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WCMA Supports the Next Generation of Cheesemaking with Five Scholarship Awards

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) is pleased to announce the 2017 winners of its annual scholarship programs.  In total, five awards worth $15,000 will be given to students pursuing careers in agriculture and, more specifically, in the dairy industry on Wednesday, April 12 at the Wisconsin Cheese Industry Conference at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

Winners of the 2017 WCMA Myron P. “Mike” Dean Cheese Industry Student Scholarship are:

Michelle Henning, daughter of Kerry and Barb Henning of Kiel, Wisconsin, is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, pursuing a degree in Human Resource Management, and hopes to work for a cheese manufacturer upon graduation.  Her father co-owns Henning’s Cheese Factory, where Michelle works part-time in packaging and as a factory tour guide.  She has made the Dean’s List throughout her college career and is involved in the school’s honors program.

Sarah Jacobsen, daughter of Chad and Donna Jacobsen of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, is working toward a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin.  Her father is a Quality Assurance Specialist at Grande Cheese Company and her mother is an Account Manager in the Food and Beverage Division of Ecolab. Sarah works part-time as a Leopold GreenHouse Assistant and as a Kids Garden and Nutrition Coordinator at the East Madison Community Center.

“Educating the next generation is an investment in our future,” said John Umhoefer, WCMA Executive Director.  “Ensuring that these bright young people have a firm foundation of knowledge at the start of their careers in agriculture and cheesemaking ensures that our industry will be strong for decades to come.”

The scholarship selection process for the WCMA Myron P. “Mike” Dean Cheese Industry Student Scholarship was highly competitive this year, with many applicants offering impressive transcripts and references.  WCMA first initiated this scholarship program in 1997 and later named it in honor of Myron P. “Mike” Dean, a WCMA Life Member and dairy extension specialist at the University of Wisconsin, who passed away in 1999.

Also on April 12, WCMA will award monies to the winners of the WCMA Cheese Industry Supplier Student Scholarship.  The 2017 recipients are:

Jenna Fryer, the daughter of Melissa and Jeremy Fryer of North Syracuse, New York, is working toward a degree in Food Science and Technology from The Ohio State University – Columbus.  Jenna’s mother works at Kelvion, a WCMA supplier member company.  Jenna hopes to attend graduate school and become a research and development scientist.

Daniel Kocourek, the son of Don and Debbie Kocourek of Reedsville, Wisconsin, will attend Fox Valley Technical College this fall, pursuing a degree in Dairy Herd Management and Farm Operations.  His mother works at Prolamina, a WCMA supplier member company.  Daniel currently works as a farmhand, and someday hopes to buy into his family’s farm.

Zachary Zarnke has worked at Nelson Jameson, Inc. for the past five years, currently serving as a MRO Buyer.  He is also studying at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, pursuing a degree in Integrative Leadership Studies.  Zachary has an impressive cumulative GPA of 4.0, and is set to graduate in May 2018.  He and his wife, Jessica, live in Marshfield with their twin toddlers, Alainna and Jackson.

The source of scholarship monies is the annual Championship Cheese Auction, where gold medal cheeses from WCMA’s Championship Cheese Contests are sold to the highest bidders.  This year’s auction will take place on Wednesday, April 12 at the Wisconsin Cheese Industry Conference, during the Chr. Hansen Reception, beginning at 5:00 p.m.  Contact WCMA Events Manager Kirsten Henning at khenning@wischeesemakers.org for a bid sheet.

All are welcome at the auction, and more details can be found at www.cheeseconference.org.