Quad City Engineering and Science Council 56th Annual Awards & Scholarship Banquet Held

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March 02, 2018
$68,000 in Scholarships Awarded to 17 Area High School Students Pursuing STEM Degrees and Awards presented to local Professionals

The Quad-City Engineering and Science Council, or QCESC, held its 56th annual STEM Week banquet on Thursday, February 22nd at the Putnam Museum. Everyone including students was cordially invited to attend this annual premier event to celebrate, network and showcase the great Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Professionals and Educators in the Quad Cities region.  The event was held during National Engineers Week (E-week).  

The keynote speaker was Tomas Gonzales-Torres, a Former NASA Flight Director and now Lecturer at the Iowa State University Department of Aerospace Engineering and Iowa Space Grant Consortium Assistant Director. Remarks were also made by Dr. Jeff Weld, Executive Director for the Iowa Governor's STEM Council who is currently the Senior Policy Adviser for STEM Education at the Office of Science and Technology at The White House.

The following professionals were recognized for outstanding achievements in their field:

QCESC 2018 Junior Engineer of the Year: Scott N. Clark
Scott is a Senior Engineer with John Deere at the World Wide Crop Harvesting Product Development Center in Silvis, IL. He is the technical lead for engine performance and emissions as well as for engine controls integration on future harvesting products. Scott is active in engineering societies, volunteers with organizations around the Quad Cities, and engages in youth development through local STEM activities .
QCESC 2018 Senior Engineer of the Year: Thomas D. Heinold, Jr.
Tom is the Chief of Operations Division for the US Army Corp of Engineers, Rock Island District. As an Army Officer and a Civil Engineer leader, Tom’s focus is on inland navigation and flood risk management projects that provide critical safety and security for our citizens. Tom volunteers for many community organizations including the Boy Scouts, Junior Achievement, student mentoring and tutoring programs, and Hearts & Hammers.
QCESC Senior Scientist of the Year: Megan Dusing
Megan is a Principal Environmental Scientist with Stanley Consultants in Coralville. As a Professional Wetland Scientist, Megan is charged with identifying wetlands so that clients can avoid or minimize impacts to these vulnerable areas. Megan is involved in a number of community activities including National Wildlife Federation, homeless shelter meal planning, Take a Kid Outdoors, and Adopt a Highway .
QCESC Lifetime Achievement Award: Mark Henthorn
Mark’s career as an engineer spans over 40 years. He is the Project Leader and Director of Professional Relations at Stanley Consultants in Muscatine. Mark has served on the ISU College of Engineering Industrial Advisory Council and continues to be an active member of a number of engineering societies. Mark participates in several STEM and community activities in Muscatine involving churches, schools, FIRST Lego League Team, and the Muscatine Science Fair.
QCESC STEM Teacher of the Year Award: Sanchia Horst-Sommer
Sanchia is a Gifted Itinerant Teacher (Grades 1-4) for the East Moline School District and a National Board Certified Teacher. She has elevated STEM programming within the District and throughout the Quad City community over the last 9 years. Sanchia is a coach for FIRST Lego League and FLL Jr. teams and is a co-facilitator for Project Lead the Way Launch in her District. She is an instructor with 4H. Sanchia is a national and state presenter who shares her passion for STEM education beyond her District .
QCESC Volunteer of the Year Award: Ray Parrish
Ray is retired from John Deere. He has been one of our most active volunteers supporting multiple events over the last 9 years. He has always been willing to serve in whatever role we need him including in non-visible, demanding roles such as the Pit Manager for FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Tech Challenge. Ray has helped start and support FIRST Tech Challenge teams in his home town of Orion and has supported the Western Illinois League.  He has also been a tireless volunteer for multiple other events and organizations in the community including with the Lion’s Club and the John Deere Classic to name a few.

QCESC President’s Award of Merit: Camille Sloan Schroeder
Camille is the K-12 Community Outreach Manager for the Iowa State University College of Engineering. She serves as the Iowa FIRST LEGO League (FLL) and FIRST LEGO League Jr Director and the Iowa Project Lead the Way Affiliate Director. Through her strong leadership, advocacy for all students, and innovative approaches, thousands of Quad City K-12 students have had amazing STEM experiences. With her direct involvement, the 10+ year partnership with the QCESC and Putnam Museum was established and has grown and prospered. Under her leadership, she developed and supported the Annual Engineering Kids Camp at the Putnam and has fostered substantial growth in the number of FLL and FLL Jr. teams since 2009.
QCESC Society of the Year: National Society of Black Engineers -
Quad Cities Professional Chapter

Recently chartered in the Quad Cities, this Society focuses on community service and education of the community through engaging events meant for all ages.  Its annual "A Walk for Education" achieves both of these goals by increasing the awareness of opportunities available through education,  particularly in the STEM fields.  This is done on a personal level through a door-to-door outreach campaign handing out information about college, scholarship information, SAT/ACT preparation tools and a timeline for college applications to members of identified communities. Quad Cities NSBE Professionals are also dedicated to increasing the professional success of members through programming designed to enhance their technical backgrounds as well as their soft skills.  Members of this Society have been active participants in activities sponsored by QCESC.
QCESC 2018 Scholarship Winners
Seventeen scholarships totaling $68,000 were awarded to area high school students pursuing STEM-related degrees. The funding comes from local professional societies, businesses, and regional universities. This is the 25th year of awarding scholarships to encourage students majoring in STEM-related fields. Including this year, 150 scholarships have been awarded. In recent years we have increased the number and in the last 10 years we have given 115 scholarships valued at $308,000.
The scholarships were awarded based on academics, extracurricular activities including work and community service and leadership experience. The applicants’ essays on career goals and why they are interested in the STEM field rounded out how these applications were evaluated. Sixty two high school seniors from Henry, Mercer, Rock Island, Whiteside, Knox, Lee, and Carroll counties in Illinois and Clinton, Louisa, Muscatine, and Scott counties in Iowa applied.

Front row: Elias Rocha, Siddhi Kapur, Nicole Firsbie, Luke Soko
Second row: Jared Abbott, Whintney Woepking, Ashlyn Haack, Rebecca Foster, Nichol Schuldt
Third row: Cole Caleo, Ryan Lodico, Isaac Mize, Nikhil Wagher, Joseph Slater, Konnor Sommer, Andrew Witters
Name School Scholarship Awarded Amount Awarded
Isaac Mize North Scott American Society of Civil Engineers $ 2,500
Luke Soko Bettendorf American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers $ 1,000
Cole Caleo Alleman. Exelon Corporation $ 2,000
Ashlyn Haack Pleasant Valley Iowa State University $ 1,000
Joseph Slater North Scott Iowa State University $ 1,000
Jared Abbott Orion National Defense Industrial Association $ 2,000
Siddhi Kapur Moline. IEEE Corncon Cybersecurity $ 1,500
Rachel Eckert Cornerstone QCESC $ 2,500
Rebecca Foster Galesburg QCESC $ 2,500
Nikhil Wagher Rivermont Society of Automotive Engineers $ 2,000
Whitney Woepking Muscatine University of Iowa $ 1,000
Elias Rocha West Liberty University of Iowa $ 1,000
Andrew Witters Pleasant Valley Iowa State University $ 1,000
Konnor Sommer Pleasant Valley IEEE Iowa/Illinois Section $ 1,500
Nichol Schuldt Sterling National Association of Women in Construction $2,500
Nicole Frisbie Muscatine Society of American Military Engineers $1,000
Ryan Lodico Moline Western Illinois University Quad Cities $ 42,000
The Quad City Engineering and Science Council (QCESC) is an umbrella organization representing approximately 20 technical societies in the Quad City region with around 3,000 associated members. The QCESC is a non-profit organized in 1963. Its mission is to promote and support engineering, science, and technical professionals and associated societies in the Quad City Region and to also support and encourage students in the Quad City Region to study in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) related fields. For more information, visit our website at

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