Advancing the industry through technology, equipment, and education

2016 Scholarship Winners

Earlier this year, WMIA’s Educational Foundation awarded a total of $35,000 in scholarships to help 19 college students continue their education in the woodworking industry. A record number of female students (14) applied for scholarships this year, and nine received scholarships.

Meet this year’s recipients:


Amanda Bjornstrom—Seattle, WA
Seattle Central College Wood Technology Center

Amanda Bjornstrom is a carpentry student at Seattle Central College’s Wood Technology Center. Her passion for building was sparked at a young age when she would watch her father build extensions to their home as the family grew. Now, she is focusing her time learning and honing her skills to become a proficient carpenter to eventually gain employment building green/sustainable homes. When Amanda is not woodworking, you can find her enjoying her time outdoors whether she’s hiking, camping, gardening, tending to her flock of laying hens, or fixing the fence to keep her crazy goats in!

Estee Clifford

Estee Clifford—Seattle, WA
Seattle Central College Wood Technology Center

Estee Clifford was born and raised in Sun Valley, ID. A country bumpkin looking to expand her world, she set off for Seattle to start anew. Estee’s appreciation and passion for physical work and working with one’s hands led her to realize that no office job would do. In order to find fulfillment in her career she would need to learn a trade. As luck would have it, Seattle’s economy and housing market were booming, creating demand for custom woodworking and cabinetry. Seeing this as an opportunity, Estee enrolled in the Cabinetry Department at Seattle Central’s Wood Technology Center. With the help and generosity of WMIA, this woodworker hopes to build her own ladder instead of climbing the corporate one.

Emily Culver

Emily Culver—Danville, PA
Cranbrook Academy of Art

Emily Culver is a multimedia artist who grew up in central Pennsylvania; her mother is a professor and midwife and her father is a carpenter. She attended Tyler School of Art, Temple University for her Bachelors of Fine Art and graduated in 2012. Currently she attends Cranbrook Academy of Art and is expected to graduate in 2017 with her Masters of Fine Art.

Lacy Draper

Lacy Draper—Seattle, WA
Seattle Central College Wood Technology Center

Lacy Draper is a creator living in Seattle, WA who is dedicated to sharing and engaging with other women using sustainable building practices. Lacy comes from a ceramic arts and sculpture background. The sourcing of materials and methods of making are extremely important within both Lacy’s artwork and building methodology. The fact that women make up only 2 percent of the construction industry has Lacy running with a hammer trying to share building knowledge with any woman she comes in contact with. Lacy is enrolled in Seattle Central’s carpentry program at the Wood Technology Center. Many thanks to the WMIA Educational Foundation for their support in Lacy’s building journey.

Chase Eller

Chase Eller—Carrollton, TX
Pittsburg State University

My name is Chase Eller and I will be a senior at Pittsburg State University with a major in Wood Technology and a minor in Innovation Engineering. I first took woodshop my freshman year of high school at Dale Jackson Career Center, and ended up taking all of the classes offered. Before I started college, I worked for Pin, and my first internship in college was at Brochsteins. Since then, I have interned at AFI, and am currently an intern at Mortensen Woodwork. I really enjoy what I do. After I graduate, I plan on going into project management. I really appreciate WMIA for giving me the support I need to continue my education in the wood industry.

Sam Galliart

Sam Galliart—Hutchinson, KS
Pittsburg State University

I am currently enrolled as a senior at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, KS.  Here at Pittsburg State I am working on completing my Bachelors of Science in Technology with an emphasis in Wood Product Manufacturing.  I first found my love for woodworking while attending Hutchinson High School.  While there, I took wood shop, which ultimately inspired me to pursue a career path in the wood industry. I am very thankful for all of the industry support given to the wood technology program here at Pittsburg State University.  This program would not be the same without it.  I look forward to continuing my education in the field of wood technology and would like to say a big thank you to WMIA for the honor of being named a recipient of this scholarship!

Jonathan Hamilton

Jonathan Hamilton—Carrollton, TX
Pittsburg State University

Jonathan Hamilton is a senior at Pittsburg State University (PSU) majoring in Wood Technology.  While attending PSU, Jonathan has been an active member in the SAW (Society of Architectural Woodworkers) Club and volunteered his time with Lambda Sigma National Honor Society community service projects. Jonathan worked at an internship last summer with Cohen Architectural Woodworking in St. James, Missouri.  This internship provided him with experience designing and building custom cabinets and millwork for healthcare, schools, hotels, retail and offices.  This summer his internship is with Goebel Fixtures in Hutchinson, Minnesota, where he will be working mainly in the estimating department. Goebel Fixtures produces high end retail store fixtures and Jonathan hopes the larger variety of products Goebel makes will greatly increase his experience in estimating. Thank you to WMIA for the continued support towards my education in Wood Technology.


Brianna Klimek—Iselin, NJ
North Carolina State University

My name is Brianna Klimek and I am currently a junior studying sustainable materials and technology at North Carolina State University. I’ve been acquainted with woodworking since I was little, as my dad is a carpenter, and my interest in it has evolved through the years. This interest has branched into my education as I have found passion within many aspects of my degree: from the physical science to the manufacturing processes. While I am unsure of which path I want to venture, I have taken a liking to the furniture industry. I look forward to exploring the different possibilities, as well as continuing my education in the wood products industry. I would like to thank the WMIA Educational Foundation for this wonderful opportunity!

Kathleen Montgomery

Kathleen Montgomery—Kanata, ON, Canada
Carleton University

Since being introduced to it in high school, woodworking has appealed to me because it requires a different way of thinking and problem solving than conventional academic courses.  I also love seeing an idea develop and change as it transforms from an initial design to a physical finished product.   After high school I pursued woodworking at Conestoga College, in Kitchener, Ontario, where I recently graduated from the Woodworking Technician program.  I am proud and very privileged to have won awards for a piece of furniture I designed and manufactured myself during my final year at the college.  In the fall of 2016, I will be continuing my education at Carleton University, in Ottawa, Ontario, where I am excited to pursue a Bachelor of Engineering.  I look forward to combining my existing knowledge of the woodworking trade with the concepts I will learn in my future studies in order to create some unique and exciting projects.  Until school begins again, I am working in the industry, manufacturing custom cabinetry in a shop in Ottawa.  Thank you to the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association for recognizing my passion for learning and my passion for woodworking, and investing in my future in the industry.

Madeline Newton

Madeline Newton—Garner, NC
North Carolina State University

Madeline is a senior at North Carolina State University majoring in Sustainable Materials and Technology, studying the application of wood, bamboo, and grasses as a sustainable material. With depleting natural resources, Madeline’s goal is to maximize the use of renewable materials through waste reduction and by broadening their application. She has explored the conservation of natural resources in the United Kingdom as well as sustainable solutions in Iceland. She has also interned in a high-end furniture millwork environment, which allowed her to experience everything from the design to the production of wood products. Currently, she assists with research on using various sustainable products, such as biomass waste, in 3D printing applications. Madeline hopes to work with lean manufacturing in the future to help increase efficiency and decrease waste in a millwork setting.

Daniel Norton

Daniel Norton—Ramsey, MN
Hennepin Technical College

I have just finished my first year of study at Hennepin Technical College, in the Woodworking Technology program.   I am entering into my second year of schooling, and will graduate next year with an Associate in Applied Science, with a focus in Cabinetmaking.  I am currently holding two jobs, one at Menards, the other at a cabinet shop, Star Exhibits.   I am continuing my studies over the summer and will be back to full time school in the fall.  I am very grateful to the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association for this great opportunity.

Emmanuel Onen

Emmanuel Onen—Seattle, WA
Seattle Central College Wood Technology Center

My name is Emmanuel F. Onen, and I attend SCCC Wood Technology Center for Carpentry. I have been a student here since January 2015, and I’m in my last quarter here at the college. I would like to take my woodworking skills back to Uganda, where my whole family is from, to help build, educate, and create opportunities for others. I am ever so grateful for even being considered to receive this scholarship, and this will help me to make my vision become a reality. Thank you.

Eli Rosenblum-Stephens

Eli Rosenblum-Stephens—Brooklyn, NY
Vermont Woodworking School/Johnson State College

I am a high school senior from Brooklyn, New York. My life as a craftsman began at age 12, when I turned my first wooden bowl at a summer camp.  When I returned home, I built my first lathe out of an old fan motor, a socket, and some scrap wood.  At that time, I started to build my small basement woodshop, where I still rely on many used, contractor-grade tools obtained from family and friends. Over time, I have taught myself how to tune-up and use these imprecise tools to make them work like new again. Earlier this year, I was a National YoungArts Foundation merit winner and participated in a week-long series of master classes in Visual Arts, culminating in an exhibit of my woodworking at Sotheby’s in New York City.  My design process always begins with creating a 3-D model of the project in Google SketchUp, which I learned how to use by watching YouTube videos. Two years ago, I took at class at the Heartwood School, where I helped build a tiny house based on measured drawings and created a blog to document the building process.

I plan to earn my living as a craftsman, doing work that I enjoy and am passionate about. In September, I will be attending the Vermont Woodworking School to hone my skills as a fine woodworker while taking classes at nearby Johnson State College.  While I appreciate working with hand tools, I am more of a hybrid woodworker, using both power and hand tools to create projects.  I am committed to working within the wood industry, though I am not yet certain which path I will pursue. What I do know is that my work will always follow a functional, but simple form of beauty dictated by the wood itself. I am honored to have been selected for the WMIA Scholarship. I look forward to many years of working in the wood industry.

Moriah Ross

Moriah Ross—Meade, KS
Pittsburg State University

I am a small town girl, I grew up in Meade, KS (about 45 minutes south of Dodge City). In my free time I like to be involved with clubs and other activities. I love to be outdoors, it really doesn’t matter what I’m doing as long as I am outside. I believe that my first desire to work in the Wood Technology field came when I started helping my dad around the house. It was further developed when I spent time with my grandpa, who is a carpenter, and when I went through high school I had the opportunity to spend a majority of my time in shop class. When I graduated from high school, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted to do something that would make me happy, so I looked into wood technology programs. At my first visit to Pittsburg State University I fell in love with the Wood Tech Department, the campus, and the people there. Now that I have spent my first year at Pitt State I know that I made the right decision in going to PSU.

Yarrow Rotskoff

Yarrow Rotskoff—Seattle, WA
Seattle Central College Wood Technology Center

I am a newcomer to wood technology having recently decided to pursue a new chapter in life.  I’d spent the better part of the last two decades at in a myriad of roles and enjoyed it very much but was looking to find a different path.  While the learning curve has been steep, I deeply enjoy this new pursuit and am thrilled to be working with my hands and navigating new challenges every day.  I am excited about my new focus and where it may lead.  Many thanks to WMIA for their generous support and encouragement.

Daniel St. John

Daniel St. John—Amherst, MA
Burlington College

Most fine furniture makers that I know have origins in carpentry. That was not the case for me. In fact, I know very little about carpentry. I grew up in a very artistic family. With my mother being a graphic designer, sister a printmaker, aunt a painter and high end pillow maker, and my Dad a writer, I always knew that I had some sort of artistic ability, but I didn’t know what my medium was until high school.The high school I went to (Amherst Regional High School) is well known for the amount of elective classes that are offered. My freshman year I was dropped into a wood carving class that I don’t think I even signed up for, but it changed my life. That class is where I found my artistic medium, met my mentor Stewart Olson and my three best friends. After that class I proceeded to take as many wood related classes as I could. And why would I stop at the end of high school and go back to doing something academic that would never suit my way of thinking? I decided to attend the Vermont Woodworking School where there is a heavy concentration on design, as well as craftsmanship in furniture. It has been perfect to be around professors that have as strange a way of thinking as I and with their support I have gotten much closer to finding my niche in the furniture world. Soon enough you all will be seeing some very weird furniture emerging into the world. Stuff you’ve never seen before!

Mark Welle

Mark Welle—Milford, IA
Pittsburg State University

This spring I graduated from Pittsburg State University with a Bachelors of Science in Technology. My major was Wood Technology with an emphasis in product manufacturing with a business minor. I am currently enrolled to begin my Masters of Career and Technical education with an emphasis in college teaching also at Pittsburg State University this fall. I will be a Graduate Assistant for the Wood Technology department. I have been very fortunate in my undergraduate degree with many valuable experiences and opportunities. I am very eager to continue my education with the potential of entering the educational side of the wood industry as well as broadening my woodworking skill set. My experience wouldn’t have been what it was without the support WMIA has provided. I am very appreciative to be recognized as a WMIA Scholarship recipient.

Curt Barnett—Manchester, CT
New England School of Architectural Woodworking

Jeffrey Ragle—Belchertown, MA
New England School of Architectural Woodworking