The Paper Stock Industries (PSI) Chapter, a national chapter of ISRI, is awarding $32,500 to 12 students in its annual academic scholarship program, setting records for the total funds awarded and the number of student recipients.
The PSI Chapter has been awarding academic, merit-based scholarships on an annual basis for more than 25 years. “The scholarship program has grown over time,” says Nini Krever, Chair of the PSI Chapter Scholarship program. “All of the scholarships are thanks to donated funds. We have raised money through different fundraisers. During COVID-19, we stopped the in-person events and went back to the old-school method of raising money—just calling people up.” Through these phone calls Krever found that people were willing and happy to donate to the program even without purchasing raffle ticket or attending a bowling tournament.
“It’s a real feather in your cap for your company to win one of these scholarships for one of your employee’s dependents,” Krever says. “It’s pride for the company and for its leadership to donate to the scholarship fund because hopefully some of that money comes back to the company as academic support to their employees’ families. I think it’s a perk of membership.”
The judges for the scholarship program are all past chapter presidents of PSI. “I think it says a lot about the involvement of the chapter’s past leadership,” Krever says. “And I think it speaks to the reason PSI is a strong chapter of ISRI. We work well together, there’s strong comradery among the members, and they want to be involved within ISRI and PSI.”
Selecting the students for the scholarships is a competitive process. Judges review applicants’ transcripts, SAT/ACT scores, letters of recommendations, essays, extracurriculars, work experiences, and volunteer activities in their schools or local communities. “It’s fun and exciting,” Krever says. “Each year, we get to see a new group of bright students applying for these scholarships. We like reading the students’ essays. The essay questions challenge the students and get them thinking in new and different ways.”
The scholarship includes one $5,000 grand-prize scholarship and 11 $2,500 merit scholarships. Winning students can use the PSI scholarship funds to pay for certificate or degree programs at technical, trade, and vocational schools as well as two-year or four-year post-secondary institutions. The PSI scholarship program is open to students who are dependents of employees in the recycling divisions of PSI Chapter member companies.
Several of the students selected for the scholarship are interested in pursuing degrees in nursing and engineering. “It’s the first year we’ve had so many students pursue those particular fields,” she says. The full list of this year’s winners, along with their sponsoring ISRI/PSI Chapter member company/location and the school they will attend, are as follows:
$5,000 Grand-Prize Scholarship Winner
- Abigail Williams, Greif (Godfrey, Ill.); Southwestern Illinois College
$2,500 Merit Scholarship Winners
- Emalee Brewer, Far West Recycling (Hillsboro, Ore.); University of Oregon
- Savannah Duursema, Van Dyk Recycling Solutions (Norwalk, Conn.); Eastern Connecticut State University
- Sydney Eaton, Graphic Packaging International (West Monroe, La.); Louisiana State University
- Martha-Kate Gillis, Graphic Packaging International (Macon, Ga.); University of Georgia
- Gabriel Harrison, International Paper (Memphis, Tenn.); University of Alabama
- Emily Hilyard, PADNOS (Ludington, Mich.); Cornerstone University
- Zachary House, WestRock (Philadelphia); University of Alabama
- Alessandro Mordasiewicz, Waste Management (Chicago); Purdue University
- Mallori Russell, International Paper (Houston, Miss.); Itawamba Community College
- Jacquelyn State, Pratt Industries (Conyers, Ga.); University of West Georgia
- Owen Williams, Greif (Godfrey, Ill.); Lewis and Clark Community College
The submission requirements and application for the 2023 scholarships will be posted later this year at paperstockindustries.org. For more information on the PSI Chapter scholarship program and this year’s winners, contact Krever at (561) 762-7574 or via email.
Photo courtesy of Good Free Photos via unsplash.com.