The Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) is excited to announce the winners of the 2020 scholarships sponsored by Mountain America Credit Union. This is the 13th year that UPEA has offered these scholarships, and the applications are only getting more impressive.
Selections are based on academic achievement, community service, future plans, and skills or hobbies outside of school. UPEA sought to find three well-balanced individuals who will use the $1,000 awards to further their careers and continue to serve the community. UPEA appreciates the service provided by public employees and hopes that these scholarships serve to ensure that the next generation embraces that commitment. Here are the 2020 award recipients:
Trevor Lorenz Gasser is currently attending Brigham Young University (BYU) and plans to graduate with a master’s degree in information systems after only five years of study. While maintaining a 3.78 grade point average (GPA), Gasser has volunteered for the BYU Student Association to create service opportunities on campus. Notably, Gasser established BYU Y-Wishes, a program dedicated to serving students and faculty battling cancer. Outside of school, Gasser enjoys skiing, snowboarding, and hunting. His passion for the outdoors led him to participate in Dedicated Hunter service projects to protect the wildlife and natural environments of Utah. After graduation, Gasser plans to pursue a career as a data scientist and hopes to streamline machine-learning techniques to make healthcare more accessible.
Brian Prettyman has worked for the Utah Department of Workforce Services for the past 14 years. Throughout his time with the state, he’s grown and gained experience in several positions, including employment counselor, employee trainer, and program and policy specialist. He currently serves as a contract analyst. In addition to his public service, Prettyman has volunteered his time for the LGBTQ Pride Center, Kimball Arts Festival, the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy, and many other community causes. Prettyman is the only member of his family to achieve a bachelor’s degree and now strives to obtain his master’s business administration degree from the University of Utah. Ultimately, Prettyman hopes to continue his service as a director in the public sector and to use his experience to better the world.
Tracia Sullivan has dedicated the past 15 years to helping the underserved community as a counselor for the Utah Department of Workforce Services. Sullivan began pursuing a bachelor’s degree in 1989, but financial hardship she experienced as a single parent forced her to delay higher-education plans. After decades of growth in her field, she has seized the opportunity to complete her degree in family health studies with a minor in sociology. Since reentering college in 2018, Sullivan has maintained a 4.0 GPA while continuing full-time work and donating time as a volunteer. She has spent 31 years volunteering to help those battling addiction through a 12-step recovery fellowship. Upon completion of her schooling, Sullivan plans to continue her career in social services and help those impacted by intergenerational poverty.
After reviewing the applications, UPEA had a hard time narrowing it down to three. One extraordinary applicant stood out in ways the normal qualifications did not consider. The Association felt this candidate deserved recognition, and Mountain America was generous enough to offer another $500 scholarship to Fenton Moody.
Moody has worked hard to achieve success and independence despite coping with autism spectrum disorder. Throughout high school, Moody exceeded the expectations of his peers by serving as student body president, learning to drive, obtaining a food-handler’s permit, and working an afterschool job in addition to his schoolwork. He has also volunteered at the Elk Lodge delivering meals to those in need. His hard work and dedication earned him acceptance into the Aggies Elevated Program at Utah State University. Applicants considered for this program come from across the nation; Moody is one of 10 individuals chosen this year. He plans to pursue special education and acting with the hope of inspiring others like him to achieve their goals.
UPEA was impressed by applications this year and looks forward to continuing the opportunity next year.
Thank you to everyone who applied.