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Ellen Bengtson Memorial Scholarship Fund established with Floyd County Community Foundation

This news story was published on February 8, 2021.
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Ellen Bengtson

CHARLES CITY – The Ellen Bengtson Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established with the Floyd County Community Foundation. The fund will support the Ellen Bengtson Memorial Scholarship, created in memory of Ellen Bengtson, and will be awarded to a female student applicant who is pursuing a degree in engineering, math or chemistry at an accredited post-secondary institution.

Ellen Bengtson was a Charles City Rotary Club member and an environmental engineer at Cambrex Charles City, Inc. Her life ended in a tragic bicycle accident near Charles City on August 2, 2020.

“Our family hopes that scholarships from this fund will have a positive impact on the lives of women for years to come,” said Peter Bengtson, Ellen’s father and fund founder. “Ellen’s life was tragically and senselessly cut short. This scholarship through the Floyd County Community Foundation is one way of creating something good.”

Ellen earned her Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Yale University (2014), and her Master’s Degree (2019) in chemical engineering from Columbia University in New York. She grew up in Richland, Washington, where she graduated from Richland High School in 2010 and was a 2010 Rotary Scholarship Recipient. She also received a high school diploma from Stanford University’s online high school through the Education Program for Gifted Youth. Prior to Cambrex, her positions included: research assistant at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (2011); research assistant at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (2012); Chemical Engineering Intern at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (2014); and Knowledge Management Intern at Bayer HealthCare in Leverkusen, Germany (2014).

Ellen Bengtson volunteering at a Bethany Alliance Church event where she was an active member of the church community.

Ellen had a passion for music and began playing piano and double bass at a young age. She performed with many groups including in the Mid-Columbia Symphony, and most recently in the Charles City Community Chamber Orchestra. She was an active member of Bethany Alliance Church and she dedicated her time as a math tutor among the refugee community.

Ellen was also an outdoor enthusiast, an avid hiker and biker. Her lifelong love of learning went hand-in-hand with her love of reading and she enjoyed travel, visiting 16 countries on three continents.

A $10,000 commitment from Cambrex Charles City, Inc. along with other individual donations have jump-started the scholarship fund with a $50,000 goal, which will support an annual $2,000 scholarship in perpetuity.

The Floyd County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa which is confirmed in compliance with national standards for U.S. community foundations, was selected to hold the fund because of its experience with managing scholarships in Iowa. Additionally, donations to endowed funds with a qualified community foundation, like the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, are eligible for a 25% state tax credit on the total value of the gift through the Endow Iowa Tax Credit Program. All qualified donors can carry forward the tax credit for up to five years after the year the donation was made. More information about Endow Iowa can be found at

Gifts to the Ellen Bengtson Memorial Scholarship Fund can be made online at For questions about the fund, contact Terry Gaumer, affiliate development director with the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, at (319) 243-1354 or

More information about the Floyd County Community Foundation can be found at

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