POTOMAC FALLS, Va. -- The Architectural Woodwork Institute Education Foundation has announced the award of 10 finalist winners in the 2017 AWIEF scholarship award program. The combined total award was $25,500 in scholastic financial aid bestowed to assist in the education and training of the woodwork industry's next generation of rising stars. 

The ten finalist recipients were chosen from a pool of applicants nominated in April 2017 by woodwork technology instructors from secondary and post-secondary schools across the U.S.

AWIEF chairman Kent Gilchrist said, "This year's Scholarship Program attracted a larger number of new schools and a greater variety of institutions participating than in previous years.  We believe that students are envisioning the architectural woodwork industry as a viable career path, whether on the manufacturing side or the management side."

The AWIEF Board of Directors evaluated nominees on scholastic GPA scores, reference letters from instructors and others along with a personal letter composed by the nominee. Special consideration was given to each nominee who is on an education tract that supports their future career choice in the woodwork industry.  

Ten finalists who received the AWIEF Scholarships, based on education track length, are:

$3,000 each to: Bryce Ahlers, Preston Boyd, and Kelson Classen, each of Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas; and Ben Gonzales of Cerritos College, Norwalk, California.

$2,500 each to: Michele Brenes, Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton, Wisconsin; Ellen Cahill, Madison Area Technical College (MATC), Madison, Wisconsin; and Jake Cazja, New England School of Architectural Woodworking (NESAW), Easthampton, Massachusetts. 

$2,000 each to: Jason Astor, The MILL National Training Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado; Andrew Dearing, Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah; and Lucas Pipkin, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina.

AWIEF has heard from the instructors and students who have expressed gratitude and enthusiasm for the scholarship award.  One recipient has already accepted an employment offer with a firm where he will learn more about architectural woodwork as well as historical restoration.  AWIEF Secretary Phil Duvic commented that, "It is nice to hear that AWIEF's efforts and the financial aid is appreciated by so many."

In 2012, the AWIEF began with a $300,000 endowment from the Architectural Woodwork Institute to assure the Foundation's long-term operation as a key vehicle for fostering interest and commitment to the architectural woodwork industry as a viable career path and employment with industry manufacturers and suppliers. Contributions from the industry supplement the annual AWIEF Scholarship Program.

Those wishing to help supplement AWIEF's Endowment Fund are invited to contact Philip Duvic, AWIEF Secretary.  Contributions are deductible as charitable donations and may be mailed to the AWI Education Foundation, 46179 Westlake Drive, Suite 120, Potomac Falls, VA 20165-5874, Attn: Philip Duvic. "A financial contribution is an important and essential in supporting local woodwork programs and those students who will secure employment locally," said Duvic. 


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