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Ellen bengtson

Life of Learning and Service Honored Through New Scholarship Fund

March 1, 2021

Ellen Bengtson excelled at life. At the young age of 28 years old, she had achieved academically, professionally, and musically. Her life had brought her to Charles City, where she was a Rotary Club member and an environmental engineer at Cambrex Charles City, Inc. Then, on August 2, 2020, her life ended in a tragic bicycle accident.

The Ellen Bengtson Memorial Scholarship Fund was established to honor Ellen and her academic achievements and love of learning.

“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.”

The scholarship will be awarded to a female student pursuing a degree in engineering, math, or chemistry to help women achieve their highest potential.

Ellen’s lifelong love of learning can be seen in her academic resume. She 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.

Ellen also had a passion for music and began playing piano and double bass at a young age. She performed with many groups including 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, and a world traveler.

A $10,000 commitment from Cambrex Charles City, Inc., along with other individual donations, have helped the fund grow closer to the $50,000 goal, which will support an annual $2,000 scholarship in perpetuity.

Learn more about Ellen at