Category: Scholarships

Scholarship Spotlight: Ross Roeder Endowed Scholarship

Hillary Prout (left) and Nathan Sodini (right), Michigan Tech College of Business Ross Roeder Endowed Scholarship Recipients
Hillary Prout (left) and Nathan Sodini (right), Michigan Tech College of Business Ross Roeder Endowed Scholarship Recipients

The Michigan Tech College of Business boasts more than 50 donor- and industry-sponsored scholarships reserved exclusively for new and returning MTU business students. These awards are offered in addition to competitive, merit-, and need-based aid. In 2020-21, total scholarships and grants awarded to undergraduate students in the College of Business exceeded $4.6 million.

Today, we’re highlighting the Ross Roeder Endowed Scholarship.

The late Ross Roeder ’60, a Michigan Tech Board of Trustees Silver Medal recipient and an Alumni Association Honorary Alumnus, established an endowed scholarship for the College of Business (COB) to encourage entrepreneurship and leadership. The scholarship is awarded to business Huskies with demonstrated leadership and entrepreneurial skills. The award may be renewed, provided the recipient maintains a 2.5 minimum GPA.

“The Ross Roeder Endowed Scholarship eased the financial burden of achieving my dreams.”

Hillary Prout (accounting), Roeder Scholarship Recipient

Although Roeder graduated from larger institutions, he maintained close ties with Michigan Tech throughout his career. Dean Johnson, dean of the COB, said the College held a special place in his heart. “He and Mary Anne quietly supported COB students with scholarships,” says Johnson.

While Roeder sadly passed away in 2021, his wife Mary Anne continues the couple’s shared mission. Her recent major gift has increased the funding level of the scholarship.

Mary Anne Roeder with her late husband, Ross.
Mary Anne Roeder with her late husband, Ross

“We were both passionate about education, and we both had the opportunity to get a good education,” says Mary Anne. “It’s important to help support talented Michigan Tech students that tomorrow needs.”

“The Roeders’ legacy of supporting Michigan Tech students inspires me to engage in all that Tech has to offer.” 

Nathan Sodini (engineering management and finance), Roeder Scholarship Recipient

Questions related to the Ross Roeder Endowed Scholarship may be directed to business@mtu.edu.

About the College of Business

The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, business analytics, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.

Hillary Prout Named Outstanding Woman in Business

Michigan Tech student Hillary Prout


Growing up on her family’s farm in Rosebush, Michigan, taught Hillary Prout—the 2022 Sam Tidwell Outstanding Woman in Business—early on about the importance of hard work. Through her coursework and involvement at Michigan Tech, Prout worked diligently to develop her leadership and communications skills and applied them as the student representative of the Michigan Association of CPAs, a professional organization promoting and enhancing the value of the CPA profession, and of the Becker CPA Review, a software package that helps students prepare for the certified public accountant and certified management accountant exams. In this leadership role, Prout organized meetings, updated students and staff regarding exam updates, and mentored students as their exam date approached.

“Hillary is an amazing student—always focused and working hard for goals she sets for herself.”

Sheila Milligan, senior lecturer of accounting, Michigan Tech College of Business

In her four years at Michigan Tech, Prout held the presidential role in the University’s accounting club, Kappa Sigma Iotta, and served on the Dean’s Student Advisory Council. She also assisted other Tech students with tax preparation through the College of Business’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. More recently, she was inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society, the exclusive business honor society affiliated with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

“I am grateful for the many experiences I have had as a business student at Michigan Tech,” Prout says. 

Michigan Tech student Hillary Prout
Hillary Prout

Since 2021, Prout has held an internship with Rukkila, Negro and Associates, an accounting firm located in downtown Houghton. There, she worked in individual and small business tax preparation, nonprofit tax preparation, and payroll processing for local businesses.

After earning her BS in Accounting with a minor in financial technology, Prout plans to take advantage of Tech’s accelerated MS in Accounting program before earning her CPA license to work in tax advising and preparation.

The Sam Tidwell Outstanding Man and Woman in Business awards, valued at $250 each, are presented annually to two current College of Business students who embody a dedication to academics, leadership, and extracurricular involvement within the Michigan Tech community.

About the College of Business

The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.

Nathan Sodini Named Outstanding Man in Business

Nathan Sodini, a student dual majoring in engineering management and finance, is the 2022 Sam Tidwell Outstanding Man in Business. Roger Woods, College of Business faculty member, says Sodini’s involvement in campus programs defines what it means to be a Michigan Tech business Husky. “This is a student who from day one has engaged in all opportunities Michigan Tech has to offer—and his involvement has paid off.”

Back in high school, Sodini launched a profitable entrepreneurial endeavor with his passion for classic and performance automobiles. During his first year on campus, the scholar-athlete landed a paid internship as a production supervisor at General Motors’ (GM) Heavy-Duty Truck Plant. In his second year, Sodini took on a co-op with GM as a quality-operations supervisor, tasked with controlling the daily quality of T1 HD trucks with his team of more than 40 employees.

Student Nathan Sodini standing in staircase
Nathan Sodini

Adding to his already impressive resume, Sodini obtained a motorsports internship with Hagerty back in his hometown of Traverse City, Michigan, and last fall was back at GM in the body shop, orchestrating the procurement of pre-assembled trucks to support the Oshawa launch. His leadership skills were further honed on campus, where he served for two years each as elected president of the Society of Automotive Engineers student chapter and as business manager of Advanced Motorsports Enterprise—Formula SAE. For his final college summer, Sodini heads south to General Motors Defense in North Carolina where, as a business manager/shift leader co-op, he will support the production management of the Infantry Squad Vehicle being produced for the United States Army.

Being able to blend the worlds of engineering and business has been a dream come true, Sodini says:

“A business degree from Michigan Tech is more than coursework. It’s an experience preparing strategic leaders for tomorrow’s challenges.” 

Nathan Sodini, Michigan Tech Outstanding Man in Business

The Sam Tidwell Outstanding Man and Woman in Business awards, valued at $250 each, are presented annually to two current College of Business students who embody a dedication to academics, leadership, and extracurricular involvement within the Michigan Tech community.

About the College of Business

The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.

Scholarship Spotlight: Stephenson National Bank and Trust Annual Scholarship Award

The Michigan Tech College of Business boasts more than 50 donor- and industry-sponsored scholarships reserved exclusively for new and returning business students. These awards are offered in addition to competitive, merit-, and need-based aid. For 2020-21, total scholarships and grants awarded to undergraduate students in the College of Business exceeded $4.6 million.

This month we highlight the Stephenson National Bank and Trust Annual Scholarship Award.

The Stephenson National Bank and Trust Annual Scholarship Award, valued at $2,000, is available to incoming first-year Michigan Tech College of Business students majoring in finance who have earned a minimum GPA of 3.0. Additional criteria include being a US citizen and having graduated from one of the following high schools of the Upper Peninsula or northeastern Wisconsin: Oconto, Marinette, Delta, Baraga, Houghton, Marquette, or Menominee.

Mike Kolasa

In this Q&A, we hear from Mike Kolasa, vice president and trust officer for the Marquette, Michigan, office of Stephenson National Bank and Trust, headquartered in Marinette, Wisconsin. Kolasa is also an instructor of personal finance planning in the College of Business.  

Q: How did the Stephenson National Bank and Trust (SNBT) Annual Scholarship Award come to be?

SNBT has several core values, one of which is supporting communities and institutions where we do business, including the Copper Country. We also believe in a strong work ethic, self-responsibility, and entrepreneurship. The College of Business is a natural fit for us to support, as we have overlapping geography and values.

Q: Why is supporting students through college scholarships important to Stephenson National Bank and Trust?

I wasn’t poor growing up, but we could see it from the back porch. Scholarships made a big difference for me. We want to encourage successful students who might not otherwise pursue business degrees. Besides, we want to hire some of the best students that I teach!

Q: By day you work in the financial services industry, and by night you teach the foundation of finance to the next generation of advisors. How does your work influence your teaching?

In my experience, academic texts are valid, but can be esoteric, and students may not learn as effectively. By mixing in stories from the industry, students can attach their new knowledge to applied and practical situations. As a result, I believe they retain that knowledge and have an advantage when embarking on their careers.

I tell my students they can be in the top 10 percent of their field, or the bottom 90 percent. Getting into the top bracket takes deliberate effort, but the rewards that go with it are theirs for the shaping.

I tell my students they can be in the top 10 percent of their field, or the bottom 90 percent.

Mike Kolasa, instructor, Michigan Tech College of Business


Q: The College of Business prides itself on preparing students for the technology needs of business. How is technology disrupting the world of finance?

Technology can be both wonderful and evil. It certainly lends itself to efficiency, but we need to remember we buy technology to serve us, not the other way around. I see too many advisors using technology as a crutch or substitute for old-fashioned common sense and in-person time with clients.

We need to remember we buy technology to serve us, not the other way around.

Mike Kolasa, instructor, Michigan Tech College of Business


Q: What are key takeaways college students should consider regarding their own personal finance?

Students and new graduates should consider their own finances first. Utilizing a budget and spending less than they make is a solid lifestyle that will give them flexibility in their future. It also sets them up as credible advisors; if you’re not practicing the basics yourself, no one is going to respect your advice. Beyond that, continuing education, which can look like advanced degrees, new professional designations, or simply reading a few business books a year, is a must. My goal is to have our students be in the top tier of whatever career they pursue, and staying fresh with knowledge is critical.

Prospective students who qualify for the Stephenson National Bank and Trust Annual Scholarship Award should connect with Shannon Rinkinen, director of outreach for the Michigan Tech College of Business, at smrinkin@mtu.edu.

About the College of Business

The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.

Scholarship Spotlight: Management Information Systems Alumni Scholarship

campus drone shot

The Michigan Tech College of Business (COB) boasts more than 50 donor- and industry-sponsored scholarships reserved exclusively for new and returning business students. These awards are offered in addition to competitive, merit-, and need-based aid. For 2020-21, total scholarships and grants awarded to undergraduate students in the College of Business exceeded $4.6 million.

This month we highlight the Management Information Systems (MIS) Alumni Scholarship.

MIS Alumni Scholarship

Joseph Gherardi
Joseph Gherardi

The MIS Alumni Scholarship is an endowed scholarship created and funded by College of Business MIS graduates. Selection criteria include being an MIS major (or dual major) with a strong academic standing, a demonstrated commitment to the degree program, and professional communication skills.

One of two 2021-22 recipients of the MIS Alumni Scholarship is Joseph Gherardi. The third-year MIS student is active on campus as the assistant general manager for Sound and Lighting Services as well as a residence counselor for Summer Youth Programs. Gherardi chose MIS in part for its versatility; he says that he’s particularly fascinated by database management and security. “Working in IT for a hospital sounds like a lot of fun to me,” Gherardi says.

“Working in IT for a hospital sounds like a lot of fun to me,”

Joseph Gherardi, student

Two, one-time scholarships are awarded annually by the faculty committee; the sophomore award is valued at $1,000 and the junior-level scholarship is $2,000. Jeff Wall, associate professor of management information systems, says that Joseph’s focus and curiosity in class and involvement on campus helps him stand out. “He is the type of student every professor hopes for—he’s full of thoughtful questions and reflects deeply on complex material. Joseph has a bright future,” Wall adds. 

Management Information Systems at Michigan Tech

Pandemic-related workforce challenges really drove home how crucial information systems and technology are to industry, education, and entertainment. The Management Information Systems major at Michigan Tech helps meet the need—the 10 percent projected job demand through 2029 is much faster than average. In the College of Business, the major has already experienced incredible growth, doubling enrollment since 2012.

Responding to industry demand, recent changes to the MIS curriculum at Michigan Tech deepen the technical nature of the program. Huskies studying MIS can now specialize in cloud computing, data analytics, and machine learning.

Huskies studying MIS can now specialize in cloud computing, data analytics, and machine learning.

To support more future MTU students entering the major, alumni and friends can contribute to and grow the MIS Alumni Scholarship (please indicate fund number 4994 with your gift.) Questions related to the MIS Alumni Scholarship may be directed to business@mtu.edu.

About the College of Business

The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.