UPEA Announces 2021 Scholarship Award Recipients

The Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) is excited to announce the winners of the 2021 scholarships sponsored by Mountain America Credit Union. This is the 14th year that UPEA has offered these scholarships, and the nominees 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 their communities. UPEA appreciates the service provided by public employees and hopes that these scholarships serve to ensure that the next generation embraces that commitment to public service.  Here are the 2021 award recipients:

Matthew Harris is currently finishing his junior year as a civil engineering student at Utah State University. He’s already received recognition on the Dean’s List twice for his academic achievements and has maintained a 3.91 grade point average (GPA). Before starting college, Harris graduated from high school with a 4.0 GPA and served as his class valedictorian. In addition to his academic endeavors, Harris enjoys playing classical piano and spending time outdoors hiking and fly fishing. His passion for helping others prompted Harris to serve a two-year religious mission in Canada, where he volunteered for the local community. After completing his bachelor’s degree, Harris seeks to obtain a Professional Engineering license, which will allow him to help build communities, creating physical infrastructures that have social impact.

Jacob Richardson has worked for the state of Utah for the past two and a half years, and currently works for the Public Service Commission as a utility technical consultant. At this time, Richardson also is working to receive a bachelor’s of science degree in statistics from the University of Utah. He has maintained a 3.94 GPA thus far. In addition to his college courses and full-time work with the state, Richardson volunteers his time to help the community through the Volunteers of America Youth Resource Center to feed the homeless, and Tree Utah to plant trees in the Cottonwood Canyons. Richardson also enjoys astronomy and spends his free time with the astronomy club and hosting “star parties” to share his hobby with the community. After completing his education, Richardson hopes to continue his public service as an economist for the state of Utah, helping to ensure stable and affordable electric service for Utah citizens.

Chiana Rossiter will graduate from East High School this spring with a 3.99 GPA, and will continue her education in the fall as a freshman at the University of Utah. Throughout high school, Rossiter has been active in sports and activities, including basketball, mountain biking, art club, and the National Honor Society. She also donates her time to clean, develop, and maintain Salt Lake County trails, tutor refugees through the city’s Know Your Neighbor Program, and volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House to lead family activities. Rossiter has participated in the Sugarhouse Community Council meetings and actively contacts her legislators about the local issues she is passionate about. After earning  degrees in microbiology and statistics, Rossiter hopes to serve in the public sector as an epidemiologist. She hopes to be one of the scientists “studying and implementing evidence-based measures to control disease and empowering the public with solid scientific information that will keep them safe and healthy.”

After reviewing the applications, UPEA had a hard time narrowing the nominee pool 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 Courtney Richardson.

Courtney Richardson is extremely passionate about aviation. Her love of flying has shaped her life in many ways and impacted her personally and professionally. Richardson currently works as a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines while she finishes training for her Commercial Pilot Certification. She’s an active member of the Ninety-Nines Organization, an international association of female pilots promoting aviation through education, mentorship, and community engagement.  The Utah chapter hosts charity events to provide support and resources to members. In addition to her aviation activities, Richardson donates her time to the Volunteers of America Youth Resource Center to cook and serve meals for homeless youth. Richardson plans to continue her training to become a Certified Flight Instructor, and ultimately hopes to start her career as a pilot for Delta Air Lines.

UPEA was extremely impressed by applications this year and looks forward to continuing to offer this opportunity in the future.

Thank you to everyone who applied.