Scholarship Winners Pursue Diverse Career Goals

By Dianna Troyer

Optimistic and excited about their futures, seven recipients of United Electric Co-op’s $500 scholarships are planning their ideal careers ranging from aviation to health care.

4 memorial scholarships honor former managers: John Jones, Grant M. Saxton, Larry Burbank and Ralph Williams. The 2022 recipients encourage high school seniors to apply for scholarships, which they learned about from high school counselors or the Ruralite magazine.

The completed scholarship application, a high school transcript and a photo are due April 13. The nontraditional application is due June 8. Applications may be found at or with your high school counselors.

Malia Manning, Larry Burbank Scholarship

Malia is taking prerequisites at the College of Southern Idaho to become a dental hygienist.

“United’s scholarship means a lot to me because I’m paying for school on my own,” she says. “I didn’t want the burden of student loans.”

Becoming a dental hygienist means she won’t be stuck behind a computer all day.

“I want to move around and have a hands-on job that helps people,” she says.

It fits her future lifestyle, too.

“My dream is to be a mom and to have a part-time job that gives me flexibility so I can spend time with my family,” Malia says.

A Minico High School graduate, she also received the Clarence M. and Ruth N. Birrer Scholarship and the Soroptimist “Live Your Dream: Education & Training Awards for Women.”

Rylie Nalder, Ralph Williams Scholarship

For Rylie, one of life’s greatest pleasures is the birth of livestock every spring.

“I never get tired of seeing calves be born and watching them start to walk, then run around and play,” says Rylie, who is majoring in animal science at Brigham Young University-Idaho.

The Minico High School graduate returns home on weekends to help her parents with calving.

“We start in mid-March and are usually done by late April or early May,” she says. “I’ve always loved being around animals and helping my parents raise Black Angus cattle. In 4-H, I’ve shown horses, pigs and a heifer.”

Her persistence in applying for several scholarships paid off. She also received scholarships from the local Farm Bureau, High Desert Dairy and Project Mutual Telephone.

Jaycee Matthews, Employee Dependent Scholarship

Jaycee, a cosmetology major at Idaho State University, says her career goal is “to make people feel better about themselves.”

The Minico High School graduate chose ISU’s 3-semester cosmetology program because it also includes a semester focusing on business.

“Those additional classes really made the program stand out to me,” she says.

After graduating in December, Jaycee plans to work at the Beauty Box in Burley.

“The owner asked me to come and work for her,” Jaycee says. “After I get my cosmetology advanced technical certificate, I’d also like to volunteer at assisted living facilities.”

She encourages seniors to continue their education after high school.

“It will help you go further in life,” she says.

Logan Heward, United Electric Scholarship

After taking a discovery airplane flight as a high school sophomore, Logan had a career epiphany.

“I’d never been in a plane before,” he says. “It was exciting. I knew right then I wanted be a pilot.”

The Declo High School graduate is enrolled in the aviation science program at Treasure Valley Community College’s Caldwell campus.

“It was a good feeling to know what I wanted to work toward as a career,” he says.

After completing his private pilot helicopter training in late March, he earned his pilot license.

“Eventually, I’d like to be dual-rated to fly both helicopters and planes,” he says. “There’s a high demand for helicopter pilots, so it’s reassuring to know that when I graduate, I can find a job. I’ll be qualified to teach here, too. As a pilot, there are so many options and job opportunities.”

Helicopter pilots find work doing emergency services, cargo transport, wildfire suppression, search and rescue, and scenic tours.

“Someday, I’d like to start my own flying business,” he says.

Kate Monroe, Grant M. Saxton Scholarship

Physical therapy and hospital volunteerism sparked Kate’s desire for a health care career.

“I know what it’s like to recover from an injury,” says Kate, who is taking classes in kinesiology at Utah State University. “My dream is to eventually work in radiology.”

A competitive gymnast and tumbler, Kate needed physical therapy to recover from breaking bones in her feet.

“In third grade, I fractured my left foot landing wrong on a trampoline,” she says. “When I was older, I was doing a back handspring into a back tuck and landed wrong and broke my right foot. I remember looking at my X-rays, thinking radiology would be an interesting job one day.”

During high school, the Burley High School graduate volunteered at Cassia Regional Hospital doing whatever was needed. She delivered flowers, worked in the gift shop or gave visitors directions to departments they were looking for. Her volunteerism also helped her earn a scholarship from Riverview Urgent Care and the Burley Lions Club.

“I enjoy helping people,” Kate says.

Joel Rojas, John Jones Scholarship

Joel is studying business and playing soccer at Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario, Oregon.

“I picked this college because it has a good business program, it’s close to home and I can play soccer,” he says.

The Burley High School graduate was awarded an athletic scholarship to play left and right back for the Chukars soccer team.

“After I finish my 2-year degree, I’d like to transfer to a bigger school and
continue to play soccer,” he says.

Joel’s high school counselor encouraged him to apply for the co-op scholarship.

“I was grateful and surprised I received it,” Joel says. “I would encourage seniors to apply for scholarships. It takes time, but it’s worthwhile.”

Heidi Koepnick, Nontraditional Scholarship

The deaths of her husband and child within the past 7 years made Burley resident Heidi who she is, she says. It was her experiences with grief and resilience that motivated her to become a counselor and to eventually start a solo practice.

At 41, she was widowed. 4 years ago, her oldest child died from extensive health issues.

“Aside from what seems to be a tragic story, my life is full of loving family and friends since I’ve remarried,” she says. “My future is bright.”

Now 48, she is working toward a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling through Walden University’s online, accredited 2-year program with an additional 6- to 9-month internship.

Ultimately, she wants to give people “the tools they need to live their best life despite adversity. I’d also like to offer pro bono group and individual counseling through our community Teen Hope youth program and become an advocate for at-risk teens.”