MADISON, WIS. – The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) handed out $19,000 in scholarship funds this year to seven current and future dairy industry professionals.

“Building a strong future for the dairy processing industry requires fresh, energetic, diverse perspectives,” said WCMA executive director John Umhoefer. “Thanks to the generosity of our members, WCMA is thrilled to once again offer these awards to a group of highly deserving emerging leaders.”

The WCMA Myron P. “Mike” Dean Cheese Industry Student Scholarship, which dairy processors and their family members can apply for, was awarded in 2022 to Bailee Aisenbrey and Jamie Feldmann. Aisenbrey currently works in the production plant at Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery and is an undergraduate at University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Feldmann, a manager of supplier quality at Sartori Company, currently is working toward a master’s degree in business administration from Lakeland University.

Dairy industry suppliers and their family members are eligible for the WCMA Supplier Student Scholarship, which this year went to Jenna Jakel, Stephanie Kraemer and Jack Pluta. Jakel, an office manager at Loos Machine & Automation, is working on her MBA from Upper Iowa University. Kraemer, a quality and food safety specialist for IFF (Danisco), is pursuing an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Pluta, a processing engineering intern for Excel Engineering, is an undergraduate at Michigan Technological University.

The Brian Eggebrecht Student Scholarship supports skilled trades in the dairy industry. It is awarded to students attending any technical school in Wisconsin, or high school students registered to attend a Wisconsin technical school. This year’s recipients are Bryce Gustafson and Xiapor Lor. Both Gustafson and Lor work for Masters Gallery Foods and go to school at Lakeshore Technical College. Gustafson wants to become a licensed cheesemaker, while Lor plans to work in maintenance.

Funds for WCMA’s scholarship program are derived from the association’s annual Championship Cheese Auction, during which gold medal cheeses from WCMA’s Championship Cheese Contests are sold to the highest bidders. This year’s auction will happen during the 2022 CheeseExpo, scheduled for April 12-14 in Milwaukee, Wis.