LeadMN recently selected 18 deserving students to receive a LeadMN scholarship for the 2021 Fall Semester, totaling $19,120. Several of the recipients are highlighted.

Mark M. Welter Leadership Scholarship

Nicole Palmer, Metropolitan State University
Nicole lives in New Ulm, Minnesota, while pursuing an online Master’s in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Metropolitan State University, St. Paul. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota, Morris, with bachelor’s degrees in Psychology, Human Services, and Disability Issues & Advocacy. She is committed to issues of equity, diversity, ethical leadership, community engagement, and social justice. She enjoys being crafty/creative and volunteering. Nicole understands that as a leader it is her responsibility to use her experience and education to be an ally and advocate for those on the margins of society.  Nicole has worked as a camp counselor for Camp Odayin, which is a camp for children with heart disease.  She is registered to be a virtual camp counselor for Camp Odayin again this summer!

LeadMN Leadership Scholarship

Caledon Johnston, Minnesota State College Southeast
This is Cal’s second time to be selected to receive a LeadMN scholarship.  Last year, he received the Morrie Anderson Endowed Scholarship when he attended Hennepin Technical College and served as a Student Experience Team Leader and Vice President to the Student Senate.  Cal is now pursuing an AAS Degree in Radiology at Minnesota State College Southeast.  He would like to have a successful career here in Minnesota as a Radiology Technologist, and one day become a Doctor of Radiology.

Linda Kalu, North Hennepin Community College

Emmaleah Lund, Community and Technical College - Thief River Falls

Jenna Race, Century College


Dr. Steve and Darla Frantz Leadership Endowed Scholarship

Eve Thao, St. Cloud State University
Eve is pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language at St. Cloud State University.  She served in the US Army / US-Army Reserves for six years.  She continues to strive to live by the statement "be the change you want to see in the world", and hopes to continue her volunteerism in the community, at the school she works at, or online. Eve believes the experiences she will gain from being a teacher and a volunteer will develop her leadership skills and qualities.  This scholarship will afford her time to volunteer in Thailand, while working as an English Language teacher.


Linda Olson Memorial Scholarship

Katie Subra, St. Cloud State University
Katie has been working in higher education for approximately 13 years, mostly, in the realm of international education. She is a first-generation college graduate with a Master’s in Teaching ESL. In 2018, I enrolled in the Higher Education Administration doctoral program at St. Cloud State University. At that time, I was a new mother and was directing English Language Programs at Winona State University. Due to the pandemic, my program closed. Fortunately, she was selected to work in a new role as Grants Specialist. Katie considers herself to be a lifelong learner and advocate for educational opportunities of my colleagues and students, locally and globally.  This is Katie’s second time being selected to receive the Linda Olson Memorial Scholarship.


Morrie Anderson Endowed Scholarship

Gretta Vignon, Riverland Community College - Austin
Gretta is a Food Science student at Riverland Community College Austin, pursuing the Associate and Art degree and an Associate of Science degree together. She is an immigrant from Benin, married and a mother of two little girls.  She grew up on a farm where they raised animals and grew vegetables on a small scale. Today, she is studying food science to help develop additional skills, particularly in toxicology, nutrition and food processing and packaging. The toxicology skills will help her identify toxic products and learn about their effects on humans, vegetables, animals and the environment, as well as in food processing and packaging to transform the food according to the laws of the USA. Her “one” day wish it to be able to open restaurant where she can offer a healthy and organic menu, directly from farm products.


John Kenneth Niemi Memorial Tool Fund Scholarship

Chao Thao, Minneapolis Community and Technical College
Chao is a father of three children. He owns his own cleaning business but due to the pandemic, he lost many clients which resulted in losing 60 percent of his income.  He had been enrolled in the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning degree at Minneapolis College.  Without receiving this scholarship, it would not have been possible for him to continue pursuing this degree.


John and Kathryn O'Brien Endowed Scholarship

Lukumbi Tshisungu, South Central College - North Mankato
Lukumbi is an immigrant from Cameroon and Congo.  This scholarship will allow him to continue to pursue his educational dream to get his Master’s Degree in Software Engineering.  There are several certifications he must pass, some of them are expensive.  This scholarship will help him pay for school fees and tuition this coming Fall semester. He wants to get more involved South Central College and community through service-learning, volunteer opportunities and internships. He feels that this scholarship would also teach him how to become philanthropic and give the same opportunity to others when he is financially able.

Christine Rice Annual Scholarship

Brigette Eckwood, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College
Being granted this scholarship has enabled Brigette to continue her dream of working with those who are at disadvantage in healing their emotions and mind so they can lead healthier and more meaningful lives.  Her short-term goal is to earn an Associates Degree in Human Services and long-term goal is to earn a bachelor’s degree in Social Work through St. Scholastica, which is embedded in the FDLTCC program.  Upon graduation, her career goal is to find a position within a school district and work with children. Brigette is very passionate about children and believes more Social Workers of color are needed to better relate to the children who most often receive these services.

Kayanja, Minneapolis Community and Technical College

Hannah Monroe, Century College

Stephanie Rodgers, Anoka Technical College


Mark M. Welter 100% American Scholarship

Kaiyuan Deng, Normandale Community College
Kaiyuan reflected in his application that global ethnic diversity has played a lot of roles in our daily life in many aspects. For example, the Ocarina that he has in his house was crafted in Costa Rica, and the freedom of speech that is available after the Declaration of Independence from England, and Christmas tree that hang around the house during Christmas was derived from Germany. Many things that happened in daily lives could also taught about openness to global diversity.  In the workplace, people of different ethnic groups can contribute to their work based on their advantages that their have, that including the types of language that they speak.  Those advantages are crucial for success of everyone in the workplace with inclusion and better acceptance of their cultural differences, there will be also more things that anyone can learn from one another as improvements. He added that ethnic diversity will encourage people to have more communications, make new friends, and be more understanding to one another about his or her cultures. As it for international relations, ethnic diversity will help show understandings of differences between two nations, and find a common ground based on their commonalities that will help get countries with different ethnic background closer.

Sheri Hanson, Dakota County Technical College

Bleranda Latifi, Metropolitan State University

Jianing Wen, Saint Paul College


LeadMN is so proud of all the students who applied for a LeadMN scholarship.  If you were not selected for the 2021 Fall Semester, but will be enrolled at a Minnesota State college or university for the 2022 Spring Semester, please go online: https://www.leadmn.org/scholarships to reapply.