Amy Preble Scholarship Fund Recipients

The Amy Preble Scholarship was established in 2021 thanks to many generous donations from friends, family, and colleagues of a true champion of recycling, Amy Preble.  Since it’s inception, CRA has awarded scholarships annually to higher education students in North or South Carolina who show dedication, leadership and passion for recycling, sustainability, and/or waste management as determined by a committee of recycling industry professionals and CRA members.   Please check out the amazing recipients below!

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2022 Scholarship Recipients:

Madhavi Trikha

Madhavi Trikha grew up in Austin, Texas and spent parts of her childhood living in New Delhi, India and North Carolina before completing her high school education at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. She is now a third-year student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in Environmental Justice. During previous semesters, Madhavi has worked with Orange County Solid Waste Management as an intern on their Glass on the Side Program, maintaining over 100 sites in Chapel Hill and Carrboro and onboarding 20 new businesses to the program during the Summer of 2021. In addition to these accomplishments, she played a role in outreach and education with business owners and residents in the Orange County community.

Michael Dorgan

Michael Dorgan is a senior Morehead-Cain Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill studying Environmental Studies and Political Science, with a minor in Food Studies. Michael serves as the president of UNC’s Edible Campus Inititaive Student Organization, which seeks to harness the agricultural potential of UNC’s campus by planting native, medicinal, pollinator, and food-producing plants in underused green spaces. Michael is also a co-chair of UNC Green Labs, an organization that works to reduce consumption by research labs at UNC, and educate lab researchers on ways to reduce their environmental impact. Michael has worked with the city government of Memphis, TN to implement aspects of circular economy in the city’s waste stream, and researched roadkill frequency on Bald Head Island, North Carolina during an internship with the Bald Head Island Conservancy.

Riley Ross

Riley is a sophomore marine science major in the honors college at Coastal Carolina University, and can see herself working in marine biology, conservation and sustainability in the future. She is also pursuing a sustainability certificate through the university and works as an eco rep leader with Sustain Coastal. From Charleston, SC and with a background working with the South Carolina Aquarium and Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network, she is interested in the overlap between coastal environments and the need for sustainability in its many forms.

2023 Scholarship Recipients:

Lauren Hill

Lauren Hill is an undergraduate student at Elon University studying environmental engineering. Her passion lies in environmental justice and supporting her community. She works for the Office of Sustainability, where Kelly Harer mentors students in the fight for people, planet, and prosperity.

Andrew Talkish

Andrew Talkish is a junior at Clemson who has always been passionate about recycling. He has been fascinated by the solid waste industry going back to when he was a young child obsessed with the collection trucks and crews in his home town of Columbia, SC. He spent two semesters interning part-time with the Clemson recycling department working in both their recycling and composting operations, and he loved every minute of it. He also interned full-time with Greenville County, SC Solid Waste Division looking into ways to decrease contamination and increase the county’s recycling rates. When he graduates, he plans on staying in the industry working his way to being a solid waste director for a larger city. He is especially passionate about expanding curbside composting as he feels we are missing out on a major stream of recycling by putting organics in landfills. He hopes that throughout his career he can help start and expand programs so that one day composting can be just as accessible in the Carolinas as recycling is now. He is currently earning a degree in Environmental and Natural Resource Management with a minor in Sustainability. He believes that he was put on this earth to work in this industry and he is exited to work to improve it.

2024 Scholarship Recipients:

Peyton Horvath

Peyton Horvath is a senior at the University of South Carolina majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in Business Administration. Since she was a senior in high school, she knew she wanted work where sustainability and industry intertwine and improve businesses’ environmental impact. At USC, Peyton pursued her passion for sustainability by serving as an EcoRep her freshmen year, teaching students in her residence hall about sustainability. Peyton then joined the Sustainable Carolina Leadership Program, the student-led branch of the Office of Sustainability, serving as a Peer Leader. After two years on the team, Peyton was promoted to Project Coordinator, leading a team of 16 peers. As a member of the Zero Waste team, Peyton executes initiatives across campus to educate students about reducing their waste from upcycling events to zero waste cooking classes. Peyton also works as a ESG Intern at Sustainable Investment Group, where she helps commercial real estate companies submit environmental impact reporting like GRESB, CDP, and GRI. Through this position, Peyton will also be earning a LEED Green Associate Certification. When she graduates, she hopes to pursue a career in environmental consulting, following her dream to reduce the impact of industries nationwide.

Erin Looney

Erin Looney is pursuing a Master of Public Health degree with a Certificate in Global Health at the University of South Carolina. Her research examines disparities in exposure to fine particulate matter in South Carolina, emphasizing the intersection of environmental health and health equity. Her culminating academic practice experience encompasses a food waste audit with the University of South Carolina dining facilities.

Beyond academics, Erin has contributed to sustainability efforts through diverse roles. As the Healthy Schools Research Intern with the U.S. Green Building Council, she earned a LEED Green Associate credential and gained practical insights into applying research to practice. As a Sustainable Carolina Graduate Assistant with the Office of Sustainability, Erin guides over 100 undergraduates in the Sustainable Carolina Leadership Program, demonstrating her leadership in fostering sustainability on campus through diverse initiatives in zero waste, environmental justice, outreach, and green certification. Simultaneously, she serves as the inaugural Cabinet Secretary of Sustainability for the Graduate Student Association, where she works to advance sustainability initiatives within the graduate student community. She orchestrated “”Hot Couture: Fast Fashion’s Impact on Climate Equity,”” an interdisciplinary and multifaceted event that featured a resource fair, panel discussion, and fashion show. Hot Couture educated attendees on the environmental impact of fashion and the textile industry.

Erin volunteers at the Gamecock Community Shop, providing free food, clothing, toiletries, and other resources for students, faculty, and staff. Off-campus, she volunteered with Sierra Club to create an energy efficiency workshop for low-income renters in rural South Carolina.

Erin’s unwavering commitment to bridging the gap between environmental health and equity and her dynamic leadership in sustainability and community service exemplify her dedication to creating positive, sustainable change within and beyond the campus community.

Caden Rhodes

My name is Caden Rhoades, I am a 3rd-year geology student at Appalachian State University. While I am very dedicated to my studies I spend much of my time outside of the classroom working at the university. I am a Sustainability Ambassador with the Office of Sustainability, a Resident Assistant with University Housing, and a Gaming/Mental Wellness Intern with the Office of Wellness & Prevention. Don’t worry, I’m not all work and no play! I love to read, play video games and board games, and go rock-hounding with my friends. One of my favorite things to do outside of school is visit the local humane society to spend time playing with the adoptable dogs, I like to think it’s good for both the animal’s mental health and mine!