Local students receive scholarships toward careers in construction

Jamie Bekel

Sierra Rothlisberger

WENATCHEE - Washington state is one of 21 states whose governor has officially proclaimed the month of October as Careers in Construction Month to bring statewide awareness to the many lucrative career opportunities available in the building industry. The Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) is doing its part to build the future workforce by providing $70,000 in scholarships and grants to 21 students and seven construction trades programs across Washington. Four local students were among the lucky recipients.
Jamie Bekel, University
of Washington
Chelan student Jamie Bekel is studying to earn a degree in architectural design from the University of Washington (UW). A graduate of Chelan High School, Bekel is looking forward to a career in designing residential housing because that’s where she believes she can make the most positive change. A member of the National Honors Society, graduating with a 3.98 grade point average, Bekel is excited to combine her creativity with her keen attention to detail in a career in architecture.
“Architecture is the perfect medium between science and creativity, calculation and aesthetic, the rational and the abstract,” she said. “I am ecstatic for the future of possibilities that this path will bring, allowing me to truly make a difference.”
Autumn West, Washington State University
Autumn West, a Leavenworth student attending Washington State University (WSU), is working toward a degree in construction management. A graduate of Cascade High School in Leavenworth, West looks forward to learning more about residential and commercial construction at WSU. After graduation, she hopes to work in project management and eventually start her own company while raising a family of her own.
“My hope is that I will be able to teach my children that it is possible to be a mother and have a family while still being dedicated to a career,” she said.
Cesar Bedolla-Hurtado, Washington State
Wenatchee student Cesar Bedolla-Hurtado pursuing a civil engineering degree at WSU. A graduate of Eastmont High School in East Wenatchee, he chose the path of construction engineering because he wants to make a difference.
“I want to be part of something bigger than myself, making a positive impact that will remain with humanity long after I am gone,” he said.
Bedolla-Hurtado, who served as president of WSU’s American Society of Civil Engineers Club in 2021 and 2022, plans to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering and then attend graduate school to earn a Master’s Degree in Structural Engineering.
“My lifetime goal is founding a structural construction engineering company in my hometown with the prospect of providing services to all of Washington state,” he said. “I want to be able to make a difference and continuously pursue a sense of accomplishment in efforts to help communities.”
Sierra Rothlisberger,
Washington State
Sierra Rothlisberger, a Chelan student attending WSU, is working toward a degree in interior design with a minor in construction management.  A graduate of Chelan High School where she was valedictorian, Rothlisberger has been a lover of design since middle school. During her time at WSU, she has expanded this passion outside of her education through design clubs and work experiences.
“I’ve grown to respect the world of architecture in ways I had never considered; the beauty combined with reasoning is something few truly appreciate,” Rothlisberger said.
After graduation, she hopes to work for a company with a focus on sustainability and eventually return to school for a master’s degree in interior design so she can teach at a university.
“I would love to invest my time into another generation,” she said.
Since its inception, BIAW has awarded nearly $750,000 in scholarships and grants to students and organizations who have demonstrated a passion and commitment to developing a career in the home building industry and the programs that educate them. To learn more about BIAW’s scholarship program and the many opportunities a career in construction can provide, visit www.biaw.com/program/workforce-development.
The Building Industry Association of Washington is the voice of the housing industry as the state’s largest trade association with over 8,000 member companies responsible for roughly 188,000 jobs.  The association is dedicated to ensuring and enhancing the vitality of the building industry for the benefit of its members and the housing needs of Washington.  Learn more at:  www.biaw.com.

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