Scholarship Winners

Fall 2020 Recipient: Natalie Heimerman

University of St. Thomas

Fall 2020 Recipient: Meron Bekure

Metropolitan State University

Fall 2020 Recipient: Teresa Lane

Metropolitan State University

Fall 2020 Recipient: Mai Xiong Yang

Metropolitan State University

Fall 2019 Recipient: Michelle Hedges

Michelle Hedges is focusing on either property management or project management focus areas for her career in CRE. In her application, she noted, “Minnesota’s commercial real estate network is a small world and very tight knit, and after attending a few events hosted by the associations, I grew to love the environment, the people, and the type of work. As I have learned more about the industry, I was intrigued even more and fascinated by the many ways that commercial real estate touches our lives.” 

 

Hedges was recommended for the scholarship by Kelly Jameson, chair of St. Cloud State’s Real Estate Program.

Fall 2019 Recipient: Ayentu Hassan

Ayentu Hassan is majoring in business management with a minor in Real Estate. She brings a resume full of leadership and commercial real estate experiences that include working as a leasing specialist and as president and board member of the Oromo Students Organization. The Oromo Students Organization is a cultural organization that teaches about culture of the Oromo ethnic group in Ethiopia, which is where Hassan was born. Hassan was recommended by Justin Beumer, her former supervisor at Capital One.

 

“With commercial property located virtually anywhere and everywhere, I always wondered who managed these and how the operation worked. Now I know and am excited to pursue this career path, which offers so many opportunities,” said Hassan.

Fall 2019 Recipient: Hector Lopez Cruz

Hector Lopez Cruz is majoring in business but has internships focused in both commercial real estate and commercial banking. Cruz’s family has spent many years focused on residential real estate, which drove his interest in impacting the larger community by focusing on commercial real estate.

 

He is also speaks and writes fluently in Spanish, and intends to work in either development or brokerage upon graduation. Hector was nominated by Chris Mauzy, CEO and broker with Mauzy Properties. He said, “I cannot think of a line of business that would better fit Mr. Lopez. You will not find a more deserving and hard working person for this great scholarshipopportunity.”

Fall 2019 Recipient: Nancy Caridad Sanchez Cervantes

Nancy Caridad Sanchez Cervantes is majoring in Spanish and business and is pursuing her commercial real estate license to pursue a career in brokerage as a commercial real estate agent. She intends to serve the Mexican and immigrant communities because she feels they are underserved by the commercial real estate community. “I intend to teach people about housing laws and procedures, and work with community members to identify construction plans and spaces that positively impact the minority community,” she said in her application.

 

She was nominated by Kris Donnelly, the director of professional internship programs at the Dougherty Family College. “Nancy takes advantage of every networking and leadership opportunity we provide. She is incredibly engage in learning and she has the skills, desire and attitude to be successful,” said Donnelly.  

University of St. Thomas MBA student Ivan Alvarado selected for Spring 2018 Scholarship

Ivan Alvarado, a bilingual MBA student at the University of St. Thomas, has been awarded the Commercial Real Estate Diversity Collaborative’s Spring 2018 scholarship. The Diversity Collaborative, which represents eight industry associations working to increase diversity within the commercial real estate industry, has awarded 10 scholarships to diverse students studying commercial real estate. The $2,000 scholarship supports tuition and books for students from a minority class who are interested in pursuing a career in commercial real estate. 

Alvarado, who is born in New York City, but raised since high school in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has worked as a residential real estate agent, a project manager, an English teacher in Spain, and most recently, in multi-functional roles for the Fourth Judicial District Court in Minneapolis.  With more than ten years of working experience, he identified commercial real estate as the best fit for his long-term goals. 

“Making a difference in the lives of others is my purpose in life and a career in commercial real estate will help me create meaningful change in my community,” he said. 

Each scholarship applicant requires a letter of recommendation from an educator; for Alvarado, Hannah Hedegard, director of Graduate Programs at the Opus College of Business, University of St. Thomas, submitted rave reviews about his insights and ideas that have already improved the St. Thomas experience. 


“It cannot be understated the impact that Ivan has had during his time at our university. He’s proven himself to be a leaders who is thoughtful, engaging, and a true change-maker in our community and beyond,” she wrote. 

“We were impressed that the first time we met Ivan, he had visions for his career and his impact in our communities,” said Raymond Vaughn, CCIM, RPA, senior property manager-Ryan Companies and chair of the Diversity Collaborative’s scholarship committee. “He’s already taken initiative to apply his passion to support the success of the Diversity Collaborative going forward.”

“Our goal is to develop bench strength with diverse candidates who can build their careers around any firm in our market,” said Stephanie Lee, vice president-Carlson Commercial and one of three leaders of the Diversity Collaborative. “We have built partnerships across the Twin Cities but are always looking for mentors, volunteers and companies to join us in our efforts to diversity commercial real estate.”

The Diversity Collaborative has been awarding scholarships since 2013, distributing more than $25,500 in educational support for diverse students who demonstrate an interest in commercial real estate as a career path. In addition to the scholarship, students also are invited to attend industry events, are matched with a commercial real estate professional for mentoring and are provided internship openings from the commercial real estate companies who participate in the DC. 


 

2017 Fall winner: Albert Martinez-Castro

St. Cloud University student Albert Martinez-Castro selected for Commercial Real Estate Diversity Collaborative Scholarship

$2,000 scholarship encourages pursuit of real estate careers

Albert Martinez-Castro, who is a sophomore studying real estate at St. Cloud State University, was selected for the Fall 2017 Diversity Collaborative scholarship. The $2,000 scholarship supports tuition and books for students from a minority class who are interested in pursuing a career in commercial real estate. 

Albert, who is from Rosemount, Minnesota, has participated in the campus Real Estate Association, attended the national Institute of Real Estate Management Summit in Chicago in 2017, and has attended numerous events hosted by BOMA, the building owners and managers association. He learned of commercial real estate from his father, who runs a commercial painting company, and decided that being an owner and manager of a commercial real estate firm would allow him to impact sustainable real estate practices and support the local community.

 

“My interpersonal skills have made me a successful student leader and I believe they will be critical in the commercial real estate industry,” he said.

The scholarship selection committee was impressed by Martinez-Castro’s professionalism and maturity, documented by St. Cloud State’s Commercial Real Estate program adviser Kelly Jamison. In her letter of recommendation, she noted, “In addition to attending classes and achieving a 3.75 GPA, he has experience working several jobs and gaining relevant business experience. He is a conscientious and considerate leader and I know he will be a great contributor to commercial real estate.”

Martinez-Castro is the fifth student from St. Cloud to be awarded this scholarship. “We were impressed with Albert’s knowledge and interest in commercial real estate – even at such an early stage of his education,” said Raymond Vaughn, CCIM, RPA, senior property manager-Ryan Companies and chair of the Diversity Collaborative’s scholarship committee. 

The Diversity Collaborative has been awarding scholarships since 2013, distributing more than $23,500 in educational support for diverse students who demonstrate an interest in commercial real estate as a career path. In addition to the scholarship, students also are invited to attend industry events, are matched with a commercial real estate professional for mentoring and are provided internship openings from the commercial real estate companies who participate in the DC. 

2017- Austin Ruehle

Austin Ruehle, a junior at St. Cloud State University, was awarded the Commercial Real Estate Diversity Collaborative 2017 scholarship. Austin’s passion and enthusiasm in pursuing a career in commercial real estate caught the attention of the Diversity Collaborative. The Diversity Collaborative mission is to deliver members of the commercial real estate industry the tools, talent, and opportunities to drive inclusiveness, diversity, and future success. Ruehle has shown leadership at school with sports and in his classes.

When asked what interests him most about commercial real estate he said, “Commercial real estate interests me because it offers many career paths and because it seems to have variety in the daily work.” Ruehle’s long-term career goal is to become a leader in commercial real estate, potentially starting his own company. He is also interested in continuing the work of the Diversity Collaborative by mentoring other diverse candidates once he starts his professional career.

Vanessa Sayers

Vanessa Sayers was awarded the Commercial Real Estate Diversity Collaborative’s 2016 fall scholarship. Vanessa has demonstrated an interest in the real estate field and her skills and accomplishments attracted the attention of the Diversity Collaborative, but it was her ambition and passion for the industry that made her stand out.

When asked about her interest to pursue real estate academically, the Management major from Metropolitan State University, says she was inspired to delve into the industry after the Metropolitan State Diversity Collaborative information session held in June, 2016. She says the information session opened her eyes to the multitude of opportunities available to her within the commercial real estate industry. Her long-term career goal is to be a successful career in the Commercial Real Estate Industry helping lower income areas and learn more about the industry from her peers and mentors.