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Our Scholars

We are proud to introduce our 2021 William Wiersma Scholar, Alexis Johnson. Joan and Lisa Wiersma were excited to present this year’s scholarship in-person at the Awards Banquet on May 19, 2021.

We are proud to introduce our 2020 William Wiersma Scholar, Camber Ebert. Camber is Valedictorian of the Class of 2020, and will attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison to pursue a nursing career. We welcome Camber to our family of scholars!

We are proud to introduce our 2019 William Wiersma Scholar, Chloe DeYoung. Joan and Lisa Wiersma announced the scholarship at the Cambria-Friesland High School Awards Ceremony on May 22, 2019.

Chloe DeYoung Joan and Lisa Wiersma

We are excited to introduce two outstanding young women, Delaney Agnew and McKenna Murphy, as our 2018 William Wiersma Scholars. Joan and Lisa Wiersma awarded the Scholarships at the Cambria-Friesland High School Awards Ceremony on May 23, 2018.


We are excited to introduce our 2017 William Wiersma Scholar, Ashtyn Smits. Joan and Lisa Wiersma attended the Cambria-Friesland High School Awards Ceremony on May 24, 2017, and announced Ashtyn as this year’s Scholar.


We are excited to introduce our second William Wiersma Scholar, Jacob Keip. Joan and Lisa Wiersma made the announcement at the Cambria-Friesland High School Award Ceremony on May 18, 2016.


We welcomed our first William Wiersma Scholar, Andrew DeYoung, on May 20, 2015! The application process includes a lengthy questionnaire, four essays, three letters of recommendation, and an interview, so we had extensive information on which to base our decision. Joan and Lisa Wiersma attended the Cambria-Friesland High School Award Ceremony on May 20, 2015, to present the Scholarship to Andrew, and a Special Recognition Award to Isabella Hasselberger.


In early May, Joan hosted a dinner in her home for the current William Wiersma Scholars. Lisa was able to attend, and they enjoyed a wonderful evening hearing about classes, friends, activities, and plans for the future. We hope to make this an annual event.

Joan & William Wiersma Scholars

Current & Past Scholars

What are our scholars up to now? Please share it with us through the update form!

Alexis Johnson headshot

Alexis Johnson


We welcome Alexis Johnson as our 2021 William Wiersma Scholar! Alexis is valedictorian of the Cambria-Friesland High School Class of 2021, and will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison to study business. Alexis has excelled academically, in the classroom as well as meeting the challenges of remote learning over the past two years. Her efforts in business-related classes and extra-curricular activities (Future Business Leaders of America) have been particularly exemplary, serving as a student assistant in the former, and receiving recognition for her entry into the spreadsheet competition in the latter. Alexis’ calm and mature approach to situations has made her a strong leader, and was especially evident in her work as a poll worker for the national election in 2020. She stated that her election experience highlighted the power and privilege of our voting process, the importance of respecting everyone’s views and the value in establishing relationships within the community and local government. We are proud to welcome Alexis as a William Wiersma Scholar!


Camber Ebert headshot

Camber Ebert


Camber Ebert, Valedictorian of the Class of 2020 at Cambria-Friesland High School, is our 2020 William Wiersma Scholar. We welcomed Camber as our newest scholar during the virtual awards ceremony on May 30, 2020. Camber has excelled in the classroom with “straight A’s” throughout high school, including several Advanced Placement courses. In addition to being a student, Camber assumed the role of a teaching assistant for her AP calculus class when a substitute teacher was filling in for Mr. Steger. Her invaluable help was greatly appreciated by her teachers as well as her classmates. Camber has also enjoyed serving as a leader for the Welsh Prairie Livewires 4-H Club for several years, where she has developed skills in organizing and leading meeting with youth and their parents. This experience has given Camber many opportunities to embrace her skills and love of public speaking. Camber will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she intends to major in nursing with a goal of becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Recently, Camber has pursued and completed her education, training and certification to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. We applaud these efforts and especially commend her on her devotion to her patients at the nursing home where she works, as we are all keenly aware of the challenges faced by patients and staff in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. We know that Camber will succeed in whatever career she chooses, and we are honored to be a part of her educational journey.



Chloe DeYoung headshot

Chloe DeYoung


Chloe DeYoung is valedictorian of her graduating class and has earned straight A’s and A+’s throughout her high school career. Her coursework has extended beyond the usual high school curriculum to include 4 Advanced Placement courses and one class at a local college for which she has earned college credit. Chloe plans to pursue a medical career and independently reached out to researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison seeking an opportunity to learn about the field of medical research. The professor was so impressed by Chloe’s initiative and enthusiasm that she offered her a position as a laboratory assistant for the summer (typically reserved for college undergraduate or graduate students), where she performed experiments on drug-resistant bacteria. Although Chloe loved the challenges and rewards of laboratory research, it was her experience working with dementia patients that solidified her resolve to become a physician. She now hopes to focus on neuroscience and work to unlock the mysteries of the brain. Outside of her academic accomplishments, Chloe has been a valuable member and leader of multiple varsity athletic teams, including soccer, softball, and her special love, volleyball. Chloe will be attending Stetson University, where she has been awarded the J. Ollie Edmunds Distinguished Scholarship, the most prestigious and valuable scholarship at Stetson. In light of her receipt of the Edmunds Scholarship, we have pledged our support to Chloe for her post-graduate studies (i.e. medical school). We are excited to support Chloe in the upcoming years as she pursues her dream of becoming a physician.

Updates from Chloe:

May 2020

I have just finished my first year of college at Stetson University and am happy to share that I have maintained a 4.0 for the entire year. This semester I took 18 credits, including Chemistry 2, College Spanish, Biostatistics, and Sociology earning an A+ in each. This year I earned the 2020 Award for General Chemistry which is given to one student who has taken the entire sequence and done “outstanding work.” I very much enjoyed all of my classes and learned a lot this year. For the honor’s class this semester I had to take “Honors Workshop”. This class focused on making a difference in the community outside of Stetson, but due to the COVID-19 caused adjustments, we were given the goal of making a difference while in these adjusted situations. I decided to start a virtual community for health and wellness.

Outside of my classes, I was able to start a lot of my involvement this semester. I will continue to be a SPI (student peer instructor) next semester for Biology and I greatly enjoyed helping others understand a subject that I’m so passionate about. I am also considering applying for Lead SPI, the student leader of all the SPIs.

In my executive position as academic chairman for ZTA, I accomplished a lot this year. I designed an entirely new academic system that I feel will do better at raising the overall GPA of the organization. I also was chosen out of the entire organization as an “upcoming leader” to attend the ZTA Convention which happens every other year. This would’ve been in Atlanta, Georgia at the end of June and I would’ve had a free trip, but it was switched to online due to the current situation. I’m excited to see what I can do in my position next semester with my newly designed program and what position I will earn if I apply next term.

I had planned on residing in Florida during the summer in order to continue my Internship at ClinCloud with clinical trials. However, due to the situation caused by COVID-19 I came home. My boss at ClinCloud is allowing me to continue my internship remotely for now and I will return next semester and continue in person. We’ve talked about me being able to start a research portion this summer of creating a new diagnostic test to more efficiently evaluate Dementia patients and also working on writing a paper for that as well as some other projects. I’ve enjoyed my time there and enjoy the people I work with greatly. I plan on continuing this for all four years during my undergraduate career and am hoping to find opportunities to become published.

This semester was also very fun because I was able to do a lot through intramural sports, including volleyball and basketball which I have a deep passion for. I met lots of new people and explored the beautiful downtown area of DeLand. I am so happy with where I go to school and the community around me and plan on enjoying the next three years as much as possible.

Next semester I will be very challenged. Two of my classes are Physics with lab and Organic Chemistry with lab, so I know I’ll have to study a lot. I also will continue my involvement as well as try to gain more volunteer and shadowing experience. I’m going to use this extra time this summer to work on my internship, learn more about the process of applying to medical schools, teach myself how to cook healthy snacks and meals, and enjoy precious time with my family.

January 2020

I have just finished my first semester at Stetson University and it went great! I took a lot of science courses this year such as Chemistry, Biology, and Psychology. I earned an A+ in each and also earned an A in my Honors Freshman Seminar which focused on many major issues our generation will have to work to solve. I am loving the rigor and challenge of college classes.
Through my success in my Biology class, I was offered an interview to become a SPI (student peer instructor) for this class next semester. After the interview, I was offered this position. Early in the semester, I pledged for Zeta Tau Alpha and soon after Initiation, I became a part of the Executive Committee as the Academic Chairman. I am very honored to have been given this opportunity, as freshmen are rarely considered. I have also become a part of the pre-med fraternity and biological honors society on campus.
Outside of campus, I have been working to find opportunities to become more involved in medicine. I have networked a lot and gained some connections in the realm of clinical trials. Just recently after shadowing ClinCloud, a clinical trial office working with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Dementia, I was offered an internship that would be ongoing for whenever I’m in Florida. I will be learning the process of clinical trials and also be able to gain on-site training for phlebotomy, ECGs, and more. I’m very excited about this opportunity.
I have also had lots of fun on campus this semester from performing a dance for a competition at homecoming where we spent the week raising money for the homeless to attending my first Gala complete with acrobats and stilt-walkers. I’m very happy with my choice of schooling and can’t wait to see what the next couple years have in store for me.


Delaney Agnew headshot

Delaney Agnew


Delaney Agnew is Salutatorian of the Cambria High School Class of 2018 and has excelled in all of her classes across all subjects. She attended a Presidential campaign rally in Madison in 2012, and since that time has developed an ever-increasing passion for government studies and politics. Delaney’s experience on the Platform Committee and as a State Senator at Badger State Girls solidified her plans to pursue these studies in college and as a career. She enjoys public speaking and performing, with numerous awards in forensic competition and singing the national anthem at sporting events. Delaney’s employment at a nursing home has become much more than a job for her. She has developed special relationships with the residents, regarding them as “extra grandparents,” and spends time talking, reading and singing with them on a regular basis. These activities have also provided a further focus on Delaney’s career ambitions. Delaney hopes to apply her skills as a lawyer in the area of elder advocacy and protection. Delaney will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she will embrace a world of opportunity in the fields of politics and government. We are proud to support Delaney in her exciting and important career goals.

Updates From Delaney Agnew:

June 2020

After a very unique spring semester, I am happy to say I achieved a 4.0 along with being on the Dean’s List! This semester was very challenging as I got special permission to do a credit overload of 19 credits. My most challenging class this semester was Statistics for Sociologists. It had been since high school that I had taken a math class, so it took me a while to adjust, but I was very happy when I ended the class with an A. I also took two Gender and Women’s Studies classes that contributed to my certificate, which is now complete. I also took two Political Science classes that were focused on international relations and global politics, which was definitely interesting and relevant when we discussed the global COVID-19 pandemic. I also continued taking choir, which was very devastating online as our spring concert and other activities were cancelled and we had to give up all of the hard work we put into our repertoire prior to the quarantine. Although transitioning to online-learning was difficult at first, I made the best of the situation and I feel I have become a stronger student because of it. I am now enrolled in three online summer classes that I will be completing while also working full time as the supervisor of the Cambria Pool. I am already in my third week of the first summer class, which is only 4 weeks long. This class focuses on the Sociology of Juvenile Delinquency, and I am very grateful to be taking it in the midst of the Black Lives Matter protests that are occurring right now as it has been a good avenue for educating myself on racial disparities within the criminal justice system, while also discussing these issues with fellow classmates in the online forum. I am very grateful that I have the ability to educate myself on such important matters, as it helps me understand my own privilege as a white person while seeing all of the injustices in the world faced by marginalized groups.
Since the second half of spring semester was moved to online learning, all of the events that the two student organizations I am in had planned were cancelled. This was very unfortunate as the National Organization for Women UW-Madison Chapter had to cancel the annual Take Back the Night march that we had been planning in support of sexual assault survivors. It was also very challenging for College Democrats as we had to cancel all of our in-person canvassing efforts for the election in April. However, we continued to text and phone-bank, and were able to get a victory by electing Judge Jill Karofsky to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which we are very excited about! I have been reelected as the Data Director for College Dems and look forward to organizing for the 2020 presidential election, whether it be in-person or virtual organizing. I also hope that we are able to resume in-person classes in the fall, as I truly miss singing with my choir and cannot wait to perform with them again!
It was also a pleasure living with fellow scholarship recipient, Ashtyn Smits, this school year in Madison. She was a phenomenal roommate and we grew even closer as friends. I was sad when we had to say goodbye to our time as roommates earlier than we had hoped!
Overall, I made the best of my spring semester and look forward with great anticipation of when I can go back to campus. The University of Wisconsin-Madison has quickly become my second home, and I would not have the privilege of these wonderful experiences and memories without your contribution to my education and future. Thank you for your continued support!

Jan 2020

I had a really great third semester at UW-Madison! I am proud to say I made the Dean’s List again and I really enjoyed my classes this semester! I officially declared a second major so I am now double majoring in Political Science and Sociology with a certificate in Gender and Women’s Studies.
This semester I started my role as the Data Director for College Democrats and I had a lot of fun helping to organize meetings and working on increasing membership. For my role, I log all of our group’s data about membership and involvement. We went canvassing twice this semester to start bridge building with voters by talking to them about issues they cared about instead of particular candidates. We are hoping by building connections with our voters early on that it will be easier to get out the vote for the 2020 presidential election. I also helped the National Organization for Women UW-Madison chapter with the Love Your Body Day celebration on campus this year as well, which was a lot of fun and brought many smiles to all kinds of people who received our body positive affirmations. I look forward to doing more with both of these organizations in the spring as well.
The women’s chorus that I am a part of started off the semester by singing the national anthem at a Badgers Women’s Volleyball game which was a very exciting experience! We also got to watch the game afterwards and bond as a group. My choir also got the opportunity to be one of the groups to perform at the new Hamel Music Center grand opening ceremony. We performed for a packed house! We also had a very successful fall concert in the new music center and an even better holiday concert at the Luther Memorial church. I will be continuing on with this choir next semester as well.
All in all, I had a wonderful fall semester back at school and I continue to be extremely grateful for the chance to attend this amazing university which would not be possible without the generosity of this foundation. Thank you so much!

June 2019

My second semester at UW-Madison flew by! I took lots of very interesting classes this semester that I really enjoyed. I fulfilled general education requirements while also taking classes towards my major and certificate. I am proud to say that I made the Dean’s List again, and also achieved a higher GPA the first semester! I feel like I am getting in the groove of college academics and getting more comfortable. I am very excited to go back in the fall and continue learning valuable information while also challenging myself. I also officially declared my Political Science major and Gender and Women’s Studies certificate. I am taking two more Sociology classes next semester to determine if I would also like to declare that as my double major.
I was also more actively involved with my student organizations this semester. College Democrats were in full swing for the spring elections. I enjoyed attending several rallies for our new Mayor of Madison, Satya Rhodes-Canway. Satya is Madison’s first openly gay mayor, which is an incredible feat. I also got to personally know and canvass for our new Madison City Council District 8 Alder, Avra Reddy, as she is a fellow student. Voting in this spring’s election was very exciting as we elected many women into office in Madison. At the end of this semester, I ran to be on the executive board for College Democrats and got elected the new Data Director! I am very excited to be more involved in the fall as we prepare for the 2020 presidential election. I also had a lot of fun working with the National Organization for Women (UW-Madison Chapter) this semester as we raised money by hosting a pop-up thrift store in Memorial Union. We used the funds to host the Take Back the Night March where we advocated for sexual assault victims and called to take back our streets and our safety. We marched from Library Mall and traveled on Langdon Street all the way to the Capitol where we gathered and heard from speakers such as Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, Alder Avra Reddy, Planned Parenthood Public Affairs Organizer and former UW-Madison student Katrina Morrison, and more. We also had an open floor for survivors to speak out about their experiences and advocate for an end to sexual assault. This event was powerful and very inspiring. I hope to help my organization organize more events like this in the future.
My choir also had a very successful semester. We worked hard in preparation for our spring concert and performed 7 different songs. We even had choreography for one, which was very fun! We took five of our pieces and performed at Capitol Lakes Assisted Living. My choir finished off the semester by recording an original piece by my conductor that he was submitting for a national composition competition. We also recorded the National Anthem in hopes of submitting it to the UW-Madison sports department to hopefully perform as a group potentially at some basketball, hockey, or volleyball games next year. This choir has been a phenomenal way to continue with my love for music.
Overall, I had a great first year at UW-Madison and I look forward to the next three. I am so grateful that I was afforded the opportunity by this generous foundation to have all of these experiences.
Thank you!

Jan 2019

After a very successful and busy semester at UW-Madison, I am very excited to share all of the wonderful things that I have been up to! I took a variety of classes this semester in order to fulfill general education requirements, while also catering to my interests! I took an introduction class for political science that revolved around American politics and government, which was even more interesting during the midterm election. I took a sociology class on American society that also helped me analyze politics, but from a different perspective. I enjoyed this class so much that I am now considering possibly double majoring in Political Science and Sociology! I am taking another sociology class next semester on race and ethnicity in the United States in order to help with this decision. I also took a gender and women’s studies class regarding world history that was truly an eye-opener. The G&WS department at UW-Madison is remarkable. I am planning on fulfilling more general education requirements with more G&WS classes to also obtain a certificate in this fascinating field! I loved all of my classes this semester and am proud to say that I made the Dean’s List!
Outside of the classroom, I kept myself very busy! I auditioned for the chorus the first week of school and got into the women’s chorus! We rehearse three times a week and had three concerts this semester. My favorite was the holiday concert at Luther Memorial Church where we performed with the other choirs on campus. I have met so many amazing women in my choir that I’m sure will be lifelong friends! I feel so blessed to get to continue my love for music at college!
I also got to be active in politics this semester through the two student organizations I joined. By being involved with College Democrats, I got to canvass for political candidates during the midterm election while also getting to meet and talk with several at campaign rallies! The coolest rally that I attended was with former Vice President Joe Biden, where I managed to sneak into the back of a selfie with him! I got to also celebrate National Love Your Body Day with the National Organization for Women (UW-Madison Chapter). We tabled on State Street and handed out positive affirmations, candy, and cheer! I also got to take part in Badger Athletics pride by not only attending the first men’s basketball game but also by being pictured in this year’s poster!
Words cannot begin to express my gratitude for all of the opportunities that receiving this generous scholarship has afforded me so far, and I am so excited for what the future holds for me in college! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


McKenna Murphy headshot

McKenna Murphy


McKenna Murphy has distinguished herself as an outstanding student and leader in school and community activities. McKenna has always excelled in mathematics and had planned to pursue a career in accounting or other related fields. Recently, however, she has discovered a love for teaching and now hopes to combine her interests as a business or accounting educator. While McKenna has been instrumental in the organization of many community activities, her participation in the annual Memorial Day commemoration in Friesland is particularly noteworthy. Every year, she tirelessly works with family and friends to meticulously unfold the casket flag from each veteran, hang each on a separate pole and arrange the poles to construct the “Avenue of Flags.” Each veteran is honored by name as their flag is raised, and also as a flag is placed at their grave. For McKenna, the event serves as a personal reminder of the sacrifice of others and her personal patriotism, and she is committed to providing this opportunity for her generation to remember, respect and honor those who fought our freedoms. McKenna will be attending the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, and we are honored to support her college career.

Updates from McKenna:

January 2021


I hope that you are staying safe and healthy during this crazy time. I cannot believe that I have completed my 5th semester and am now over halfway through my college career. Time really has been flying by! This last semester was really interesting as my classes went from hybrid (somewhat in person, but mostly online), to completely online, and then back to hybrid. Although, I was really dreading having a majority of my classes online, it ended up being a very good semester! My favorite classes were Educational Psychology and Literacy Methods. Normally with the Literacy Methods class, we would go into local schools and be paired up with a student as a “Reading Buddy.” However, this semester we worked with UW-Milwaukee to do it over Zoom! I met with a student every week and got to read a story to them and teach a mini lesson. It was so much fun and am happy that I was given the opportunity! My Reading Buddy and I plan to continue in the next semester as well!

This semester, I continued to be on leadership with Cru. I am the main leader of a Dorm Bible Study and it has been such a fun and challenging experience. We met through Zoom for the entirety of the semester and have been having a regular turn out of about 8-12 people! I have become close with some of the freshman girls that attend and it has been nice to support them in the challenging and confusing transition into college, but especially with the tricky semester that we went through.

Overall, it was a different semester, but I managed to have a very joyful time! I had the chance to spend a lot of time with my four roommates in our house improving my cooking skills and having lots of laughs! This winter break I will be studying for the Foundation of Reading Test, which I will be taking in the upcoming weeks. I am looking forward to continuing my journey toward becoming an educator in this next semester as I begin my first field experience at Northside Elementary School in La Crosse! It will most likely be virtual, but it will still be an incredible opportunity to gain experience!

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, for all of the support you have given me throughout my college career thus far. I could never truly express my gratitude!

January 2020

My third semester at UW- La Crosse zoomed by! Though I was very busy this semester, I loved all of my classes. My favorite classes were Math for Elementary Teachers and Musical Classroom. This semester I got accepted into the School of Education! It’s been so much fun to further my way on the path to becoming an educator. I am excited to get into more classrooms and start my field work this upcoming fall. I began leading a Bible study through the organization, Cru. It has been so much fun to meet every week and get to meet new people. Over this winter break, I plan on being a substitute para-professional at C-F. I have kept myself busy so far by going to a conference in Minneapolis with Cru and another conference as a leader with the middle school youth group at Friesland First Reformed Church.

Thank you so much for your generosity and support over the last three semesters. I cannot thank you enough.

July 2019

My second semester at UW-La Crosse went by so fast! I took many interesting classes this semester, my favorites being Calculus, Dystopian Literature and History of Gender in Ancient and Medieval Worlds. Though I have enjoyed taking these different general education courses, I am excited to take more classes focused on education this upcoming fall. This semester, I was pleased to reach my goal of being on Dean’s List. I felt much more comfortable this semester academically and hope this feeling continues this next school year.

This semester, I became more involved in Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) and am pleased that I was selected to be on the leadership team with them next year. I will be leading a Bible Study in one of the freshmen dorms on campus and can’t wait to become more involved! I also was apart of Aspiring Educators of Wisconsin, which was a great platform to learn more about the education field and meet other future educators.

I have been so blessed to have your support in this chapter of my life. I cannot wait to see how this next year goes! From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Jan 2019

My first semester at UW-La Crosse went very well. I enjoyed meeting new people and adjusting to college life. Coming from a small school, I was expecting to be extremely overwhelmed. However, the classes at UWL are smaller in size and the professors are personable so the transition was easier than I thought. My favorite class was an education class called School, Society, and Teachers. This class helped me realize education is something I am passionate about and helped with my decision to change my major to middle childhood through early adolescence education. Over the winter break, I will be job shadowing a few elementary and middle school classrooms as well as working at Seneca Foods in Cambria.

Again, thank you for selecting me as a recipient. I am very humbled and honored to receive your generous scholarship.


Ashtyn Smits headshot

Ashtyn Smits


Ashtyn Smits, of Cambria, Wisconsin, is our 2017 William Wiersma Scholar. She will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison and will pursue her interest in mathematics by majoring in accounting. Ashtyn is valedictorian of her class, having accomplished a perfect “straight-A” record in high school. Ashtyn’s accomplishments extend beyond the classroom, as she played softball and basketball for four years, was Secretary of her class and of National Honor Society, was a member of Honors band, and participated in many other clubs and activities. Ashtyn credits her athletic experiences with teaching her the value of hard work and perseverance and brought these attributes to her role as Captain. Most notable, however, is Ashtyn’s record of service to her school, church, and community, where she always brings “kindness, compassion and a strong work ethic.” Although she is a respected leader for many of these activities, including the Red Cross Blood Drive, tutoring and teaching Sunday school, Ashtyn is known for her selfless commitment to assist behind the scenes with any project that needs her help. Perhaps the most revealing comments about Ashtyn come from those who have known her throughout her high school years, as they all note that “Ashtyn will be greatly missed by her peers, her school and her community,” when she leaves for Madison. We are excited to be a part of Ashtyn’s successful college career!

Updates from Ashtyn:

Jan 2019

I am in my second year at UW Madison and making so many connections! My professors are so kind and have been assisting me in finding a meaningful internship this summer. It is nice seeing familiar faces as my classes have gotten narrowed down in number. My classes are getting more specialized in my major, Agriculture Business Management. I am also working towards a Certificate in Sustainability. My goal is to work towards making agriculture more sustainable in regards to water use, runoff, food production, and so much more! There are endless paths for my career to take, and I’m excited to work to make a change in the world! I also made the Dean’s List for the third consecutive semester! Being rewarded for hard work is a good feeling and encourages me to continue to study hard!

Thank you, again, for your continued support and encouragement. I hope to share good in the world as much as you have!

June 2018

My second semester of college went as great as the first and I earned the honor of being on the Dean’s List again! Classes are becoming more interesting and I am learning more about my interest of study. I stayed very busy with my two student organizations, constant events going on around campus, and soaking in as much information as I can from my classes! I am taking an additional Summer Term course online this summer to get ahead on my Economics course sequence. Next year I will be living down in Madison in an apartment close to campus and will have a full class schedule. My plan for next summer is to get an internship with an agricultural related company and further develop the career path I would like to take.

Thank you so very much for your generosity. I am working two jobs this summer to keep up with payments and thanks to YOU I am able to attend the University of my dreams. The world needs more people like you! I hope you are enjoying your summer and warmer weather!

Dec 2017

I completed my first semester at UW-Madison and am loving it! I enjoy being at a large University with so much to offer. I achieved being on the Dean’s List my first semester of college and am working towards that goal again this semester. My current major is Agricultural Business Management with a Certificate in Sustainability. During the fall semester I have joined the Saddles and Sirloins Club and the Agricultural Business Management club, along with volunteering at their many events. Two of the largest and most enjoyable events to volunteer at were the Targeting Excellence Shootout and Badger Kickoff Classic. I am very excited to keep working towards my goals and dreams by continuing my education at UW-Madison!


Jacob Keip headshot

Jacob Keip


Jacob Keip, of Cambria, Wisconsin, is our 2016 William Wiersma Scholar Jacob is an outstanding student and will graduate as Salutatorian of his class with a 4.16 GPA. Between his studies, athletics, and employment responsibilities, Jacob has also found time to reach out and help others. He initiated a new program where he and his fellow Varsity football teammates read to students at the elementary school once a week, and the program has been so successful that it will be continued in future years. Jacob will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison and majoring in Engineering Mechanic and Astronautics. He is humble and hard-working by everyone’s report, and we commend him for the initiative and diligence he has demonstrated in preparing himself for a career in aeronautics and space exploration. Jacob has always been fascinated by anything that flies. One of his favorite stories is to hear his father recount the awe that overtook the nation, and the world, when everyone watched Neil Armstrong take his first step on the moon. Jacob hopes to someday work for NASA and contribute to the manned exploration of Mars! We are honored to support Jacob as he continues to pursue these laudable goals at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Updates from Jacob:

May 2020

Hello! To say it has been an interesting semester for me would be a massive understatement. As you are aware, this was my first semester back after taking on a co-op during Fall 2019. I had my apprehensions about being able to get back into the swing of things, which turned out to be correct apprehensions, but I was able to work my way back to a normal level, as difficult as it was.
Of course, needing no mention, the COVID-19 pandemic threw everything through the wringer. It definitely took even more adjusting than I was already doing from coming off my co-op, so it really pushed me. Luckily, I was able to work hard at succeeding in my classes, (which most definitely are not getting any easier) without too many major hiccups. It’s definitely a semester I will never forget, on the account of it being a very uncertain time for me and everyone else.

I am SUPER lucky, though, as I was once again offered an extension on my internship at Sierra Nevada Corporation through this summer. I learned so much, even just working part-time there this past Spring semester, and I can’t wait to continue here. Lots of exciting things are happening at the workplace, not only for me, but for the company as well. We’re closing in on final flight assembly of the Dreamchaser Cargo System, and I’m so proud and grateful to have been a part of this project. I couldn’t think of a better way to close out my final semester as an undergraduate than to be working at a great company that’s so close to home.

If everything goes all to plan, I should be able to stay on track and graduate in May of 2021. I’m excited to see where this long journey will ultimately lead me to.

I hope you all are doing well and staying safe.

January 2020

After a long and rewarding 8 months, I’ve finally started back up to classes. It’s hard to believe that time went by that fast and it’s even harder to accept the fact that I have to return to classes. As you know, I have been fortunate enough to have worked at Sierra Nevada Corporation out in Middleton since May. I am happy to announce that they have extended my offer to work as an intern part-time throughout the next semester. This is a huge opportunity for me to continue my education while also continuing my career, and I am so excited at the challenge facing me ahead.

I absolutely loved my time spent working full time at SNC for 8 months. I learned so, so much; much more than I ever could have possibly imagined, and definitely much more than any amount of time spent in class. I am looking forward to seeing my work payoff (hopefully) in 2021, when the Dreamchaser spacecraft will take it’s first flight to the International Space Station. I know how hard I and everyone has worked to make this dream become a reality for the company, and it’s so amazing to see the entire project come together. I hope, after the semester of part-time work is over, that I can continue working full-time there throughout the summer. Having that opportunity was an unforgettable experience, and I can truly say I am currently working my dream job.

June 2019
Hello! I’m now about 6 weeks into my co-op and I am really enjoying it. It is so much different than putting in hours outdoors at the airport, which I miss quite a bit. But I am also loving this job as well! I am learning and doing so many things that I never would’ve dreamed of.

I’m currently working on the Active Thermal Control System team of SNC’s Dreamchaser spacecraft. It’s a very rewarding job, and the work I’m doing is really interesting and exciting to me. So in that sense, it is very, very rewarding. If this job is any indication of what a future career in the aerospace industry is like, I think I made the right choice.

I will have to set up a dinner/visit sometime soon since I had such a great time last time!

Jan 2019
I’ve just completed my fifth semester at UW-Madison and my first official semester in the College of Engineering. It sure hasn’t been easy, but I’m persevering and I keep finding a new way to succeed and new things to change my habits in college. This past semester my hardest class was by far Thermodynamics, but it was also the most interesting, as I learned to model multiple forms of combustion engines, such as turbofan, turbojet, and 4 stroke engines. This spring semester I will be taking some more specific classes, with much smaller class size (finally). I will be taking my final math class (I thought I was done this past semester but found out I had one more with the Astronautics option), Mechanical Vibrations, Electronic circuits, Fluid Dynamics, and an Advanced Computer problem-solving class. This won’t be an easy schedule by any means, but then again neither was this past one. I’m trying to find an internship or co-op for this summer, but I’m not getting my hopes up, as I have no industry or project experience. I’m hoping this semester changes that. If all else fails, I’ll just go back to my job at the airport, as I loved every hour I spent there, as well as learned new things about the aerospace industry, that will be helpful in my future career.

May 2018
Wow! It’s truly hard to believe this year is already over and we’re back in the swing of summer festivities. It’s been quite a hectic and busy year for me. At the beginning of the year, I broke my foot and was unable to join the rowing team, which was an extreme disappointment to me. My classes are starting to ramp up in difficulty, as I have just completed a 2 semester series of physics classes; Statics and Dynamics, which have been extremely difficult, but also very interesting. I’ve also completed my final Calculus class with Calc 3 but will be moving onto taking my last mathematics class, Linear algebra, and differential equations.

I have just recently submitted my application to the engineering school. I’m hoping for the best but expecting the worst, and I have already spoken to the astronomy-physics advisors for a possible transfer into the program. Luckily, if I have to go the astronomy route, almost all my classes will carry over to meet requirements.

This summer I will be living in Madison and working at the airport as a Line Technician. I will be refueling, marshaling, and any other ramp related work on aircraft. I’m extremely excited about this job and my first few days have gone exceptionally well. I’m glad to just have my foot in the door in the aviation industry. I don’t think I will ever get tired of it.

I’m looking forward with anticipation to my next year and to see what the college of engineering has decided for me. I hope summer doesn’t fly by as fast as the school year did!

May 2017
I finished with a 3.5. I’m still pursuing a degree in an Engineering Mechanics/Astronautics. Some of the coursework has been surprisingly difficult, but the most difficult classes are General Ed courses and not degree-related courses. I guess it’s because the Gen Ed courses involve a lot of memorization of facts while the math and science involve applying ideas. I’ve also completed my first year of rowing and really enjoyed it. I’ll be spending the summer training in Madison in preparation for next season. I had a great first year and I can’t wait to be back at Madison for year 2.


Andrew DeYoung headshot

Andrew DeYoung


Andrew DeYoung, of Cambria, Wisconsin, is our first William Wiersma Scholar. He will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and majoring in mechanical engineering. Andrew has excelled in the classroom, earning a 4.18 GPA, and graduated third in his class at Cambria-Friesland High School. Thinking ahead, Andrew took the initiative to “double up” his mathematics courses as a freshman, allowing him to take Advanced Placement Calculus as a junior, and to earn college credit. Andrew earned twelve varsity letters during high school, playing football, basketball, and baseball for four years, and serving as captain for each of the teams as a senior. He has participated in, and been a leader for, many extra-curricular activities, including community and church-related service projects. This past winter, he noticed an elderly gentleman struggling with snow removal, and stopped and offered assistance. Following this first encounter, Andrew returned to shovel the gentleman’s driveway and sidewalk for the entire winter, and moreover, took time to talk with him and became a friend. Andrew is an exceptional young man, and his scholarship, initiative, and integrity truly reflect the attributes of a William Wiersma Scholar. We congratulate him on all of his achievements and will be following his progress as he continues at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

Update from Andrew:

June 2019
We are pleased to report that Andrew is now attending Madison College and will graduate next year with a major in surveying and engineering.

June 2016
Having now completed my first semester of college, I am so grateful for the choice to attend school and select UW Wisconsin Platteville. Mechanical Engineering is still my future major at UWP, and I am currently enrolled in General Engineering as required until my Sophomore year. My first semester has been very enjoyable in class and also in extracurricular activities. During the fall, I joined multiple clubs; Inter-varsity, college church group; the Sportsman Club, outdoor activities (trap shooting); intramural sports, basketball, softball, and racquetball. Not only did I participate in intramural sports, but I have also had the opportunity to officiate intramural basketball as well.
My first semester in the classroom was filled with challenging classes. Freshman English, Calculus I, Chemistry for Engineers, Fitness Assessment, Engineering Success Skills, and Basketball. I truly feel that college is a perfect fit for me and I look forward to the next 3.5-years of schooling.


Special Recognition

Isabella Hasselberger headshot

Isabella Hasselberger


Isabella Hasselberger received a Special Recognition Award from the William Wiersma Foundation. The Special Award was given to recognize Isabella’s remarkable accomplishments as they reflect the scholarship, initiative and integrity that the William Wiersma Foundation embodies. Isabella graduated Salutatorian of her class at Cambria-Friesland High School, and will be attending the nursing program at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. She has excelled in Spanish, and plans to minor in Spanish in college. Isabella has been an officer of her class, captain of the volleyball team, and a leader in other extracurricular activities. She recently earned her CNA certificate, and will be working as a nursing assistant this summer as she embarks upon her nursing career. We are proud to include Isabella as a recipient of a William Wiersma Foundation award, and look forward to following her progress at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.