2017 Scholarship Winners
Earlier this year, WMIA’s Educational Foundation awarded a total of $31,500 in scholarships to help 23 college students continue their education in the woodworking industry. For the second straight year, a record number of female students received scholarships this year. Eleven female students were selected as scholarship recipients; nine female students received scholarships in 2016.

Meet this year’s recipients:

Bryce Ahlers, Lincoln, NE2017.scholarships.Bryce D. Ahlers
Pittsburg State University
Ahlers is a freshman at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas,  pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Technology, and focusing on Wood Product Manufacturing. His love for woodworking really took off in his high school shop class and through his teacher he heard about Pittsburg State. During his four years of high school woodshop he has been a part of many projects, both as an individual and as a group. He has built wardrobes, gun cases, tables, beds, trophy cases, and even did an entire kitchen, but some of his favorite projects have been the guitars he has made. After all this experience in high school, a career in the wood industry made perfect sense. Ahlers says, “I cannot thank the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association enough for supporting me as I pursue my dreams.”

Chase Ankeny, Ferndale, MI
Cranbrook Academy of Art
I remember as a child playing in the sawdust underneath my Grandpa’s table saw and still some times I get a whiff of something that brings me back to that place with its strange smells and strange tools 2017.scholarship.Chase Ankenyscattered about. By the time I went to undergrad, 10 years in the past now, that world of working with the body and material was far away and I studied history and philosophy, intellectual, abstract things. I was missing something, though. I studied fine woodworking for nine months at the Krenov School and then took that same table saw and many of my Grandfather’s old tools to set up my own shop. Again, though, I was missing something. I knew how to make things, but I could not quite grasp the philosophical, abstract side of why or what makes an object culturally interesting, so I went back to school to try to understand how to tie these two sides of myself together. Now I’m starting my second year of grad school studying 3D design at Cranbrook Academy of Art, a place where the physical and the intellectual are constantly entangled.

Jax Bailey, Prince George, BC, Canada
College of New Caledonia
2017.scholarship.Jax BaileyI was born and raised in Prince George, BC, which is a city heavily dependent on the Forest Industry. I am a registered apprentice with ITA and I am currently working towards my Red Seal Certification in Carpentry which includes earning hours on the job and 4 levels of schooling. I was able to complete my foundation (Level 1 training) during grade 12 as part of the CTC program and I successfully completed level 2 at the College of New Caledonia the fall of 2016. My grandfather had his trade in cabinet making and later become a home builder and he is the one who sparked my love of woodworking, quality, and craftsmanship. In the fall of 2017, I will continue my education at the University of Northern British Columbia to complete requirements towards earning my Bachelor of Education; where I am working towards becoming a shop and history teacher. I am grateful and honored for the support received from WMIA as I work towards furthering my education within the wood industry and I look forward to sharing my passion for woodworking with future students.

Andrea Berthold, Seattle, WA2017.scholarship.Berthold
Seattle Central College Wood Technology Center
Andrea Berthold is a carpentry student at Seattle Central College’s Wood Technology Center (WTC). Born and raised outside Chicago, Andrea moved to the Pacific Northwest 15 years ago and quickly fell in love with giant trees, water views, and the area’s many cute cabins and homes. After a long career in retail that includes currently owning and operating a shoe store, she is looking for a very different challenge. Her schooling is the foundation upon which she will build a second successful career where she can use the physical and mental skills she is currently refining at the WTC. Many thanks to the WMIA Educational Foundation for supporting Andrea’s education in the woodworking industry.

Amanda Bjornstrom, Bellevue, WA2017.scholarship.Amanda Bjornstorm Pic
Seattle Central College Wood Technology Center
Amanda Bjornstrom is a carpentry student at Seattle Central College’s Wood Technology Center. Her interest in building began early on in life, but she didn’t truly begin exploring it as a career option until after she realized that her previous college degree was not taking her anywhere where she wanted to be. Going back to school for carpentry has been one of the best decisions she has ever made and she is excited to be finally doing something that she loves. This is her second year receiving a scholarship from the WMIA Educational Foundation, and she is grateful for their continued support of her educational pursuits.

Jake Czaja, Cummington, MA2017.scholarship.Czaja
New England School of Architectural Woodworking
My childhood was spent growing up around Chicago and having my eyes glued to a television or computer screen.  Not by coincidence did I start working on farms in my late teens into my early twenties.  I still remember the first tree that I cut down on the farm.  It got stuck on its way down in another tree’s canopy.  To this day, I am still learning.  I am currently enrolled at NESAW and I look forward to solving problems and working with the grain of the wood.

Steven Daniszewski, Rochester, NY
Morrisville State College
Steven Daniszewski was interested in tools and nature at a young age, learning from his brothers how to2017.sholarships.Daniszewski handle a hammer and helped build rudimentary objects and forts, or small toys for his sister. Family camping trips and his grandparents’ garden instilled a deep appreciation for nature, especially forests. He began to take a deeper interest in woodworking at the beginning of high school, and enrolled in a variety of AP, IB, and college-credit STEM courses throughout high school, helping shape his plans for the future. In addition, he played trumpet and tuba in the Churchville Chili symphonic band; was an active member of the indoor and outdoor track and field teams; earned admission to the Honor society; and started a small woodworking business once old enough. He is currently attending Morrisville State College for Wood Products Technology.

Christopher Deady, South Hadley, MA2017.scholarship.Chris Deady Pic
New England School of Architectural Woodworking
My education to date has been in public and parochial schools. I’m currently attending the New England School of Architectural Woodworking. I am also employed at the Windsor Cafe. I like ice hockey, softball, snowboarding, and rock climbing to name a few, and enjoy staying physically active. I’m a people person and do well interacting an individual level as well as large groups of people. I take pride in my work and pay close attention to detail with my goal being to someday operate my own woodworking business.

Sam Galliart, Hutchinson, KS
Pittsburg State University
This spring I graduated from Pittsburg State University.  My major was Wood Technology with an 2017.scholarship.Galliartemphasis in Wood Product Manufacturing.  I returned to Pittsburg State this fall in pursuit of a Master of Science degree in Technology.  I have spent my time in school trying to absorb as much knowledge as I can about the wood industry in order to better prepare myself for a future career.  Pittsburg State University and internships have played a vital role in my development.  I am very thankful for all of the industry support that is given to the Wood Technology program here a Pittsburg State University.  This program would not be the same without it.  I look forward to continuing my education and would like to say a big thank you to WMIA for the honor of being named a recipient of this scholarship!

Marianne Ganzer, Westhampton, MA
New England School of Architectural Woodworking
My affection for woodworking dates to early childhood summers spent at my grandparents’ home in Blue Island, IL.  My grandmother took me to the local lumber yard where I was allowed to scrounge through 2017.scholarship.Ganzerthe cut off bins.  We’d return home and I’d set up on my grandfather’s basement workbench and “have at it.” I graduated high school in three years’ time in order to attend the Chicago School of Violin Making from which I graduated three years later.  I worked for the next 36 years repairing and restoring instruments of the violin family.  During those years I continued to study under master luthiers from around the globe whenever time and finances allowed. I recently decided to expand my love of woodworking beyond the limitations imposed by hand tool skills alone. At long last I’m taking the plunge to learn competency with woodworking machinery. I chose to enroll at the New England School of Architectural Woodworking embarking on their intensive, five-and-a-half-month-long, full time, cabinet making course under the direction of Greg Larson. It has been a remarkably valuable endeavor.   I thank WMIA for choosing me as a scholarship recipient.  I hope, and plan, to do us all proud.

Jacob Jewell, Broomall, PA2017.scholarship.Jewell
Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
Jacob Jewell is 19 years old attending Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology for Carpentry. He enjoys playing soccer and going to the gym. He worked as a carpentry intern for the summer and plans to pursue a career in residential carpentry when he graduates.

Myriam Lefebvre, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada
École Nationale du Meuble et de L’Ébénisterie (ENME)
Myriam Lefebvre grew up in Sherbrooke, QC. She completed a Diploma of College Studies in classical music—violin, an instrument she had played since she was 12 years old. She then began pursuing2017.scholarships.Lefebvre.1 a certificate in Modern Languages and a certificate in Psychology at the University of Sherbrooke, but she didn’t feel this was the right path for her. With the help of a guidance counselor, she began exploring trades which might interest her, and involve fewer years of study. Cabinetmaking caught her interest, so on a whim, she applied to l’École Nationale du Meuble et d’Ébénisterie (ENME) in Victoriaville. Now, with the first two years of her training in furniture and cabinetmaking completed, she can say with happiness that she finally found the field that excites her, in which she can blossom to her full potential.

Jose Leos, Houston, TX
Pittsburg State University
As a young man, I have experienced the challenges of life, which made me realize that the only way to2017.scholarships.Leos succeed in life is hard work. I migrated to the United States with my mom and my brother when I was nine years old. It wasn’t easy being away from the only family I had. My mom and I struggled a lot trying to get a stable roof for my brother and I to have a decent living. My passion toward wood began in high school where I took a wood shop class, and I had a very supportive teacher, Johnny Brooks, who supported me through it all. After I graduated high school he encouraged me to pursue a wood technology degree and to become a rock star in the wood industry when I had no financial help to start with. I really do appreciate this help I am getting towards my education. This is great step in achieving my goal which is graduating with honors. Thanks to your generous support, I am the first in my family to attend college.

Jennifer Lopez, Houston, TX2017.scholarship.Lopez
Pittsburg State University
I was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and I moved to Pittsburg, Kansas to attend Pittsburg State University. I was introduced to woodworking in high school and at first it didn’t get my attention until I began to work hands on. I loved how a simple sketch could convert into a masterpiece. I decided to pursue my career, so I chose the closest school that had my career which was in Kansas. I am majoring in Wood Technology with the emphasis of Manufacturing and I am also minoring in Business Administration. I also have a job on campus as a secretary for the Provost. After work, I usually go to my dorm to study or to the shop to work on projects I have. I enjoy spending time in the shop and designing projects. My main goal is to finish strong and be successful in life.

Alexandra Mavrikis, Los Angeles, CA
Cerritos College
Alexandra Mavrikis zig-zagged her way to woodworking via environmental studies at Evergreen State2017.scholarship.Alexandra Mavrikis pic University, UCLA’s paralegal program, and barista in an LA independent bookshop/café to the woodworking program at Cerritos College in Norwalk, CA, where she is now a classroom assistant. Taking the circuitous route to arrive where she’s supposed to be has been part of the joy she’s discovered in woodworking and she reasons that something easily found and mastered wouldn’t be as meaningful an experience. Discovering the many rewarding aspects of this work – creation, execution, recognition – has been eye-opening and she hopes to have her own company one day. Both excited and grateful, she thanks the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association for choosing her as one of the recipients of this year’s scholarships.

Kort McDonough, Pittsburg, KS2017.scholarship.Kort McDonough
Pittsburg State University
I am currently enrolled in my junior year attending Pittsburg State University pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Technology studying Wood Technology with an emphasis in Wood Product Manufacturing and a Minor in Business Administration. In my two years attending Pittsburg State University I have been exposed to all facets of the woodworking Industry, including gaining brief experience by performing internships at Wood Systems Inc. and EGR Construction. During my enrollment at Pittsburg State I have also had the opportunity to build relationships with many passionate and dedicated individuals in the woodworking industry that I would not have had the opportunity to do elsewhere. I am very appreciative for the aid given with these scholarships and I am eager to better myself both personally and professionally to become a influential figure in the woodworking industry.

Darin Milovich, Seattle, WA2017.scholarship.Milovich
Seattle Central College Wood Technology Center
Living in Ballard, Seattle, I attend Seattle Central’s School of Wood Technology. I enjoy great design and woodworking, and I hope to see more women in the industry soon. Some of my favorite things include cooking, running, playing soccer, getting silly with my friends, and making cuts on the table saw while listening to Jailbreak, among other activities. I’m incredibly grateful to be awarded the WMIA Education Foundation Scholarship while I continue to learn every day. Go M’s!


Marissa Perry, Seattle, WA
Seattle Central College Wood Technology Center2017.scholarship.Perry
I am a student at Seattle Central’s Wood Technology Center. I am so in love with everything that I learn. Being a woman woodworker gives me a great sense of pride and accomplishment. I have many creative hobbies and I hope that I can combine my creativity with my ability to build in a beautiful and functional way.  I hope to make a name for myself as a quality woodworker with great attention to detail and a flair for unusual design.


Moriah Ross, Meade, KS
Pittsburg State University2017.scholarship.Moriah Ross
Moriah Ross is a student at Pittsburg State University, majoring in Wood Technology. She grew up in the rural area of Meade, Kansas. There she lived on a farm with her parents and two sisters. Moriah first realized her love for woodworking when she would help her dad work around the farm on projects. Her knowledge was then furthered throughout high school and continued into college. She has interned at Cohen Architectural Woodworking in the summer of 2016 and with High Country Millwork in Colorado in the summer of 2017. Moriah aspires to be a project manager when she graduates from Pittsburg State University.

Zach Spahr, Pittsburg, KS
Pittsburg State University
My name is Zach Spahr.  I am a Wood Technology major at Pittsburg State University.  I have come back2017.scholarship.Spahr to school after spending four years in industry running a trim crew in the Wichita area.  Woodworking and manufacturing has always been my passion, and coming back to school has really been a blessing.  I am on track to become a project engineer in a medium to large architectural millwork company.  My plans include a semester abroad in Korea, studying production techniques and project management.  I expect my time here will provide me an expansive network of industry professionals, a competitive edge in fabrication techniques, and a solid foundation built upon a strong work ethic.  Thank you for your investment in me and the industry.

Pier-Anne Mercier-Tremblay, Montreal, QC, Canada
École Nationale du Meuble et de L’Ébénisterie (ENME)
Pier-Anne Mercier-Tremblay graduated in 2011 from Concordia University in Montreal with a BFA in2017.scholarship.Pier-Anne Mercier-Tremblay_Photo sculpture. She is currently studying woodworking at École Nationale du Meuble et de l’Ébénisterie (ENME) in Montreal. She is president of her school’s health and safety student committee and recipient of one of the 2017 Chapeau les Filles! prizes awarded by the government of Quebec for women in traditionally male dominated occupations. In the future, she hopes to be able to merge her knowledge of design and fine arts with the preciseness and technicality of woodworking. With the support of the WMIA Educational Foundation she looks forward to many rewarding years in the woodworking industry.

Kendra VanPolen, McBain, MI
Pittsburg State University2017.scholarship.kendra vanpolen
Kendra VanPolen is a 2017 graduate from Northern Michigan Christian School in McBain, MI. She was active in volleyball, basketball, soccer, and drama during her four years of high school. When she was 10 years old she started working with her father in his cabinet shop. She used those skills to create beautiful pieces of furniture that she donated to benefit auctions. She is attending Pittsburg State University to advance her knowledge of the wood industry. Only God knows where this path will take her, maybe back to her father’s custom cabinet shop. She is ready for the next adventure in her life. She would like to thank the WMIA for investing in her future.

Mark Welle, Milford, IA
Pittsburg State University2017.scholarship.Mark Welle
I ompleted the first year of my Masters degree in Career and Technical Education with an emphasis in college teaching at Pittsburg State where I also worked as a Wood Technology Graduate Assistant. This year has offered many opportunities as my roles have changed. These opportunities have given me a new perspective which has allowed me to grow in new directions. As a Graduate Assistant I was able to help in many of the classes as well as take a major role in teaching CNC Applications in the Wood Industry. I was also able to project manage the AWI Casework Integrity Performance Testing Project. The Wood Technology Program manufactured 150 cabinets of different core material and construction methods. I’m looking forward to completing my last year at Pittsburg State and moving on to a role in the Wood Industry. I appreciate WMIA’s support throughout my education as well as the opportunity to be a part of the WTII Boot Ccamp.