Two BLET families win 2019 Union Plus scholarships

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, August 21 — Union Plus recently awarded $170,000 in scholarships to 108 students representing 34 unions, including two winners from the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. The two BLET winners are:

• Dominic Osciak, son of Paul F. Osciak BLET Division 71 (Philadelphia, Pa.); and
• MacKenzie Smith, daughter of Nevada Smith of BLET Division 134 (Winslow, Ariz.).

“I am proud to salute these fine students for their academic excellence, and I thank Union Plus for continuing to provide scholarship opportunities to the children of union families,” BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said.

Dominic Osciak

Dominic won a $1,000 scholarship. He is a 2019 graduate of Sterling High School (SHS) in Sommerdale, N.J. He plans to major in elementary and secondary education at New Jersey’s Camden County College. Dominic, who has volunteered working with children on the autism spectrum, aspires to a career in special needs education. Christopher Carpenter, a social studies teacher at SHS, said Dominic possesses exceptional ability and character.

“Dominic is a student gifted with the drive for intellectual stimulation outside what can often be the rote and mundane world of the standards-driven high school curriculum,” Carpenter said. “He is both a creative and a cooperative thinker with an appreciation for universal ideas and concepts so critical to academic and personal growth.”

His activities and honors include: National Honor Society; Senior Spotlight; Student of the Month; Interact Club; Fellowship of Christian Athletes; varsity golf, cross country, and winter track. He volunteers for Amazing Transformations.

His father, Paul Osciak, is a SEPTA locomotive engineer and has been a member of BLET Division 71 in Philadelphia, Pa., since August 1, 1998.

MacKenzie Smith

MacKenzie won a $3,000 scholarship. She is a 2019 graduate of Winslow High School (WHS) in Arizona. She plans to major in secondary education at Arizona State University and hopes to be an education administrator. MacKenzie completed more than 30 college credits through the dual-enrollment programs Technology to Advance Learning Outcomes at Northland (TALON) and Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology (NAVIT). The daughter and granddaughter of union workers, she is thankful in particular for her father’s BLET membership.

“Since my dad changed jobs and joined BLET, my family has benefited from the better pay, benefits, and training that it provides,” MacKenzie said. “Due to the change in our economy and society, workers are no longer being compensated fairly, so the fight continues for workers’ right with the incredible support of unions like BLET.”

Her activities and honors include: National Honor Society; WHS Citizenship Award; founder, WHS For Change; Student Council; academic letter winner; and WHS Spirit Line. Her volunteer activities include: S-Club; Salvation Army bell ringing; diaper drives; clothing drives; and hurricane relief fundraisers.

Her father, Nevada Smith, is a BNSF locomotive engineer and has been a member of BLET Division 134 in Winslow, Ariz., since March 1, 2017.

About Union Plus Scholarships

The Union Plus Scholarship Program, now in its 28th year, awards scholarships based on outstanding academic achievement, personal character, financial need, and commitment to the values of organized labor. The program is offered through the Union Plus Education Foundation.

Since starting the program in 1991, Union Plus has awarded more than $4.5 million in educational funding to more than 3,000 union members, spouses, and dependent children. Union Plus Scholarship awards are granted to students attending a two-year college, four-year college, graduate school, or recognized technical or trade school. The selection process is very competitive, and this year over 7,100 applications were received from 65 unions and all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories, representing an almost 20% increase in applications from 2018.

Visit for applications and benefit eligibility. The deadline is usually January 31 each year.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

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