UGA engineering student earns prestigious international scholarship

Brooke Spreen

Brooke Spreen

An engineering student at the University of Georgia has been awarded a prestigious postgraduate scholarship to continue her studies at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), one of the top engineering and science universities in the world.

Brooke Spreen, an environmental engineering student from Johns Creek, will graduate from UGA May 13 and begin her master’s program at ETH Zurich this fall. Under the Excellence Scholarship & Opportunity Programme (ESOP) at ETH, she will receive a scholarship that covers full tuition and living costs.

ETH awards approximately 50 Excellence Scholarships each year based on students’ academic record, a pre-proposal for a Master’s thesis and recommendations from undergraduate professors.

Spreen plans to pursue a Masters in Energy Science and Technology, a program she describes as “an interdisciplinary crash course in all things related to energy.”

“As part of the application process, I had to write a proposal for a Master’s thesis and chose the topic of fusion,” said Spreen. “Assuming fusion has been developed as a viable energy source, how do we deploy it on the European grid? How do we replace heavy polluters like coal-fired power plants with energy from fusion?”

A study abroad semester at ETH during her second year at UGA sparked Spreen’s desire to pursue a postgraduate degree.

“Before I did study abroad, I thought I wanted to finish my bachelors and go to work as soon as possible,” she said. “But at ETH, the undergraduate courses are taught in German and the Master’s courses are taught in English. So, I was placed in the Master’s courses and that opened my eyes to higher-level work.”

During her time at UGA, Spreen conducted two semesters of undergraduate research in the field of energy for John R. Schramski, a professor and coordinator of the College of Engineering’s environmental engineering program.

Schramski says Spreen’s skills were evident on day one.

“Energy analysis is a cross-disciplinary social, technical and economic analysis of ever-changing complex supply and demand computations cutting to the very heart of humankind sustainability,” said Schramski. “Brooke has proven herself to be uniquely capable of contemplating, calculating and communicating these deep world-changing issues.  She leaves a legacy in UGA environmental engineering and I am sure will do the same at ETH.”

More information about ETH Zurich is available at

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