Photo credit: Creative Commons/Flickr user Hazma Butt  

This year, Union Plus granted over $11,000 in scholarships to family members of IBEW workers. The scholarships were awarded to 11 recipients who attend or are planning to attend university, college trade or technical school.

The recipients are:

Riley Richardson

Riley Richardson of Rainer, Ore., whose father, Rod Richardson, is a member of Portland, Ore., Local 48, was awarded a $1,000 scholarship. Her father is a third generation union member and Riley said she admires her father’s determination and passion for the union. “It is an honor to accept this because the IBEW has played such a tremendous role in my life,” said Riley, who will enter into college this fall as a pre-med major.

John Barrett

John Barrett of Camillus, N.Y. was awarded a $1,000 scholarship. His father, Michael Barrett, is a member of Syracuse, N.Y., Local 97. “Everything I had growing up can be attributed to the benefits that the union gives their members,” John said. He is currently majoring in chemical engineering and is a member of the ROTC. John’s future plans include attending the United States Navy Nuclear Power School and working on nuclear submarine technology.

Victoria Carson

Victoria Carson of Long Valley, N.J., won a $1,000 scholarship is studying engineering management. Her father, William Carson, is a member of Paterson, N.J., Local 102. Victoria graduated high school with honors and earned her International Baccalaureate diploma in December. She said the members of the IBEW were role models to her. “My father always says that the skill level, professionalism and work ethic displayed by union members is unequaled,” Victoria said.  

Madison Tarsi

Madison Tarsi of Cambridge, Minn., whose father, Christopher Tarsi, is a member of Minneapolis Local 292, was awarded a $500 scholarship. She will be entering college this fall in pursuit of a certified medical assistant license. “The union has afforded my dad a job with a good and fair wage,” Madison said. She looks forward to the possibility of joining a union in her chosen career.

Kennedy Shockley

Kennedy Shockley

Kennedy Shockley of Eudora, Kan., was awarded a $500 scholarship. Her father, David Shockley, is a member of Topeka, Kan., Local 304. She enters college this year as a nursing student with the support of her family and the IBEW. “Without the union our family of six would not be able to do all that we do and experience all that we have,” Kennedy said. She is a certified nursing assistant and plans a career as a neonatal nurse.        

Olivia Boysel

Olivia Boysel of Hilliard, Ohio, was awarded a $1,000 scholarship. She enters college this fall as a mechanical engineering major. Her mother, Veronica Boysel, is a member of Columbus, Ohio, Local 683. She attributes her comfortable childhood to her mother’s membership with IBEW. “I was able to live in a good neighborhood and attend a good high school because of the opportunities working for the union gave my mom and my family,” Olivia said. Olivia began pursuing her passion in high school where she studied engineering and shadowed engineers from different fields.

Brittany Taylor Thompson

Brittany Taylor Thompson

Brittany Taylor Thompson of Houston, is a member of Houston, Local 716. She was awarded a $1,500 scholarship. A licensed journeyman wireman, she is pursuing a degree in electrical engineering.  “I want to give back to my community and inspire unrepresented minorities and women to pursue STEM careers by being a visible and effective leader in the engineering community,” Thompson said.


Ryan Erickson

Ryan Erickson of Barron, Wis., won a $750 scholarship. His father, Roger Erikson, is a member of Eau Claire, Wis., Local 953. “It was the unions that began to make companies accountable for the safety of their workers, and it was unions that began to distribute the power from the leaders of the industries back to the workers,” Ryan said. He is attending a technical school this fall and plans to open his own construction or woodworking business.

Kiani Nishimoto

Kiani Nishimoto of Hilo, Hawaii, is pursuing a career in medicine and was awarded a $4,000 scholarship to study biology. Her father, Nelson Nishimoto, is a member of Honolulu Local 1260. She comes from a family who has a long history with the union. Kiani is grateful. “The union works hard to provide a better life for us, and unions ensure that my parents’ health and safety are a top priority.”

Cole Solem

Cole Solem

Cole Solem of Beulah, N.D., Solem, whose father, Todd Steffan, is a member of Hazen, N.D., Local 1593, was awarded a $750 scholarship. He holds an associate’s degree and a certificate in geological information and is expected to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in 2018. Cole spent his summers working as a field technician for an engineering company, which helped him pay for his education. He says he plans to join his father and brother as a member of the union after he graduates. “The union fights for every aspect of my father’s job.”

Shannon Burns

Shannon Burns

Shannon Burns of Plymouth, Mass., was awarded a $1,000 scholarship. Her father, Timothy Burns, is a member of Boston Local 2222. She admires her father’s lengthy membership with the union. “My father has been able to provide a good life for our family through the IBEW,” Shannon said. She graduated high school as a member of the National Honor Society and Model UN. Shannon is already a certified nursing assistant and works at a nursing home. She enters college this fall as a nursing major.