Skip to content →

Iris Paul

Forestry | Cohort 4 Student

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.

Matthew Vettraino

Horticulture | Cohort 4 Student

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!

Vanessa Kooistra

Forestry | Cohort 4 Student

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.

Rhajani Shepherd

Food Science | Cohort 3 Student

I choose my major because my love for food has gone back to as far as I can remember whether it was helping my mom cook dinner in the kitchen or picking out the seasoning for the popcorn. My favorite part about being a Food Science major heading into my junior year this coming fall is all the foods I have tried and will create from scratch. Spring of 2022 Semester I was able to take my first Food Processing class which was just understanding how the food was made and we tried dried food, fermented foods and even freeze dried some foods my favorite part of the day was going to that class and now I will have many other classes like it. My goal is to study abroad before I finish my undergraduate career, and once I fish my undergrad is to continue with my masters.  I am involved on the Women’s Rowing Team, and a Member of the Athletic Women’s and Leadership Council.

Claire Komarzec

Entomology | Cohort 2 Student

Hi I’m Claire, and I study Entomology at Michigan State University. Entomology is the study of any creature with an exoskeleton. In basic terms I study bugs, arachnids and crustaceans. I’ve been Interested in bugs since I was a kid.  Sadly I was teased for it a bit. Thankfully I didn’t care what others said and now it’s blossomed into my future career thanks to lots of help from the STEM-FEE program. I don’t exactly know what I’ll do when I graduate because entomology is such a diverse field. I try not to plan ahead in life too strictly because many people end up pushing aside opportunities to stay on their planned path. I know that as long as my future career helps at least one person or creature I’ll be happy and satisfied with myself. 

Ty’Carria Trevino

Fisheries and Wildlife | Cohort 2 Student

The STEM-FEE Scholarship program is more than just a scholarship, its a growing family of people who are genuine, and suportive every step of the way, not just financially. There are monthly gatherings where Scientist come to chat with us about what it takes to be a scientist and what the steps could look like getting there. This year we even got the opportunity to pick topics and speaks we would like to hear from. I chose my major, Fisheries and Wildlife, because ever since I was a young child I have always had a fascination with animals, our connection to them, and our connection to the outside world. With my major I am able to dive into concepts that revolve around all three and become connected with Wildlife in a way I never expected to . I think that it was amazing that in my first semester we got hands on experience with a wide range of natural habitats, including a pond, river, marshlands and many more! The faculty responsible for the STEM-FEE scholarship are amazing and they make MSU (a really big university) feel like a home away from home. I couldn’t be more happy with my degree choice and being a part of this program.