Rail Industry Scholarships

Scholarship applications for 2019 are due Friday, December 7, 2018! 

Click here for more information!

Each year, Michigan Tech, in conjunction with our program sponsor CN, offer our students scholarships for those with an interest in the railroad industry. Additionally, the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association (AREMA) offers a whole slate of scholarships, further adding to the lot of scholarships available to our students. Students may also apply for a number of other awards from throughout the industry. All will be highlighted here - congratulations to our many winners! 

2018  Scholarship Winners!

AREMA Scholarships:

Derek Owen, CE – Michigan Tech Alumni Scholarship

Alex Christmas, CE – Canadian National Railway Company Scholarship

Smruti P. Dash, EE – Michigan Tech Alumni Scholarship

Alyssa L. Leach, CE - Michigan Tech Alumni Scholarship

CN Scholarships:

Aaron Dean, ME

Alex Christmas, CE

Clarice Hill, CE


Below are the 2017 Scholarship Winners

Derek Owen - Winner of APTF, AREMA Committee 24, and MTU Scholarship Awards


"Through my involvement with REAC at Michigan Tech, I have undoubtedly stood out as a rising student in the industry. It seems that everyone is familiar with the relationships that have been built between Michigan Tech and the industry. This exposure has offered me several opportunities, including involvement in professional committees, internships and most notably, scholarships. Over the course of my college career, I have received three AREMA Student Scholarships, two Canadian National (Michigan Tech Sponsored) Scholarships and even a scholarship from APTF (American Public Transportation Fundation). These scholarships have awarded me the freedom of focusing my attention toward my studies and my development as a young engineer pursing the rail industry. I cannot express how grateful and honored I am to have been named a scholarship recipient from each of these donors. Being involved with REAC has fostered immeasurable success for me and my future, and that is something I will not take for granted."

Haylee Lakenen - Winner, MTU Rail Scholarship

My interest in the rail industry truly began when I joined REAC two years ago, since then it has turned into my passion. I gained experience this past summer with an internship for RailWorks Track Systems. I spent my time in the field, doing hands-on work at two major projects and two smaller projects. I learned the basics of constructing track in various situations. This experience gave me the proof I needed to know that I will be continuing with a career in the rail industry

Aaron Dean - Winner, AREMA Michigan Tech Alumni Scholarship

Since I started my educational career in 2014, I have been an active member of the Railroad Engineering & Activities Club (REAC), the AREMA Charter Student Chapter at Michigan Tech, and the club’s president for the 2016-17 school year. Being involved in REAC has truly opened my eyes to all that the rail industry has to offer. This past summer I worked my first internship with Canadian National Railway. Having been exposed to rail industry research very early in my university career has nurtured my passion and interest for pursuing a career in the rail industry.

I have been involved in numerous research projects, but more recently I have started to perform my own individual research. This past summer, I was selected by the Michigan Tech Pavlis Honors College for the 2016 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). My proposal titled The Effectiveness of Using Naturalistic Driving Study Data to Study Driver Behavior at Highway-Rail Grade Crossings, was awarded funding to be completed over the summer.

Alexandra Lakenen - Winner, AREMA Michigan Tech Alumni Scholarship

Throughout my years at tech I have actively pursued out of the classroom, hands-on education in order to further my knowledge and experience in the rail industry. Through my interest in railroad engineering I have become actively involved in our campuses AREMA student chapter where I have held both positions as president and the marketing chair in the past, and currently am an active member. Being involved in this organization throughout my past four years here at Michigan Tech has allowed me to expand my education through field trips to various Class I and shortline railroads, volunteer experience laying rail at a local museum, and hosting/attending networking events across the United States. During the summer of 2015 I had the opportunity to intern with Engineered Rail Solutions (ERS), a railroad engineering firm in McHenry, Illinois, where I worked with engineers on various rail terminal and transload facility projects. My time with ERS was extremely valuable and I was able to gain knowledge in rail and terminal design and look forward to being able to re-join the railroad industry upon my spring 2017 graduation.

Alyssa Leach - Winner, AREMA Michigan Tech Alumni Scholarship

Over the summer of 2016, I worked in the field for RailWorks on the MDOT High Speed Rail Program. In the field I gained valuable hands on experience, along with some new friends and great industry connections. I feel that both my internship and officer positions speak a lot about my character. In addition, I participated in the COC internship for this 2016 AREMA Conference in Orlando. Throughout the conference I assisted at the registration tables and helped answer questions from the attendees. Working as a COC intern was a great experience. I met a lot of tremendous people, who made working during the conference my favorite part. All of these experiences have lead me to realize that I want to continue working in the rail industry. I have already accepted a rail internship with Union Pacific for the upcoming summer.

Modeste Muhire - Winner, AREMA Committee 12 Rail Transit Scholarship

Currently, as a graduate student at Michigan Technological University pursuing a PhD in Civil Engineering, I am working on a FRA sponsored research project that aims at improving safety at highway-rail crossings through the understanding of driver behavior using Naturalistic Driving Study data. This research contribution will be of a great significance because safety is of the utmost importance in the industry.

At first, I gained an opportunity to learn about the freight and structure side of the rail while pursuing a master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Michigan Technological University. In that time, I took courses in track design and railroad engineering. Afterwards, I was able to apply the knowledge in the professional world for two years as a design engineer with Bergmann Associates. In that capacity, I worked on over 70 projects performing either track design, quantity estimate calculation or construction monitoring. I have already made a contribution towards the positive advancement of the rail industry, as attested by my supervisor.


   Click Here to see all of our Rail Scholarship Winners from the past!

Rail Transportation Program
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI. 49931-1295
Phone: 1-906-487-3547
Fax: 1-906-487-2943
A special thank you to our sponsor and partners!

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