RSSI Scholarship Winners


RSSI is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019 scholarship awards.


The James R. Higginbottom scholarship award winner is Gianna Forte. Gianna’s father Charles Forte is employed by Alstom in Jacksonville, Fl.


The W. Ed Rowland Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to Nick Gillespie. Nick’s father Andrew J. Gillespie works for Gannett Fleming in Audubon, PA.


The scholarships are worth $12,000 tpayable in eight $1,500 payments before each semester. The recipients must be enrolled in an accredited North American institution of higher learning and maintain a 3.0 GPA base on a 4.0 scale. There were 39 qualified applications received this year and all were outstanding students deserving of the scholarship award. The applications are judged by three independent judges in ten categories including: academics, leadership, goals, essay and letters of recommendation.


The judges scores are tabulated and the overall top scoring applicants are reviewed and approved by the RSSI Scholarship Committee.

The 2019 RSSI W. Ed Rowland Memorial Scholarship

Nick Gillespie


Nick graduated from Central Bucks High School West in Doylestown, PA with a 4.48 GPA. He scored 1580 on the SAT and 34 on the ACT.


Nick is very active in the Boy Scouts where he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and is a patrol leader and troop guide. As a senior Nick captained the Central Bucks Cross Country team and both the indoor and outdoor track teams. He is a member of the National Honor Society, the Key Club, the Central Bucks Student Government and an officer with the Future Business Leaders of America.


Nick considers climate change to be one of the most serious issues facing society and would like to help prevent further climate issues by helping to make the internal combustion engine and the burning of fossil fuels obsolete. He will be attending the University of Michigan in the fall of 2019 where he will major in Electrical Engineering.

The RSSI 2019 James R. Higginbottom Scholarship

Gianna Forte


Gianna graduated from Bishop Snyder High School in Jacksonville, FL with a 4.37 GPA. She was President and Chaplain of the National Honor Society, Chaplain and community outreach representative of the Rho Kappa History Honor Society and the Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society and a Peer Leader in the National English Honor Society. She also captained the Bishop Snyder Girls Cross Country and Track & Field teams and played soccer.


She was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.


Gianna plans to continue her education at the University of Florida where she will major in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology. Her goal is to run for the UF cross country team and after graduation attend medical school to become a Sports Medicine Physician. She wants to help athletes through injury prevention.

In addition to the two new scholarships, the following are also active:

  • Brantley Allen Butcher - Progress Rail/Yale University
  • Matthew Heron - Harsco Rail/Georgetown University
  • Alexander Konczak - Progress Rail Locomotive/University of Illinois in Champaign Urbana
  • Lindsey Laurune - Ansaldo STS/University of Pittsburg
  • Allyssa Phelps - Railway Equipment Company/Columbia University
  • Zoe Tong Yu - Gannett Fleming/Dartmouth College



Railway Systems Suppliers, Inc. is a trade association serving the communication and signal segment of the rail transportation industry.