Baldini Fellowship Winners Named | News, Sports, Jobs

MARQUETTE – Connect Marquette has announced that Megan O’Connor and Ryan Engle are the two recipients of the 2021 Tom Baldini Scholarship.

Through years of involvement in the great community of Marquette, these two are having a positive impact on Marquette County and its residents, said Connect Marquette.

The Tom Baldini Fellowship was established in 2018 to recognize local people who have expressed an interest in community and civic engagement. Tom Baldini, who died in 2017, was an active supporter of Connect Marquette, formerly 40 Below. In the spirit of its commitment to Marquette County, the organization seeks to foster leadership and civic engagement among its members by awarding this annual scholarship, the group said.

The award also aims to develop the leadership capacities of the awardees, encourage engagement with the community and expand their networking opportunities.

Recipients will receive a one-year Connect Marquette membership, attendance at the 2022 Professional Development Conference, a ticket to a Marquette County Economic Club dinner and Connect Marquette merchandise.

Engle, executive director of MATI, or Masonic Company of Arts, Theater and Innovation, is originally 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 running the Lakeview Community Wellness Center for a few years, Engle and his family returned to Marquette in 2009.

Graduating from NMU’s School of Construction Management in the winter of 2012, he worked at Michigan Energy Options before starting as a building manager at the Upper Peninsula Masonic Center.

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 a community member of the year of the village of Lakeview.

Engle said he first put on his own clown makeup in 2010 to support the Ahmed Shriners and the 22 hospitals they support across the country, according to Connect Marquette. He said he wasn’t the greatest clown in the world, but he loves to see children laugh

“I started MATI in January 2020 with the dream of saving the Masonic building on the Upper Peninsula for the community by supporting the arts to create a collaborative center for all artistic mediums” he said in a statement. “My journey and experience in the non-profit world and the arts has led me to create, with the support of my board of directors and a few others, the hope of a sustainable center for the community. “

O’Connor is the Outreach Services Coordinator for the Lake Superior Community Partnership. O’Connor, originally from Midland, attended Northern Michigan University from 2015 to 2018 and fell in love with the Marquette community, according to Connect Marquette. During her time at the NMU, she got heavily involved and held various leadership positions on campus. Some of his biggest accomplishments at the NMU include his major role in starting the NMU Food Pantry and raising $ 1,200 for the Jacobetti Home For Veterans, which earned him a “Director’s room” for excellence from the Michigan Veterans Agency and a “Presidential Recognition Coin” for exceptional service.

After earning a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies, O’Connor was a weekend host / reporter for WLUC TV6 / Fox UP, Connect Marquette said. From his media position, O’Connor was offered the opportunity to work for his current employer, Lake Superior Community Partnership.

In his spare time, O’Connor enjoys yoga, being outdoors and volunteering, said Connect Marquette. She is a singer for Saint-Pierre Cathedral, a member of Connect Marquette, a big sister of the Big Brother Big Sister program and a member of the Marquette County Veterans Alliance. Volunteering plays a big part in O’Connor’s life and she loves volunteering for Marquette County events such as Blues Fest, Lip Sync Battle and Iron Range Roll among others.

“I am honored to receive the Tom Baldini scholarship”, O’Connor said in a press release. “It is an even greater honor to be compared to past recipients and community leader, Tom Baldini, who have all made such an important contribution to Marquette County. It is a privilege to give back to a community that has given me so much.

Connect Marquette was established in 2010 with professional development as one of its three pillars of excellence and mission. Connect Marquette hosts events throughout the year, focusing on topics such as networking, professional development, community engagement and leadership opportunities. To learn more, visit

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