NWRA Women’s Council Awards Five Scholarships Totaling $37,500

NWRA Women’s Council Awards Five Scholarships Totaling $37,500

Generous Contributions Allow Women’s Council to Award Additional Scholarships

Arlington, VA – Today, the National Waste & Recycling Association’s (NWRA) Women’s Council announced its five scholarship winners.

The NWRA Women’s Council established an educational scholarship program in 2007 to assist qualified individuals in their pursuit of an education that will lead to productive careers in the environmental industry. All NWRA member company employees and their dependents are eligible to apply. To date, close to $170,000 has been awarded. In 2018, the NWRA Women’s Council is awarding five $7,500 scholarships.

A fundraising campaign was launched this year with major contributions received from several companies. Contributors at the President’s Circle level are Environmental Solutions Group and McNeilus. Contributors at the Platinum level are the Detachable Containers Association and Waste Management, Inc. The Gold level contributor is Republic Services and the Silver level is Advanced Disposal Services. We thank our member companies for their generous support of the Women’s Council Scholarship program.

The recipients will be recognized at WasteExpo 2018.

The recipients are:

Andy Phomparkdy, Elk Grove, Calif.
Employee – Aria Energy

Andy Phomparkdy is employed by Aria Energy Systems as western regional manager in Elk Grove, Calif. Phomparkdy is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in environmental science from the American Public University. Although he is a U.S. citizen, his journey included growing up in a Thailand refugee camp. He has always been interested in science and upon high school graduation joined the U.S. Army and served during Desert Storm. Since his honorable discharge, he has worked with Aria Energy committed to all aspects of landfill gas-to-energy. He demonstrates his family commitment as a father and husband but also assuring his late sister’s young children and mother have a home. Phomparkdy demonstrates remarkable enthusiasm toward pursuing his studies and career serving our industry.

Ashley Somers, Rutland, Vt.
Employee – Casella Waste Systems

Ashley Somers works in the marketing department of Casella Waste Systems, based in Rutland, Vt. Somers is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in marketing with a concentration in new media and communications and maintains a 4.0 GPA. She already demonstrates her dedication to volunteerism with providing support to Vermonters in Wheels for Warmth and Cradles to Crayons. She has participated in MassRecycle, helping to implement a program designed to drive social change for recycling by creating and installing special kiosks at subway stations throughout Boston. Somers’ strong commitment and vitality has been recognized by Casella, which chose her to participate in Casella’s Peak Performance Leadership Training program. Somers clearly demonstrates her passion and excellence in everything she does.

Elizabeth Rainville, Milwaukie, Ore.
Dependent – Recology

Elizabeth Rainville from Milwaukie, Ore., attends George Fox University studying civil engineering. Her strong academic achievements (past Valedictorian in high school) and her community service with groups including local food banks and shelters showcase her dedication toward helping others. She intends to “service the world community with her studies including a strong dedication to sustainability and engineering waste management systems.” Rainville has developed a passionate commitment to the environment and “sees the waste and recycling industry as a career doing good for the environment, the economy and the soul.”

Juliet Varga, San Leandro, Calif.
Dependent – Waste Management, Inc.

Juliet Varga is a graduating high school senior from San Leandro, Calif., who plans on attending the University of California to study psychology and communications. Her strong academic achievements and her passion to help change behavior in support of caring for the environment is evident from her involvement with local community groups. She shared some of her experiences with “strong and compassionate leaders in the industry” and welcomes the opportunity to help support improvements in recycling behavior. Varga is the first Hispanic women in her family to attend college, and she is passionate about her future contributions to our industry.

Selena McBride, Antioch, Calif.
Employee – Republic Services

Selena McBride is employed by Republic Services as a billing processor in Antioch, Calif. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in accounting with an Associates of Arts in business fundamentals at the University of Phoenix. McBride is a dedicated employee and is working toward a staff accountant position. She hopes the degree will help her achieve her goal. McBride is also a person with a huge heart evidenced by fostering four children in addition to her own child. Her colleagues have recognized her hard work and dedication to the industry and her family.


The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. Association members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that manage waste, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors, and a variety of other service providers. For more information about NWRA, please visit www.wasterecycling.org.

Brandon Wright
National Waste and Recycling Association