03 Feb Scholarships: An Impactful Member Benefit
Scholarship and Professional Development
BEMA is committed to educating the baking industry’s workforce and our scholarship program is one of our favorite member benefits.
Learn more about our 2020 recipients below.
Matthew Cypher – Banner-Day
Meet Matthew Cypher… His first introduction to the commercial baking industry was a job in the shipping and receiving department of Banner-Day while attending community college. Based on his experience at Banner-Day, he decided to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering from Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan.
In his present Co-Op role as an Engineering Intern at Banner-Day, Matthew has the opportunity to travel to different plants to observe first-hand the process of making different types of baked foods, gaining insight into the many steps necessary to get a product from the plant to grocery store shelves. He’s also cognizant of the challenges the industry faces to prepare in-house technicians to troubleshoot on more advanced technology. Because of COVID-19, the need continues to grow as manufacturers must take on the tasks normally met by an outside contractor.
“There’s been a lot more interest in virtual training classes. I hope that I can share the information I’ve learned through the BEMA scholarship with the baking industry and apply it to the systems we build at Banner-Day,” Matthew said.
Stephanie Austin – Burford Corp.
Meet Stephanie Austin… A new arrival to the baking industry, Stephanie is finding growth and educational opportunities through her role of Logistics Coordinator at Burford Corp. An online search looking for an educational option to learn about the replacement of NAFTA with USMCA was the catalyst for her hearing about BEMA’s scholarship opportunity. Continuing education made possible through the BEMA scholarship allowed Stephanie to learn about the needed qualification changes as a result of USMCA, thus helping Burford ensure it maintains compliance moving forward.
“For the most part, the bakery industry is one that would be considered thriving during this pandemic and that’s a great story to tell as a career choice, Stephanie said. “That’s not to say we aren’t experiencing our share of challenges, but I believe one of those is figuring out what our new normal will be. Until we know that, we have to be able to pivot as needed along the way and education is a key factor in that.”
Knowing there’s nothing cookie-cutter about the baking industry, Stephanie continues to experience different situations and new scenarios each day in her role as Logistics Coordinator. She plans to continue her investment in education with plans to work toward certification as an Export Specialist in the future.
“With COVID-19 remaining a major piece in our personal and professional lives, opportunities for continuing education will grow in importance,” said Clay Miller, President of Burford. “We are thankful we can rely on BEMA as a resource in the future.”
BEMA’s scholarship programs support individuals who are employed by current BEMA member companies or bakers and baker-related customers. Scholarship funds can be used for courses, programs, seminars or workshops that are deemed appropriate and relevant to the industry or that will benefit the recipient’s company in a positive manner. Scholarship funds are also designated to students attending Kansas State (K-State) University and participating in the Grain Sciences accredited coursework.