Newsroom: Press Release

Constellation Awards Cordell Reed Trailblazer Scholarships to Minority Students in its Communities

Memory of Constellation’s first Black Chief Nuclear Officer lives on in four scholarships for trade school, college students


BALTIMORE (Aug. 17, 2023) — Constellation recently awarded scholarships to four minority students as part of a continued effort to expand educational opportunities for students in diverse communities and to honor nuclear energy pioneer Cordell Reed, who served as the first Black chief nuclear officer of Constellation. Previously, the scholarships were awarded to those pursuing college degrees in the energy industry; the program was expanded this year to include students focused on earning positions in the building trades and associated industries.

The $5,000 scholarships celebrate Reed’s legacy and create opportunities for young minority students. This year’s recipients of the Cordell Reed Trailblazer Scholarships are:

  • Benita Besa of Columbia, Md., who is attending Duke University in Durham, N.C.
  • David Blackmon of Chicago, who is attending Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.
  • Gideon Boadu, of Baltimore, who is attending Howard University in Washington, D.C.
  • Vincent Pham of Baltimore, who is attending the University of Maryland in College Park

The scholarships are open to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) students who are pursuing engineering, technical or energy-related studies, or studies in the building trades. Students must live in one of four states where Constellation has nuclear plants: Illinois, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania.

Cordell Reed was born in Chicago on March 26, 1938, in a South Side housing project. He earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before embarking on a successful career. Reed held numerous positions of increasing importance in the company before retiring in 1997. He also served on the boards of numerous non-profits and was a generous contributor to many philanthropic causes. Reed passed away on Dec. 4, 2017.

Constellation has a strong track record of investing in its communities, with a focus on helping people in underserved communities attain family-sustaining careers. Over the last few months, Constellation created the Powering Change workforce development program to create equitable change in underserved communities, signed a historic pledge to increase diversity in the building trades among populations that have not historically worked in the energy industry, and also contributed $250,000 to non-profit HIRE360 as part of a program to increase employment and training opportunities in the building trades for women and people of color in the Chicago area.

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