NEED Student Leadership


The NEED Project recognizes student leadership by awarding the Youth Energy Leadership Award each year. Up to two $1,500 awards will be granted for use for college, university or technical school tuition and expenses to deserving students who have demonstrated outstanding energy leadership, knowledge, and an interest in continuing their energy studies for the purpose of seeking a career in energy, STEM, or education. Each year, at least one award will be given to a student who plans to enter the energy field or public service related to energy.


This award is designed to honor students demonstrating effective leadership skills and energy knowledge throughout their association with NEED.
The following are examples of traits the award committee will consider as it chooses recipients of the awards:

  • An effective leader who leads by example and is well respected by his or her peers.
  • An encouraging facilitator who serves as a team leader.
  • A leader who creates excitement and motivates others to accomplish great things.
  • A leader who demonstrates energy awareness at home, school and in the community and educates others about energy.
  • A student who is knowledgeable about energy and has taken the time to not only be a leader of energy activities but has developed a knowledge base about energy and important energy issues.
  • Graduating high school seniors or current first or second year college, university or technical school students.
  • A student showing interest in pursuing a career in the energy, STEM or education field.

2022 NEED Leadership Award Application.
Applications must be submitted by April 30th.

2021 Youth Energy Leadership Award

NEED congratulates these outstanding graduating high school seniors on each receiving the 2021 Youth Energy Leadership Award! They will each receive $1,500 to use towards educational purposes.

Grace Beatty – Kankakee, IL (Press Release)

Grace will be majoring in Biology this fall at Olivet Nazarene University.

Jayden Chan – Aurora, IL (Press Release)

Jayden will be majoring in Chemical Engineering this fall at the University of Minnesota.

Colleen Keene – Henderson, NV (Press Release)

Colleen will be majoring in Zoology at State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego this fall.

Teegan Mathey – Aurora, IL (Press Release)

Teegan will be majoring in Environmental Science at the University of Alabama this fall.

Past Youth Leadership Award Winners:

1994 Doug Blemker

1995 Josh Rising

1996 Judith Elekes

1997 Matt Steele & Tiffany Bonner

1998 Emily Thomas

1999 Heather Brouillet

2000 Heidi Nees

2001 Rebecca Lamb

2002 Justin Paschall

2003 Brian Bosso & Mary Mazarolli

2004 Megan Thoma & David Graham

2005 Jennifer Robinson, Caterina Spaziano, & Chrissy Edwards

2006 Roxie Brown & Michelle Lamb

2007 Whitney Newman & Jake Kesner

2008 Ryan Flynn

2009 Casey O’Connor

2010 Erin Shoaf

2011 Rachael Spencer & Amanda Ramirez Sebree

2012 Alysha Anderson

2013 Brooke Reagan

2014 Ian Munn & Amber Lipsky

2015 Janelli Pineda

2016 Alton Gayton & Laurel Hughes

2017 Diane Wei

2018 Erin Baer & Edmond Gayton

2019 Aidan Kotoski & Jennifer Wei

2020 Mariam Conde, Erin Keene, Patrick Keene, Chira Noce, & Chloe Weiss