RSSI Scholarship Winners


RSSI is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022 scholarship awards.


The James R. Higginbottom scholarship award winner is Ella Fries. Ariel’s father, Jeff Fries, is employed by Alstom Signaling.


The W. Ed Rowland Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to Reese Scott Myers. Reese’s father, Michael Myers, works for The Okonite Company.


The board also approved the awarding of a third scholarship in 2022 to Jaden Vandenburg. This scholarship was awarded in honor of Ron McDaniel’s many years of service to RSSI the Board of Directors. Jaden's father, Anthony Vandenburg, is employed by RAILWORKS.


The scholarships are worth $12,000 payable 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 36 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 2022 RSSI W. Ed Rowland Memorial Scholarship

Reese Scott Myers


The W. Ed Rowland scholarship has been awarded to Reese Scott Myers. Reese lives in Cordova, SC where his father, Michael Myers, is an employee of The Okonite Company.


Reese has been accepted to Clemson University where he will study Computer Science. He plans to obtain a bachelors and master’s degree from Clemson and then work in cyber security for the Department of Homeland Security.

The RSSI 2022 James R. Higginbottom Scholarship

Ella Fries


This year’s winner of the James R. Higginbottom scholarship is Ella Fries. She lives in Lees Summit, MO where her father, Jeff Fries, is employed by Alstom.


Ella will be attending Maryville University where she will major in Physical Therapy.  She is a competitive swimmer and hopes to qualify and compete for the NCAA Division II National Championship at Maryville.

The RSSI 2022 Ronald L. McDaniel Scholarship

Jaden Vandenburg


An additional third scholarship was awarded in honor of Ron McDaniel’s over thirty years as a member of the RSSI board of Directors. Ron passed away on June 23, 2022.


The recipient of the Ron McDaniel Scholarship is Jaden Vandenberg. Jaden lives in Dublin, TX with her parents Anthony and Sabrina Vandenberg. Jaden’s father is employed by RAILWORKS.


Jaden has been accepted to Tarleton State University where she will pursue a bachelor’s degree in accounting. After graduating from Tarleton State, she plans to enroll in the master’s degree at Texas A&M. She hopes to one day be a CPA and open her own accounting firm.

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

  • Andrew Gillespie – Gannett Fleming/University of Michigan
  • Gianna Forte – Alstom Transportation/University of Florida
  • Amasha Jayarante – Siemens/University of Pennsylvania
  • Sam Steen – Princeton Consultants Inc./Calvin College
  • Ariel Ratner – Alstom Signaling/University of Buffalo
  • Julia Esen – Alstom Signaling/University of Rochester
  • Jade Harlow – voestalpine Railway Systems/Appalachian State University


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