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Heather Makarewicz and Ben Smidt honored with second annual Young Alumni Awards

Posted: Nov 06, 2012

Dr. John C. Bowling (L), University president, and Denny Williamson '75 (R), Alumni Board president, present second annual Young Alumni Awards to Heather Makarewicz and Ben Smidt during Homecoming chapel 2012.
Olivet presented its second annual Young Alumni Award to Heather (Bachelor) Makarewicz '07 and Ben Smidt '07 during Homecoming 2012.

After studying both engineering and mathematics at Olivet, Heather Makarewicz fulfilled a lifelong dream by interning at NASA before her senior year at ONU. While completing her master’s degree in mathematics at the University of Kansas, she spent three summers in NASA’s fellowship program, researching the mineral content of the surface of Mars. Then, Heather was hired on as a research assistant at the NASA Graduate Student Researchers Program (GSRP), where she worked for a year.

Now back at Olivet as an adjunct professor, Heather is married to ONU engineering professor Joseph Makarewicz '07, and mom to their two children, Scarlette and Berenger.

Ben Smidt is a distribution consultant at Caterpillar Inc., the world’s chief manufacturer of mining and construction equipment, natural gas and diesel engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. Ben first connected with Caterpillar through an internship opportunity during summer 2005, which led to being hired on full-time. Since then, he has served in several capacities within their logistics division, Cat Logistics, where he focuses on reducing Caterpillar’s service parts inventory.

In 2009, Caterpillar sent Ben and his wife, Bekah (McCoy) '07, to Belgium for three years, where he worked as a Six Sigma Black Belt for transportation management. It was during this time that their two children, Isaiah and Brooklyn, were born.

Each year, during Homecoming celebration, Olivet honors one outstanding female and one outstanding male recipient with the Young Alumni Awards. Recipients are chosen by vote of the Alumni Board, and must have graduated from Olivet within the last 10 years. The winners will present a financial scholarship to two current Olivet juniors, who will be selected by a committee of faculty and administrators, and approved by the Executive Committee of the Alumni Board. This year’s award is underwritten by alumni Mel '73 and Judith (Tucker) '73 Sayes.