Supporting North Dakota United members, dependents of members and students preparing to enter into education as their profession, the NDU Foundation has awarded over $300,000 in scholarships and grants since it gave its first $500 scholarship in 1991.
Dan Hinnenkamp, a retired Grand Forks math teacher and president of the NDU Foundation, recently announced that this year 17 different individuals from across North Dakota will be sharing in nearly $24,000 in grants and scholarships.
“Sorting through more than 75 applications is a daunting task for the Foundation’s Board,” said Nick Archuleta, who is both a member of the Foundation Board and president of North Dakota United. “What we found was a large number of worthy candidates who are helping build a stronger North Dakota.”
The NDU Foundation is an independent not-for-profit corporation which receives it funding from the earnings on five named endowments, memorials and other gifts from members and supporters of great public education and public service in North Dakota. The 11,500 members of NDU annually assess themselves $4 to operate the Foundation.
To find the complete list of scholarships and grants, go to www.ndunited.org/who-we-are/ndufoundation. You may also donate to the Foundation on the NDU website.
Because the Foundation is a public charity, donations are deductible.
This year’s list of scholarship and grant recipients are:
Olivia Becker, of Bismarck, has been awarded an NDU Horace Mann ND Agents Graduate Education Scholarship. Becker will receive a cash award of $1,000 to pursue her master’s degree in Elementary Administration. She is a Bismarck native who obtained her degree in Elementary Education from the University of Mary in 2014. She started teaching at Saxvik Elementary School and recently was nominated for the 2018 Bismarck/Mandan Teacher of the Year. She is connected with educators all over the world through social media and hopes to be a school administrator in the future.
McKenzie Carson, of Walhalla, has been awarded an NDU Member/Dependent Scholarship. Carson, the daughter of Jana Carson, Walhalla, will receive a cash award of $1,000 for her freshman year of nursing study. Carson currently attends North Border-Walhalla High School and is planning to pursue nursing at the University of Jamestown. She worked in an ambulance service and has a strong interest in the medical field. She has an extensive amount of community service and is focused on going into emergency medicine.
Debora Dragseth, Ph.D., of Dickinson, has been awarded the NDU Workplace Innovation Grant. Dr. Dragseth will receive a cash award of $305 for running a scholarship program at Dickinson State University. She is a professor of Business Administration. This will be her 13th year of teaching at Dickinson
State University. She is a contributor to The Scholarship Corner, which was incepted in January 2019.
Mariah Fitterer, of Bismarck, has been awarded an NDU Education Scholarship and a Gary and Cindy Rath Scholarship. Fitterer, the daughter of Keith and Alice Fitterer, Bismarck, will receive a cash award of $1,750 for her senior year at Dickinson State University. She attended New Salem-Almont High School and is currently pursuing her Elementary Education degree at Dickinson State University with a Early Childhood endorsement. She has been a private tutor for elementary school students since August 2018 and is a co-owner of Fitterer’s Fireworks in Glen Ullin. Fitterer firmly believes each connection with a student is important, and one of her major goals is to help each one to reach his or her fullest potential.
Weston Gunther, of Jamestown, has been awarded an NDU Education Scholarship. Gunther, the son of John Gunther, Jamestown, will receive a cash award of $1,000 for his junior year of English Education study. He attended Devils Lake High School and is currently pursuing his English Education major at the University of Jamestown. He is also a minor in History. Gunther lived in Yemen and China, and he aspires to be an international educator.
Erik Holland, of Bismarck, has been awarded the NDU Workplace Innovation Grant. Holland will receive a cash award of $500 for a professional development program for teachers to learn about North Dakota history. He has been the Curator of Education at the State Historical Society of North Dakota since April 2010. He studied Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of North Dakota and at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and he received his Master of Arts degree in History with certificates in Public History and Museum Studies.
Benjamin Kensok, of West Fargo, has been awarded an NDU Education. Kensok, the son of Amy Kensok, West Fargo, will receive a cash award of $1,000 for his freshman year of Music Education study. He is a senior at West Fargo Sheyenne High School. He plans to pursue a degree in Music Education and a minor in Jazz Studies at the University of North Colorado. He gives music lessons to middle school students and plays piano at Holy Cross Catholic Church.
Jill Kvilvang, of Valley City, has been awarded an NDU Horace Mann ND Agents Graduate Education Scholarship. Kvilvang will receive a cash award of $1,000 to pursue her Master of Education degree in curriculum and development. Kvilvang graduated from high school from Verona Public Schools in a class of only 10 students. She then obtained her Elementary Education degree from Valley City State University in 1992 with a minor in Early Childhood and a kindergarten endorsement; at the University of Jamestown, she earned her Master of Education degree. Her first teaching job was in Belcourt, but now she currently teaches second grade in Valley City. She is also a single mother with two sons serving in the Armed Forces.
Alyxaine Mansfield, of Dickinson, has been awarded an NDU Member/Dependent Scholarship. Mansfield, the daughter of Shari Mansfield, Dickinson, will receive a cash award of $1,000 for her freshman year of nursing study. Mansfield is currently a senior at Dickinson High School and plans to pursue nursing at the University of North Dakota. Her mother is a Special Education teacher and Mansfield hopes to work with and improve the lives of children for her career in the medical field.
Paige Meyer, of Valley City, has been awarded the Mary Cripps Special Education Scholarship from the North Dakota United Foundation for the 2019-20 year. Meyer will receive a cash award of $750 toward her study in education. Meyer majored in Elementary Education through Valley City State University and is currently attending the University of North Dakota to obtain her Master of Science degree in Special Education. She believes that special education is her true calling and hopes to stay in North Dakota as a special education teacher. Meyer said, “Teaching is not only my career, it is my passion,” and she believes her most important objective as an educator is to make her students into lifelong learners.
Sara Phan, of Fargo, has been awarded the NDU Foundation Ethnic Minority Scholarship. Phan, the daughter of Trac Phan, Fargo, will receive a cash award of $750 for her junior year of study in education. Phan attended Fargo South High School and is currently a sophomore at North Dakota State University. As an Elementary Education major, she believes every student is different in his or her own unique way. She discovered her calling to teach after a visit to her first-grade teacher’s classroom. She has made the Dean’s list in college three times and has an extensive volunteer experience.
Anna Roaldson, of Bismarck, has been awarded an NDU Member/Dependent Scholarship. Roaldson, the daughter of Janine Roaldson, Bismarck, will receive a cash award of $1,000 for her freshman year of study. Roaldson is currently a senior at Bismarck High School. Due to her interest in the medical field, she plans to pursue a Doctorate of Physical Therapy at the University of North Dakota.
Katie Sather, of Valley City, has been awarded the Mary Cripps Special Education Scholarship. Sather will receive a cash award of $750 for study toward receiving her Master’s of Special Education degree. She originally worked in banking and landed a management role. It was while holding that leadership position when she realized her interest in teaching. She was already a mother even while she was completing her undergraduate studies in education; in her last semester, she gave birth to her third child. Sather is always open to learning, cherishes connections with students, and wants every student to know that his or her teacher cares.
Marissa Schuldheisz, of West Fargo, has been awarded an NDU Education Scholarship. Schuldheisz, the daughter of Kevin and Jennifer Schuldheisz, West Fargo, will receive a cash award of $1,000 for her senior year of Elementary Education study. Schuldheisz graduated from West Fargo High School in 2016 and is currently a junior at Mayville State University. She is pursuing a minor in Early Childhood Education and has made the Dean’s list for every semester during her time in college. She is the daughter of an elementary school principal in Fargo.
Christopher Strand, of Hatton, has been awarded the Ron & Ann Anstrom Scholarship for English, Math or Science Instructors. Strand will receive a cash award of $5,000 for his Master of Arts degree in Secondary Mathematics Education. Strand comes from a family of teachers, and both of his parents were proud educators. He has taught in both big and small schools and is currently in his eighth year of teaching. From his experience, he believes there is a strong value of community in small-town North Dakota.
Allison Thomes, of Fargo, has been awarded the Ron & Ann Anstrom Scholarship for English, Math or Science Instructors. Thomes will receive a cash award of $5,000 for her Master of Arts degree in Science Education. Thomes attended North Dakota State University. In the spring of 2016, she graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences and Biological Sciences Education and a minor in Chemistry. She currently teaches biology and STEM physical science at West Fargo High School.
Katherine Tolstad, of Souris, has been awarded an NDU Horace Mann ND Agents Graduate Education Scholarship. Tolstad will receive a cash award of $1,000 to pursue her Master’s degree in Family and Consumer Science Education. She graduated from North Dakota State University in May 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Science Education. One of her career goals is teaching life skills to her students. Previously, Tolstad taught at Bottineau High School, but is currently at Westhope High School. She is in her 11th year of teaching.