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Bachelor's and master's in hand for this busy Steelworker

Family is so important to Emily Bombich. It’s like her personal union, so she wasn’t about to let them down.

Utilizing her ICD benefit to the fullest, and getting support and encouragement from her parents and boyfriend along the way, Bombich was able to earn both her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree.

Pretty impressive for a 27-year-old working 12-hour shifts, including nights, and trying to stay sane through it all.

“I really questioned why I went for my master’s when it got hard; I really couldn’t have done it without them pushing me the entire way,” Bombich said.

Bombich, a USW Local 6115 member, has union in her blood. Her dad, Dave, has 43 years at Minorca Ore and is the Local 6115 vice president after serving for years as the president. Her mom, Jeanne, was a huge supporter in her journey for knowledge, as well as her boyfriend, Brian Simonson, also a Local 6115 member, who Emily calls her “sounding board of ideas” through all of her studies.

Emily, the District 11 Coordinator for Next Gen, is also involved with Rapid Response and Women of Steel. In other words, not much down time for this Steelworker.

“I think people my age want to get involved (with the union), but just don’t know how,” Bombich said. “It’s like telling people about the ICD benefit – I’m trying to do whatever I can for the USW.”

Bombich was a full-time student at the University of Minnesota-Duluth chasing her bachelor’s degree when she was offered a job in the mines. Even though she was halfway to her bachelor’s, she said the job offer was too good to pass up, so came home for the job and started online classes at the University of Minnesota-Crookston. Using her ICD benefit, she graduated with her bachelor’s in quality management in 2016. From there, she enrolled in the master’s program at Bemidji State University in 2018. Ironically, Bombich was awarded her master’s degree in business administration on July 31, 2020 – her 27th birthday.

“I knew the ICD benefit was negotiated so I took advantage of it,” Bombich said. “This was a huge help with no student loans.”

Emily, who was an applicant for the Tino Fulmeni Scholarship through ICD in 2013, said she’s always had a thirst for knowledge and is a true lifelong learner.

Bombich enjoys her job, her family, and her dog, Bauer, so she said she’s not really sure what the future holds. She just knows she’s glad she took advantage of ICD’s tuition assistance program.

“You never know in the mining industry what’s going to happen,” Bombich said. “You need to have a backup plan.

“This wasn’t just for me, but also for my parents because I wanted to be the first person in my family to get my bachelor’s degree. Now it’s unreal knowing I also have my master’s degree, too.”

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