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Past scholarship recipients praise Boilermaker legacy

“A college degree would not have been an option had it not been for the stability, fair wages and insurance afforded my dad by the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers.”
– Joseph Fals, Executive Officer of the USS James E. Williams (DDG 95)

Dozens affirm positive impact of scholarships

FOR THE PAST 30 years, the Boilermakers union has awarded select high school seniors scholarships to help with college expenses. Recently, the Scholarship Committee asked past recipients how receiving a Boilermaker scholarship impacted their lives. Recipients are using their education in a variety of ways — teaching, serving in the military, working to eradicate homelessness, solving crimes, and seeking cures for disease, just to name a few. Read their inspiring stories below.

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Karolina Alvarez

Karolina Alvarez

THANKS TO THE Boilermaker scholarship, I was able to experiment with different interests while working towards my bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. I developed a passion for computer security and was accepted into the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program at my university. I am now an information security engineer and a certified computer forensic examiner, and I am planning to return to school to earn a master’s degree in cybersecurity.
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Natalia Alvarez

Natalia Alvarez

THIS YEAR I received a Master of Science in mechanical engineering in the field of fluid and energy systems from Northwestern University. The Boilermaker scholarship helped me complete my undergraduate degree, during which I discovered my interest in the field of mechanical engineering.
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Lindsay Baker

Lindsay Baker

I graduated summa cum laude from Middle Tennessee State University in December 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in agribusiness. Since 2014, I’ve been serving Dickson County as an insurance agent with Farm Bureau Insurance, Tennessee.
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Melanie Bemis-Schrader

Melanie Bemis-Schrader

WHEN I WAS 18 years old, with my high school graduation looming, I did not know how I was going to pay for my college education. I had always worked very hard in school and in athletics, hoping I would be able to earn scholarships to pay for my schooling, because I knew my parents would not be able to. The shipyard industry my dad worked for did not pay much, but it was the work he loved. So, he did it, though it made it tight for my parents to meet all the needs of their seven children. Luckily, my dad told me about the Boilermaker scholarship. I applied and earned a scholarship that helped pay for my freshman year of college at Boise State University, where I also received a partial athlete scholarship for the women’s track team.

The Boilermaker scholarship was key in helping me pay for room and board, the only thing my track scholarship did not cover. Because of the scholarship, I had the help I needed to live on campus and have a meal plan. I did not have to worry about prepping meals. This allowed me to really focus on my track training and schooling and to meet likeminded friends in the dorms that have become very close lifelong friends. I graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in biology—secondary education in four years with no college debt!

Since that time, I have coached track and field at the middle school and high school levels as both an assistant coach and head coach. I have also taught high school biology, chemistry, microbiology and middle school life science, and am currently in my sixth year as the gifted and talented teacher and program facilitator. I also went on to earn my Master of Science in special education in gifted, talented and creative. This summer, I will be a special-topics presenter at Edufest, the premier gifted and talented teaching conference in the Northwest.

Besides teaching gifted students, my passion for athletics and my own two children drive my life. I work every day to inspire and support my children in pursuing their passions and working hard to achieve success.

I feel blessed, lucky and so happy to be able to be a mother, be a teacher to the wonderful students I work with at school and to have dear friends I was able to make in the dorms my freshman year of college. They have been there for me in all the hardest times of challenge that I have faced in my life. The Boilermakers union scholarship gave me the support I needed in just the right way to make the beginning stages of my college career a success, and it helped to pave the way for me to accomplish all that I have to date and will achieve into the future. Thank you so much for being there for me and my family!
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Sarah (Voelker) Benzing

Sarah Benzing received a Bachelor of Nursing from Marian University in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, in 2012, graduating summa cum laude. She was also an honors program participant. She also earned her certification as a registered cardiovascular invasive specialist. She works as a nurse in the cardiac catheterization lab at Holy Family Memorial Medical Center. She’s a Daisy Award nominee. In 2017, she was a health career inductee in the Mishicot High School Career & Technical Education hall of fame. Benzing has been married to her husband, Jonathan, since August of 2014. They have a Yorkie puppy, Cooper. Benzing enjoys playing the piano, staying active outdoors (running, biking, camping) and promoting cardiovascular health.
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Dr. Whitney E. Black

DR. WHITNEY E. BLACK received a Boilermakers Scholarship in 2002. Her father, William Black, was a member of Boilermakers Local 27 in St. Louis, Missouri. With the assistance of the scholarship, Black attended and graduated with distinction from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, School of Medicine. She went on to complete additional graduate training at Columbia University in New York, and then a psychiatry residency at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). Dr. Black joined OHSU faculty as an assistant professor in 2015 and continues in this role today.

Over her career, Black has been the recipient of numerous awards, including most recently the OHSU 2017 Distinguished Service Award. This award recognized her efforts to improve the quality, safety and access of health care for patients in Oregon. Black is passionate about helping others build and live their best life, no matter the obstacles. Though practically different, she sees the challenge of both her and her father’s work. Black believes that watching her father as a young child and listening to the stories he brought home from work helped her develop the values needed to be successful in life. Hard work, resilience, persistence and creativity were but a few of the values she gleaned through her father’s career as a Boilermaker. She is inspired by the quote, “It always seems impossible until it is done,” and works hard to make the world a little better each day.
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Samantha Spencer Brown

I RECEIVED THE Boilermaker scholarship when I graduated from Franklin County High School in 2007. I went on to continue my education at Radford University, where I received a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies in 2011. In 2012, I graduated with a Master of Science in education from Radford University as well. I am currently in my sixth year of teaching with Franklin County public schools. I am married, and my husband and I enjoy spending time with our 2-year-old son.
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Shelley Street Byrne

Shelley Street Byrne

THANKS IN PART to my Boilermakers scholarship, I was able to attend Murray State University. I graduated summa cum laude in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a perfect 4.0 GPA. I double majored in print journalism and English education and also received my teaching certificate.

I began an internship the summer before my last year in college with The Paducah Sun newspaper. I was asked to work weekends during my last year in school and was hired immediately as a reporter upon my graduation. I was the senior reporter at the time of my departure 12 years later, covering crime and the court system for 15 counties at the fourth largest newspaper in the state of Kentucky. I then worked within the court system for five years while my son was little before returning to journalism last year, this time as the primary reporter for The Mayfield Messenger. I also had the opportunity to serve as interim editor for the Messenger this spring.

My professional accomplishments include Kentucky Press Association awards for spot news, general news, features, headline writing and analytical or enterprise writing. I have also been honored as a Kentucky Colonel and received service awards from both the Kentucky Sheriffs’ Boys and Girls Ranch and The Kentucky Firefighter’s Association. Additionally, I am nationally certified as a crime victim advocate with the designation of comprehensive victim intervention specialist at the intermediate level.

On a personal level, I have been married for nearly 14 years to my husband, Paul Byrne, and we have an 8-year-old son, Drew.
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Kieran Carlisle

Kieran Carlisle

KIERAN CARLISLE WAS the recipient of a Boilermaker scholarship in 2009 as a senior in high school. He graduated with a master’s degree in architectural engineering in 2014 from Penn State University, where he was actively involved with several student organizations, community service groups and the marching band drumline.

Post-graduation, Carlisle moved to Chicago and worked at Dow Chemical as a building envelope specialist. In this role he helps architects, engineers and contractors design and build energy- and cost-efficient buildings and structures throughout the United States. Carlisle’s longstanding family history with the Boilermakers (father, grandfather, uncles) comes up frequently on jobsites he visits.

Carlisle holds fond memories of attending the annual Local 13 family picnic every summer in his youth and the unique bond the Boilermakers have between its members, families and communities.
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Jaclyn Clark

Jaclyn Clark

JACKIE COMPLETED FOUR years at Fairmont State University and received her Bachelor of Science in nursing. Her employment opportunities provided much experience in oncology, radiology and post-op surgery. She is currently a fulltime nurse in the cardiology unit at Mon Health Medical Center in Morgantown, West Virginia. In her free time, she loves to be outdoors hiking, fishing and kayaking. She is pictured with her dad, Ron, a retired Boilermaker from Local 667.
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Catherine Clouse

Catherine Clouse

CATHERINE CLOUSE IS currently the NYC E911 engineering & operations project manager. In this role, she is Verizon’s first point of contact for the NYC Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT) for enhancements and new projects related to NYC E911. Clouse also interfaces directly with the NYPD and FDNY. She began this position on March 1, 2015.

Previously, she was a project manager on the Video Network Services & Implementation team managing the rollout of the Verizon Media Server (VMS) as well as other IMG, VOD, Widget and FiOS Mobility products. Prior to that role, Clouse held various positions within the engineering organization. She managed several teams within engineering and most notably worked on the central office side of the initial FiOS rollout and then on the outside plant side of the fiber to the cell Site (FTTCS) rollout. For her work on the FTTCS project, she was awarded one of the first Verizon Credo awards in 2011.

Clouse holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Binghamton University and a master’s in business administration from Fordham University. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her daughter, who was born in August 2013.
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Michele Coleman

Michele Coleman

THANK YOU FOR the opportunity to share how the generous scholarship I received from the Boilermakers had an impact on my career and life. Currently I am an associate researcher at Spark Policy Institute located in Denver, Colorado, where I get to work daily on solving the complex societal problems plaguing the most vulnerable populations. This means I have a hand in decreasing infant mortality disparities, stopping the school-to-prison pipeline and ensuring healthcare access for all, among other things. In order to do this work, I received my dual master’s degrees in public health and public affairs and my bachelor’s degree in community and nonprofit leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I am the most passionate about reducing disparities at the systems level, specifically women’s health disparities. I was a first-generation college student, and without the assistance this program provided to me to receive my bachelor’s degree, my career would not have been possible. THANK YOU!
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Tyson Costa

Tyson Costa

AFTER I GRADUATED high school, I was accepted into the faculty of applied science at UBC, my focus to become an engineer. This is when I applied for the Boilermakers scholarship, and I was fortunate enough to be a recipient! Five years later, I had graduated from UBC from the engineering physics program with a degree of Bachelor of Applied Science in engineering physics, mechatronic science option, making the dean’s honor list every year. I had a great time at UBC and made many lasting friendships. The courses were challenging, but in a good way. Along with courses, I did several co-op terms, gaining valuable hands-on experience. A year has passed since my graduation, and I am currently working as a robotics engineer for a company in Vancouver called A&K Robotics. It has been a fantastic job so far, and I am excited to grow and learn as I begin my career.
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Amanda (Gealow) Crouch

Amanda (Gealow) Crouch

I received my Bachelor of Science in psychology and a doctorate in physical therapy. I currently work as the central coordinator of clinical education and staff physical therapist at Rock Valley Physical Therapy. I’m also the teaching assistant of functional anatomy at St. Ambrose University.
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Joseph Fals

Joseph Fals

IT WAS 24 years ago that I was the grateful recipient of a scholarship from the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. This scholarship made it possible for me to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and laid the foundation for a career as an officer in the United States Navy. I graduated from UIC in May 1999 and was commissioned as an ensign. Following commissioning and nuclear propulsion training, I reported to the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) as a machinery division officer. Subsequently, I completed tours at sea as the operations officer on the USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) and the reactor electrical assistant on the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). I am currently the executive officer or second in command of the USS James E. Williams (DDG 95). In October of 2018, I am scheduled to become the commanding officer of the James E. Williams, a ship named after the most decorated enlisted sailor in the Navy’s history. When not serving aboard a ship, I have completed tours on the staff of Commander, Amphibious Group Two, as a junior board member for the Atlantic Fleet Nuclear Propulsion Examining Board and as the deputy director for Carrier Strike Group Anti-Submarine Warfare Training and Assessment on the staff of Undersea Warfare Development Center.

Personal decorations while serving in the Navy include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medals and Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medals. My peers aboard Enterprise awarded me with the Stennis Center for Public Service Leadership Award in 2004. Additionally, I qualified as a professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2012.

As a father of three whose duties in the Navy often take me away from home, I am passionate about spending time with my family. Some of the things we enjoy doing together are traveling, cooking and watching movies.

My father was a union Boilermaker for over 38 years. His trade provided for the needs of our family and gave me and my siblings the opportunity to pursue our dreams. While both of my brothers chose to follow in my dad’s footsteps and join a trade (one is a union pipefitter and the other a union electrician), my sister and I chose the university route. A college degree would not have been an option had it not been for the stability, fair wages and insurance afforded my dad by the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers.

The stories my dad would tell about engineers after coming home from a long day’s work had a strong influence in me becoming one and also shaped my successful 19-year naval career. None of this would have been possible without the scholarship I received from the Boilermakers over 20 years ago! Thank you!
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Jessica Goudreault

JESSICA GRADUATED FROM Smith College in May of 2015 with a dual degree in dance and sociology. During her time there she was an avid dancer, performing in multiple faculty pieces of choreography and working as artistic director for Celebrations Dance Company. Upon graduation, she moved to New York City to begin a new chapter of her life at Cardozo School of Law. While there on full scholarship as a Monrad Paulsen Scholar, she worked on research with multiple professors, competed and won the intra-school moot court competition and had her note on copyrighting postmodern dance published in the Cardozo Law Review. Jessica graduated magna cum laude from Cardozo last May and received the Samuel L. Belkin award for her significant contributions to the community at Cardozo. She is currently studying for the New York bar exam and will begin working as a New York City litigation associate at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in September. She is immensely grateful for the support provided by the Boilermakers. It was their financial backing that helped propel her into her current career.
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Stephanie Guay

Stephanie Guay

AFTER RECEIVING A scholarship in 2009, I began my undergraduate studies at the University of Guelph in the child, youth and family program. During my undergrad, I was given the opportunity to work with Boilermakers for a few weeks on permit. I was fortunate enough to work alongside my father who has been in the trade for 36 years, and I was able to experience first-hand the skilled, hard work that these men and women do every day. I graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Applied Science in 2013. I went on to obtain my Master of Arts in child study and education, along with my teaching certificate, from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto in 2015, where I was honored with the Practice Teaching Award.

Since completing my schooling, I have been working as an elementary school teacher. I taught in Toronto with the Toronto District School Board for two and half years and recently began working with the Halton District School Board. While working with the Toronto District School Board, I was given the opportunity to teach a Grade 4/5 class for nine months. During this time, my students were learning about pulleys for science, and I was fortunate enough to have my father come into my classroom for half a day and teach a hands-on lesson about pulleys. My students thoroughly enjoyed this hands-on learning experience, and many said it was a highlight of their year. In addition to this opportunity, I have taught in a variety of classrooms and have worked with students ranging from kindergarten to grade eight. I am looking forward to having my own classroom one day.

I am passionate about making a difference in the world around me. I achieve my passion through teaching by helping to develop, support and encourage the future generations. I also achieve this through conserving and preserving the natural environment by being mindful of my environmental impact and encouraging others to do the same.
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Jordan Hannah

Jordan Hannah

SINCE I RECEIVED the Boilermaker scholarship, I have earned my bachelor’s degree in health sciences from the University of Missouri-Columbia. I am currently pursuing my master’s degree in sports science and rehabilitation from Logan University in Chesterfield, Missouri. I focus hard on my studies, while working part-time as a rehabilitation aide at numerous physical therapy clinics for the Athletico Physical Therapy company in both the metro St. Louis and southern Illinois areas. I am still fiercely passionate about sports medicine, and I shall finish my master’s degree with its concurrent internship in May of 2019. My father’s income, thanks to the Boilermakers, allows me to continue to pursue higher education to create the most efficient life for myself.
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Thank you for your support of my college career. Without your help I wouldn’t have had so many opportunities for success.
– Katy Harlan, Traffic Studies Specialist, Missouri Department of Transportation

Katy Harlan

Katy Harlan

I GRADUATED WITH a degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia in December 2017. I am now employed with the Missouri Department of Transportation, working as a traffic studies specialist. Right before I began my job, I was part of a team whose project went to a national contest put on by the Transportation Research Board and the American Traffic Safety Services Association about innovative solutions to wrong-way driving. My team won third place in the contest. Thank you for your support of my college career. Without your help I wouldn’t have had so many opportunities for success.
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Greta (Hall) Heathcote

Greta (Hall) Heathcote

MY DAD, KEVIN Hall, is a retired member of Local 128. He encouraged me to apply for the scholarship and has been a tireless supporter of my education. A few weeks ago while visiting my parents, I found the letter I received on April 29, 2002, informing me that I had won a scholarship from the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. It’s hard to believe 16 years have passed since I opened that letter, and much has changed in my life. In the fall of 2002, I left home to start university at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, and have since completed my undergraduate in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in public affairs and policy management, 2006, and a Master of Education in 2012 from the University of Calgary. I now live in Canmore, Alberta, with my family. I work at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, an arts and cultural post-secondary, as the manager of program coordination and have worked in education for the past 12 years. My work passion is education — supporting, inspiring and problem solving with artists and leaders is my day job. On the weekends, my family and I head into the wilderness outside our door in the Rocky Mountains to ski, skate, bike and hike.

The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers has been a big part of my life, not only in providing me much needed support for my education but in the stories from my dad shared with me about the work, the people and the places. My dad is an excellent storyteller, and there is something so compelling about hearing stories from jobs that shaped the landscape where I grew up. Now, my dad tells those stories to my sons, and there is something incredibly touching about Grandpa telling his grandsons about working high in the sky that makes the journey so worth it.
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Aaron Iffland

Aaron Iffland

I RECEIVED A $5,000 Boilermakers scholarship in 1993, which enabled me to finish two bachelor’s degree (economics and agricultural business) and then go on to complete two master’s degrees (accounting and information systems). I recently completed a Ph.D. in education policy at Claremont Graduate University and San Diego State University.

Currently, I am a professor in the San Diego Community College district, where I teach courses in project management, entrepreneurship and information technology. I am also a lecturer at San Diego State University, where I teach courses in research methods and statistics.

I’m passionate about helping vocational students succeed in their career pathways. In 2015, I received first place in the California State University Research Competition for research in that area. This year, I received the League for Innovation in the Community College Excellence Award for my work in open educational resources. This is the movement that is helping to provide free textbooks and learning materials to students.

It all started in 1993 with the Boilermaker’s scholarship. I could not be more thankful for your amazing gift.
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Korey Kellogg

Korey Kellogg

I AM A recent graduate from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering. My final GPA was 3.86. I am now a production expert at Teva Pharmaceuticals in Cincinnati. I believe my career will be defined within the pharmaceutical realm, as it offers possibilities to assist those who truly need it. I am passionate about immersing myself in a creative environment and delivering solutions that have never before been conceived.
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Lauren Lacovara

I WOULD LIKE to thank the Boilermaker’s Scholarship Committee for helping me to achieve my dream of being a physician assistant! I am a proud Penn State alumni with a degree in kinesiology. In December 2017, I graduated with my master of clinical medical science and physician assistant degree from Barry University. As of February 2018, I am thrilled to announce that I have started my career as a physician assistant in critical care medicine at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey.
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Kim Lampereur

Kim Lampereur

MY SCHOLARSHIP FROM the Boilermakers helped me complete a bachelor’s degree in sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I went on to work on homelessness and affordable housing issues and later, adult education. I currently teach English and career readiness skills to immigrants so they can advocate for themselves and improve their lives here. I’m also involved in community organizing work in my neighborhood.
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James Long Jr.

JAMES RECEIVED HIS scholarship in the fall of 2012 and attended Bethany College. He went on to graduate from Bethany with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics. During his time at Bethany, he was president of the Society of Physics Students and vice president of Kappa Mu Epsilon, an undergraduate mathematics honor society. After receiving his bachelor’s, James went on to West Virginia University to continue his pursuit of mathematics, and he will receive his Master of Science in mathematics from WVU this spring. He will continue on at WVU in the fall, pursuing his Ph.D. in mathematics. James plans to be a university professor upon graduation.
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Chrystel Losier

WITH THE SCHOLARSHIPS I received, including the one from the Boilermakers, I was able to obtain a Bachelor of Science in environmental sciences and afterwards obtain a master’s degree in biology. I now work as a biologist for the Fédération Québécoise des gestionnaires de secs in the province of Quebec. I am passionate about the environment, conserving and protecting our biodiversity, changing societies’ habits to reduce our impact on the planet. The scholarship was of great help to achieve my academic goals.
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Shannon McDonald

Shannon McDonald

I GRADUATED FROM the University of Calgary with a bachelor’s degree in science with a major in zoology. Currently, I am an adoption specialist for the MEOW Foundation in Calgary. I am passionate about the conservation of wildlife in Alberta, including wildlife rehabilitation, wildlife photography and educating people on responsible pet ownership. This scholarship helped me to make my dreams of working in animal welfare come true!
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Julie McNutt

I WAS A recipient of a Boilermakers scholarship in 2012. In 2017, I graduated from Thompson Rivers University with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry.

During my studies, I was able to participate in a student exchange program in which I studied in Graz, Austria, for one semester. While I was there, I travelled to eight other countries, where I learned about many cultures, improved my global competency and experienced an incredible amount of self-growth. Following this exchange, I became an ambassador for the program so that I could help other students embark on their own journey abroad.

In my final years at TRU, I completed two independent research projects that introduced to [others] the power and importance of research. Consequently, I altered my career path to incorporate research.

I am currently finishing my first year in the master of science program at the University of British Columbia. I will not be completing this degree but instead will be transferring to the Ph.D. program this fall. My research is in bioanalytical chemistry, where we use chemical instrumentation and techniques to study biochemical interactions in the human body. Following my doctoral studies, I intend on pursuing a medical degree so that I can enter a career as a clinician scientist.

While my aspirations and career goals have shifted since beginning my undergraduate degree, I have remained passionate about social and environmental sustainability as well as science literacy. I have incorporated these passions into the community service I take part in and I hope to make an impact in these areas with the remaining part of my education and in my career.

I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to apply for the Boilermakers scholarship and that I was fortunate to receive one. It aided with the costs of tuition, which helped me graduate from TRU debt free and also allowed me to have a life-changing experience abroad.
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Faith McQueen

Faith McQueen

WITH THE HELP of the scholarship I received from the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, I began studying business communications at Brock University in September 2013. In April 2017, I graduated from the program and received my bachelor’s degree with honors.

During my time at Brock, I was able to work as an intern at a local digital marketing agency, Hughes & Co., where I discovered a passion for strategic digital marketing. After my internship ended, I took a position at the company in a part-time support role, and after graduation, I moved into my current fulltime position as an account manager. I recently celebrated being with the company for a year in my role as an account manager!

Thanks so much to the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers for your generous scholarship!
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Alicia Mehling

Alicia Mehling

I GRADUATED FROM Indiana University with highest distinction and a Bachelor of Science in biology with a concentration in molecular genetics and cell biology. I also received minors in chemistry and psychology. I have accepted an internship at a winery in Maine, where I will work in their lab and aide in creating amazing wines. My long-term goal is to combine my passion for science and wine and become a winemaker. The scholarship from the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers was helpful in attaining my education goals, and I am extremely thankful for the opportunity it afforded me.
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Edward Michaelchuck Jr.

Edward Michaelchuck Jr.

I GRADUATED AT the top of my class from Rowan University in May of 2017 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. I am currently a mechanical engineer performing research and development at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. I plan on attending graduate school for both a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. Additionally, I started to focus on living a healthy lifestyle and have lost over 100 pounds

I want to give a shout out to my dad, Ed Michaelchuck Sr., aka Seal Pup, and grandfather, Bob Athey, who were both Boilermakers. They taught me everything they know about construction and working with my hands. This has made me a better engineer, as I use those lessons every day. Boilermakers, thank you so much for everything!
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Lucie Morais

I WAS A scholarship recipient in 2003 as a Boilermaker’s daughter. My father is Gilbert Morais, Boilermaker member of Local 73 since 1970. I received my high school diploma with honor at École Secondaire Népisiguit in 2003. I received the health science diploma from Moncton University in 2005, then, the M.D. degree from Montreal University in 2010. The Medical Council of Canada gave me a license in 2011. I received the honor certificate for family residency program from University Laval, Quebec, in 2014 and the Family Physicians certificate in 2014 from the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Also, I received the license to practice from New Brunswick Surgeon and Physician College in 2014. I participated to breast cancer research and publication during the residency.

Now, I’m a family physician who’s practicing in a busy clinic and in maternity at a regional hospital. I’m passionate of my occupation, and I enjoy moments with friends and family. Thanks for the scholarship, and good luck to the scholarship committee and to the students.
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Kristina Murphy

Kristina Murphy

I WOULD LIKE to sincerely thank the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers scholarship program for their support in receiving a Bachelor of Nursing from the Centre for Nursing Studies, Newfoundland. I was on my school’s dean’s list for two years of my program and graduated with honors. I currently am working at the Health Sciences Centre as a registered nurse on a neurology and general medicine floor. My father is a member of Boilermakers Local 203 and my biggest supporter.
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Kaleigh Marie Namiotka

Kaleigh Marie Namiotka

KALEIGH MARIE NAMIOTKA is currently a practicing dentist in Fort Carson, Colorado. After graduating as salutatorian from Abington Heights High School (Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania) in 2009, she continued her education at Villanova University, where she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science. While at Villanova, she was a member of Phi Betta Kappa Society and the Alpha Epsilon Delta Premedical Honor Society. Upon completion of her undergraduate education, Kaleigh became a scholarship recipient of the Health Professions Scholarship Program through the United States Army and pursued a career in dentistry. She attended Temple University, Kornberg School of Dentistry, where she graduated summa cum laude with a doctorate in dental medicine and received the Irving P. Shire DDS Memorial Award for excellence in clinical dentistry. After graduation, she commissioned as a captain into the United States Army. She is currently serving active duty and participating in the Army’s Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) residency program. She is a member of the American Dental Association and Academy of General Dentistry. Namiotka is very passionate about her work and is committed to helping others. She is an avid runner and CrossFitter and loves spending time with friends and family.
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Kristin Perry

Kristin Perry

Since receiving my Boilermakers Scholarship, I have attended Mississippi State University and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. Upon graduating, I moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to begin working in a small firm focused on healthcare architecture. I found my passion here and enjoy the challenge of problem solving and critical thinking. I still work in healthcare architecture but have gone on to work for one of the largest firms in the state of Tennessee, where I am surrounded by a family of supportive colleagues and have the privilege of working on some incredible projects. I am only two licensing exams away from becoming a registered architect in the state of Tennessee, and I look forward to achieving that goal by the end of the year! In my free time, between studying and working, I love hiking, gardening and being a member of the snail mail community that connects people in countries around the world through the exchange of hand-written letters. It may seem old-school, but in today's world of instant communication, there's something special about receiving a thoughtful, hand-written letter in the mail! As far as hobbies go, this one is my favorite, as it has allowed me to create lasting friendships with people from myriad backgrounds, ethnic groups and religions. It has encouraged me to learn about and celebrate our similarities and differences and to always see good in the world.
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Teresa Peterson

Teresa Peterson

I RECEIVED A Boilermaker scholarship in 1995. It allowed me to attend the school of my choice. I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor's degree in systems science in engineering. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to pursue my passion for engineering. Twenty years later, I am a licensed professional engineer and credentialed sustainability professional. I work at an engineering design firm and manage our facilities team in the Northeast. I was recently named a stockholder at my company. I love what I do every day. I help solve complex problems, from water supply to building design to transportation and system optimization. I get to be creative and help my clients find innovative, cost-effective solutions to problems. I work with designers, contractors, facilities managers and operations staff to find solutions that meet the needs of all stakeholders. I make meaningful contributions to improving the communities around me. I am eternally grateful to the Boilermakers for giving me the scholarship that made all this possible. Thank you!
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I’d like to thank the Boilermakers for aiding my academic and personal journey through the Boilermakers scholarship. Your support helped make reaching my goals a matter of time instead of a distant dream.
– Katiemae White, Marketing Coordinator, Friends Forever International

Marissa Philippe

Marissa Philippe

AFTER GRADUATING FROM high school, I completed three years of undergraduate studies in health sciences at the University of Ottawa before being accepted in medical school. I am currently completing my third year and hoping to become an anesthesiologist. I was also awarded twice for having the third-highest grade in my class. What I am most passionate about is my family, helping others and making the most out of life.
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Andrew Pieterick

Andrew Pieterick

AS A MEMBER of the high school class of 2011, I was fortunate to be a recipient of a scholarship from the Boilermakers. I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I pursued a degree in life sciences communication, with an emphasis in communication strategy and technologies. I graduated in the fall of 2014. Upon graduation, it took me a while to find my passion and figure out what drove me. After spending a few years doing marketing in the private sector, I decided it was time for a change. I now work as the communications manager for a nonprofit in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that focuses on addressing homelessness and housing insecurity in one of our country’s most impoverished cities. Through my work with this organization, my role is to share the stories of the people we serve. As the leader of the organization’s communications and marketing strategy, I am fortunate to be a voice of the organization, working to spread awareness and break down the barriers of stereotypes and fear.

I am fortunate that every day I can see the impact of the hard work I am doing. Growing up in a Boilermaker’s family, I was raised to do great work and be proud of it. I am happy I get to bring those values with me throughout my life.
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Jennifer Ray

I AM THANKFUL for the scholarship I received. I am currently an advanced practice nurse working in Illinois. I used my scholarship for my bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. I went on to get my nursing degree and then for my master’s degree in nursing. I am thankful that I am able to help others every day and for the part your scholarship played in that.
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Amanda Reedy

Amanda Reedy

IN 2009, I was a recipient of the Boilermaker scholarship. When I received this scholarship, I never knew the places it would take me. When I graduated high school, I chose to complete my undergrad at Marshall University in music education. While at Marshall, I had the opportunity to perform in many traveling groups, such as the Marshall Marching Thunder and the Marshall University Fife and Drum Corps. These groups took me many places, such as New Orleans; Dover, Delaware; St. Petersburg, Florida; Colonial Yorktown and Williamstown, Virginia; and Detroit, Illinois. These trips were truly unforgettable experiences and may not have been possible without the scholarship I received from the Boilermakers.

I am currently a band and chorus director at George Washington Middle School, located it Eleanor, West Virginia. This is my dream job and only 10 minutes from where I grew up. I am now teaching at the school where I first learned to play an instrument in a concert band. I am also a wife to an amazing husband going on four years, and mother to a wonderful 16-month old boy.

I have to say I have been very fortunate to have traveled and experienced so many places, peoples and cultures and to land my dream job only four years out of college. Thank you for providing me the opportunity to be successful, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers!
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Erin Robison

Erin Robison

I RECEIVED THE Boilermakers scholarship in 2007 before I started school at Kent State University, in Kent, Ohio. There I was a member of the College of Nursing and Honors College. After four years I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in nursing. I accepted a job at the same place I worked in college, University Hospital St. John Medical Center in Westlake, Ohio, as a medical surgical registered nurse. After gaining a well-rounded skill set, I advanced to intensive care and held the position of charge nurse for a number of years and also became certified in Trauma Nursing Core Course.

I recently went to University Hospital Cleveland Medical Center and trained as a clinical nurse in endoscopy. There, I developed a passion for gastrointestinal health and cancer screenings, which are very simple procedures that can save lives. I have recently returned to my “home” at UHSJMC as the endoscopy coordinator.

Being a recipient of the Boilermaker scholarship has been an honor. The scholarship helped to remove some of the financial burden of college. Being the daughter of a laborer, I knew that only I could make my dreams happen. Hard work and drive were learned from my father.

My dad, Matthew J. Robison, is now a retired Boilermaker from Local 744 after 35 years in the union. He not only inspired work ethic and the importance of having irreplaceable skills but also respecting every one you encounter. He has always been a family man, and being among family has always been a priority. That has been my toughest challenge: missing out on family celebrations and holidays while being a caregiver and a family to others — others who are often at the end of life or in the most vulnerable state they may ever experience. However, I wouldn’t change my life in any way. I’ve been given the duty to provide and love perfect strangers on a daily basis and help them through the most challenging of times. That makes my time with family more precious than it had ever been.

The values instilled in me by my family and the influence of the Brotherhood in my childhood are irreplaceable. I am proud to be a nurse; I am proud to be a scholarship recipient and a daughter of a Boilermaker.
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Allison Rutherford

WITH THE HELP of the Boilermaker scholarship, plus others and student loans, I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in social work. After working for a community mental health agency for a few years, I returned to school and earned my master’s degree in social work. With both degrees, I graduated with honors. I continue to be employed by the same community mental health agency.
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Jennifer Schiferl

Jennifer Schiferl

I WAS FORTUNATE to receive a scholarship from the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers in 1997 and used it to obtain my Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, I moved to Washington, D.C., and began my professional career as a psychology technician for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. I later accepted a position with the Department of the Navy’s Office of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) as a budget analyst. For ten years, I built and justified a $50 million annual budget for the Navy’s JAG — a community of dedicated military and civilian attorneys who provided counsel to the Navy’s senior leadership and who offered critical legal services to service members. Also during my time with the Navy JAG, I completed my executive masters of business administration at the Naval Postgraduate School, graduating with distinction. In my last position with the Navy, I served in the Secretary of the Navy’s budget office in the Pentagon, where I developed budget estimates for the secretary of the Navy’s civilian work force.

In 2016, I accepted a position of increased responsibility with the U.S. Coast Guard as a senior budget analyst. In this current position, I help develop and justify a $11 billion annual budget in support of the Coast Guard’s diverse mission sets that include national defense, search and rescue and marine safety.

Throughout my professional career, I have dedicated myself to public service. I will continue to seek positions of increased responsibility and take on more challenges.
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Ryan Sprowl

Ryan Sprowl

RYAN SPROWL IS currently the senior graphic designer at Oberlin College in Ohio. He is responsible for designing many of the college’s print pieces, including the quarterly Oberlin Alumni Magazine, the annual magazine for the Conservatory of Music, and publications for the offices of Admissions and Development. Ryan received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in visual communication design from Kent State University in 2012 and joined Oberlin’s award-winning publications team in 2013. Ryan’s work has been recognized by AIGA Cleveland, CASE Circle of Excellence, the ADDY Awards, and the University & College Designers Association.
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Marissa Stack

Marissa Stack

RECEIVING THE BOILERMAKER Scholarship is something I will always be thankful for, as it contributed to the successful college career that has shaped my future. I graduated with my undergraduate degree from St. John Fisher College in 2017 with a major in accounting and a minor in corporate finance. I went on to receive my Master of Business Administration with a concentration in accounting in 2018. I received the NYS Society of CPA’s Accounting Student Award for graduating with the highest GPA in both my undergraduate and graduate programs. I also was honored with the President’s Volunteer Service Award, which is given to students who perform over 100 service hours in one year, by tutoring at inner city schools and leading countless community events through my First Generation Scholar program. I have now accepted a position as a tax associate for PwC, the largest tax practice in the U.S. of the big four accounting firms. I plan on finishing all of my CPA exams before starting at PwC fulltime in the fall.

The Boilermakers union has had a tremendous impact on the lives of every member of my family. Through the successes that my father, Daron Moore, has had in the union, my family has been able to grow and enjoy great moments together that we otherwise might not have. My family was able to come visit me when I studied abroad for four months in London, England, which was an unforgettable experience. This scholarship also helped to make attending college more of a reality and less of a financial burden. I truly appreciate and will always be grateful for being honored with this scholarship.
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Maria Stupnikov-Kselman

Maria Stupnikov-Kselman

I WAS FORTUNATE and honored to have received the Boilermaker Scholarship in 2008. After graduating high school that year, I began my attendance at Stony Brook University, where I earned a bachelor of engineering degree in biomedical engineering. While at Stony Brook, I participated in several student groups, including the Women in Science and Engineering Program, the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program, and Engineering World Health. Stony Brook is also where I began my research career. I conducted biomedical research in the department of pathology under the mentorship of several well-accomplished scientists. I earned several research funding awards and presented results at numerous conferences.

I graduated from Stony Brook in 2012 and began graduate school that fall. I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in genetics and development at Columbia University Medical Center. Thus far I have earned two degrees while there, an M.A. and an M.Phil., both in genetics and development. My research in the Columbia Center for Human Development in lung development and disease is ongoing. I have published several journal articles, and, similar to my research at Stony Brook, I have presented results at conferences across the country and earned funding awards. I am hopeful that my findings can eventually become translational in nature to allow for improved patient outcomes.

I am confident that receiving the Boilermaker scholarship enabled me to realize these accomplishments and that it will be tremendously beneficial to future awardees. I am grateful for the opportunities it has led to and know my career would not be where it is today without it.
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Hannah G. Thomas

I received my Bachelor of Arts from Miami University with a double major in international studies and East Asian languages and cultures. I’ve studied abroad three times, going to Tianjin, China; Beijing, China; Costa Rica and Panama. I’ve taught English at Sun Yat Sen University in Guangdong, China. I returned to the U.S. after one year to start a Chinese language and culture program for grades six through 12 at a local school district. I received a scholarship from the Confucius Institute for a summer Chinese teacher training program in Guangzhou, China. Currently, I’m a fulltime graduate student studying higher education and student affairs at New York University. Thank you, Boilermakers, for supporting my education!
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Ashley Unzicker

Ashley Unzicker

THE BOILERMAKER SCHOLARSHIP helped me to take the first step in my career. With the help of the Boilermakers, I was able to study abroad and earn two bachelor’s degrees (chemistry and Spanish). After achieving these degrees, I was able proceed with the next step of my professional career and to go to graduate school to earn my doctor of pharmacy degree. Soon after graduation, I earned licensure as a pharmacist in the state of Tennessee, where I currently reside and practice as a retail pharmacist. Thanks to the Boilermaker scholarship, I was able to study both chemistry and Spanish, which helped me achieve my goal of becoming a pharmacist, but it has also helped me to pursue my passion, to serve others via mission trips. With the Boilermakers’ influence, I was able to achieve my goals and pursue my passion.
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Bernard VandenAvond, Jr. (Benny)

Bernard VandenAvond, Jr. (Benny)

I graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s in business administration in risk management and insurance in 2005. I work as a risk analyst for the city of Austin, Texas. I’m also the chair and founding member of Young Risk Professionals, an organization created to get more young people interested in careers and opportunities in the risk management and insurance industries. The organization currently has chapters in Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, and soon Virginia with over 1,000 registered members. I am also passionate about equality and LGBTQ rights. I was named grand marshal of Austin’s PRIDE in 2015, in honor of my volunteer work with various Austin LGBTQ-focused organizations. I married my husband, Nathan, in May 2017. We were married by Kate Pierson of the B-52s to kick off their Summer of Love Tour. Our first dance was onstage as they band performed “Love Shack.”
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Jennifer (Patterson) Wagenmaker

Jennifer (Patterson) Wagenmaker

I RECEIVED A Boilermaker scholarship to attend college in 2001. Being a first-generation college student was stressful, but it was comforting to know that I had received a Boilermaker scholarship that would help me pay for college. I attended Concord University in Athens, West Virginia. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in recombinant gene technology in 2005.

My interest in science, microbiology and bacterial pathogenesis led me to Virginia Commonwealth University from 2005 through 2010. I researched the virulence mechanisms of a bacteria involved in a very common women’s health issue. While at VCU, I received the Elizabeth Fries Young Investigator Award in 2006 for my research into women’s health. I also received the Mary Coleman Award, Phi Kappa Phi scholarship and the C.C. Clayton Award. I was selected as a member of the U.S. Delegation to the 57th Nobel Laureate meeting in Lindau, Germany, as well as to the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. I published two first-author papers in the journals “American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology” and “Microbiology” and three other papers in the journals “BMC Genomics,” “Anaerobe” and the “Journal of Virology.” I was also a member of the American Society of Microbiology and Women in Science (VCU Chapter) while in graduate school. I graduated with a doctor of philosophy in microbiology and immunology in 2010.

After graduate school, I moved to Chicago to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago, where I researched the virulence of the bacteria that causes Mediterranean spotted fever. I published two second-author papers in the journals “Infection and Immunity” and “Cellular Microbiology.”

After much reflection, I realized that instead of research, I wanted to be working in a field that could have a direct impact on people. I worked as a medical writer for a pharmaceutical company, helping to move new drugs down the pipeline for approval by the FDA; but ultimately, I established myself at the Illinois State Police Forensic Science Center at Chicago in 2011. I work as a forensic scientist in the biochemistry section. I analyze crime scene evidence for the presence of biological material and then develop DNA profiles from that material. I compare evidence DNA profiles to reference DNA profiles of the people involved in the case, come to an inclusion or exclusion and provide a statistic of how rare that profile is in the population.

I also testify in court when needed and have testified approximately 10 times. I have analyzed thousands of pieces of evidence and completed hundreds of cases. In 2014, I was awarded a Certificate of Excellence in Extraordinary Police Work by the City of Chicago for my analysis of a case. I am a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. In addition to my work with the Illinois State Police, I decided in 2017 to explore my love of mentoring and teaching by becoming an instructor of forensic molecular biology at Loyola University of Chicago.

My career in the science and teaching field would not have been possible without the Boilermaker’s scholarship I received. I come from a blue-collar, hard-working family that would have done anything to put me through college. It would have been very difficult to manage the bills that come with college without the added benefit the Boilermakers scholarship provided.

I have also met many members of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers through my father. Having won this scholarship, I wanted to make my father and the Boilermaker community proud by doing well in school and contributing positively to society. I like to think that my teaching is helping develop the next great scientist who may cure a previously incurable disease and that my work solving crimes will give justice and closure for victims and their families.
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Sarah (Bryant) Weller

Sarah (Bryant) Weller

I’M CURRENTLY AN associate actuary in experience and data analytics at RGA Reinsurance in Chesterfield, Missouri. I had an internship with RGA in 2009 and began working there fulltime after I graduated cum laude from Illinois State in 2010. In 2013, I earned my designation as a Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst, and in 2015, I was named a fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA). Fellowship is the highest professional recognition an actuary can achieve in the United States or Canada. It represents several years of study and the successful completion of a series of examinations administered by the Society of Actuaries. After completing the exam process, I got married, we bought a house, got a dog and now have a 7-month-old baby girl, Hadley Jo. We love spending time with our family and drag racing on the weekends. Receiving this scholarship was a great honor, and I am greatly appreciative. It helped me achieve my goals by allowing me to focus more energy on my classes and actuarial exams in college without as much financial stress. This helped me get through the process more quickly, so I could earn my FSA and enjoy life without the stress of any more exams.
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Katiemae White

Katiemae White

I GRADUATED FROM Green Mountain College, an environmentally focused college in Vermont, in May of 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in renewable energy and ecological design (REED), with a self-designed concentration in digital design and fabrication and a minor in documentary studies. I received my degree summa cum laude and also received the Outstanding in the REED Program and Outstanding in the Theatre Arts awards. While in college, I held a work-study position in the theater shop, was a leader in a design/build course that resulted in a nationally recognized tiny house named OTIS, and was president of the S.A.G.E (Students for Academic and Green Engagement) dorm. I enjoyed taking electives in philosophy, spirituality, writing, music and choir.

Since graduating, I have held an AmeriCorps VISTA position at Friends Forever International (FFI), a nonprofit in Durham, New Hampshire, focused on youth empowerment and leadership programs. I am in my second year of service and will be hired on as a fulltime marketing coordinator at FFI in July. My work there mainly consists of website and social media management, graphic design and communications, and volunteer management. I also am developing the landscape design of our several-acre campus. Working at FFI is intensely busy, challenging and fulfilling. I am able to continue to explore the interests I fostered in college and meet people from all over the world.

In my personal life since graduating, I’ve adopted two cats, sung with the Granite State Choral Society, reconnected with friends at home, and recently married Bryan, my fiancé of 5 years.

I’d like to thank the Boilermakers for aiding my academic and personal journey through the Boilermakers scholarship. Your support helped make reaching my goals a matter of time, instead of a distant dream.
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Kristy (Fons) Wittenburg

Kristy (Fons) Wittenburg

WITH HELP FROM the Boilermakers scholarship I received, I was able to earn my doctor of pharmacy degree along with a Bachelor of Science in biology. I am currently a pharmacist at Meijer Pharmacy in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. I am very passionate about my job and love providing the best of care to my patients every single day. I am also fully embracing the new role of becoming a mother this past March. That has now become the best job in the world! My parents were unable to assist me financially with my seven years of college. Because of this, the Boilermaker scholarship I received helped me immensely with this hardship. I am forever grateful for this assistance and I am so happy to see others benefit from this as well.
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Tags  Scholarships
Reporter  V57N3
Published on the Web: September 25, 2018