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2019 scholars

Javier is building a better world through engineering projects that empower communities to meet their basic human needs.

As a Chemical Engineering student, Javier has undertaken more than a complex course of study. He has also undertaken travel to work and study in five different cities in three different continents in the past five years. His passion for global communities found a local expression at the University of Minnesota – Duluth, where Javier is one of the founders of the college’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders.

Javier Lara

Chemical Engineering

Jera dedicates her days to the study of milling and machining effects.

Specifically, Jera spends her time as an Undergraduate Research Assistant studying the milling and machining effects on carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRPs). Her MPEF scholarship will send her on her way toward graduation from the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

Jera takes advantage of the opportunities the Northland offers. Hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and off-roading fill out a robust calendar outside the classroom.

Jera Zellmann

MeChanical Engineering

Three acronyms sum up Nathan Oliver’s commitment to the engineering field.

First, IRE: Nate plans to graduate from Iron Range Engineering (IRE) with a degree in electrical engineering in May 2019. Next, IEEE: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, where Nate serves as the vice chair for the student branch. Finally, FE: Nate is preparing for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam — the first step to becoming a licensed professional engineer. Perhaps Nate will follow up his academic achievements by adding another acronym — MnSPE, Minnesota’s resource for success in engineering careers.

Nathan Oliver

Electrical Engineering

Erick’s future is shining bright, no small thanks to his expertise in solar-powered cars.

These are no matchbox cars — Erick leads a team of students to build full-size electric vehicles powered by the sun. Thanks in part to a scholarship from MPEF, Erick will complement his solar aspirations with a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. Erick says, “I am very passionate about renewable energy.” He hopes to build on his coursework through a career in clean energy systems.

Erick Sipila

industrial & systems engineering

How do you combine engineering with a passion for athletics?

Just ask Maria Wrage. Maria is using her MPEF scholarship to pursue a degree in Composite Materials Engineering from Winona
State University. Maria says, “I plan to work in a sports industry field using my degree to advance the field of

Maria Wrage

Composite Materials Engineering

Peptides, cross-country skiing and becoming a chemical engineer.

Matt’s passions carry him from snowy trails to the research lab. Under the guidance of Dr. Benjamin Hackel, his research focus is high-throughput methods for antimicrobial peptide improvement.

Matt DeJong


While an MPEF scholarship supports Matthew’s engineering studies, he also takes part in Duluth’s professional and recreational opportunities.

Along with majoring in civil engineering at the University of Minnesota Duluth, Matthew spends time participating in professional organizations and appreciating all the sights the Northland has to offer. “I would like to thank everyone that is involved in the scholarship process,” Matthew says. “Your generosity and dedication to the engineering profession is greatly appreciated.”

Matthew Henderson


Past scholars

Aduramo is a senior, studying Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science, with an emphasis in Design and Manufacturing, at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She is an honors student at the University, and with the National Society of Black Engineers.

Aduramo has a passion to impact her community positively, through tutoring middle, high school, and college students. She is active in her college community through leadership roles within organizations related to her identity, such as African Christian Fellowship. Aduramo is a motivated young woman who finds herself through music and believes in impacting the lives of her peers through patience, empathy, and love. Her immediate future includes graduate education in Computational Fluid Mechanics, with a concentration in Energy.

Aduramo Lasode

Mechanical Engineering & Computer Science
emphasis in Design and Manufacturing

Max’s interest in engineering rooted from his desire at an early age to learn about and question the fundamental nature of our complex world. However, his passions also take him to the disc golf and tennis courts on a regular basis.

Max hopes his engineering skills lead to a career in the clean energy sector, where he can help preserve the land that on which he enjoy running, dancing and playing disc golf.

Max Fite

Mike came from a small Wisconsin town to the University of Minnesota to study chemical engineering. He hopes to go to industry after obtaining his bachelors in chemical engineering with a minor in management. His dream is to work for NASA as a chemical processes/ materials engineer.

Mike’s hobbies include playing guitar, writing music, gymnastics, and spending time with friends. Mike is also the president of MSPE Twin Cities: Student Chapter.

Mike McLain

Chemical Engineering

Laura is a civil engineering student with interests in geotechnical engineering and project management. She has always wanted to work with people to contribute to society. Laura’s strong mathematical and organizational skills have now helped her pursue a degree in civil engineering.

Laura is an avid hunter and fisher and would love to find a geotechnical or project management position in northern Minnesota after graduation.

Laura Hart

Civil Engineering

Zachary has always been interested in road networks and bridge structures. Now he’s interested in the transportation/structural part of civil engineering. As a future graduate from the civil engineering program at the University of Minnesota Duluth, he plans on becoming a professional engineer and working for a public or private entity in Minnesota.

Zachary is a native of St. Joseph, Minnesota. He has been involved in his community through the American Society of Civil Engineers and Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society Duluth Beta Chapter at UMD.

Zachary Whitley

Civil Engineering