For Immediate Release

January 31, 2024

Student Scholarship Competition Results


WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 31, 2024) – The Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii) published the results of its first-ever Student OpEd Scholarship Competition. From three ultimate finalists, Aii rewarded trash talk with the grand prize.

The competition, which ran throughout the fall semester of 2023, was open to all enrolled students in higher education including community college, university, masters, and doctoral programs. With entries from every level of education across the country, Aii selected three finalists.

In first place is Ava Kalina, a student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Her winning article “The clean energy revolution could be powered by your trash” was published in The Miami Student. This article not only met the scholarship competition requirements but fulfilled its purpose to engage America’s greatest rising minds to think about and articulate solutions to some of the nation’s most pressing challenges.

By focusing on trash, Kalina’s article managed to tackle multiple issues at once: mitigating emissions while providing access to sustainable fuels for robust power into the future.

Our other two finalists are Vanessa Jimenez of Florida Atlantic University and Mustafa Haque of Southern Methodist University. Jimenez wrote about eco-anxiety and our nation’s journey to becoming carbon-free, while Haque wrote about how we could reduce carbon by revising public policy relating to parking lots.

Aii provided $6,500 in scholarship funds during the competition. Submissions came in from at least one high school senior, one international student (outside of the U.S.), and students enrolled in undergraduate, masters, and doctoral programs across public, private, and Ivy League institutions.

To read about the scholarship competition details, see our competition page.

To read the winning and other featured submissions, see our featured guest posts.



About Aii

The Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii) is an independent, national research and educational organization. An innovative think tank, Aii explores the intersection of economics, law, and public policy in the areas of climate, damage prevention, energy, infrastructure, innovation, technology, and transportation. Learn more at