Two collegians get Harvey M. Picker Horizon Scholarships to help continue their studies
PORTLAND – Two college students whose parents suffered major injuries at work will be able to continue their educations with help from MEMIC.
MEMIC’s Harvey Picker Horizon Scholarship Program recipients for 2023 are Andrew Wuerthner of Wells and Chloe Ruest of Madawaska.
“Andrew and Chloe have overcome major hardship in their lives with a combination of grit, persistence, and hard work,” MEMIC Group President & CEO Michael P. Bourque said. “And while the circumstances that surround their situations are not ideal, the characteristics they’ve developed will serve them well. We are happy to reward their dedication to their families, their communities, and their own personal educational and career goals with help from our 22nd round of Horizon Scholarships.”
Wuerthner, winner of a $10,000 award, attends The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he is poised to graduate in 2024 with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology, minoring in neuroscience. Ruest will use her $7,500 award to enroll at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland, studying early childhood education.
A two-time Horizon Scholarship winner, Wuerthner lost his father to injuries sustained at work when Andrew was only 18 months old, leaving his mother to care for him and his two brothers, “a difficult and daunting task for anyone,” as he wrote in his application. MEMIC awarded Andrew Wuerthner $10,000 in 2020, prior to his COVID-disrupted freshman year at Holy Cross.
Despite a lifetime of financial hardship, Wuerthner’s upbringing produced a steely optimism. “I’ve never considered this a negative point in my life and like to look at it as a chance to strengthen myself through the adversity that occurred as a result,” he said, citing “mental fortitude, fostering happiness and peace, and overall advancement of personal career and relationships” as examples of those strengths.
His mentors agreed, writing in letters of support of his 2023 application that “Andrew will make a difference in the world for many people. Simply put, he is an inspiring, compassionate, and positive young man [with a] … certain amount of verve. When he is at work, he brings an uplifting energy to the entire team and always has a ‘can do’ attitude.”
Wuerthner said he hopes to use his undergraduate degree “to give back to people in terms of providing treatment for individuals who struggle with mental health due to trauma or other circumstances.”
Ruest is the second in her family to receive a Horizon Scholarship, after her father became permanently disabled in a 2018 paper mill accident. Her brother, Benjamin, was awarded $5,000 to attend the University of Maine at Fort Kent in 2019 to study criminal justice with a minor in homeland security. He is now a member of the U.S. Border Patrol.
Ruest said she plans to use her $7,500 award to pursue a degree in early childhood education, in which she is already immersed since attending the St. John Valley Technology Center’s Early Childhood Program and working at a local day care center. Her mentors describe her as “instinctual and compassionate when working with young children,” as well as “calm, caring, trustworthy, creative, dedicated … and super reliable.”
Founded in 2001, MEMIC created the Harvey Picker Horizon Scholarship Program to boost the educational aspirations of dependents and spouses of workers who died or suffered permanent disability due to a work-related injury. MEMIC has awarded more than $259,000 in scholarships since the program’s inception.
The scholarship is named after former Camden resident Harvey Picker, a renowned physicist, educator, philanthropist, and advocate for education. In 1992, Picker was appointed by then-Gov. John R. McKernan as a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Workers’ Compensation, which led to the formation of MEMIC. Picker also served as a member of the Board of Directors at MEMIC.
Applications due in May are considered for a scholarship of up to $10,000. To be eligible for the scholarship, the related injured worker must have been working for a MEMIC policyholder at the time of injury.
Applications are reviewed by a selection committee for financial need, academic performance, community involvement, other life experiences, as well as future promise. Students must be attending or planning to attend an accredited college or university.
For more information and to request a copy of the application, please call 1-800-660-1306 and say “Horizon Scholarship” at the prompt or visit memic.com/horizon.