Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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President’s Environmental Youth Award Winners Welcomed by Congressman Garamendi’s Staff

May 24, 2010
Press Release

Chief-of-Staff, Gary Cohen, speaks with local high school students
about BioFuel Initiative, before they meet President Obama

  Gary PEYA winners.JPGFrom left to right: Adarsha Shivakumar, Gary Cohen,
Callie Roberts, and Apoorva Rangan.

WASHINGTON, DC–The DC office of Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA), a member of the House Science and Technology Committee, welcomed and congratulated the President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) winners for the southwest region. Since 1971, PEYA is award annually to young Americans for demonstrating excellence in protecting our country’s air, water, land, and ecology. Adarsha Shivakumar, Apoorva Rangan, and Callie Roberts, high school students at The College Preparatory School in Oakland, who live in Pleasant Hill and Martinez, earned the PEYA by founding Project Jatropha. Project Jatropha is a biofuel venture that seeks to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels and mitigate global climate change.

As described by the students, "The Project Jatropha Team promotes the cultivation of Jatropha curcas, a perennial shrub with oil-rich seeds, as an ecologically friendly and economically sustainable source of alternative fuel production. To date, the work of Project Jatropha has supported the planting of 13,000 seedlings by more than 50 farm families in Southern India."

On Wednesday May 19th, Adarsha, Apoorva, Callie, their family members, and their EPA liaison were given a tour of the Capitol complex and Congressman John Garamendi’s office. Chief-of-Staff Gary Cohen spoke with the students about their project, the COMPETES bill to fund scientific research, and the Joint BioEnergy Institute. The Joint BioEnergy Institute is a partnership project that includes Lawrence-Livermore and Sandia National Labs and aims to develop the next generation of biofuels.

"I want to commend Adarsha, Apoorva, and Callie for their ongoing work on Project Jatropha. Unhindered by their young age and the scale of the problem, these students are courageously working to combat global warming. They approach this serious challenge with humility and youthful excitement," Gary Cohen said.

"This generation’s students enter a globally competitive labor market. Their success depends on the ability to work hard, think creatively, and adapt to quickly evolving market conditions," Mr. Cohen added "These three Bay Area students display these qualities in spades and serve as an inspiration to the many talented young students of the 10th District."

On Friday May 21st, the students joined other PEYA winners in meeting President Barack Obama.


More information about Project Jatropha is available at
Contact: Adarsha Shivakumar at
More information about the President’s Environmental Youth Award and the 2009 winners is available at