SEEd Scholarship Winner

Ethan Apawan

How does Ethan describe energy? 

Ethan Apawan describes energy as, “a resource that allows people to power machines and the world around us. Energy can be made in different ways, and it is essential to the way of life most humans have today.”

Student profile

Ethan Apawan, a San Antonio native and Brandeis High School graduate, was not very aware of the significance of energy growing up. The first time he heard anyone say anything about energy was through his family’s monthly electricity bill. His parents would explain that the more energy used, the more expensive the bill. So, any incentive to save energy was primarily financial. Additionally, he remembers CPS energy calling his home as a part of a program used to encourage clients to use less power in hours of peak demand during excessively hot weather. However, other than those experiences, the importance of low energy consumption practices did not cross his mind too often. In fact, the world’s energy consumption didn’t stress him out at all until he began to learn more about energy systems and the consequences of excessive waste. 

Ethan first learned about the importance of energy and sustainability through his high school AP Environmental Science class. It was the first time he was introduced to the effects of pollution, climate change, renewable energy sources, and energy-related political policies. He suddenly saw the world in a new light and developed a greater understanding of how our society came to its current standing regarding the environment and sustainability. Ethan explains, “At first glance, it can be very discouraging to see corporate organizations and politics take advantage of our resources and damage the environment without thinking of the future.” The immediate profit seems always to be the priority. However, after taking a closer look, he also saw that new technology and advancements in regulations prove that it’s possible to mitigate some of the damage. Avoiding and reconstructing environmental harm, reducing energy use, and increasing prosperity for our society are slowly getting the attention they deserve. 

Using his education to give back to his community and help improve the environment’s health became a huge goal for Ethan. After researching different scholarship opportunities to help him on his journey, he came across the Smart Energy Education Scholarship on the San Antonio Area Foundation website. Smart Energy Education’s drive to educate the public on energy resources, sustainability practices, and energy careers caught his attention. As a UTSA pre-law student, he feels lucky to have gotten the scholarship and has used the freedom it has given him to focus on his academic and leadership opportunities at his university. 

Ethan believes that younger generations have the potential to make a massive difference in their community. Enriching their energy and sustainability awareness while being vocal about conservative practices alone can make a big difference. This includes actively building habits like turning off the lights in empty rooms, unplugging devices that aren’t used, and not being wasteful product consumers. 

Ethan is now primarily concerned with how community leaders will find ways to combat depleting energy sources and the negative consequences of our previous energy practices. San Antonio has been a great inspiration to him and an influential leader in green energy for many years. Ethan explains, “San Antonio is a growing city that has shown lots of initiative to decrease energy use and increase renewable energy sources contributing to its energy grid.” While energy careers were not commonly discussed throughout his education, Ethan was confident he would find something interesting to pursue to contribute to his goal. His investigation of Law degrees led him to discover Environmental and Energy Law. Without legal support for environmental research and development, there is little chance of combating depleted energy resources and climate change. Through this degree, he hopes to improve the regulation and development of new communities and buildings around the city, reduce energy costs and help build a greener, more sustainable world. 

The Smart Energy Education Scholarship is funded by CPS Energy and Itron, Inc., and managed by the San Antonio Area Foundation.