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Meet Our 2018 Scholarship recipients

Jennifer Dingman (Digna)
ALPENA, MICHIGAN | Northwood University | Business Administration

Jennifer is driven by her passion for improving the lives of youth in northern Michigan. For the past 8 years, she has been working with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Alpena leading fishing, recycling, and other nature-based activities for hundreds of area youth. Jennifer received her associate’s degree in Business Administration from Alpena Community College in May 2018 and is now continuing her education at Northwood. 

After finishing her bachelor’s degree, Jennifer plans to continue her career in youth development and the nonprofit sector. “I plan to keep Michigan’s outdoor heritage alive through my participation in community projects, by passing down knowledge, and by providing youth with a meaningful connection to Michigan’s outdoors,” she said. “Through this work, I have the ability to inspire and enable the next generation to preserve and protect Michigan’s outdoor culture.”

Samantha Lobdell
HARRISON, MICHIGAN | Central Michigan University | Natural Resources & Outdoor Recreation

Merging her interests in natural resources and outdoor recreation, Samantha is committed to helping others find a lasting connection to the outdoors. In 2017, she developed and led the very first public nature program at Wilson State Park in her hometown of Harrison. In summer 2018, she expanded that park’s outreach efforts through leading nature hikes, fishing, and other programs with families visiting the park. 

At CMU, Samantha is an active member of the Parks and Outdoor Recreation Coalition and several other student organizations. She has also received training and educator certifications through Project Learning Tree, Project Wild, Growing Up Wild, and Leave No Trace. She hopes to pursue a career as an educator or interpreter in the backdrop of our state or national parks. 

“I am proud to receive a scholarship, like this, that celebrates the life of someone who cared so much about Michigan's outdoors,” she said. “Michigan’s outdoor heritage is crucial to preserve not only for resource conservation, but for the personal wellbeing of future generations.” 

Mallory Verch
WATERFORD, MICHIGAN | Michigan State University | Fisheries & Wildlife

Mallory is entering her senior year in the Department of Fisheries & Wildlife at Michigan State University. At MSU, she serves as the president of the Fisheries & Wildlife Club, plays violin in the MSU Concert Orchestra, and participates in several other student organizations. She has also been actively involved in several wildlife-related research projects. She recently interned with the City of East Lansing to conduct deer surveys and research on local deer management and spent the summer of 2018 working as a black bear research technician in Nevada.  

Mallory spent the summer of 2017 working as a DNR Explore Guide at Pontiac Lake Recreation Area where she planned and facilitated youth and family nature programs, fishing events, and other wildlife-related outreach activities. Mallory plans to blend her interests in wildlife and public outreach by pursuing a career as an interpretive ranger with the National Park Service. 

“It is important to learn, teach, and protect Michigan's outdoor heritage. Knowing our great state's heritage creates a sense of respect for the environment and can inspire others to help conserve our resources,” she said. “Teaching and sharing my passion for the environment is a very rewarding experience. Having the opportunity to see a younger generation excited about nature because of something I prepared for them, inspires me to continue this work.” 

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