Archived Story

20 Austin students semifinalists for chamber scholarship

Published 5:52am Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Twenty students from Austin schools have been named semifinalists for nearly $6,000 in cash scholarships from the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce. The chamber’s ACCESS Scholarship program will ultimately award four 12th-graders and six eighth-graders with scholarships.

“It’s quite an accomplishment to be named a semifinalist,” said Business Education Committee Chair Eric Connett. “There is a lot of competition, and the process is challenging. We congratulate all the semifinalists, and wish them well as they continue on.”

This year, 82 eighth-graders and 30 12th-graders applied for the scholarships. Applicants are reviewed through a three-step process, which includes written application, personal interview and, finally, a prepared speech.

Sandy Forstner, executive director with the chamber, said each of the semifinalists will be interviewed by the selection committee before scholarships finalists are announced in early February. The finalists will then give a speech before the committee.

“It’s a topic of their choice on the speech presentations,” Forstner said, adding students can speak about anything from Boy Scouts to science projects. “It’s a fun process. You get to know the kids a little bit and you see them acting in a very professional manner.”

Scholarships, ranging in value from $200 to $1500, will be awarded at the Chamber’s annual ACCESS Scholarship Banquet on March 18 at the Hormel Historic Home. A past scholarship winner will give the keynote address.

This year’s 12th grade semifinalists include Courtney Bogle, Melissa Carla Navao, Alex Thorson, Mollie Mickelson, Laura Siegfried, Robert Sherman, Christine Barinka and Thomas Olmsted.

Eighth grade semifinalists are Christopher Krichgatter, Isaac Wollersheim, Francisco A. Rosas Hernandez, Mariel Flaherty, Katelynne Jensen, Gabriella Marconi, Cody Bergland, Marissa Lund, Mikayla Brunner, Kaitlyn Schammel, McKenna Hotek and Amber Hansen.

Established in 1986, the Chamber’s ACCESS Scholarship program has awarded more than $158,000 to 272 Austin students. All scholarships are provided through Chamber member business sponsorships.

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