Chippewa County Community Foundation Announces New STEM Scholarship

The Chippewa County Community Foundation (CCCF) is excited to announce the establishment of the Emily and Frank Smiddy STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) Endowment Scholarship fund! 

About a year ago, Emily and Frank Smiddy reached out to CCCF to set up a scholarship that would be awarded annually to a student from Chippewa County pursuing a career in one of the STEM fields.  This scholarship is valued at $40,000 payable over four years. 

Frank Smiddy started ProAct Service Corporation in 1994.  At the time, his company was two men and a phone, provided top-quality equipment for air and water treatment.  The company grew to over 200 employees and expanded coast to coast. In 2018, ProAct was sold to Evoqua Water Treatments. 

Frank and Emily always had a passion for helping kids pursue a career in the STEM field.  While owning ProAct, they provided scholarships for kids of their employees.  After selling the company, they wanted to give back to other communities they have a connection to.   Emily and Frank established four endowment scholarships so they could make a positive impact that would live on for perpetuity.  In addition to awarding scholarships, Frank is a mentor to new start-up businesses.  He currently mentors 30 individuals. 

CCCF worked with Angie McArthur – EUP ISD Superintendent to establish a scholarship selection committee to select the recipient.  CCCF received 10 applications from very deserving students.  It wasn’t an easy decision on who to award the scholarship to due to the quality of candidates.  After deliberation, the committee selected Nina Alpers as the first recipient of the Emily and Frank Smiddy STEM Scholarship.

Nina Alpers – 2020 Recipient

Nina is a 2020 graduate from Rudyard High School.  She graduated with a 4.08 GPA, valedictorian of her class, President of the National Honors Society, member of Student Council and Youth Advisory Council, President of Students Leading Students, LINKS peer, member of the Art Club, team captain for the high school volleyball team and Quiz Bowl team and member of the track team.

In addition to her school activities, Nina volunteers for Meals on Wheels, the animal shelter, Friends of the Library and fundraises for the Rudyard pool.  She tutors students at her school and organized a food drive that brought in over 600 nonperishable goods.  Most recently, she packaged and delivered food to families of the Rudyard community during the coronavirus pandemic.

When explaining why she chose the STEM field, Nina wrote “On Christmas morning in fourth grade, I came running down the stairs to survey what presents were left for me in the night.  I opened a few gifts from grandparents, some candy from my aunt and uncle, but nothing compared to the next gift I opened – my very own white doctor’s coat, a pair of scrubs, a stethoscope and a name tag that read ‘Dr. Nina Alpers’.  I remember for months after Christmas, I wore my white coat and name tag every day, and I think my parents may have regretted buying me that gift because I was constantly asking my family, ‘Can I give you a check-up?’ There was not a time that I can remember when I did not want to become a doctor.”

Nina will be attending Grand Valley State University in the fall pursuing Pre-Medical Studies and majoring in Biomedical Science and minoring in Spanish.  Nina stated, “I envision myself on the hospital floor fighting disease and curing people.  I am looking forward to the primary care side of being a doctor but becoming a physician will also feed my investigative and scientific mind.  Not only do I envision fighting disease on the front line, but I also foresee myself in a lab surrounded by test tubes and petri dishes, looking at microorganisms under a microscope, and trying to figure out medical phenomena not previously known to people.”

Frank gave Nina this advice, “This is your opportunity to explore Grand Valley.  Take advantage of everything the school has to offer. Please reach back to your high school and let them know your progress.  We would really like to stay in contact with you and help you any way we can.  You are a very special person and want you to pursue your passion.”

For more information about setting up a scholarship program managed by the Chippewa County Community Foundation, please visit www.chippewacountycommunityfoundation.org or call 906-635-1046.

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This story was prepared by the staff at EUP News or contributed from an outside source.

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