Fellows to Share Their Experiences

Do you need a new perspective on our community?  Sometimes we think we know all that we need to know about Owosso and Shiawassee County, the issues we need to deal with, and the organizations and people we work with.  At the Cook Family Foundation, our view is often refreshed when we talk with the next generation, and we are fortunate that several of our programs brings us that opportunity.

On July 31, six Owosso Fellows will be offering us a new perspective on our community.  For the last several weeks, these college students have been working for local organizations, doing several service projects, and learning about small town life. On Thursday, July 31, from 4-8 p.m. at the Jordan Gallery (118 N. Washington St. in Owosso), they will share “Conversations on Community: A Visual Journey.”  This will be a personal and collective expression of their experiences in Shiawassee County, something they have captured by taking a photo a day during their time here.  The Fellows will be in the gallery in an open house format, so stop by anytime.

The Cook Family Foundation’s Owosso Fellows program (see more info here) has brought together three of our local scholarship recipients attending the University of Michigan together with three students from Yale University.  From Michigan they are: Christian Van Epps, who has been working for the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership; Courtney Crawford, promoting early childhood health through Great Start Shiawassee; Emma Tompkins, an intern at the Shiawassee Arts Council.  The Yale students are: Mary Shi, who is helping plan pedestrian and bike improvements for the City of Owosso; Chloe Larkin, promoting tennis and fitness through the Shiawassee Family Y;  and Spencer Klavan, who is directing “Robin Hood” with the Owosso Community Players.

For more information contact the Foundation office at 989-725-1621


Welcome Fellows

Six college students are going to make an impact in Shiawassee County this summer.  The second class of Owosso Fellows, half who attended high school in the County and half from elsewhere, will be working for local organizations, undertaking several service projects, and learning about what makes a strong community.


This year’s fellows are, from left to right: Christian Van Epps, a University of Michigan Junior, will be working for the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership; Mary Shi, a recent graduate from Yale, will be helping plan pedestrian and bike improvements for the City of Owosso; Chloe Larkin, a Yale sophomore, will be promoting tennis and fitness through the Shiawassee Family Y; Courtney Crawford, finishing her first year at Michigan, will contribute to early childhood health through Great Start Shiawassee; Emma Tompkins, a Michigan sophomore, will be helping arrange the upcoming Seuss exhibit at the Shiawassee Arts Council; and Spencer Klavan, who just graduated from Yale, will be directing “Robin Hood” with the Owosso Community Players.

Returning as coordinator of the program is Owosso High and Yale alumna, Heather Rivard. In its second year, the Fellows program combines two goals of the Cook Family Foundation:  to support talented youth in their educational development, and to build the capacity of community organizations in Shiawassee County.

To learn more about the Fellows program, go here; to read testimonials from last year’s fellows, go here.

Scholarship Winners

The Cook Family Foundation recently recognized 25 students from the greater Shiawassee County area who are attending the University of Michigan this coming Fall.  All of them have been awarded scholarships from the Foundation, and several have received additional scholarships from the University.  In total, the scholarships awarded total $298,500.  In addition to these merit-based scholarships, many of these students are also receiving need-based financial aid.


Jackie and Bruce Cook present their scholarship to Nolan Wendling and his parents Lisa and Allan Wendling

The following students from nine local high schools have been awarded scholarships from the Cook Family Foundation.  Byron: Vanessa Kiefer; Chesaning: Jared Weisenberger;  Corunna: Nathan Dennison, Anthony Ferzo, Stephanie Rasmussen;  Durand: Madeline Dietrich, Tyler Lockhart; Laingsburg: Kirsten Johnson;  New Lothrop: Arman Jacob Aznavorian, Bryce Birchmeier, Taylor Krupp, Cody Symons, Nolan Wendling, Kyle White;  Ovid-Elsie: Logan Applebee, Hunter Charvat, Maureen Wiltsee;  Owosso: Jordan Bannan, Caitlin Harrell, David Hoffa, Janae Hurd, Geoffrey McClung, Madison Van Epps;  Perry: Alex Proudfoot, Taylor White

While all of these students are accomplished and at the top of their class, several students received special scholarships.  Nolan Wendling of New Lothrop received the Bruce & Jackie Cook Scholarship, a four-year full tuition scholarship to attend the UM Ross School of Business.  Kirsten Johnson of Laingsburg was awarded the Donald Cook Scholarship from UM’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts.  Jared Weisenberger of Chesaning was named one of the prestigious Shipman Scholars and will study mathematics at UM.  You can read more about the scholarships from the Cook Family Foundation (click here).


Tom Cook presents the Donald Cook Scholarship to Kirsten Johnson and her mother Brenda Johnson