and children. After completing her PhD in May 2020, she plans a return to the Guyana/Caribbean Region to continue working in sustainable infrastructure planning and policy development for the water, energy and agriculture sectors.