Advancing the industry through technology, equipment, and education

2020 Scholarship Winners

Earlier this year, WMIA’s Educational Foundation awarded a total of $35,400 in scholarships to help 25 college students continue their education in the woodworking industry.

Meet this year’s recipients:

Matthew Arnold, Overland Park, KS
Pittsburg State University
Matthew is going into his second year of the program at Pittsburg State University. He is currently majoring in Architectural Manufacturing Management and Technology. Both of his grandfathers enjoyed woodworking, and played a large part in inspiring Matthew’s passion for the field. He went to high school in Kansas City and enrolled in woodworking classes for all four years. Matthew’s shop teacher told him about the program at Pittsburg State University, and he thought, “Why not turn my passion into a career?” Since enrolling at PSU, Matthew has loved every moment of being in the program.

 

Kelson Claassen, Hesston, KS
Pittsburg State University
Kelson Claassen graduated in May from Pittsburg State University with a degree in Architectural Manufacturing Management and Technology, and a minor in Business Administration. Outside of class, he has been very active in the program. He has worked for the department the last three years as a laboratory assistant, and last year was the President of the SAW Club (a student-ran organization). Next school year, Kelson will begin working on his MBA and will also be working as a graduate assistant in the Architectural Manufacturing Management and Technology department. He is currently spending the summer furthering his knowledge of the industry by interning at Watson Mills and Design.

 

Gage Davis, Dorchester, TX
Pittsburg State University
Gage is currently a junior at Pittsburg State University, majoring in Architectural Manufacturing Management and Technology and minoring in Business Administration. He decided to go to college to pursue this passion and has not looked back. Gage finds himself getting involved in different organizations outside of class such as SAW club (a student-ran organization) and the student government. He has been a distinguished member in SAW club every semester now since enrolling at PSU. He has also been fortunate enough to secure a internship for the summer at Hollywood Woodworks, which he hopes will further my skills and learning in their engineering department.

Aiesha Goodlow, Seattle, WA
Seattle Central College Wood Technology Center
Aiesha Goodlow is currently enrolled at the Seattle Wood Technology Center for cabinetmaking and architectural design. She is a student, photographer, woodworker, and creative mind. Her passion lies in custom woodworking at the intersection of functionality, style, and sustainability. She is eager to collaborate with local woodworkers and increase diversity in the field.

Kyle Gorham, Baldwinsville, NY
SUNY Morrisville
Kyle Gorham attended Baker High School in Baldwinsville, NY, and is currently attending SUNY Morrisville. He decided on SUNY Morrisville because it offers the unique combination that allows him to pursue studies in wood technologies and then continue into the entrepreneurship program. Kyle enjoys the atmosphere there, as well as participating on the timber sports woodsmen’s team. He believes these programs align nicely with the small woodworking business he started. Kyle is hopeful the knowledge he gains from the programs will allow him to expand his business. He has already put some of this into practice, as he has added items to his repertoire. Currently the items he produces are primarily home accents, with this addition of a few new things such as tables and other furniture. These crafts he brings to local craft shows to sell, as well as in some local stores. He enjoys the fact that no two pieces of wood are exactly the same and the satisfaction of seeing the finished product he has created. To view some of Kyle’s woodworking, visit his Instagram.

Jenny Hefferan, Madison, WI
Madison Area Technical College
Jenny Hefferan has a Masters degree in Landscape Architecture and 17 years of experience working in that field. When she lived in a 466 square foot studio apartment, she discovered that she had a love and talent for finding solutions that allowed the home to function as if it were significantly larger, although she lacked the ability to build her designs and had to hire that work out. She is currently earning a Technical Diploma in Cabinetmaking & Millwork at Madison College, and learning how to construct the space-saving features she loves to design. She is also participating in the Madison College Challenge, an entrepreneurial program to help launch new businesses. She hopes to start her business soon and begin designing and building solutions to help customers find space in their homes for the belongings and activities that mean the most to them.

Thomas Hill, Rockford, MN
Hennepin Technical College
Thomas grew up in Connecticut before moving to Minnesota in 2012. He is currently taking cabinet making classes at Hennepin Technical College. Thomas aspires to own a custom furniture business where he can produce his own furniture. His hobbies include fishing, camping, cooking, hunting, and spending time with friends and family.

Walter Iverson, Coon Rapids, MN
Hennepin Technical College
Walter graduated high school in 2007 and immediately joined the U.S. Army. He was honorably discharged after serving 10 years. After leaving the military, Walter enrolled at Hennepin Technical College, looking towards an AAS degree in Residential Remodel and Design. At some point during his carpentry classes, Walter noticed the cabinet making classes which looked interesting. He is now currently working towards an AAS degree in Cabinetmaking. Upon graduating from Hennepin Technical College, he intends to continue his education in woodworking in already established wood shops near him. His long-term goal is to open his own shop producing cabinets and furniture.

Connor Jennings, Overland Park, KS
Pittsburg State University
Connor Jennings is majoring in both Architectural Manufacturing Management and Technology as well as Business Economics. He was nominated to be a freshman ambassador in the SAW Club (a student-ran organization). He is an active member of the club and will be leading their “Toys for Tots” initiative to provide toys for the less fortunate kids of the surrounding Pittsburg area. This summer, Connor will be interning at Wood Systems Inc. in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

 

Andrew Laufenberg Madison, WI
Madison Area Technical College
Andrew is a graduate of Madison Area Technical College — Construction and Remodeling Program. He worked for Cushman Construction LLC., where he was able to gain some work experience and found he enjoyed doing trim and detail work most. Andrew is currently enrolled in the Cabinetmaking and Millwork Program and is excited about learning more about all aspects of wood working. He currently enjoys spending time with others who share his passion of building things.

Patrice Lavoie, Montreal, QC, Canada
École Nationale du Meuble et de L’Ébénisterie (ENME)
After five years in a crash test laboratory as a photographer, Patrice Lavoie returned to school to study woodworking. His curiosity for the most recent assembly techniques as well as for old-fashioned woodworking gives him enough motivation to return to student life. From the forest to the table, wood is a passion for Patrice.

Evan Martin, Seattle, WA
Seattle Central College Wood Technology Center
Evan Martin is a California-born, Washington-raised Marine Corps Veteran. After graduating high school in 2008 from Kelso High School, Evan joined the Marine Corps as a Cryptologic Thai Linguist. After serving a 5-year enlistment, Evan enrolled in Seattle’s Community college system and is currently studying Cabinetmaking and Furniture Building in order to learn a trade with evergreen prospects.

Celeste McDonald, Seattle, WA
Seattle Central College Wood Technology Center
Celeste McDonald is a carpentry student at the Wood Technology Center in Seattle, Washington and is pursuing a career in residential carpentry. She finds joy in seeing the tangible results of a job well done and has seen her skills as a woodworker increase greatly in the two quarters she has completed at Wood Tech. While in school, she spends free time using these new skills to volunteer on building projects with the local non-profit The Low Income Housing Institute. After graduating she hopes to become a skilled frame-to-finish carpenter and plans to continue working on and advocating for low income housing projects in her community.

Colman Momenee, Francestown, NH
Vermont Woodworking School
Colman started Vermont Woodworking School in the fall of 2019 and will continue to attend intensive classes there while simultaneously pursuing a career in carpentry. He plans to continue learning more about the field through various work and internship opportunities, to become a more valued craftsman. These experiences will help him decide what area of the field he ultimately wants to settle into; whether it is designing and building furniture, cabinet making, or timber framing. With the knowledge and skills he has acquired through these experiences, his ultimate goal is to design and build his own timber frame home using lumber milled from his property.

Aline Moreau, Victoriaville, QC, Canada
École Nationale du Meuble et de L’Ébénisterie
Aline Moreau moved from France to Quebec in 2017 to study Interior Design and follow the path she learned into her homeland. She chose to complete her studies in 2019 by integrating studies for furniture making and woodworking. For Aline, woodworking allows her to not only make the design but also complete the manufacturing process herself. Last summer, she was able to work at a local cabinetmaking company where she was able to get hands-on experience to better prepare for coming year at ENME. Her goal for the future is to work in architectural millwork where she can combine both fields of expertise learned.

Travis Perrett, Northampton, MA
New England School of Architectural Woodworking
Travis Perrett is a recent graduate of the New England School of Architectural Woodworking in Easthampton, Massachusetts where he completed the 2 month intensive cabinet making program. After graduation he was hired at VCA, INC in Northampton, Massachusetts as a furniture making apprentice. He hopes to work a long and fulfilling career in the woodworking industry.

Sarah Provard, West Jordan, UT
Pittsburg State University
Sarah is a well-driven woman who will do anything to make her dreams come true. She has gone to great lengths to further her knowledge in the woodworking industry. She is originally from West Jordan, Utah and loves her home, but now she is lives in Kansas to attend Pittsburg State University. Sarah is in the process of getting a bachelor’s in Wood Technology.

Adam Reigel, Star Prairie, WI
Hennepin Technical College
Adam Reigel is a student at Hennepin Technical College in Brooklyn Park, MN and is currently pursuing a career in cabinetmaking. Adam’s love of woodworking started at a very young age and he has built and entered many wood projects at the county fair through 4-H. After graduating, Adam’s plan is to work for his family’s cabinet shop and help bring it to the next level. He looks forward to being a part of the future of cabinetmaking, providing quality, custom cabinets at an affordable price and excellent customer service.

Madeline Samet, Chapel Hill, NC
North Carolina State University
Madeline transferred to NC State University to study Sustainable Materials and Technology in the College of Natural Resources after two years at a school and major that weren’t quite the right fit. The change proved to be one of the best decisions she has ever made, leading her to find her passion for wood products, material science, manufacturing processes, and life cycle analysis. Outside of class, she devotes her time to participating in a sustainability student group as well as a leadership and professional development program.

Additionally, Madeline has been enjoying her engagement with the wood product industry through her position as an undergraduate technical specialist at Hodges Wood Products Laboratory where she performs performance tests on wood-based products. This summer Madeline is also working on a research project at Oregon State University’s Department of Wood Science and Engineering. She plans to pursue a career focusing on sustainable building products through research, development, or innovation.

Aaron Schneider, Madison, WI
Madison Area Technical College
Aaron’s passion for woodworking started in high school. He took a couple years of woodworking and technical education classes, but never really considered doing it as a profession. After a few years of living back in Wisconsin, Aaron decided to go back to school to pursue a different career path in woodworking and cabinetmaking. The program and the instructors have been absolutely fantastic and he is excited to be able to finish my program in the near future. One day, Aaron hopes to own his own woodworking shop and make custom furniture for clients.

Jared Spence, Seattle, WA
Seattle Central College Wood Technology Center
Jared is currently enrolled in the Seattle Central Wood Technology Center, studying Residential Carpentry. He has always enjoyed working with his hands and loves the pursuit of becoming a master craftsman. He would really like to be involved in Seattle keeping all of the older homes in tip-top shape, as well as help make them more efficient. He is currently working part-time with a carpenter/builder around his school schedule to learn as much as he can. He hopes to be able to build his own home one day for his partner and himself. He enjoys his dog Cassius, his friends, tinkering with his old home, traveling in his van, and snowboarding.

Curtis Taylor, Peyton, CO
Pittsburg State University
Curtis will be a freshman at Pittsburg State University in the fall of 2020. His interest in woodworking began at the age of 11 making candle holders and lamps with his grandfather and selling them at craft fairs. Curtis attended Peyton High School completing all four years of the woods manufacturing program. His last year of this program was at the National Training Center (Mill), where he developed a passion for CNC. At Pittsburg State University, he will be working toward a degree in Architectural Manufacturing Management with an Emphasis in Wood Product Manufacturing.

Theodore Vallente, Long Beach, CA
Cerritos College Woodworking
Theodore has been working with his hands ever since he could remember. He was always doing things with his hands: whether it was fixing a bicycle, building a go cart with his friends in the neighborhood, or helping his dad build things around the house. He was always drawn to woodworking, because his dad worked around the house building a shelf, a bench, a table, a fence, or fixing things. He also had an uncle that was a carpenter who showed him different methods to build a house. All his training was from hands-on experience until he got older. He went through the general woodworking classes in junior high and high school. He was always into woodworking. It just came natural to him. Theodore at a later age in life decided that a formal training in woodworking would help him in the future, so he enrolled in the Cerritos College Woodworking Program. When Theodore is finished at Cerritos College, he will transfer to California State – Los Angeles to enter the Industrial Technology Program and the Teacher Credential Program, so when he finishes he can become a teacher in woodworking/industrial arts.

Kendra Van Polen, McBain, MI
Pittsburg State University
Kendra is from McBain, Michigan and is a senior at Pittsburg State University. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Technology with a major in Architectural Manufacturing Management and Technology. 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.

Chris Wernimont, Overland Park, KS
Pittsburg State University
Chris was first introduced to woodworking at Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park, Kansas. His shop teacher, Mr. Masten, fostered his love for woodworking and guided him to Pittsburg State University where he could turn his passion into a career. At PSU, Chris is going into his senior year as a triple major, studying Management, Marketing, and Architectural Manufacturing Management & Technology. Chris is currently the Vice-President of SAW Club, has been a distinguished member of the club every semester, and works for the department as a Student Marketing Coordinator going to high schools around the country to recruit students to the AMMT program. His favorite project has been the “Toys for Tots” project, a tradition he carried on from his high school shop teacher where the students design and create simple toys for underprivileged kids in their local community. Last year, they made 241 toys, and every child in the area that wanted a toy, received one from the department. He will be doing an operations internship this summer with USA Millwork in Denver, Colorado. After his undergrad, Chris plans to get his Master’s degree at Pittsburg State.