Our 2020 Patrick D. Finley Scholarship Fund Winners

The Patrick D. Finley Scholarship Fund, continues to provide educational opportunities for the sons and daughters of the OPCMIA! Each year eight grants are awarded, one for each successful candidate for his/her education. Winners are selected based upon the student’s non-weighted GPA reported on an official high school or college transcript and an essay on the importance of the OPCMIA on the applicant’s family. The scholarship may be used for any field of study by undergraduate students.

Vanessa Avina

OPCMIA Scholarship winner Vanessa Avina pictured with her father, Jorge Avina Romero, a member of Local Union 400, Sacramento, California. Vanessa plans to attend Sacramento State University in the fall.

Hello, my name is Vanessa Avina. I am the daughter of Jorge Avina Romero, a proud member of the Cement Masons Local 400 Union. I am a 2020 graduate, graduating from Vintage High School with honors. Academically, I have maintained a 3.8 GPA for the past four years with advanced placement courses and with college readiness courses taken over the summer. I have participated in various extracurricular events and volunteer services.

In the fall, I will be attending Sacramento State University with a major in the medical field and have a minor in Japanese. I want to thank my parents for their continuous support and hard work in getting me to this point in my life and I’m beyond grateful for the support that the “Patrick D. Finley Scholarship Fund” has given to both my family and I.

This scholarship will not only allow me to attend the University, but it will help me proceed to the next few steps of my college journey, allowing me to obtain a bachelor’s degree. As a first-generation college student, I will continue to work harder to achieve my current goals and the many more that are yet to come.

Thank you OPCMIA for granting me this opportunity and thank you General President Daniel E. Stepano and General Secretary-Treasurer Kevin D. Sexton for awarding me this scholarship.

Ben Baca

OPCMIA Scholarship winner Ben Baca pictured with his father, Anthony J. Baca, Jr., a member of Local Union 502, Chicago, Illinois. Ben is presently attending Iowa State University where he plans to continue his studies in the fall.

Hello, my name is Ben Baca and I am an incoming Junior at Iowa State University in pursuit of a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance. All my life I have lived in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and attended public schools. In doing so, I was heavily involved in the sport of wrestling where I learned how to develop dedication towards short- and long-term goals. Also, I volunteered at the local church to assist in the peer ministry program in efforts to enhance my faith and general perspective.

Advancing into college, I am still dedicated to my personal goals of achieving academic excellence and building valuable relationships. I am a chairman of the student council for the Iowa State College of Business as well as an executive officer for my fraternity. While continuing to stay active in all my roles and organizations, I have maintained a close to perfect grade point average and earned the Dean’s List Award four consecutive semesters.

Moving forward, I am excited to progress my character and hope to better the lives of others around me through my education and influence. With the help of this scholarship I will be continuing my academic education at Iowa State with the hopes of pursuing my master’s degree.

Thank you for this scholarship, I am truly grateful!

Jenna Katayama

OPCMIA Scholarship winner Jenna Katayama pictured with her father, Mitchell Katayama, a member of Local Union 630, Honolulu, Hawaii. Jenna is going into her sophomore year of college at Brigham Young University in the fall.

My name is Jenna Katayama and I am the daughter of Mitchell Katayama who has been a member of the Local 630 for 21 years. I am from Kaneohe, Hawai’i, and graduated in 2019 from James B. Castle High School as a Valedictorian where I was involved in the National Honor Society, Key Club, STEM Club, community council, and danced hula for 12 years.

This fall, I will be going into my sophomore year of college at Brigham Young University majoring in Physiology and Developmental Biology. During my freshman year of college, I have had the opportunity to become involved in multiple clubs, gain research experience, and participate in community service. After my undergraduate, I plan on attending school to pursue a career as a Physician Assistant and hope to work in pediatrics.

Thank you so much OPCMIA and Local 630 for supporting me in my career goals and for providing this generous scholarship to help fund my education.

Sydney Klinzing

OPCMIA Scholarship winner Sydney Klinzing pictured with her father, Thomas Klinzing, a member of Local Union 599, State of Wisconsin. Sydney is a senior in college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

My name is Sydney Klinzing and my father is a Cement Mason with OPCMIA Local 599. I am a senior studying geological engineering, geology, and engineering for energy sustainability at University of Wisconsin-Madison. I have conducted several research projects throughout college, one being to assess titanium dioxide output in the Madison metropolitan area and another to quantify environmental savings of recycled materials in roadways. I am currently working as an engineering intern with the City of Madison Water Utility. I inspect construction sites and perform other essential tasks within the engineering division of the water utility.

After I graduate from undergrad, I hope to pursue a masters in renewable energy and sustainability. I feel incredibly grateful and humble to be among the recipients of this year’s Patrick D Finley Scholarship award!

Abby Lende

OPCMIA Scholarship winner Abby Lende pictured with her father, Darrell Lende, a member of Local Union 633, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Abby plans to attend Minnesota State University of Moorhead in the fall.

My name is Abby Lende the daughter of Darrell Lende, a member of the Cement Masons and Plasterers Local 633, out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. I graduated from Win-E-Mac High School in May of 2020 as Salutatorian of my class with a 3.93 GPA. I was involved in numerous school activities including volleyball, golf, robotics in which I went to the State Tournament for three years, the RAD Drone Competition in which I qualified for the Worlds Tournament, Minnesota Honor Society, Student Council and Knowledge Bowl.

I want to thank the Patrick D. Finley Scholarship Fund for this scholarship. I will be attending Minnesota State University of Moorhead this fall and majoring in Computer Science.

Madeline Murtaugh

OPCMIA Scholarship winner Madeline Murtaugh pictured with her father, Michael Murtaugh, a member of Local Union 502, Chicago, Illinois. Madeline is in her sophomore year at Pennsylvania State University this fall.

Hello, my name is Madeline Murtaugh, and I am currently a rising sophomore at Pennsylvania State University majoring in Geosciences.

I graduated from Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School in Chicago, Illinois as an Illinois State Scholar and an AP Scholar with Distinction. I participated in the Washington University Chemistry Tournament in May 2018, where I and a group of other McAuley students worked together to solve chemistry-related questions and activities. I was then a member of the only all-girls team that participated in the Argonne Autonomous Vehicle Competition in April 2019 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, finishing 3rd for performance and 2nd for design. During my senior year, I was elected the first Vice President of the Science National Honor Society and helped build the organization. I also ran track and field for all four years. I was chosen Most Improved Player my junior year and Most Valuable Player for field my senior year.

In college, I am gaining laboratory experience in geology and physics. I am also creating connections with peers and professors that will create a foundation for me and will last well beyond my academic years. I hope to continue to grow and welcome new opportunities with my father Michael Murtaugh and the OPCMIA supporting me.

Sophia Rodriguez

OPCMIA Scholarship winner Sophia Rodriguez pictured with her father, Lawrence Rodriguez, a member of Local Union 630, Honolulu, Hawaii. Sophia is going into her sophomore year of college at University of Hawai’i at Hilo in the fall.

I, Sophia Rodriguez, am the daughter of Lawrence Rodriguez, a member of Local 630 here in Hawai’i. As an alumnus of Kapaa High School I was able to take initiative for my future by being a member of the National honor Society, student government, the Health occupations students of America, I have also taken college classes during high school, graduated as valedictorian, and have been a participant in many school sports. These experiences have taught me hard work and dedication, two traits that have shaped me into who I am today.

This upcoming year I will be a returning sophomore to the University of Hawai’i at Hilo where I am pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies. Along with my major, I plan to pursue a minor in agriculture and a certificate in energy science management. My goal is to one day preserve the biodiversity and natural resources located here in Hawaii alongside those all over the world.

I am deeply thankful to my father, the Local 630, and to the support of OPCMIA “Patrick D. Finley Scholarship Fund” in pursuit of achieving my goals, without them I would not be where I am today.

Abby Strong

OPCMIA Scholarship winner Abby Strong pictured with her father, Paul Strong, a member of Local Union 526, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Abby is going into her sophomore year of college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the fall.

My name is Abby Strong, daughter of Paul Strong, a member of the Local 526. I am from Northern Cambria, Pennsylvania and graduated from Northern Cambria High School with high honors. Throughout high school I have been involved in extracurricular activities and community service. While in high school, I began taking college courses through dual enrollment which has allowed me to complete my entire freshman year of college before graduating.

I will be attending the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the fall to earn my Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing and plan to pursue graduate school to become a Family Nurse Practitioner.

I am extremely thankful for the scholarship committee in selecting me as one of the OPCMIA Scholarship Program winners. This will certainly be extremely helpful in pursuing my Nursing major.