Union front: UAW Member, Family Members Awarded 2016 Union Plus Scholarships


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Washington, D.C. – Union Plus recently awarded $150,000 in scholarships to 104 students representing 32 unions, including eight winners representing the United Automobile Workers (UAW). This year’s group of scholarship recipients includes university, college, and trade or technical school students from 32 states. The UAW winners are:

  • Alexandra Arenz of Sheboygan Falls, Wis. Arenz, whose father, Terry Arenz, is a member of UAW Local 833, has been awarded a $500 scholarship.
  • Austin Arenz of Sheboygan Falls, Wis. Arenz, whose father, Terry Arenz, is a member of UAW Local 833, has been awarded a $4,000 scholarship.
  • Margaret Buchele of Toledo, Ohio. Buchele, whose mother, Juliann Buchele, is a member of UAW Local 12, has been awarded a $500 scholarship.
  • Emma DeMaranville of Tonganoxie, Kan. DeMaranville, whose father, Scott DeMaranville, is a member of UAW Local 31, has been awarded a $4,000 scholarship.
  • Allison Gootee of Lebanon, Ky. Gootee, whose father, John Gootee, is a member of UAW Local 862, has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship.
  • Atalie Klumpp of Bedford, Ind. Klumpp, whose father, Kevin Klumpp, is a member of UAW Local 440, has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship.
  • Tayson Lin of St. Clair Shores, Mich. Lin, whose father, Michael Zasucha, is a member of UAW Local 961, has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship.
  • Steven Manicastri of Willimantic, Conn. Manicastri, who is a member of UAW Local 6950, has been awarded a $3,000 scholarship.

Meet the 2016 UAW Honorees

Alexandra Arenz

Alexandra (Lexi) is a nursing major at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wis. She expects to graduate in June 2018 and aspires to a graduate degree and a career as a nurse practitioner. Lexi is a Viterbo Student Nurses Association member and received the 2015 Viterbo Nightingale Award for compassionate patient care. A lifetime member of the Girl Scouts and a current troop leader, Lexi earned the Gold Award (2012) and was honored with the Juliette Low Award (2014). She also volunteers with the Humane Society, the Sisters of St. Rose Convent, and a local church shelter. Lexi works as a certified nursing assistant at Pine Haven Christian Communities and for a local restaurant and catering company. A 2014 high school graduate, she began taking classes at Lakeland College and Lakeshore Technical College in Sheboygan, Wis., during her senior year to get a head start on her nursing degree and decrease college expenses. Her brother, Austin, a 2016 high school graduate, is also a Union Plus scholarship recipient. Both of her parents are union members (mother, Carrie Arenz, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Local 1750), and Lexi is proud of her parents’ union involvement, marching with her whole family when her father’s local went on strike in November 2015. “After the continued assault on unions within Wisconsin, it was a relief to see the UAW negotiate a beneficial outcome to the strike,” Lexi said. “Without our collaborative union voice, all laborers would succumb to corporate greed and exploitation.”

Austin Arenz

Austin is a 2016 high school graduate who will major in mechanical engineering when he begins college this fall. He is planning for a career in the automotive industry, focusing on ways to improve vehicle safety and fuel economy, and would like to earn a graduate degree and assist with research through a university. Austin works three jobs to help fund his college education. He is a design drafter for a manufacturing company through the Youth Apprenticeship program of the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, working a minimum of 15 hours per week and 200 hours during the summer. He is also a go-kart mechanic/coach and a landscaper through a business he has owned since he was 12. A two-time captain and four-year participant on his school’s varsity cross country team, Austin is community outreach coordinator for the local Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Community Education program. He was captain of a 55-person team that placed second at the 2015 FIRST Robotics Milwaukee regional competition, and he was named Outstanding Youth Volunteer for his assistance as a mechanic with the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Warbirds of America. Austin earned the Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America in 2012 after planning and executing the City of Sheboygan Falls River Park renovation project. He was student council president and a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Community Service Club, and his school’s golf team and ski and snowboard club. His sister Alexandra, who is a nursing student at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wis., is also a Union Plus scholarship recipient. Both of his parents are union members (mother, Carrie Arenz, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Local 1750), and Austin said union roots run deep in his family. “My father’s UAW predecessors were valiant men who fought through miserable conditions for fairness and equity,” he said. “Thanks to unions, we have a 40-hour work week, paid holidays and safe working conditions.”

Margaret Buchele

Margaret (Maggie) is a two-time Union Plus honoree, having received a scholarship of $500 in 2015. She is a bioengineering major at the University of Toledo and expects to graduate in May 2020 after completing the five-year cooperative-education engineering program, which includes one full year of hands-on work experience. Maggie plans a career in the design and production of synthetic organs and prosthetics. She is a Biomedical Engineering Society member and lives in the University of Toledo’s Engineering Living Learning Community. Salutatorian of her 2015 high school class, Maggie received the Regent Scholar Award in 2013 and 2014 as well as the 2015 Catholic Youth Organization High School Award, and was active in student government. She has been a regular volunteer with church and community programs, a local soup kitchen, and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Her father, James Buchele, is also a union member (United Steelworkers (USW), Local 912). Maggie appreciates the unions’ work to ensure excellent benefits, which was especially important when her mother was hospitalized for several months. “Because of her 80-20 health coverage, which the UAW secured, my parents could afford the steep hospital bills,” Maggie said. “My sister and I were able to continue our education at Central Catholic High School, and we ended the year with fewer obstacles than if my mother’s employer had cut her healthcare plan.”

Emma DeMaranville

Emma is a 2016 high school graduate who will begin attending Kansas State University this fall, double majoring in legal and political communications and international studies with minors in leadership and political science. She is passionate about humanitarian work, plans to attend law school, and hopes to work for the United Nations as a foreign service officer. Emma was heavily involved in Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), serving as state first vice president, state board secretary, and chapter president as a senior. She was also a founding member and president of her school’s chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and served as student council vice president. Emma is a member of the Girl Scouts of America and earned the Girl Scout Gold Award in 2013. She has been a dedicated community volunteer through the National Kidney Foundation, Pink Out for Cancer, Cinderella’s Closet, food drives, blood drives, clothing drives, drug and alcohol prevention presentations, and bell ringing for the Salvation Army. A Kansas Honor Scholar and three-time Educational Excellence Award honoree, Emma was a four-year member of the debate and forensics team, placing in multiple state competitions. She said unions are the backbone of her family, as her father and his two brothers are third-generation union members. “The pride of union workers and time invested in their trade shows their true dedication to quality,” Emma said. “These exceptional traits are passed on to their children, who create a new generation of dedicated workers with a strong work ethic in their chosen professions.”

Allison Gootee

Allison, who recently finished her freshman year at the University of Kentucky, expects to complete the school’s six-year pharmacy program in May 2021. She has worked in a pharmacy since 2014 and aspires to eventually open one of her own. Allison was valedictorian of her high school class in 2015, passing eight AP exams and accumulating an additional 17 hours of college credit before graduating. She was a school district student ambassador, a four-time president of the National Beta Club, and a member of the National Honor Society, student council, pep club, and marching band. Allison placed first in science and second in math at the district Governor’s Cup academic competition. She was named a 2013 University of Kentucky Rising Scholar, a 2014 Governor’s Scholar, and the 2015 Distinguished Young Woman of Marion County. An accomplished pianist, she volunteers through the Girl Scouts of America and as a tutor and event assistant at a local elementary school. Allison said UAW has helped ensure her family’s financial security, especially when her father was laid off for a year in 2010. “The UAW negotiated buyouts, sub-pays and moving allowances for workers during this time, and the sub-pays allowed my dad to still earn a portion of his usual income for that year,” Allison said. “My father kept his job and his benefits and could still provide for our family due to the efforts of the UAW to protect its members and their families.”

Atalie Klumpp

Atalie is a social studies education major at Ball State University who expects to graduate in May 2019. She hopes to become a government and United States history teacher at a high school in her home state of Indiana. Atalie is involved with Ball State’s Music and Memory club, which works with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients at local nursing homes, and is a member of Ball State’s marching band, The Pride of Mid-America. A 2015 high school graduate, Atalie was recognized at the 2015 Lawrence County Walk with Excellence program for her academic achievement, volunteer work, and involvement in extracurricular activities. She was a three-year Key Club member, organized a dance marathon to raise money for an Indianapolis children’s hospital, and was a dedicated volunteer at Bertha’s Mission, a local soup kitchen, where she served on the youth board. A highly accomplished clarinet and alto saxophone player, Atalie participated in more than a dozen performance groups throughout high school, and as a senior won the John Philip Sousa award for performance and leadership in band and the Gold Star award for outstanding leadership in marching band. Atalie attributes her family’s standard of living to her father’s UAW membership. “Without the UAW’s perseverance in securing decent wages and health benefits for its members, I would not have had such a happy upbringing,” she said. “Because the union cares for its members, my father was given more than what was necessary for our survival.”

Tayson Lin

Tayson is a doctoral student at the Wayne State University (WSU) School of Medicine in Detroit and expects to complete his degree in June 2019. He earned a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from Wayne State in 2015, graduating summa cum laude. He was American Society for Microbiology chapter president, United Pre-Health Student Society public relations officer, and a Phi Beta Kappa honor society member. Deeply committed to his community, Tayson has also served as a first-grade reading tutor at Golightly Education Center and a navigator and in-patient care volunteer at Karmanos Cancer Center. Tayson placed first at the 2014 Physiology Department Mini-Symposium (an inter-university competition), placed first at the 2015 WSU Undergraduate Research Conference for his presentation on breast cancer treatment, and received the 2015 American Chemical Society Outstanding Student Award, given to the top WSU chemistry graduate. He was a research assistant in the Whittum-Hudson Lab and the Karmanos Cancer Institute at WSU, and is a WSU Street Medicine student volunteer, assisting Detroit’s homeless population during clinical visits at shelters. Tayson, whose father has been a UAW member for 16 years, said his family was grateful for the union’s support when his mother was diagnosed with a retinal stroke last year. “She was covered under my father’s union-supported health insurance, which provided her access to high-quality eye specialists who have helped to save her eyesight,” Tayson said, adding that the UAW protected his father’s job during the 2008 recession. “I owe my success to the UAW for protecting my family against financial and medical difficulties that surfaced without warning.”

Steven Manicastri

Steven is a political theory and international relations doctoral student at the University of Connecticut (UConn). He expects to complete his Doctor of Philosophy in May 2018 and plans to become a university instructor. His dissertation is on the Confederazione dei Comitati di Base (COBAS), a rank-and-file Italian trade union formed in the late 1980s. Steven is a teaching assistant and was a pre-doctoral fellow last summer. He holds an associate’s degree in political science from Middlesex County [N.J.] College and a bachelor’s degree in history, political science, and Italian from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. While at Rutgers, Steven participated in the 2011 United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) Walk Into Action to protest tuition hikes, resulting in the lowest tuition increase of the previous 10 years. The son of working-class parents, Steven was born and raised in Italy and immigrated with his family to the United States in 2000. He organized and serves as vice president of UConn’s Graduate Employee Union (GEU) Region 9A and serves as vice president for UAW Local 6950. “I recognize the importance of theory as a political philosopher, but I am cognizant of the essential need to practice one’s politics on a quotidian basis,” Steven said. “I can think of no better way to do this than by being an active union member, or being instrumental in the creation of a labor union in a future place of employment.”

Learn More About the Union Plus Scholarship Program

The Union Plus Scholarship Program, now in its 25th year, awards scholarships based on outstanding academic achievement, personal character, financial need and commitment to the values of organized labor. The program is offered through the Union Plus Education Foundation.

Since starting the program in 1991, Union Plus has awarded more than $4 million in educational funding to more than 2,700 union members, spouses and dependent children. Union Plus Scholarship awards are granted to students attending a two-year college, four-year college, graduate school, or recognized technical or trade school. The selection process is very competitive, and this year over 5,700 applications were received from 55 unions and all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and three U.S. territories.

Visit UnionPlus.org/Scholarship for applications and benefit eligibility.

In addition to the scholarship program, Union Plus provides a wide range of money-saving programs and services for union members and families, including discounts on wireless services from AT&T, the only nationwide unionized wireless carrier, savings on travel and recreation, and more. Visit UnionPlus.org for details.


About Union Plus

Union Plus is a brand of Union Privilege. Backed by the AFL-CIO, the Union Plus brand promises the value, quality service and competitive cost-savings that union members deserve. Since Union Privilege started in 1986, union members and their families have expanded and tailored Union Plus programs to serve today’s working families in their lives off-the-job. At Union Privilege, we are committed to improving the quality of life of working families through our unique products and services. We achieve our mission through savings, service and solidarity.

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