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Cohort 4

Chloe Skiles

Food Science

I chose food science as my major because it combines my passion for cooking and backing and my passion for STEM. I find it very interesting learning about the intricacies of food production and all that goes into making safe and delicious food that everyone needs. This past summer I held an internship with Little Caesars Enterprises with their Quality Assurance and Research and development department, and after graduation I hope to do something similar and work in Research and Development.

Vanessa Kooistra


My name is Vanessa Kooistra, and I am majoring in Forestry. I chose Forestry because I wanted to learn more about the outdoors and pursue a career outdoors. My main focus is how trees and forests are so important for the environment, especially when it comes to climate change and making our earth a better place to live. At MSU, I am also involved with RISE, the Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment and Outdoors Club, and I like to go swimming and hiking in my free time.

Sydney Burtovoy

Food Science

Hello! My name is Sydney Burtovoy, and I am studying food science here at Michigan State University. Food is my passion. From the learning how crops are grown to the chemical composition behind the dishes we know and love, I desire to know it all. Earning a degree in Food Science will provide me with the knowledge and skills I need to achieve my goals of creating an abundance of healthy foods for the world and promoting food education. The STEM-FEE Scholarship is a big support to me because I was able to switch majors, which required spending some extra time in school, to follow my true path. Currently, I take every opportunity I can to learn more about the food industry. For example, I spearheaded a quiz bowl team composed of undergraduate and graduate students to compete in the IFT annual College Bowl competition. Additionally, I work with Dr. Cichy and Dr. Hooper on an undergraduate research project studying pinto bean flour.

Iris Paul


Iris is a Forestry major with an Urban and Community Forestry focus. A “Lanstronaut” through and through, she selected her major to support and expand Lansing’s green spaces and connect communities to their natural resources. She hopes to find a career at the intersection of community development and the environmental sector, and loves a good interdisciplinary project. Iris has treasured connecting with the Forestry department and the STEM-FEE faculty and staff alike, who’ve all been tremendously supportive. This scholarship empowers Iris to provide for her daughter while pursuing her education.

Brandon Scott


My name is Brandon Scott, and I am majoring in Sustainable and Organic Horticulture. I chose Horticulture because I have always loved being outdoors and growing plants from a young age. In addition to STEM-FEE, I am also a member of the Student Horticulture Association (SHA) where I have made several friends with similar interests in plants and participate in tons of fun and career building events. When I transferred to MSU, I did not know anyone on campus. STEM-FEE and SHA provided me the opportunity to make connections with classmates and faculty which made the transition easier. Currently, I am working for the Brainard lab as a field research aide in vegetable production. My goal is to own or manage an organic farm or continue my education to pursue a career in vegetable production research and/or MSU Extension to work with Michigan vegetable growers.

Matthew Vettraino


Hello, my name is Matthew Vettraino, and I am studying horticultural science here at Michigan State University! I find gardening and working with plants to be very validating, whether it be picking a tomato off the vine or watching a beautiful lily bloom. My focus in the field of horticulture is plant cultivation in controlled environments and greenhouses. I am currently conducting undergraduate research in Dr. Erik Runkle’s Controlled Environment Laboratory where we are evaluating how various lighting spectrums affect the growth of different leafy greens and floriculture crops. My goal is to one day publish research in the horticulture industry!

LilyRose Arriaga


Hello, my name is LilyRose and I am a senior majoring in Sustainable and Organic Horticulture. I have always loved being outside, and collecting houseplants is one of my biggest hobbies. While being in the program I have met so many people who also have the same interest as me which makes the experience 10x better. I am also apart of Student Horticulture Association which has given me friendships and memories I will always cherish. At the current moment I work for Dan Brainard’s lab as a research aide. In the future I hope to be a part of running a Horticultural education program and garden.”