The Erickson Merkel Foundations's Henry and Patricia Belisle Determination Scholarship is awarded to a Thomsas Edison High School senior who is determined to attend and complete a higher education program at an accredited university or trade school.
Not just students who earn a high GPA, but the sort students who
are putting themselves through school by working tenaciously.
We want to reward workhorse scholars who are doing what is
necessary to achieve their goals, all while avoiding burdensome
and economically damaging student loan debt.
At the Erickson Merkel Foundation, we seek to offer financial
support in the form of scholarship awards to high achieving
students who have aimed at taking control of their academic,
professional and financial futures as best as possible.
The Erickson Merkel Foundation awards scholarships to students with the heart and drive to realize their dreams.
Michael Brewer joined the board in the late winter of 2015. He works as Senior Leader for the Securian Financial Group. With Betsy, he volunteers at dinner service at Our Saviour's Community Services and previously volunteered at an elderly care facility. Michael said he knew full well what today's workhorses were going through. "Betsy and I were workhorse scholars, the exact candidates to which the Erickson Merkel Foundation is reaching out," Michael said. "We understand that it can be a struggle to finance a college education without building up debt that can burden a graduate for many years after school. We were fortunate enough to complete our degrees without a penny of debt and would like the opportunity to help others achieve the same." || View Full Bio >>Michael Brewer
Betsy Johnson came on board the foundation in March of 2015. She works as the Executive Assistant to VP-Medical Affairs and Chief of Staff at Regions Hospital/Health Partners. Betsy and her husband volunteer with Our Saviour's Community Services, a homeless shelter in Minneapolis, where they and others purchase dinner items to prepare and serve, and also clean up the shelter. She said she understood the mission of the Erickson Merkel Foundation quite well. "Having experienced the hardship of working my way through college, I understand and appreciate the benefit EMF will provide to individuals," Betsy said. "I appreciate what EMF represents as proof it is possible to get a degree without the burden of student loan debt." || View Full Bio >>Betsy Johnson
Samantha Fischer started with the board in March of 2015. She works as Staff Accountant for Mayer, Porter & Nelson, LTD. Samantha is also with the Jaycees, and has served as treasurer of Crew and as a member and coordinator of Alternative Break Experience. She said she was interested in board service due to her belief that everyone should graduate with as little debt as possible. "I understand the additional stress having a job creates," she said. "I feel that 'workhorse' scholars do not get recognized enough for their hard work and think a scholarship is a great way to recognize them for their commitment to getting an education." || View Full Bio >>Samantha Fischer
Anne McGuire was drawn to the board in early 2015 after having a conversation with one of her nephews on the board, Matt Erickson. Anne works as the Director of Programs and Pilgrimages for Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics. Anne obtained her Ph. D. in Theology from Notre Dame University. She said she was impressed with the mission of Erickson Merkel Foundation. "As a college professor I know many students who struggle to advance their education while working to support themselves and their families," Anne said. "As a parent, the need for financial assistance during college is underscored. Both of these make me committed to finding ways to reward, in whatever way possible, those who want to get a college education while finding their careers working at the same time." || View Full Bio >>Anne McGuire
Jared Klempel joined the board in early 2015 after learning about the Erickson Merkel Foundation from Chris and Eric, who he'd served with in the National Guard. Jared works in the North Dakota National Guard as an Army Command Administrative Assistant and in his spare time serves as head coach in a youth football league. He said his interest in joining the board came up because he'd always wanted to be part of an organization that was driven by helping and encouraging others to do their best in order to accomplish their goals. "I can help EMF's mission with my willingness to work hard ... and to help them envision EMF's bright future and enlist their help to accomplish EMF's goals/mission," Jared said. || View Full Bio >>Jared Klempel
Matt is another director with ties to the namesake, growing up with brother Chris on their family's farm, before moving on to bigger things. Matt wishes to help relieve the strain on those working to put themselves through school. Currently the Manager of Engineering and Chairman of the Board for KLM Engineering, Matt also serves as Command Sergeant Major for the 682d Eng. Bn. He has been with the Minnesota Army National Guard for about 20 years. || View Bio >>Matt Erickson
A North Dakota native, Mike attended Bismarck State College for two years before earning his bachelors in English and Mass Communications from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Upon first hearing of the mission of EMF, Mike was thrilled to be part of the cause. He has launched Up & Running Web Design, a successful web and marketing firm based in Bismarck. Currently, Up & Running provides several paid internship opportunities to local college students. || View Bio >>Mike Renner
David works as a real estate investment specialist in Fargo, and is looking forward to giving back to the workhorses of the student community. He's been associated with the Fargo-Moorhead Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Network, COMEX, IREM, CCIM, and St. Cloud State Alumni Association. David wanted to become part of the foundation because he felt it spoke to him as he worked through undergraduate and graduate school and still found himself with some student loan burdens. Now, he wants to be able to reward students who are working hard to achieve for themselves. || View Bio >>David Aase
Eric is a cofounder, executive and active board member for the Erickson Merkel Foundation. As volunteer executive director for the foundation, he focuses on promoting the foundation’s mission and advancing the foundation’s strategy and organization development efforts. Eric’s career in marketing includes more than eight years of branding, marketing, and design consulting for small businesses and more than eleven years of public relations work for the military. He remains an active member of the Army National Guard, and he currently serves under Joint Force Headquarters in North Dakota. || View Bio >>Eric Jungles – Executive Director
Tyson agreed to come onto the board soon after the incorporators had begun initially discussing the idea. Tyson is the Vice President of Industrial Enterprises Inc., where he has worked for more than a decade after receiving his degree in Architectural Technology from MN State Technical College. Tyson is extremely excited to be on board and is looking ahead to community outreach, fundraising, and awarding scholarships. "I like the idea of assisting students who work hard to pay their own way through college and are also able to do well in school," Tyson said. "Not having done anything like serve on a board such as this in the past, I hope to help find the most deserving candidates." || View Bio >>Tyson Bittner
Paul has been with the Erickson Merkel Foundation since its launch, serving as a board member and the organization's volunteer finance director. Paul lives with his wife Jessica and two children in Maplewood, Minnesota. He enjoys running, reading, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. Paul graduated with honors from Saint Cloud State University with degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics. In addition, he graduated from the United States Army Intelligence Center of Excellence in Fort Huachuca, Ariziona, where he studied analysis of strategic and tactical intelligence. || View Bio >>Paul Jungels – Finance Director
Hannah Jungels Hannah has been with the board since its very first board meeting and is most excited to move the foundation's goals forward. Hannah works as the Program Director for Luther Crest Bible Camp. She's previously served as CSB|SJU Crew Team Board, Regatta Coordinator in 2010 and 2011. She graduated from College of Saint Benedict with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies & Peace Studies and holds a Type I Challenge Course Facilitator certification. Hannah said that she's wants to help reward those who are motivated to high achievement. "I am inspired by those who choose a debtfree life and those who have neverending perseverance to work one, two or three jobs to get them through school in order to see their dreams become a reality," she stated. "These are people that I would want on my team and the type of people who drive our society to be a better place." || View Bio >>Hannah Jungels
Ben comes to the foundation with plenty of volunteering experience. When he's not working as a Manufacturing Engineer for 3M or serving as the local ambassador in its New Employee Onboarding Network, Ben offers his time to both the Special Olympics Minnesota and the Miracles of Mitch Foundation, where he has volunteered his time since June 2012 and Aug. 2013, respectively. "As a relatively recent graduate, I feel pretty in touch with some of the financial burdens facing college students, both in school and upon graduation," Ben added. "I feel that I will be able to help the foundation define the "work horse" scholar. Additionally, I plan on participating and leading committees to strategize the best way to support those work house scholars." || View Bio >>Ben Ferin
Aaron joined the Erickson Merkel Foundation board October of 2014. He works aat the American Heritage National Bank as the Assistant Vice President - Loan Mortgage Officer. He previously worked as a Home Mortgage Consultant with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage where he worked with and closed loans with over 900 clients during his time as a Mortgage Consultant with Wells Fargo. Aaron is was in at the beginning of the foundation, he is greatly looking forward to the whole experience, specifically helping the students who are applying themselves full time to better themselves and their future. || View Bio >>Aaron Reznechek
Sean has been with the board since its first meeting in October of 2014, although in spirit he's been with the foundation even longer. He currently serves with the National Fire Sprinkler Association, the National Fire Protection Association, and the The Breakfast Club of Minneapolis. Previously, Sean has served as the treasurer of the Uptown Hamel Business Group, and prior to that as the community service chair/chancellor of Delta Sigma PI, Professional Business Fraternity. Sean is both excited and hopeful that his prior experience in fundraising will help bring opportunities to the leaders of tomorrow. | View Bio >>Sean Merkel – Chairman of the Board
AJ joined the foundation in 2014 He works as the vice president of recruiting for Hirenomics. AJ respects hard work and want to reward kids that have the same values as himself but may not be as fortunate. He is looking forward to being part of the foundation and finding ways to give back to the community both personally and professionally. AJ received his BA in Business Administration from Metropolitan State University. He's also been associated with the Beacon Bank as a personal banker, and has served as an assistant coach with the Wayzata Youth Hockey. || View bio >>A.J. Noll
Chris has been with the Erickson Merkel Foundation since its beginning, as a cofounder, board member and volunteer communications director. Beyond refining language governing the foundation's vision, he brings focus to the communications strategies implemented by the foundation. Chris' career in the communications world includes six years of publishing, eight years of public relations work for the military and nearly a decade of work in branding and creating communications plans for small businesses. || View Bio >>Chris Erickson – Communications Director
Angela Wilhelm knows a thing or two about hard work and planning for the future. “If you want something in life then you are going to have to work for it,” was a common refrain and grew to become what she said was her “steadfast philosophy,” instilled at an early age by her parents. “My […]
Born and raised in Ohio by parents Charles and Kathy, Alexa “Lexi” Alberts was taught to value dependability, consistency and perseverance from a very young age. Alongside her brother, Andy, Lexi learned both compassion and discipline, which would stay with her to present day. Like many, family and friends were a strong support network. “I […]
One of this awardees of the 2016 Workhorse Scholarships traces his drive to his roots on a Minnesota farm, where his dad taught him about hard work and his mother inspired his interest in medicine. Gunnar Nemitz, a graduate of Monticello High School originally hailing from Burnsville, said his family – parents Bruce and Lori, […]
Sarah Kerr has a passion for medicine that she’s been cultivating since she was a child. Growing up Bellingham, Washington, gave her a unique perspective on helping others. She and her siblings Emily, Marissa and Dakota shared their home with even more siblings thanks to her mother Julie’s foster efforts. Her grandmother, Nadine Williams, also […]
At its annual scholarship selection meeting, the Erickson Merkel Foundation Board of Directors recently picked its second round of Workhorse Scholars. Four candidates were selected after the review process ended this year, resulting in Angela Wilhelm, Lexi Alberts, Gunnar Nemitz and Sarah Kerr being named the 2016 Workhorse Scholars. All candidates were immediately notified. Profiles […]
An update from the Erickson Merkel Foundation during our second round of scholarship applications Executive Perspective By Eric Jungels, executive director Hello everyone, and happy 2016! I’m happy to report that our first year as a fully-functioning educational-focused 501(c)(3) went extremely well! Our fledgling team of fundraisers did a splendid job at organizing […]
BISMARCK, N.D. – A popular wintertime event could be coming to the area thanks to the efforts of a nonprofit organization with local ties. The Erickson Merkel Foundation is aiming to host a Winter Dummy Race later this month to raise money for local scholarships. The dummy race will pit homemade dummies on otherwise unmanned […]
Allissa Heim is a focused individual, and through that focus has begun marching forward toward her life goals. In doing that, she also earned this inaugural year’s top scholarship of $3,000 from the Erickson Merkel Foundation. Currently, Allissa is working toward her degree at Hamline University. There, she juggles her work with the Hamline […]