University of Vermont

Three Students Win Scholarships Encouraging Diversity Within STEM Fields

scholarship winners
Scholarship winners Alex Ferno, Katie Bedard and Tazney Ryea display their plaques.

Lawrence Miller, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Commerce & Community Development, presented $5,000 scholarships to three Vermont students pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) areas. The scholarships, offered by the Vermont EPSCoR Center for Workforce Development and Diversity, encourage students from diverse backgrounds to enter STEM careers. The first crop of competitive scholarships designed to help defray college expenses were made to students from Franklin and Washington Counties: Katie Bedard, a graduate of Mississquoi Valley Union (MVU) in Swanton, Vt.; Tazney Ryea, also a graduate of MVU; and Alex Ferno, a graduate of Union‐32 High School in Montpelier, Vt.

Vermont EPSCoR launched the scholarship program this year to provide financial support to students interested in pursuing a career in STEM areas who are of Native American ancestry or first in their family to attend a four‐year college. The $5,000 awards are made on an annual basis to a graduating senior at a Vermont high school who plans to attend a Vermont college or university during the next academic year or a current undergraduate enrolled in a degree program at a Vermont college or university with a GPA of 3.0 or above. The scholarships are awarded based on academic standing, letters of recommendation and an essay.

2012 scholarship winners:

  • Katie Bedard, recipient of a Native American Scholarship, is currently a student at the University of Vermont majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry.
  • Tazney Ryea, recipient of a Native American Scholarship, graduated from Missisquoi Valley Union High School in 2012 and began a nursing degree at UVM.
  • Alex Ferno, a recipient of a First‐Generation Scholarship, graduated in May 2012 from Union‐32 High School in Montpelier, VT. Alex is attending UVM where he was accepted early‐action into the Mechanical Engineering school with a minor in computer science.

Applications for the 2013 scholarships are now being accepted. The deadline for applications is April 1, 2013. For more information, visit