Stories from the Midland Area Community Foundation

Six Midland County residents among those honored at the Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Scholarship Program Awards Ceremony

January 30th, 2020

Five local area high school seniors and one local community leader were honored at the Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Scholarship Program Awards Ceremony at Saginaw Valley State University on January 22, 2020, where 18 total regional students and leaders were celebrated.

The Midland Area Community Foundation (MACF), along with Bay Area Community Foundation and Saginaw Community Foundation awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Scholarship to local students who have embraced Dr. King’s teachings on racial harmony and social justice. Midland County students who received the scholarship are Luca Jolly from Midland High School, Zoe Merillat from Coleman Jr. Sr. High School, Lindsay Thompson from Herbert Henry Dow High School, Taryn Vielma from Midland High School, and Hannah Woehrle from Midland High School.

“This opportunity has shown me age and impact are not always proportional. Young people can make a big difference in their community and the world around them,” said scholarship recipient Lindsay Thompson.

Honorees had an opportunity to meet with keynote speaker Dr. Ruth D. Jones prior to the award ceremony. Dr. Jones works as the Branch Chief for the Industrial Safety Branch NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. A trailblazer in her field, Dr. Jones was the first woman to ever receive a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Arkansas and second African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in physics in the state of Alabama.

Dr. Jones, known as one of NASA’s Modern Figures, is passionate about inspiring and motivating youth on the importance of education, especially math and science. Her goal is to be a role model for the youth and illustrate to them they can do anything despite their race, gender and/or social class.

“It has been an incredible honor receiving this scholarship, because being a minority in Midland, Michigan, it really allows me to strive to be who I am and who I want to be, and I value immensely inclusion. It means a lot to me,” stated scholarship recipient Taryn Vielma.

In addition to the scholarship awards, three local community leaders received the Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major Award. The three Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major Award recipients received a $1,000 award for a charitable organization of their choice.

Dave Stickles was recognized as the Midland County recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major Award for his dedication to the STEM community, exemplified by his organization of the Midland based Sci-fest event. Stickles also dedicates himself to the community through volunteering with Midland Special Olympics and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great Lakes Bay Region. Stickles was an employee of the Dow Corning Corporation for 32 years and currently serves as Midland Section Director of the American Chemical Society and Vice President of the Michigan Chapter of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.

“The Midland Area Community Foundation is proud to be part of this regional collaboration celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. along with our regional partners Bay Area Community Foundation, Saginaw Community Foundation, and Saginaw Valley State University,” said Midland Area Community Foundation President and CEO Sharon Mortensen. “We are pleased to honor students who emulate the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We look forward to the impact these students will have as they move forward into their next phase of life.”

In addition to the MLK Regional Scholarship, the Midland Area Community Foundation awards hundreds of scholarships annually through individual funds that organizations and individuals have established at MACF for the sole purpose of curbing the costs of attending post-secondary institutions to area students. Applications for these additional funds are open until March 1, 2020. If you have any questions regarding scholarships, or any other activities of the MACF, you can contact the MACF at 989-839-9661 or