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Toyota Foundation awards $45K in environmental innovation scholarships

Following the devastating effects of Hurricane María and the recent report by the United Nations on the urgency of acting against climate change, positive action on the environment has become more important than ever.

To this end, the Toyota Foundation recently celebrated the 21st edition of its environmental grants program, awarding scholarships of $2,500 each to 18 students enrolled in college courses related to science and the environment. The automaker bestowed a total of $45,000 in grants.

“As recently as earlier this month, the United Nations published its latest report on climate change,” said Saskia Gómez, public relations executive of Toyota of Puerto Rico, Corp. “It warned that the world could experience a dramatic increase in temperature within 20 years if urgent measures are not taken. This can have serious consequences for Puerto Rico, for example, stronger hurricanes.”

“In this context, the study of science and the environment becomes more relevant today,” she said. “At the Toyota Foundation, we have maintained our commitment to these studies for more than two decades. Today we again validate that commitment to help forge professionals committed to protecting our planet and our natural environment.”

The 18 students who received the Toyota Environmental Scholarship Foundation are currently enrolled in undergraduate studies at universities in Puerto Rico and the U.S mainland. Their areas of study include Environmental Science, Marine Biology, Mechanical Engineering, Industrial Biotechnology, Microbiology, Agronomy and Crop Protection, among others.

Twelve of them are college students, who due to their academic excellence, are renewing their scholarships, while the remaining six are new recipients.

Jerry Cordero-Sepúlveda, an Industrial Biotechnology student at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus, said the scholarship program has “been an important pillar in my college career.”

“During academic year 2017 – 2018, I was able to do my academic work satisfactorily, despite weather conditions that affected the island,” he said. “This was due largely to the financial assistance the Toyota Environmental Scholarship provided. By having this scholarship, I’m been able to stay near the university.”

“In addition, the scholarship helped me buy educational materials lost during the floods in my home in Guayanilla. In this way, the Toyota Environmental Scholarship has allowed me to focus on my studies,” he said.

Since its founding in 1997, Toyota Foundation has contributed nearly $1 million to the development of professionals committed to a better environment, by granting some 378 scholarships.

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