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MAGE Scholarship and Student Debt Reduction Winners Selected

The MAGE Board of Directors would like to congratulate the following members or children of MAGE members who were selected as winners of $1,000 scholarships or student debt reduction awards.    The winners were chosen at random from all entries at the Board meeting on Saturday, Sept. 07.  The Board approved payment of seven awards this year.  Scholarship Award payments are sent to the scholarship winners directly and the student debt reduction awards are sent to the financial institution directly to their account.  
Please congratulate the following:
Scholarship Winners:
Rashod Johnson – Son of MAGE Member Nataki Johnson

Hi, my name is Rashod Johnson and I am currently enrolled at Western Michigan University. My current course of study is Human Resource Management with a minor in Computer Information Systems. My anticipated graduation date is Fall of 2020. Upon graduation I intend on pursuing a career with a private sector. I currently stay in the Kalamazoo area

Brian Czech – Son of MAGE Member Robert Czech

My name is Brian Czech and I am a senior attending Oakland University (OU).  I am pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems with a minor in Business Analytics and expect to graduate in April, 2020.  I am a member of the Association for Information Systems and am the OU Chapter Fundraising Chair.  I am also a trombone player and member of the OU Golden Grizzlies Pep Band, performing at various university sponsored events and basketball games.  My career goal is to work in Cyber Security and protect information systems and data.  Finally, I am extremely grateful and would like to thank MAGE for the scholarship.  Brian is the son of Robert Czech, a MAGE member in District 8.
Jessica Wickstrom – Daughter of MAGE Member Richard Wickstrom

My name is Jessica Wickstrom. I graduated from L’Anse High School in May and am currently attending the University of Alabama pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice and double-minoring in Computer Technology and Applications and Sociology.
Student Debt winners:
Belinda Arbogast – MAGE Member

I started with the State of Michigan in 1980, I’ve worked in many offices and counties. I went back to school in 2005 when I became a single mom and I was able to complete my Bachelors in Psychology in 2009, then a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management in 2011. Currently, I am the District Manager of the Oakland County Southfield Office and I am very fortunate to have a great team to work with at Southfield Office. Thank you to MAGE for helping me reduce my student loan amount, every little bit helps.
Nataki Johnson – MAGE Member

Nataki Johnson, is currently an Assistance Payments Supervisor working for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services – Taylor Service Center.    She has worked with the State of Michigan for more than 11 years.  In this position she has worked with assisting children and vulnerable adults in obtaining welfare benefits and leading her staff to ensure work is processed in a timely fashion.  In 1999, she received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Western Michigan University and in 2002, she received a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.  She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.  She currently resides in the Downriver area which is also the community she serves. 

Gerald Payne – MAGE Member - No Photo

Hello, my name is Gerald Payne and I am one of the winners of the MAGE-OPEIU Local 2002 Scholarship and Student Debt Reduction Award Winners. This is fantastic because it assists me in repaying the student loans that I took out to obtain my Master’s Degree. This is one of the many features that MAGE has provided for me over the years. Another one is the free COLLEGE benefit that my daughter and I both share and the college courses are all online so there are no transportation fees, parking or cantering to a college class schedule time. It can all be done on your available time. Wow, I guess that another benefit that helps offsets the rising costs of attending college. Anyway, I have been a MAGE member and advocate for over 10 years, working as an Analyst in the State of Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB). Every member should check out all the benefits that MAGE provides and participate as much as possible in order to get the most positive outcome for governmental employees. 
MAGE wanted me to write a little BIO exert since I was a winner. I don’t want to bore you with a lot of details so here is the short version: my hobbies – sports (basketball, football, track, car racing, bicycling); my reading (technology, history, investments, poetry, short stories, religions); my talents (lead guitar, architectural design, paralegal, educational tutor, technology specialist); my favorites (travel, concerts, plays, cooking, movies, family events, and just enjoying life and having fun). If you want more detail, just come and talk to me
Jaykob Wood – Son of MAGE member Kyle Wood

I cannot express enough my appreciation for this educational award from MAGE. Honors like this not only help people succeed in their personal and professional goals, it sheds light on the importance of unions in the workplace.
My career journey begins at University of Michigan, where as a freshman, I began the process of convincing my father that I should pursue a career outside of the norm. Though apprehensive, he supported me in my decision to pursue Anthropology, History, and Museum Studies. Today, it is his union membership that supports me with this gift.
All through my college career, I was fortunate to find internships and field schools, museum work, and opportunities around the globe. I catalogued artifacts from Hopi Pueblo in Arizona, interviewed the local commune in Siddi, Sardinia, and excavated pottery sherds around Mt. Shasta, CA. I was even fortunate enough to find a job in my field immediately after graduation at Allegheny National Forest. Thus, began my career in Federal Public Lands. As an interpretive park ranger, I educated the visitors to National Parks on topics including sea turtle conservation efforts, lighthouse history, hurricane and weather events, ecological systems, tidepool ecosystems, heritage preservation efforts, and costumed living history. I worked as far afield as the Outer-Banks of North Carolina, the Pacific coast in Oregon, and presently Washington State, all the while traveling in my furloughed months to 55 countries of the world. I like to stay busy.
Today, I am wearing a new hat as an Interpretive Specialist at Mount St. Helens Visitor Center with Washington State Parks. I have fully realized my career goals and now develop the programs that I once gave. That advancement in my career is made even more feasible and that much sweeter with help from a charitable organization. So, on behalf of those putting in 100% effort to make our dreams a reality, I thank you again. I am honored to be a recipient of the student debt reduction award and will continue to pursue my wild dreams.