The Karen K. Duncan Scholarship recipients are selected based on academic achievement, leadership, citizenship, career goals and extra-curricular activities. Up to 20 scholarships are awarded annually to dependents of full-time Duncan Aviation team members. The scholarship provides each student up to $2,000 for his or her college education—$500 a semester for up to two years. The Scholarship program was initiated because of Karen Duncan’s strong support of education and the people who have helped make Duncan Aviation successful. Since inception, more than 381 scholarships totaling nearly $2 million have been awarded.

The scholarship gave me the opportunity to start school and get back into the academic groove, after attending Airborne school and Parachute Rigger School at Fort Benning, Georgia, and Fort Lee, Virginia, respectively, for essentially 5 months.
— Josh Mertens, Scholarship Winner and Duncan Aviation Team Member

2022 Scholarship Recipients

After graduating from Lincoln Lutheran High School, Max Bartles plans on attending the University of Concordia in Seward, Nebraska, to study Exercise Science. During his time at Lincoln Lutheran, Max was a member of the Student Council and National Honor Society. He also received multiple honors and awards while playing for the Lincoln Lutheran football, basketball, and golf teams. Max gave back to his community by volunteering for the People’s City Mission, Messiah Church, youth basketball camps, and helping lay rocks for an elderly family. While at Concordia University, Max wishes to play either football or basketball and upon graduation wants to get a job as an Athletic Trainer at a place where he loves the community and people.

After graduating from Calhoun Christian School, Vincent Barto plans on attending Lansing Community College and will study to become an A&P Mechanic. While at Calhoun Christian School, Vincent was a captain on the football, basketball, and baseball teams. He was also a leader of the aviation class and was a peer mentor for 4 years. To give back to his community, Vincent volunteered for the Food Bank, Alternatives of Battle Creek (Pregnancy Care Center), and was on the Lakeview Youth Association Little League Baseball team where he was a three-year captain. Vincent joined the aviation program that was offered by his high school and discovered a huge interest in aviation maintenance. He would like to get his A&P license through Lansing Community College and come work for the Airframe Department at Duncan Aviation as an A&P Mechanic. Vincent says he would like to become a good leader and help young men and women want to work in aviation.

After graduating from Lincoln Southwest High School, Daniel Brajic plans on attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to study Mechanical Engineering. While at Southwest High School, Daniel played for the Southwest soccer team as well as for 2 club teams, the Capital Soccer Association and Sporting Nebraska FC. He was also part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Daniel volunteered for the St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church and for the CSA Shoot-Out Tournament. Daniel plans to use the skills and knowledge he will gain while studying Mechanical Engineering to make a difference in the rapidly changing automotive industry. Daniel says as our world and the industry continue to evolve, he hopes to contribute to the fight against climate change by helping to produce more efficient means of transportation. He wants to inspire change among large corporations to create vehicles that are not only efficient, but also fun and practical for all needs.

 

After graduating from Seward High School, Zachary Brown plans on attending Peru State College in Peru, Neb., to study Kinesiology. While in high school, Zachary was on the baseball and wrestling teams and also participated in SkillsUSA, FBLA, FCA, and Mixed Choir. Zachary spent his time volunteering for the Godparent Program, People’s City Mission, and was a Patrol Leader for Boy Scouts. After Zachary obtains his undergraduate degree, he plans on enrolling in a graduate program to earn his graduate degree with the ultimate goal of opening his own gym in order to help people reach their fitness goals and live healthy lifestyles.

Desiree Feller graduated from Cedar Valley High School in May 2022, and is on track to finish her Associates Degree from Utah Valley University where she was enrolled as a high school student. In the spring, she plans on attending Brigham Young University-Hawaii to earn her Bachelor’s Degree with a major in English. While at Cedar Valley High School, Desiree was in concert choir and the spring school musical. She received the Best Interpreter award for the American Sign Language program and was also a teacher aid. Desiree volunteered her time as a LDS Youth Leader where she was the President and 1st Counselor. Desiree’s ultimate goal is to become an editor for a publishing company where she hopes to help authors edit and distribute books. Reading is something she’s always loved, and editing is something she is excited about.

Alora Ferguson recently graduated from Malcolm High School where she was active in competitive speech, the one-act play, choir, cross country, and the Future Business Leaders of America. She was on the honor roll all four years and named to the National Honor Society. Alora volunteered with Foodnet Distribution and clothing giveaways through Northwest Lincoln Church of Christ throughout her high school career. She plans to attend the University of Nebraska-Kearney for two years and transfer to the UNMC College of Dentistry in Gehring, Neb., in the goal of ultimately becoming a pediatric dental hygienist. 

Reagan Gadeken will attend Southeast Community College this fall majoring in the program for Physical Therapist Assistants and plans to work at a local outpatient clinic upon graduation, providing physical therapy care to the community. Throughout her time at Kenwood Christian School, she was active with Indian Hills Community Church through Girls of Grace ministry and as lead acoustic guitarist in the youth group band. She was also a teaching assistant with Piccoli Dance Theater. 

Quentin Hayes will study architecture next fall at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is considering starting his own firm upon completion of the program to design homes that are green-based and energy-efficient. He graduated from Raymond Central High School in May and was active in art and band for four years and jazz band for three. 

 

Dominik Kluthe graduated this May from Lincoln Southwest High School and plans to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln next fall where he will study mechanical engineering. In high school, he lettered in trap shooting and participated in the sport all four years. 

Sawyer Kunc graduated from Wilber-Clatonia and plans on attending Southeast Community College in Milford, Neb., to study Nondestructive Testing (NDT) Technology in the AAS Program. While at Wilber-Clatonia, Sawyer was a 4-year letter winner and 2020 All State member on the football team, 3-year letter winner and state medalist on the wrestling team, and a 2021 Yardage Winner and 2021 Top Trap team for the 4-H Trap Shooting team. Sawyer spent a lot of his time giving back to the community by volunteering for the Duck & Dumpling Run, Turkey Trot, Wilber Legion Bingo Stand, Wilber Legion 9/11 clean up, Wilber Fire Department clean up, Wilber NRD, Wilber Czech Days, and FAA Wilber roadside trash clean up. While Sawyer was visiting his father at Duncan Aviation, he became interested in NDT after watching a technician use his expertise to examine an aircraft. Sawyer is interested in working at Duncan Aviation after completing the Nondestructive Testing Technology program because his dad has worked at the Duncan Aviation facility in Lincoln for more than 20 years.

After graduating from Milford High School, Morgan Krystine McCullough plans on studying Nursing at Bryan College of Health Sciences. While in high school, Morgan was on the volleyball team and participated in speech, musical, FCCLA, and Key Club. Morgan spent a lot of time volunteering in Youth Group, Et-Cetera, People’s City Mission, and Vacation Bible School. She also volunteered as a Sunday School teacher, volunteered at Parent Foster classes, and was a teacher’s assistant. One of Morgan’s long-term goals is to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, which she plans to accomplish by finding a nursing mentor who will guider her through her classes and provide her with the help she needs to graduate. She understands the demands of nursing school, so other goals of hers are to better manage her time, get out of her comfort zone, and gain new experiences.

After graduating from Norris High School, Trevor Ozenbaugh plans on attending the University of Nebraska-Omaha to study Finance/Accounting. While at Norris, Trevor was on the football and track and field teams, and was in the Irvin Bottner Chapter of the National Honor Society. Trevor was extremely active in his community. He was in the Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church Youth, volunteered for the roadside clean-up on 68th Street, live streamed Shepherd of the Hills Church Services, served food at Gathering Place in Lincoln, packed food for Shepherd of the Hills Church Food Pantry, and helped with Norris football and track and field youth camps. Trevor’s main short-term goal is to be successful in his career as quickly as possible out of college. He plans on doing this by earning a double-major in finance and accounting, graduating from college early, and being in as little debt as possible.

After graduating from Mead High School, Demmy Patocka plans on studying Elementary Education at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Demmy was extremely active in high school. She was on the volleyball team where she earned multiple awards and honors, and was also on the track and basketball teams. Demmy was involved in National Honor Society, Student Council, FCCLA, FFA, and was a student aid. Demmy gave back to her community by being a coach for the Mead Little Raiders Youth Volleyball team, did road side clean-up for the FFA, volunteered at the Mead Fire Department Game Feed, Blooming Smiles, Mead Days, FCCLA Canned Food Drive, FCCLA Clothing Drive, and Backpack Program. Because Demmy is taking dual credit courses through Southeast Community College, she is on track to graduate from college in fewer than four years. Upon graduating, she plans on entering the workforce as an early childhood elementary teacher. As a teacher, she hopes to utilize her passion for teaching and love for children to create a safe and effective learning environment. She wants to leave an impact on every student she encounters by showing them compassion, kindness, and encouragement during their time in the classroom.

After graduating from Super Middle/High School, Taygun Rothchild plans on attending Central Community College in Grand Island, Neb., to obtain his General Education Credits, then transfer to a different university to finish out his education in Media Arts. In high school, Taygun was on the basketball, golf, and cross-country teams. He was also in band and Community Service Club. Taygun volunteered at concession stands, helped mow, and often helped the elderly. He wants to pursue work at a radio broadcasting station as a radio personality.

Avery Saltzman kept herself busy participating in and leading several activities and student groups at Milford High School, including Student Council Class President, yearbook editor, musicals, plays, FCA, volleyball, speech, show choir, and band. After graduation, she plans to attend Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Neb., to earn her degree in graphic design. 

While in West Boylston Middle/High School, Thomas Scalera participated in many activities, including the National Honor Society, IEA, varsity tennis, varsity football, band, wind ensemble, DECA, TriM Music Honor Society, and play tech director. His community activities kept him equally busy with several 4-H club activities, summer bands, music academies, and festivals. After graduation from West Boylston Middle/High School, he plans to study history, law, and/or music. Thomas has not decided where to further his education. He was accepted to 4 large universities in the northeastern United States and eagerly awaits responses from 4 more. 

Sylvia Swager has her sights set on graduating from Madonna University with a 4-year degree in American Sign Language and earning certification as an interpreter. She plans to work as an interpreter while pursuing a master’s degree in psychology with the career goal of becoming a therapist for deaf children. During her years at Climax-Scotts High School, Sylvia took nearly every opportunity to participate in activities including National Honor Society, Students Against Drunk Driving, drama club, student council, marching band, softball, volleyball, cross country, and track. Her various community and church activities included volunteering for blood drives, Catholic Heart work camp, youth group, altar server, and as a math tutor. 

After graduating from Crete High School, Travis Sweeny plans to attend Kansas Wesleyan University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in physical education. His career aspirations are to become a physical education and health teacher and coach. Travis was a varsity letter winner in cross country, tennis, and soccer; a member of the National Honor Society; Multicultural Union, Future Business Leaders of America, Positive Attitude & Leadership by Students, Student-Athlete Leadership Committee, Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, C-Club, Spanish club, student tour guide, and stage crew for the musical. His many community activities include tutoring after school; volunteering in the homeless shelter by making care kits, tying blankets, and handing out meals; supporting his community by raking leaves, shoveling snow, filling backpacks, and painting the elementary school playground. 

After graduating from Orem High School, Hector Walker plans to attend the University of Hawaii to earn a degree in Political Science. While growing up in a diverse household where politics were openly discussed, he sought to learn all he could learn about various topics to understand and intelligently participate in these discussions with his family and others. While in high school, Hector was a member of the National Honor Society, student council, and wind symphony. He also ran track & field.