Meet the 2019 STEM Forward Scholarship Recipients

Each year, STEM Forward awards five $2,500 scholarships to outstanding students from the Milwaukee area who are enrolled in STEM related programs in order to encourage talented students to maintain high standards of academic achievement and service. We believe that in order to add to Southeastern Wisconsin’s talent pipeline, we must provide as many possibilities to students as possible —big or small.

STEM Forward High School Scholarship Recipient: Amber Rothe

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Amber Rothe is a 2019 graduate of Brookfield East High School in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Since a young age, she has been interested in science. She loved reading books about everything from astronomy to zoology. During middle school, she participated in several STEM activities including GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science) and her school’s Rube Goldberg Machine Contest. In high school, she discovered a passion for engineering through her school’s robotics team and a passion for biology through her numerous science courses.

 At Brookfield East, she was an active member and team Captain for FIRST Robotics Competition Team 2202, BEAST Robotics. In addition to her responsibilities as Captain, she was the Mechanical Lead in charge of one of the robot’s mechanisms. On the competition field, she served as the drive team’s technician, always ready to troubleshoot any situation. At the 2018 Wisconsin Regional, she was named a Dean’s List Finalist for her dedication and enthusiasm. She then represented the Wisconsin Regional at the World Championship.

 In addition to FIRST Robotics Competition, Amber mentored a FIRST Tech Challenge team, 13201 Team Hazmat, which she helped found in 2017. Amber enjoyed helping the students with their robot and engineering notebook. She also helped the team organize a toy drive, which collected STEM-related toys for Toys for Tots.

 Amber was thrilled to volunteer in the STEM community and participated in many outreach events with BEAST and Hazmat. She organized BEAST’s annual summer STEM camp for the past two years, where she spread her love for STEM with local third through fifth grade children.

 Amber is strong academically, and she maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout high school. She completed fifteen AP courses, as well as other college-level courses during her time at Brookfield East. In addition, she was named a 2019 National Merit Finalist.

 During the summer, she enjoys working at Rockwell Automation as an engineering intern. Last year, she had the wonderful opportunity to participate in their High School Rotation program, where she was introduced to the various engineering teams that work together to develop low voltage drives. This summer, she returned to Rockwell Automation to work with the software engineering team.

 Outside of STEM, Amber is a volunteer at her church, and she was an active member of Brookfield East’s chapter of National Honor Society. Additionally, she served as a tutor in her school’s writing center. In her free time, she enjoys biking, crocheting, and playing card games.

 This fall, she will attend the Milwaukee School of Engineering to study biomedical engineering. She is excited to become an MSOE Raider and participate in all the opportunities that the university has to offer.

Elizabeth Brauer High School Scholarship Recipient: Malyun Ali

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My family fled Somalia and came to America when I was 4 years old. I struggled to adjust to life in America, overcoming bullying, dyslexia, relocations, and feelings of isolation. I created a plan for self-improvement, including specific goals, tasks, and an annual self-review. My performance improved drastically. I have taken every college-articulated class at my school. My GPA is the highest it has ever been, ranking me in the top 5% of my graduating class. I have thrived extracurricular activities, contributed to my Milwaukee community, and my love for learning grows daily.

I worked during school to support my parents and nine siblings, including internships with GE Healthcare, City of Milwaukee, and Starbucks. My favorite internship was working for the City of Milwaukee’s Department of City Development because my mission was to improve Milwaukee’s struggling neighborhoods. I conducted outreach in the Washington Park community, observed construction in the retail corridor, documented existing conditions on the street, and created a revitalization strategy for North Avenue. This experience gave me leadership skills needed to improve Milwaukee’s communities.

Helping others achieve success is important to me. In school, I created a Model United Nations club, where I planned lessons, recruited students, and prepped members for conferences. As president, I taught members about the different types of committees, parliamentary procedures, phases of committee, position papers, and resolutions. I also joined Tech’s SkillsUSA club, where I improved my technical, workplace, and leadership skills. As an upperclassman, I taught new members tasks such as resume creation, competition preparation, and community service. Lastly, I represented my classmates on the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council. I discussed policy changes such as tardy policies, entrance procedures, and learning incentives with other school’s student leaders to improve learning outcomes of my constituents. Through these experiences, I strengthened my leadership skills, time management skills, increased my productivity, and enhanced my quality of work, which will help me as I lead change efforts in Milwaukee.

Many refugee students attend my school and I promoted diversity and inclusivity by welcoming these students. As a Somali refugee myself, I understand difficulties refugees face adjusting to American life and I used my experience to help them to grow. I provided information about nearby community resources, school course selection, places to hang out, and a prayer space for Muslim students. I am proud Milwaukee is becoming more diverse. My experience working with newcomers has given me leadership skills to guide them to resources they need to contribute to the betterment of Milwaukee.

Throughout high school, I studied computer science. I hope to inspire more women to join the field of computer science. Once I establish a successful career, I will support the Milwaukee community and establish opportunities for aspiring computer scientists. I will motivate, inspire, and encourage others to join the field of computer science. I will continue learning skills needed to make a lasting impact for Milwaukee's communities. A life of service is a life well lived.

Read the press release featuring Malyun.

Marquette University Scholarship Recipient: Alyssa Long

My name is Alyssa Long and I will be completing my final year at Marquette University this fall. I chose to focus in Biomechanics due to an initial interest in the way bones and muscles withstand forces and react to injuries. With that interest in mind, I pursued an opportunity in research by spending a summer working in our Human Performance Lab and assisting in a Multiple Sclerosis gait study. Curious to gain industry experience, I began a co-op with Medtronic. My first two terms were in Minneapolis with their Cardiac Rhythm and Heart Failure department. Currently, I am completing my final co-op term in Memphis through Medtronic spine. Concerning post graduation plans, I am still exploring the decision between applying to graduate school to dive further into biomechanics research, or continue working in the medical device industry.


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Milwaukee Area Technical College Scholarship Recipient: Emily Merline

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I’m a student in the Web and Software Development program at MATC, entering my second year. While I’m a native to the Milwaukee area, and a graduate from Nicolet High School, I went out of state for college, getting my B.A. in History from Arizona State University. After I graduated, I returned to Wisconsin to pursue a law degree at UW-Madison. 

 After the first year, I ended up deciding law wasn’t for me, but I stayed in Madison, working at an insurance company. Eventually I realized that I needed to explore other opportunities, and decided to return to Milwaukee and attend MATC. 

 MATC has been a wonderful experience, and I’ve discovered a real love for programming. And this summer, I’ll be gaining some real world experience in the field, as I’m returning to Madison for an internship at the DOT. I’ll also have a chance to help support my fellow students in the fall, working at MATC’s Academic Support Center. 

 With one year left, I’m excited to continue learning more about programming, and looking forward to getting a chance to use everything I’ve learned. 

Milwaukee School of Engineering Scholarship Recipient: Justin McElderry

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Justin McElderry is a mechanical engineering student with an interest in robotics, aerospace, and aeronautics.  Justin delivers solutions from efficient designing, analysis, manufacturing, and leadership in the engineering field.  At the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), he is on the Dean’s List and is part of the NASA Robotic Mining Competition Team and AIAA.  Justin is a sub-system lead for the Material Handling sub-system of the NASA Robotic Mining Competition Team, where he participates in the mission to develop engineering mechanisms and components through experimentation that could assist NASA’s robotics in the journey to Mars.  Outside of school, some of his experiences have included internships with the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and with the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.  Justin had his two microgravity experiments (SoLIDD and MMaJIC) contracted out to be sent up as space flight hardware for the International Space Station with NASA Headquarters and updated structural CAD designs at Fermilab.  Justin will be returning to NASA again to continue research in microgravity experiments.  His hobbies are 3D printing, bicycle restoration, car maintenance, and cooking.  Justin’s goals are to earn his master’s degree in mechanical engineering, continue working with NASA, and aim to become an astronaut on the ISS to conduct his experiments.

UW-Milwaukee Scholarship Recipient: Pauline Scharping

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When I first began my college education in mechanical engineering, I had no idea what path I wanted my career to take, but I knew engineering was the right choice.  My experience in high school with FIRST Robotics, a high school robotics competition, helped me realize that.  The program allowed to work closely with engineers and other professionals, learning valuable real-life skills.  I really enjoyed the chance to work hands-on and being able to see how something gets created from start to finish.  In college, I was lucky to have the chance to continue that with a similar program at UWM that competes at the collegiate level.  Through this, I’m able to gain real world experience outside of a classroom. 

                I was lucky enough to land a co-op opportunity with a local manufacturing company after a few semesters at UWM.  This really cemented my path from what I wanted to do after graduation.  Working in manufacturing, I got to see the entire process of how a product is made and appreciate ass of the details that go into making the whole operation run smoothly, which turns out to be a lot more than I thought.  One of the things I enjoy most about it is always being on the lookout for new ways of doing things.   I like trying to look at everything with a fresh perspective, to see everything with a different angle.  It can be hard to not get tunnel vision sometimes, and always try to keep the bigger goal in mind

                I’m not sure what the future holds after graduation, as I’m just trying to get through college first.  I’m looking forward to my second internship this summer, again with a local manufacturing company, and hope to gain as much real-world experience as I can.  After that, I’ll be looking forward to finishing up my education and starting my career.