2016 Union Plus Scholarship Winners

Meet the Winners

The Union Plus Scholarship Program has provided more than two decades of higher education support for working families 

The Union Plus Scholarship program is an example of the U.S. labor movement's commitment to higher education. Learn more about the scholarship

Since 1992, Union Privilege, through the Union Plus Scholarship program has helped fulfill the educational dreams of students representing more than 13 million working families across the nation.

The Union Plus Scholarship awards are presented annually to union members or members of their families who want to begin or continue their post-secondary education.

In 2016, some 104 union members and union family members have been awarded $150,000 in scholarships, ranging from $500 to $4,000.

2016 Scholarship Winners

$4,000 Winners

  • Austin Arenz, UAW / AFSCME
  • Sahithee A. Batchu, AFSCME
  • Ian M. Coyne, AFSCME
  • Emma L. DeMaranville, UAW
  • Jasmine L. Gregory, IFPTE / AFSCME
  • Murphy T. Grossett, TWU
  • Michael J. Liptrot, AFGE
  • Miranda McClellan, AFGE
  • Jimmy L. Nguyen, UFCW
  • Norma Ramirez, IAM
  • Julia Rolniak, UFCW

$3,500 Winners

  • Isaiah E. Oropeza, NALC
  • Christine M. Phelan, AFSCME
  • Nadia S. Porter, UFCW
  • Hillary K. Regan, AFSCME
  • Mikaela Smith, IBEW / AFT
  • Victoria H. Solkovits, AFT

$3,000 Winners

  • Steven Manicastri, UAW
  • Hannah Rattin, UFCW
  • Jessica M. Streit, AFGE
  • Andrew Vernon, AFGE

$2,000 Winners

  • Rachel Cleveland, UA
  • Mariya Dimitrova, SEIU
  • Devyn M. Everts, IUOE
  • Sienna E. Fierro, AFT
  • Samuel I. Ramos, IBEW

$1,500 Winners

  • Iman Abdur-Rahman, CWA

$1,000 Winners

  • Randall P. Ainsworth, AFT
  • Alexandra Baffo, AFT
  • Natalie Bradshaw, AEA
  • Diondra K. Brown, AFSCME
  • Conner S. Calabro, AEA
  • Gabilis L. Castillo, SEIU / CWA
  • Treavon S. Cook, SEIU
  • Anika Daniels-Osaze, AFT / UTU
  • Piper R. Davis, SEIU
  • Gabrielle C. DiRusso, AFSCME
  • Nicole R. Doyle, AFSCME
  • Lisa A. Eichberger, CSEA
  • Alexis Gage, SIU
  • Kasey L. Gamble, IBEW
  • Tessa Germaine, SAG-AFTRA
  • Samantha Gollmer, IBT / NALC
  • Allison R. Gootee, UAW
  • Chye A. Handran, AFSCME
  • Michelle Huang, APWU
  • Lucas S. Huddleston, IBEW
  • Emily R. Hughes, IAFF
  • Syeda F. Inamdar, CSEA
  • Zoe Kaplan, AFSCME
  • Breanna F. Karabeinikoff, AFSCME / AFT
  • Halie L. Kicsak, AFT
  • Talya K. Klinger, AFT
  • Atalie R. Klumpp, UAW
  • Piper J. Knudson, AFSCME
  • Adrianna N. Kremer, NATCA
  • Vincent Lee, UNITE HERE
  • Tayson Lin, UAW
  • Kaden A. Littrell, USW
  • Ryan Liu, CSEA
  • Samantha Y. Liu, CSEA
  • Haleigh E. Marcello, CSEA
  • Vanessa L. McCloskey, IUEC
  • Aliah M. McCord, AFT
  • Dominic E. Meads, IAFF
  • Brooke A. Meckley, BCTGM
  • Kelsey L. Mehlenbacher, AFSCME
  • Catherine L. Moran, CWA
  • Shatasia Morris, IBT
  • Taylor B. Mullins, IUOE

$750 Winners

  • Megan Burger, AFSCME / UA / APWU
  • Skylar Connolly, CWA
  • Melody B. Kosik, CWA
  • Rion W. Schulz, IUOE
  • Kali Simonson, UFCW
  • Austin P. Strong, AFT

$500 Winners

  • Gina Allyn, AFM
  • Alexandra Arenz, UAW / AFSCME
  • Tyrobius T. Bacon, UFCW
  • Ashley N. Bartlett, IBT
  • Naomi Bensdorf-Frisch, AFM
  • Whitney D. Blevins, USW
  • Steven M. Bollendorf, UTU
  • Margaret K. Buchele, USW / UAW
  • John M. Carlson, IAFF
  • Kailey E. Carper, IAM
  • Victoria L. Carson, IBEW
  • Natelie G. Chappell, IBT
  • Jonathan E. Clevenger, IUOE
  • Alexander Comshaw-Arnold, IUOE
  • Taylor Corbin, IBT
  • Xena Delgado-Almada, LIUNA
  • Molly B. Dion, NPMHU
  • Cassidy J. Dossin, IAFF / AFT
  • Robert S. Durazzo, AFT
  • Emily Fitzgerald, USW
  • Stephanie Flynn, IBB
  • Grayson Juarez, UFCW / UTU / AFSCME
  • Austin Lewandowski, BRS / APWU
  • Rosanna R. Lugo, AFSCME / IBT
  • Will C. McCrady, IAFF
  • Joshua H. Pfenniger, IBEW
  • Wayne T. Putnam, AFGE
  • Naomi N. Santa Cruz, CWA / UFCW

Challenging Process

The students selected for awards represent a wide sampling of demographics, union affiliations, goals and accomplishments. Representatives from the American Association of Community Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities judged the applications.

According to the judges, the caliber of students this year made the selection process very challenging. The students are from diverse backgrounds, and as a whole, they received top SAT scores, were well-rounded in their studies and extracurricular activities, and they understood the value of working families and union membership.

How the Scholarship Program Works

In addition to demonstrated academic ability, applicants submitted essays describing their career goals, detailing their relationship with the labor movement, and explaining why they are deserving of a union scholarship.

The program is open to union members, their spouses and dependent children of unions that are participating in any Union Plus program. Individuals must be accepted into an accredited college or university, community college or recognized technical or trade school at the time the award is issued. Members do not have to purchase any Union Plus program product or participate in any Union Plus program to apply.
The Union Plus Scholarship Program is offered through the Union Plus Education Foundation.


Each year, the application deadline is January 31 and chosen scholarship recipients' names are announced May 31. All applicants are notified when the award winner list is posted in early June. The 2018 Application will be available in mid-June.