2021 LEC Scholarships

By Craig Reed

Lane Electric Cooperative has again recognized students in its service territory for their past work and their future goals. Five students are receiving Lane Electric scholarships to help with their tuition and fees. The following are profiles of the 2021 scholarship recipients and their future goals.

Melony Burnett

  • “Dave D’Avanzo Memorial” Community Membership-at-Large
  • $4,500 Scholarship to Lane Community College
Melony Burnett

After working the past 17 years in real estate, Melony Burnett decided it was time for a change.

She began her career transition earlier this year by enrolling at Lane Community College for winter term. She is working on a two-year transfer degree in general counseling for adults.

“There are a lot of different reasons for me making this change, but it’s important for me to do something where I feel like I can give back to the community,” says Melony, a Lowell resident. “I want a career that will allow me to continue making a positive impact in the community. I think there is a continuous need for counselors who are skilled in helping adults.”

Melony plans to transfer to an Oregon university to earn a four-year degree after completing her studies at LCC.

Melony graduated from Springfield High School in 1999 and moved to the San Francisco area, where she began her real estate career. She moved back to Lane County in 2014 and continued as a full-time real estate agent until deciding to make a change.

“This is very meaningful to me,” she says. “Although I’m extremely motivated right now, I’m even more motivated knowing this scholarship represents such an amazing person as Dave
D’Avanzo. Thank you so much, Lane Electric, for believing in me and for choosing me as one of your scholarship recipients.”

Emily Andrews

  • Graduating Senior
  • $4,500 Scholarship to Lane Community College
Emily Andrews

Two major fire events are behind Emily Andrews’ plans for her future.

The Blue River resident and high school senior plans to attend Lane Community College and pursue a career in firefighting paramedicine. She will begin her college studies this fall.

Emily previously wanted to be a veterinarian, but after last September’s Holiday Farm Fire that forced her family to evacuate their Blue River home, she changed her mind.

“I wanted to help people in a bigger way,” she says.

The other event that helped shape Emily’s career path was a fire near her grandmother’s house.

Neither fire destroyed the properties of Emily’s family, but they left a lasting impression.

“They definitely had a very big impact on me,” says Emily, who is a graduate of Frontier Charter Academy, an online school. “I like to have control, to solve problems. If I can become a firefighter paramedic, I can help people in situations similar to ours and help them get through those events.

“I’d like to thank Lane Electric for helping me get through the LCC classes to reach my goal.”

Carter Cunningham

  • College of Your Choice
  • $3,000 Scholarship
Carter Cunningham

Carter Cunningham is following in his dad’s footsteps. Jason Cunningham is an accountant and according to Carter, “Dad’s been pretty successful at it.”

Carter plans to use his Lane Electric Cooperative scholarship to help with his expenses as a student at the University of Oregon.

“I’m pretty good with numbers, I like doing math, so it makes sense for me to pursue accounting,” Carter says.

The recent Creswell High School graduate was a busy student. He was student body president in his final year and was a member and then president of both the school’s National Honor Society chapter and Future Business Leaders of America club. He also played basketball and golf during his four high school years.

“One of my favorite things about Creswell was the community feel,” Carter says. “At school, all the teachers know you, and they do their best to help you.

“I’m super appreciative of Lane Electric’s support. The scholarship will go toward my goal to graduate debt-free.”

Jac Johnson

  • College of Your Choice
  • $3,000 Scholarship
Jac Johnson

After beginning to play musical instruments in grade school and continuing in high school, Jac Johnson
is ready to take his music to the next level.

The recent Churchill High School graduate plans to use his Lane Electric Cooperative scholarship to help with expenses while attending the University of Oregon this fall. He plans to major in popular music studies and minor in audio production.

“The University of Oregon is supposed to be the best school for music production north of Los Angeles,” Jac says, “and I’ll still be close to family.”

Jac began playing music in second grade while attending Rock Band—an after-school program. He first learned to play guitar and drums. In the sixth grade, he learned to play the upright bass. A year later, he began playing the saxophone. In high school, he played in the concert and jazz bands and got involved in theater productions as a sound technician.

“I like all these different instruments and expanding my knowledge of them all,” he says.

Jac says he also enjoyed studying about electric cooperatives before submitting his scholarship application.

“It was fun researching what a cooperative does, the power service it provides to a community as well as supporting local groups,” he says. “I’m very grateful for its support of me.”

Audra Chapman

  • College of Your Choice
  • $3,500 Special Scholarship
Audra Chapman

COVID-19 ruined Audra Chapman’s travel plans in 2020. She had been selected as Lane Electric Cooperative’s representative on the annual National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Youth Tour, but the trip to Washington, D.C., was canceled by the pandemic.

To recognize Audra and to help ease her disappointment in not being able to make the trip, the cooperative presented her with a scholarship of $3,500—the amount that would have been spent if the trip had been made.

“A huge thank you to Lane Electric,” Audra says. “They could have just easily said, ‘COVID, too bad,’ but they made up for it and I’m really appreciative of that.”

Audra, a recent graduate of Lowell High School, plans to attend Oregon State University and major in mechanical engineering. She has been accepted into Navy ROTC at OSU.

“I want to be a naval aviator,” she says.

Audra has had one flying lesson. During her time in the air with an instructor, she was able to take over the controls and fly the plane for a short time.

“I loved it,” she says.

Audra says she is ready to study and work toward earning more flying time.