The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) said seven current and future dairy industry professionals were selected to receive a total of $19,000 in scholarship funds in 2022. Each year, Madison, Wis.-based WCMA supports the dairy industry’s next generation through these scholarship awards.
Dairy processors and their family members are eligible for the WCMA Myron P. “Mike” Dean Cheese Industry Student Scholarship. Over 25 years, WCMA has awarded these $3,000 scholarships to 44 students. Winners of the 2022 Mike Dean Cheese Industry Student Scholarships are Bailee Aisenbrey and Jamie Feldmann, WCMA said.
Aisenbrey currently works in the production plant at Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery. Set to begin a quality assurance internship this summer, she is also completing her undergraduate degree in food science and technology at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls. Upon graduation in May 2023, Bailee plans to continue pursuing a quality assurance career in the dairy processing industry, WCMA said.
Feldmann, manager of supplier quality at Sartori Co., is currently pursuing an MBA focused on project management from Lakeland University. After obtaining his graduate degree, he aims to move into a project management role within the company to continue developing supply chain continuity.
Since 1999, suppliers to the dairy industry and their family members have earned the WCMA Supplier Student Scholarship. In total, 57 of these scholarships have been awarded over 22 years. The 58th, 59th, and 60th recipients of the WCMA Cheese Industry Supplier Student Scholarship are Jenna Jakel, Stephanie Kraemer and Jack Pluta, WCMA said.
Jakel has served for 11 years as the office manager at Loos Machine & Automation. She plans to graduate from Upper Iowa University in December 2023 with an MBA with an accounting focus. After graduation, Jenna aims to continue her career with Loos as the company’s controller/office manager.
Kraemer currently works as a quality and food safety specialist for IFF (Danisco) in Madison. She is pursuing an MBA at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, with goals of becoming a marketing or brand manager upon graduating in May 2023, WCMA said.
Pluta is a processing engineering intern at Excel Engineering. After graduating in May 2023 with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University, he plans to continue his dairy industry career as a process engineer in Excel’s Food Process Group.
Since 2021, WCMA has also selected two students to receive the Brian Eggebrecht Student Scholarship supporting skilled trades in the dairy industry, worth $2,000 each. This award, named in honor of Championship Cheese Contest Chairman and generous donor Brian Eggebrecht, is open to students attending any technical school in Wisconsin, or high school students registered to attend a Wisconsin technical school. The winners of the 2022 Brian Eggebrecht Student Scholarship are Bryce Gustafson and Xiapor Lor.
Gustafson is employed as an internal raw materials grading coordinator at Masters Gallery Foods. He is currently pursuing a degree in manufacturing management at Lakeshore Technical College. In the future, he aims to continue his career in Masters Gallery’s Grading Department and become a licensed cheesemaker.
Lor currently holds a utility position at Masters Gallery Foods’ Oostburg, Wis., location. Upon graduating with an associate’s degree in electromechanical maintenance from Lakeshore Technical College, Lor plans to pursue a maintenance career with Masters Gallery, WCMA said.
Funds for WCMA’s scholarship program come from the annual Championship Cheese Auction, where gold medal cheeses from WCMA’s Championship Cheese Contests are sold to the highest bidders. The next auction will be held during CheeseExpo, scheduled for April 12-14, 2022 in Milwaukee, WCMA said. More information and registration details are available at CheeseExpo.org.