The Gorge Technology Alliance (GTA) is pleased to announce the opening of a new scholarship to support Gorge students attending college for science, technology, engineering or math degrees. The scholarship is named the Corwin Hardham Memorial Scholarship in honor of a brilliant man who grew up in the Gorge and passed away unexpectedly in 2012 at the age of 38.
Corwin Hardham grew up doing everything you’d expect of a true Gorge child – snowboarding, windsurfing, kiteboarding and cycling. By the age of 15, he was windsurfing professionally and designing his own equipment with the help of Gorge tech mentors like Steve Maier of Innovative Composite Engineering, Andy von Flotow of Hood Tech and Tad McGeer of Aerovel. His intense curiosity, persistence and intelligence pushed him to a bachelor’s from the University of Washington and a PhD from Stanford.
Corwin’s master’s and PhD research created precursor components that are part of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory, which was recently in the news for the first detection of gravitational waves. In 2006, Corwin co-founded Makani Power, a clean energy company focused on harnessing the untapped resource of high-altitude wind, which has since been acquired by Google.
Corwin’s parents, Joan Chase and John and Linda Hardham still reside in the Gorge. John contributes that, “Corwin maintained that the difference between success and failure is a very thin line. He made the analogy to winning a windsurfing race: ‘In order to win you have to ride the knife edge of disaster all the time.’ To keep up the momentum and find success you must have balance in your life. The thrill, the motivation for him was in finding that balance. Corwin had a vision for what could be, and the determination to make it happen. He was an inspiration for many and remains so even now that he has passed.”
The scholarship is open for students graduating in spring/ summer 2016 from high school, home school or receiving a GED and who are from Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Klickitat or Skamania Counties. Students must be planning to pursue a degree in science, technology, engineering or math degrees. Applications are due by April 1 and can be found online at crgta.org/scholarship. “The award this first year will be $2000 to one student,” says Jessica Metta, Executive Director of the GTA,”but we are hoping to increase this as the fund grows over time.”
Fundraising for the scholarship was launched in 2015 in recognition of the 10th anniversary of the GTA at a dinner and auction event last July called the Robot Rendezvous. The event was held in partnership with the Gorge Community Foundation, where the fund is housed. “The Foundation has been a wonderful resource and partner to realize this dream of the GTA’s,” notes Metta. The Gorge Community Foundation is accepting additional contributions to the fund, which are tax-deductible. Contact Metta at 541-296-2266 or visit crgta.org/scholarship for more information.