MADISON, WIS. – Seven students identified as emerging dairy industry leaders received scholarship funds totaling $19,000 from the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA).

The organization shared that the Myron P. “Mike” Dean Cheese Industry Student Scholarship, worth $3,000 per student, went to two recipients: Gabrielle Renard, a junior at the University of Minnesota who is studying animal science, and MaKenzie Skibbie, who is pursuing a food science degree at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls.

The cheese industry scholarship is designated for students affiliated with dairy manufacturers and processors. Skibbie plans to become a cheesemaker and dairy researcher after graduating, and already has worked in dairy product development for Agropur and cheese production at UW-River Falls’ dairy pilot plant. Renard plans to attend veterinary school and enter bovine veterinary medicine. Renard’s experience includes cheese production and sales, milking, and dairy animal care, through roles at Renard’s Cheese, Delstar Holstein and the University of Minnesota’s dairy education program.

WCMA also handed out its Supplier Student Scholarships, worth $3,000 each, to three students: Jacob Kirsling, a senior at Amherst High (Wis.) who will soon enroll at UW-River Falls; Danielle Mauhar, a University of Wisconsin – Platteville freshman who studies mechanical engineering; and Elijah Ronsman, a University of Wisconsin-Green Bay mechanical engineering student.

Kirsling’s parents, Jason and Jenny, work at RW Baron Process Equipment. Mauhar’s father, Douglas, works for Novonesis. Ronsman works for HART Design & Manufacturing.

Two students earned WCMA’s Eggebrecht Student Scholarship Supporting Skilled Trades in the Dairy Industry, worth $2,000 each: Kendall Luzinski, a senior at Thorp High School who works for Dutch Dairy, and Aaron Schulz, a maintenance technician at Sargento Foods who is pursuing a food safety and quality degree at Lakeland University. The Eggebrecht scholarship was established to benefit technical school students in Wisconsin. Luzinski plans to study dairy science and agribusiness at North Central Technical College.

WCMA’s scholarships are funded by its annual Championship Cheese Auction. The next auction is scheduled for April 17, as part of CheeseExpo, in Milwaukee. Gold medal cheeses from the 2024 World Championship Cheese Contest will go to the highest bidders.

“It is a privilege to assist great students at technical colleges and universities who have expressed interest in careers in the dairy industry,” said WCMA executive director John Umhoefer. “Dairy industry support for these scholarships is an investment in the next generation of dairy processing.”