Baldini Scholarship winners named
Through years of involvement in the greater Marquette community, these two are making a positive impact on Marquette County and its residents, Connect Marquette said.
The Tom Baldini Scholarship was created in 2018 to recognize local individuals who have shown an interest in community and civic engagement. Tom Baldini, who passed away in 2017, was an active supporter of Connect Marquette, formerly 40 Below. In the spirit of his commitment to Marquette County, the organization seeks to foster leadership and civic engagement among its membership by awarding this annual scholarship, the group said.
The award also aims to develop award recipients’ leadership abilities, encourage engagement with the community and expand their networking opportunities.
The recipients will receive a one-year Connect Marquette membership, attendance to the 2022 Professional Development Conference, a ticket to one Economic Club of Marquette County dinner and Connect Marquette merchandise.
Engle, executive director of MATI, or the Masonic Arts, Theatre and Innovation Company, is from Marquette. Engle graduated from the Institute of Natural Therapies in the mid 1990s, before operating a massage therapy business in lower Michigan for many years. After managing the Lakeview Community Wellness Center for a few years, Engle and his family moved back to Marquette in 2009.
Graduating from NMU’s construction management school in the winter of 2012, he worked at Michigan Energy Options before starting as the Upper Peninsula Masonic Center building manager.
Engle has supported many nonprofits over the years, working with the Red Cross and Jaycees, and has received the Montcalm Volunteer of the Year Award and a designation as the village of Lakeview’s Community Member of the Year.
Engle said he first put his own clown makeup on in 2010 to support the Ahmed Shriners and the 22 hospitals that they support across the country, according to Connect Marquette. He said he isn’t the greatest clown in the world, but he enjoys seeing the children laugh
“I started MATI in January of 2020 with a dream to save the Upper Peninsula Masonic Building for the community by supporting the Arts to create a collaborative hub for all art mediums,” he said in a news release. “My background and experience in the nonprofit world and the arts has brought me to create, with the support of my board and a few others, the hope for a lasting hub for the community.”
O’Connor is the outreach coordinator for the Lake Superior Community Partnership. O’Connor, originally from Midland, attended Northern Michigan University from 2015-2018 and fell in love with the Marquette community, according to Connect Marquette. During her time at NMU, she was heavily involved and has held various leadership positions on campus. Some of her greatest accomplishments at NMU include playing a major role in starting the NMU Food Pantry and raising $1,200 for the Jacobetti Home For Veterans, earning her a “Director’s Coin” for excellence from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency and a “Presidential Recognition Coin” for outstanding service.
After graduating with a bachelor’s of science in communication studies, O’Connor was a weekend anchor/journalist for WLUC TV6/Fox UP, Connect Marquette said. From O’Connor’s position with the media, she was offered an opportunity to work for her current employer, Lake Superior Community Partnership.
In her free time, O’Connor enjoys yoga, being outdoors and volunteering, Connect Marquette said. She is a singer for St. Peter Cathedral, a member of Connect Marquette, a Big Sister with the Big Brother Big Sister program and a member of the Marquette County Veterans Alliance. Volunteering plays a big role in O’Connor’s life and she loves to volunteer for Marquette County events such as Blues Fest, the Lip Sync Battle and the Iron Range Roll, among others.
“I am honored to receive the Tom Baldini Scholarship,” O’Connor said in a news release. “It is an even greater honor to be compared to past honorees and community leader, Tom Baldini, all of whom have made such important contributions to Marquette County. It is a privilege to give back to a community that has given so much to me.”
Connect Marquette was created in 2010 with professional development as one of its three pillars of excellence and mission. Connect Marquette hosts events throughout the year, focusing on topic areas that include networking, professional development, community engagement and leadership opportunities. To learn more, visit www.connectmarquette.org.