Advancing the industry through technology, equipment, and education

2018 Scholarship Winners

Earlier this year, WMIA’s Educational Foundation awarded a total of $28,000 in scholarships to help 22 college students continue their education in the woodworking industry.

Meet this year’s recipients:

Mary Anderson, Seattle, WA
Seattle Central College Wood Technology Center
Mary Anderson studies Carpentry at the Wood Technology Center in Seattle, Washington. Currently, she is working on a Zero Energy Passive House that just passed its first blower door test. Thanks to the support of the WMIA Educational Foundation, Mary will be able to continue her education and pursue a career in the woodworking industry.

Kelson Claassen, Hesston, KS
Pittsburg State University
My name is Kelson Claassen and I am going into my Junior year at Pittsburg State University. I am majoring in Architectural Manufacturing Management and Technology and minoring in Business Administration. Outside of class, I am very active in our program. I am a student worker for the instructors in Architectural Manufacturing Management and Technology as well as being involved in SAW Club, our student ran organization for the program. I have been a Distinguished Member every year and was Treasurer this past year. I will be Vice President of the organization this upcoming year. I am also currently on an internship at Gator Millworks emphasizing on the drafting and engineering side of the industry.

Casey Clark, Seattle, WA
Seattle Central College Wood Technology Center
I am a student at Seattle Central College Wood Technology Center studying wooden boat building, repair & cabinetry. My goal is to build a career in antique vessel restoration and high-end cabinetry. I developed a passion for wood when I was a young child, whittling sticks with my grandpa and making pine derby box cars. In my spare time, I enjoy sailing and spending quality time with my wife Samantha and our three children. I am excited and energized by this scholarship award, and my family is deeply grateful for this incredible show of support for my work.

Roger Cortes, Longueuil, QC, Canada
École Nationale du Meuble et de L’Ébénisterie (ENME)
Roger was working at the Montreal Harbor for more than 8 years when health issues forced him to change career.  Following this decision, he found a new job in a cabinet assembly line and as a sale rep for a moulding company.  These new opportunities led the way for Roger to register at ENME in 2017 and start a 3 year program in woodworking. Roger is also helping teachers with lab preparation at the ENME. His career goal is to start his own business in custom furniture making. Aside from woodworking, Roger also creates promotional videos for non-profit organisations to develop marketing skills.

Gage Davis, Dorchester, TX
Pittsburg State University
Ever since I was a child, I have always enjoyed working with wood. From participating in the local pine wood derby, helping build Eagle projects, to helping rebuild houses during mission trips. Woodworking is just something I cannot seem to get enough time in the day to enjoy doing. After attending the AWFS show in Las Vegas and seeing what the industry has to offer, I discovered that a career in woodworking is possible and is what I hope to achieve. I have already been accepted to Pittsburg State University in Kansas and will be enrolling in their Wood Tech program. I am looking forward to learning new skills that will turn a lifelong hobby into a great career that will never get old.

Sarah Fortin-Pelletier, La Salle, QC, Canada
École Nationale du Meuble et de L’Ébénisterie (ENME)
Following a technical diploma in architecture and one-year certificate in Administration, Sarah changed her field of studies to woodworking at ENME after she participated in a “Student for a Day” event organized by the school. On that day, she took a class in “woodworking” and began planning to use her skills she developed through the years to eventually operate her own architectural woodworking business.  She previously owned a window cleaning business where she oversaw everything from sales to operations. Combined with school, she is also working as a business assistant for a roofing supplies company.

Sam Galliart, Hutchinson, KS
Pittsburg State University
Currently, I am a graduate assistant at Pittsburg State University for the Architectural Manufacturing Management and Technology department.  I received my undergraduate degree in Wood Technology, and am currently pursuing my Masters in Technology. Whenever I find free time, I spend just about all of it in the woodshop, designing and creating new things.  I have recently found a love for 5-axis CNC programming, so have been trying to incorporate that into new pieces of woodwork.   I am very thankful for all of the industry support that is given to the Architectural Manufacturing Management and Technology program here a Pittsburg State University.  This program would not be the same without it.

Joshua Irsik, Ingalls, KS
Pittsburg State University
I am currently a junior at Pittsburg State University.  I am majoring in Architectural Manufacturing, Management, and Technology.  I also plan to achieve a minor in Business, and Interior Design.  I enjoy playing guitar, hunting, running on the track, and designing unique pieces of artwork on the 3-axis CNC with MasterCAM.  I aspire to excel in 5-axis programming and to efficiently manufacture products before I graduate.

Brian Klik, Seattle, WA
Seattle Central College Wood Technology Center
Brian Klik is a native of Michigan and currently a student at the Wood Technology Center in Seattle, Washington. He has a background in Mechanical Engineering and hopes to design and build furniture full time. His hobbies include climbing, yoga, films, and chess. Long term plans involve buying land, building a house, and homesteading.

Jose Leos, Houston, TX
Pittsburg State University
I’m currently a junior at Pittsburg State University majoring in Architectural Manufacturing of Management Technology. I stared out in my woodshop class during my first year in high school, but it wasn’t until sophomore year I began to dive deeper into woodworking. I was so intrigued with woodworking that I decided to make a career out of it. I went to Pittsburg State University in search of wanting to learn more, and I have so far. I will be graduating next school year with my bachelor’s. Meanwhile, this summer I am doing an internship at Colorado in a custom woodworking company to gain more experience in the wood industry. I am very appreciative of the help I have received from many to get to where I am today.

Jennifer Lopez, Houston, TX
Pittsburg State University
Jennifer was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She is majoring Architectural Manufacturing Management and Technology, and minoring in Business Administration. She was introduced to woodworking in her high school shop. She was amazed by the complex building skills needed, and she was prepared to challenge herself. She enjoyed challenging herself with new projects every year, so she decided to take a big step and start her career. She made her way down to Pittsburg State University, and she is learning many great things as she pursues her career. She will be finishing her bachelor’s degree soon, but the fun will not be over yet until she finishes her master’s. Although Jennifer has many dreams, she will never forget those who have helped her accomplish them such as Woodworking Machinery Industry Association for their generous scholarship.

John McCoy, Shoreline, WA
Seattle Central College Wood Technology Center
Mr. McCoy is a United States Army combat veteran, serving two deployments as an Infantryman in Baghdad and Mosul, Iraq. He was awarded a Combat Infantry Badge and an Army Commendation Medal for his service. John also volunteered to serve in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina Relief with Task Force Raven where he provided search and rescue duties as well as security for those affected by the storm. John left the service and still provides help to his fellow disabled veterans by securing benefits they need to navigate re-entry into the civilian life. After working several years for Washington States Governor Jay Inslee as a personal aide, John decided to pursue his dream of becoming a carpenter. He is currently an Apprentice with one of Seattle’s premier building companies, Shultz Miller.

This coming fall, John will enter his final quarter at Seattle Central’s Wood Technology Center (WTC) where he will focus on Remodel and Preservation. While attending WTC, John has learned site layout and concrete forms, interior and exterior finishes, framing, and has been exposed to traditional materials and a wide variety of new building supplies. He has helped his community by working on tiny homes for local homeless encampments and is currently working on a passive house that just passed its first blower door test. John likes to spend time camping, traveling to his favorite movie sites with his wife, and using his new skills to help his family and friends achieve projects they once felt were out of reach.

Kort McDonough, Scammon, KS
Pittsburg State University
I am currently enrolled as a senior attending Pittsburg State University pursing a Bachelor of Science in Technology studying Architectural Manufacturing Management & Technology with an emphasis in Wood Product Manufacturing.

In my three years attending Pittsburg State University, I have had the opportunity to build relationships with many passionate and dedicated individuals in the woodworking industry. This has been possible with my involvement with Pittsburg State University’s –  Society of Architectural Woodworkers and my role as president for the last two years, as well as the opportunity for internships and gaining industry experience with the following companies: Wood Systems, EGR Millwork/Casework, Hollywood Woodworks, and Gator Millworks.

Michael McKee, Boston, MA
New England School of Architectural Woodworking
I began woodworking in my late teens by building car stereo components and continued woodworking as a hobby until my early thirties. At that point I realized I wanted to build furniture. I built my first shop and started getting into a more serious learning mindset. I took many classes that helped me to build demilune tables, Maloof-style rocking chairs, dining chairs, sideboards, etc. As my skills continued to grow, I realized I wanted to transition into woodworking full time. So I started planning and enrolled first in North Bennet Street School to develop a traditional furniture building background, and then in the New England School of Architectural Woodworking to gain insight and training in the current methods of cabinet fabrication, finishing and installation. I am graduating from both programs in the summer of 2018 and am very much looking forward to working in a high-end cabinet shop in the Boston area, constructing interesting projects of all sorts.

Joshua Meyer, Troy, MO
University of Missouri – Columbia
My name is Josh Meyer and I am currently about to begin my freshman year attending the University of Missouri – Columbia, pursuing a major in Forestry. I have had a love for the outdoors ever since I was a young child. My brother and I spent hours in the woods exploring nature. When I wasn’t outside at home, I spent my weekends at our property helping my dad manage the woods for better wildlife and planting hundreds of trees. While at college, I hope to participate in study abroad programs to have a better understanding of forestry all over the world, gain an internship through a wood product manufacturing company, and eventually obtain a job with the U.S. Forest Service.

Kate Montgomery, Kanata, ON, Canada
Carleton University
I completed a Woodworking Technician diploma at Conestoga College (Kitchener, Ontario), during which I discovered a fascination with timber as a building material and the way structures – both small and large scale – are designed, manufactured, and assembled.  I learned that I enjoy working with design software more than I enjoy actual building projects, and wanted to tackle projects of a larger scale versus custom furniture.  To further challenge myself academically, I decided to continue my education after graduating college through the pursuit of a Bachelor of Engineering in Architectural Conservation and Sustainability Engineering at Carleton University (Ottawa, Ontario).  I crave to learn about sustainable building materials and design methods for buildings to reduce the environmental impact of new and existing infrastructure.  I am particularly interested in high-rise timber structures, and aspire to encourage the use of timber as a building material through co-op work experiences, graduate studies, and my future career as an engineer.

Cole Morgan, Seattle, WA
Seattle Central College Wood Technology Center
My name is Cole Morgan and I am just finishing up my second quarter in the carpentry program at the Wood Technology Center in Seattle, Washington.  I love spending time outdoors and going on road trips. This has been a big influence in my aspirations to build sustainably focused homes.  I will finish this program in the spring of 2019 and intend to work in the industry here in Seattle.

Sarah Provard, West Jordan, UT
Pittsburg State University
Sarah is a lover a of woodworking. She has been creating things since 8th grade and she quickly fell in love with the craft. As the years went on, she wanted to make this what she did for the rest of her life, so she went to Utah Valley University. There she studied cabinetry and architectural woodworking. As she progressed, she found a college for her in the small town of Pittsburg, Kansas, and is moving there in the fall to get a bachelor’s in Wood Technology and a minor in Interior Design.

Moriah Ross, Meade, KS
Pittsburg State University
Moriah Ross is a student at Pittsburg State University, majoring in Wood Technology. Since Moriah has attended Pittsburg State, she has interned at Cohen Architectural Woodworking – in Missouri, High Country Millwork – in Colorado, and this summer, she is interning with Parenti and Raffaelli LTD – in Illinois. With these amazing opportunities, her knowledge in the woodworking industry has significantly increased. Moriah aspires to be a project manager or an estimator when she graduates from Pittsburg State University.

Leah Surprenant, Oxford, MA
New England School of Architectural Woodworking
I took the long way to woodworking by spending the last thirty years in culinary arts, becoming a chef and owning a catering company for many years. Since childhood, I’ve always loved building, making things with my hands, doing repairs and trying to do things myself. In my spare time, I worked with a volunteer organization building net zero homes. I fell in love with carpentry so much that I knew I never wanted to regret not trying to make a living working with wood. I applied to the cabinetry program at NESAW, sold my business and haven’t looked back. The cabinetry program has opened so many possibilities in the woodworking industry and given me a good foundation from which to start my second career. I’m excited to continue learning and building and thankful for the opportunity to do this work every day.

Kendra VanPollen, McBain, MI
Pittsburg State University
Kendra is from McBain, Michigan and is a sophomore at Pittsburg State University. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Technology with a major in Architectural Manufacturing Management and Technology and a minor in Business Administration. Kendra’s goal is to return to her father’s custom cabinet business and assist in its growth. It is exciting to explore all the facets of the wood working industry and to build relationships with others who have the same passion. She looks forward to seeing where God will lead her in the future.

Samuel Winklebleck, Seattle, WA
Seattle Central College Wood Technology Center
I studied architecture and earned my degree right after high school. I loved buildings, but something about the profession didn’t strike me initially. I drifted into an adventurous career at a small airline helping to set up new locations and remodel old stations. Somewhere along the way, I realized what had been missing all along was a hands-on job working with wood, tools and the lumber that I was constantly moving around on paper. This realization led me to the Wood Technology Center in Seattle where I recently completed the carpentry program. For my final year, I am enrolled in their cabinetmaking and architectural woodworking program. In the future I look forward to putting my new skills to use in both the working world as well as volunteer work in my local community.