PolyMet awards annual Mining for Excellence scholarships

Northeast Range high school seniors recognized for strong STEM potential

PolyMet has awarded its annual Mining for Excellence scholarships to three Minnesota high school seniors who demonstrate strong potential in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The company typically awards two scholarships, yet the applicants were so impressive this year, the company opted to award three scholarships. The 2019 scholarship recipients are:

Preeti Pidatala of Wayzata High School was awarded a $5,000 Mining for Excellence scholarship. She plans to pursue a career in computer science. Drawn to puzzles and logic-based games from a very young age, she went on to become extensively involved in the robotics team, Junior Academy and other STEM extracurriculars, which earned her the Aspirations in Computing award from the National Center for Women in Computing. Pidatala looks forward to using her passions for computer science and STEM in intriguing real-life applications.

Mikayla Mellesmoen of Northeast Range School in Babbitt was awarded a $2,500 Mining for Excellence scholarship. She will be attending Minnesota State Mankato to earn her degree in environmental science and pursue a career in that field. Mellesmoen has been involved in STEM-related courses and activities such as local, regional and state science fairs, Mesabi Range College engineering camps and her fascinating 4-H project on honey bees. She has particular interest in using her education to help preserve the environment while at the same time wisely utilizing its resources.

Sophie Lenz of Northeast Range School in Babbitt was also awarded a $2,500 Mining for Excellence scholarship. She will be attending the University of Minnesota Duluth and plans to pursue a career in civil/environmental engineering. Always fascinated by math and science, Lenz has been involved in STEM courses and many extracurriculars, including science club, robotics, math league and Mesabi Range College engineering camps. She now aims to earn her college degree and go on to work on solving environmental issues.

Jon Cherry, PolyMet president and CEO, said the company received more than 50 applications from outstanding students statewide. “We are proud to help young people who plan to study and work in these academically challenging but rewarding fields. Students like Preeti, Mikayla and Sophie are smart, motivated and full of potential. They clearly see how more education in STEM will help them make a difference in the world. We look forward to students like these making contributions to business and industry – hopefully some will even make their marks in mining, where we highly value STEM talents.”

The Mining for Excellence scholarship winners were recognized during intermission at the Minnesota State High School Boy’s Hockey Tournament on March 8 in St. Paul.

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About PolyMet
PolyMet Mining Corp. (www.polymetmining.com) is a publicly traded mine development company that owns 100 percent of PolyMet Mining, Inc., a Minnesota corporation. PolyMet Mining, Inc. is awaiting final decisions from regulators on draft permits that have been released by the state before it can build and operate Minnesota’s first copper-nickel-precious metals mine. The PolyMet project is expected to bring hundreds of good jobs and positive economic impact to the Iron Range and surrounding areas.