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About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Win a $2000 Scholarship for College

Uploaded: Mar 21, 2014
Last year I was invited to serve on the Selection Committee for a new $2000 College Scholarship established by the Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) to honor the late Director James B. Kohnen. The Committee was formed to select the winner of the Scholarship from all of the applications received. Justin Solomon Tran, a senior at Dougherty Valley High School, was the only one who applied and won the Scholarship with no competition.

The year has come full circle and DSRSD is again offering the James B. Kohnen $2000 Scholarship to a worthy High School senior. I was invited to serve on the Scholarship Selection Committee again. This year I'm hoping more students enter to give the members of the Selection Committee something to do.

Last year the Committee consisted of me, former Dublin Mayor Janet Lockhart, and DSRSD Supervisor of the Year, Levi Fuller. I phoned Sue Stephenson, DSRSD's Community Affairs Supervisor, to find out who else would be on the Selection Committee.

Janet Lockhart will be returning. The Supervisor of the Year this year is Nancy Gamble Hatfield. Hatfield is the District Secretary for General Manager, Bert Michalczyk. She is taking Levi Fuller's place on the Committee.

Fuller is Supervisor at DSRSD's Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility in Pleasanton. According to Sue Stephenson, "He runs the plant." Fuller is also one of the founders of the Bay Area Consortium of Water and Wastewater Education (BACWWE) program at Solano Community College. This is a two-year career training program for new water and wastewater operators to prepare for entry-level and promotional positions at treatment facilities throughout the Bay Area and beyond.

Clean, safe water is necessary for life and proper sanitation facilities are necessary for clean, safe water supplies. While this isn't a glamorous field, it is an important one and there are good paying, ground floor jobs available with plenty of upward growth.

If students have not considered a career in water or wastewater management, maybe they should now. With the current drought creating water shortages and hardship for farmers throughout the state, managing water resources has taken on a higher priority than it had last year. Certainly more high school seniors should consider entering this field and what better way to start than to win a $2000 Scholarship to study for it.

The Scholarship winner does not have to make a commitment to take a water related job upon graduating. He or she simply must be planning to study a field related to water resources. This could include "chemistry, agricultural or urban water supply, environmental studies, or public administration associated with resources management."

Applicants must be high school seniors residing in DSRSD's Service Area, which includes south San Ramon, Dougherty Valley, and Dublin. San Ramon has two High Schools in the Service Area, Cal High and Dougherty Valley High. Dublin has four High Schools, Dublin High, Valley Christian, Quarry Lane, and Valley High.

Seniors graduating this year from one of those six High Schools are eligible to apply for the Kohnen Scholarship. Applicants need a B average, and two letters of recommendation from their school. They must be planning to attend a California public college in the fall to study a water-related subject.

Applicants will be judged on scholastic achievement and a 500 word essay demonstrating their commitment to learning about and working in a field related to water resources.

If any of you reading this are a senior at one of the high schools listed above, or the parent of a student planning to attend a State College this fall, jump on this opportunity. Parents usually foot the bill for their kids' college education. Here's an opportunity for a nice $2000 Scholarship to prime the pump.

Applications are being accepted now. The application period closes on April 30, 2014 and the award will be made in May. Click here to download an application.
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Mar 24, 2014 at 11:59 am

I would encourage any student interested in making ART to apply! Artists use water to drink bathe sprinkle the grass plants and steam veggies. Artists also use water to mix paint clean their bushes and other tools of the trade. Artist sometimes poach fish and boil raisins...need I say more? Some artists also boil hot water for tea. All visiting buds from the UK also love to drink hot tea! Water is also used to wash pots 'n pans...duh...not to forget sometimes it takes hot water to make oatmeal for brecky! Artist also use water to flush the toilet...just like anybody and I mean it! I also know at least one artist who bathes about about once ever 2-3 weeks to conserve's time to apply for the $2000 scholarship and take a nice ride on the high seas.

i rest my case...

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Mar 24, 2014 at 12:49 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

I would encourage students studying art to apply too. Many artists take a long time to be successful. Sometimes they die first. So if someone is interested in being an artist, he or she should prepare for a good paying career first.

Working at a water or sewer agency offers excellent pay and benefits, with time after hours to work on art. DSRSD has been recycling sewer and bath water for years, to benefit the East Bay.

Cholo you should take a tour of the recycling plant in Pleasanton. It is a very educational experience. See my blog from October, 2012 (half-way down) on the tour. Web Link


Posted by Seriously, a resident of Country Fair,
on Mar 24, 2014 at 4:27 pm

"Many artists take a long time to be successful. Sometimes they die first. So if someone is interested in being an artist, he or she should prepare for a good paying career first."

Winner of this week's 'Dumbest statement' on the PW Town Forum.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Mar 24, 2014 at 5:23 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


No it wasn't meant to be taken seriously, but I'm so happy I won!


Posted by local, a resident of Birdland,
on Mar 24, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Maybe I missed it somewhere but where is the money for the scholarship coming from? Is there a non-profit that people donate to? Or is this our tax or user fees that pay for this scholarship?

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Mar 25, 2014 at 3:08 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


I asked Sue Stephenson for the source of the Scholarship money. Here is her answer.


The $2,000 James B. Kohnen Scholarship was created last year in memory of a former Dublin San Ramon Services District Board member, James B. Kohnen. Mr. Kohnen made a difference at the District and in the education of young people and it is the Board?s hope that by creating this scholarship, they might inspire young people to follow in Mr. Kohnen?s footsteps and make a difference in their communities.

Yes, the $2,000 comes from rates. The money is spent within the guidelines of the District policy regarding ?District participation in Charitable Events and Community Service Activities.?

All our policies are available online. This one can be accessed at Web Link

Sue Stephenson
Community Affairs Supervisor
Dublin San Ramon Services District
Phone: 925-875-2295
Fax: 925-829-1180

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Mar 26, 2014 at 10:59 am

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.


I see why you thought my comment didn't make any sense. I was replying to Cholo, but my Editor hid her comments. I put them back because I enjoy Cholo's playfulness, so I replied along the same lines. I suppose that will mean I'll have to give my Award to Cholo now, but I'm sure she will appreciate it too.


Posted by local, a resident of Birdland,
on Mar 28, 2014 at 9:15 pm

So I guess they are giving our money away and they are taking credit for the charitable contribution.

It annoys me to see government agencies who set their rates based on the cost to run the agency, give the money away. I guess this is another way for the agency to say they are collecting too much in fees. Also does not seem like there is too much of a need for this scholarship since only a single applicant last year.

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