Brazilian doctoral candidate wins NEC scholarship

By Renewable Fuels Association | January 15, 2015

The Renewable Fuels Association and Renewable Fuels Foundation are proud to announce Laís Thomaz as the winner of a student scholarship that will send her to the 20th annual National Ethanol Conference: Going Global next month in Grapevine, Texas. The RFA/RFF scholarship provides students enrolled in higher education with complimentary registration at the conference, giving scholarship recipients the chance to connect with hundreds of leaders, policymakers, and experts associated with the renewable fuel industry. Only students who focus on renewable fuels in their studies and intend to pursue a career in the industry are eligible to receive the scholarship. This is the sixth consecutive year in which this scholarship has been made available to students.

Thomaz hails from Brazil, where she organized academic and scientific events with professors and international scholars. There, she received her master’s degree in international relations in 2012 from San Tiago Dantas, a graduate program supported by three of Brazil’s premier universities. Her dissertation, which focused on the role of advocacy groups in the shaping of ethanol trade policies, was published as a book by Brazil’s Editora UNESP. Her research previously won the Top Ethanol Award promoted by the Brazilian Sugarcane Ethanol Industry Association (UNICA). She is currently a Ph.D. candidate and a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Government at Georgetown University.

“The NEC sets up those interested in pursuing a professional career in ethanol with unparalleled access to industry producers, marketers, and policymakers — all of whom will offer keen insight into the main issues facing the ethanol industry today,” said Mike Jerke, chairman of the RFF and CEO of Guardian Energy. “This scholarship will provide Ms. Thomaz with the opportunity to dive head first into the U.S. sector of an industry she has dedicated much of her academic career towards. Today’s announcement is a testament to the fact that ethanol is truly a commodity that transcends all borders.”

The National Ethanol Conference will take place Feb. 18–20 at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center. For more information, visit For additional resources, visit the RFA and RFF at and