SCHOLARSHIP: A graduate student at UW-River Falls is the 2019-20 recipient of the Bruce F. Vento Science Educator Scholarship.

Laura Lusardi of Hudson is pursuing her master’s degree and licensure as a secondary school science teacher through UW-River Falls’ STEMteach graduate program.

The $5,000 scholarship, established in 2016 to honor the memory of U.S. Rep. Bruce Vento, supports students pursuing a science education degree.

Before entering Congress, Vento, a UW-River Falls graduate, was a junior high school science and social studies teacher.

After completion of her undergraduate physics degree in 2018, Lusardi spent time teaching science at a summer camp in California and working as a long-term and on-call substitute teacher in Minnesota.

All STEMteach candidates in good academic standing and enrolled in the winter term of the program are eligible for the Vento scholarship.

In addition, UW-River Falls offers a forgivable loan that pays for a large portion of their tuition to qualified students in the program who are willing to teach in economically disadvantaged school districts.

• • •

CYBER DEFENSE COMPETITION: Three area residents were part of a UW-Stout team that took first place at the state qualifier of the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition in Madison.

It was the first time UW-Stout participated in the event.

The state competition, hosted by Madison College at the Truax campus, included 40 students from five schools.

Competitors were given mock business networks and tasked with defending those networks from eight hours of simulated hacks.

The hacks were orchestrated by a team of cybersecurity professionals whose strategies were based on real world events.

Teams were scored on their ability to detect and respond to outside threats, maintain availability of existing services such as mail servers and web servers, respond to business requests such as the addition or removal of services, and balance security needs against business needs.

The area members of the team are Dylan Adank, a Fountain City sophomore; Nick Endvick, a Stanley junior; and Joshua Ferkans, a Roberts junior.

• • •

SCHOLARSHIP: Samantha Deno of Hammond has been awarded a $500 scholarship from National Mutual Benefit Insurance, Menomonie Branch 927.

She submitted the winning essay.

Deno is attending UW-La Crosse to major in pre-law.

National Mutual Benefit is based in Madison.

• • •

KOHL AWARDS: The selection committee for the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Student Scholarship, Teacher Fellowship and Principal Leadership program has announced recipients of the 312 Herb Kohl Foundation awards for Wisconsin students, teachers and principals.

Awards in the amount of $6,000 are being made to 100 teachers, 16 principals and their schools, and $10,000 scholarships will be given to 193 graduating high school students.

The recipients include 22 residents of west-central Wisconsin.

Excellence Scholarship recipients have demonstrated excellence in the academic arena and high motivation to achieve, have displayed a broad range of activity and leadership outside the academic setting, and have shown strong promise for succeeding in college and beyond.

Following are the area recipients:

• Casey Denk of Mondovi, Mondovi High School.

• Jayden Falteisek of Abbotsford, Abbotsford High School.

• Hamilton Williams of Augusta, Fall Creek High School.

• Rachel Kaufer of Ellsworth, Ellsworth High School.

• Regan Smith of Menomonie, Menomonie High School.

Fellowship recipients are educators who have been chosen for their superior ability to inspire a love of learning in their students, their ability to motivate others, and their leadership and service within and outside the classroom.

Following are the area recipients:

• Jenna Putz of Arcadia, Arcadia Middle School.

• Aaron Athas of Eau Claire, Chippewa Valley Montessori.

• Brian Collicott of Chippewa Falls, Chippewa Falls Middle School.

• Kaleigh McGinnis of Eau Claire, DeLong Middle School.

• Susan Nelson of Withee, Owen-Withee Elementary School.

Initiative Scholarship recipients, chosen by their schools, have demonstrated exceptional initiative in the classroom and have shown strong promise for succeeding in college and beyond, but have not yet received other academic-based scholarships.

Following are the area recipients:

• Taylor Cain of Eau Claire, McKinley Charter High School.

• Mackenzie Goss of Altoona, Altoona High School.

• Lorijane Haller of Hawkins, Lake Holcombe High School.

• Cristian Martinez of Radisson, Bruce High School.

• Michael Polus of Eau Claire, Regis High School.

• Morgan Quirk of Osseo, Osseo-Fairchild High School.

• Courtney Riel of Ingram, Flambeau High School in Tony.

• Emma Warner of Sheldon, Gilman High School.

• Devon Fullerton of Houlton, Somerset High School.

• Tara Gunnufson of Boyceville, Boyceville High School.

• Kennedi Kuhl of Cumberland, Cumberland High School.

• Kaden Olson-Walker of River Falls, River Falls High School.

Area recipients will be recognized at a luncheon at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, April 26, at Eau Claire North High School.

• • •

ESSAY CONTEST: The Mahmoud S Taman Foundation named 10 winners for its 2020 Second Annual Essay Contest, “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.”

In keeping with the Foundation’s mission to embrace a more racially and ethnically diverse and inclusive environment in the Chippewa Valley, high school students were invited to participate in the educational initiative on global citizenship, civil society and diversity in the context of local communities in the Chippewa Valley.

The winners were Quentin Hable, Sing Lee Her, Aria Hite, Daniel Luer, Abhlicaja Lor, Seng Moua, Nitkayli Tillery and Elizabeth Wiegel of North High School, Anna Hansen of Memorial High School and Kailyn Walukus, a homeschooled junior.

Each student received $300.

Student essays addressed questions related to their understanding of racial, gender and cultural diversity in their community, the contributions of immigrant communities, how the religion of Islam has positively integrated itself into modern American culture and society, how the history of the Muslim community in the Chippewa Valley enriched the local culture, and how the goals of the Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations and climate change are relevant to our community.

From staff reports

Contact: 715-833-9207,