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The Women’s Industry Network (WIN) announced that 11 new individuals have received the 2020 WIN College Student Tuition and Conference Scholarship Award.
The award is presented annually to deserving students enrolled in a post-secondary collision repair technology program. Each recipient receives a $1,000 scholarship to continue their post-secondary education in
collision repair and complimentary registration to attend the 2021 WIN Educational Conference. They are also provided the opportunity to be mentored by one of the Most Influential Women (MIW) honorees or a member of the WIN Board of Directors.
“With the support of our sponsors and members, WIN is able to offer scholarships and financial assistance to multiple female students each year to help them advance in the collision repair industry,” said Debbie Menz, 2020 co-chair of the Sponsorship Committee. “WIN understands that the cost of education, or continued education, has the potential to be a hurdle for students. So, this stipend, along with actual mentoring opportunities and interfacing with other successful women in the collision repair marketplace, have proven to be one of the real pillars of the WIN organization.”
The recipients are:
- Melissa Acosta: Tampa, Fla.
- Taylor Berglund: Beaverton, Ore.
- Jamie Frey: Windsor, Colo.
- Errin Gill: Mount Dora, Fla.
- Katheryn Hasty: Topeka, Kan.
- Brooke Kline: Winona, Minn.
- Breanna Ramirez: Katy, Texas
- Lilian Reed: Kimberly, Idaho
- Kristina Tedesco: Ridgebury, Pa.
- Nichole Turner: Grand Island, Fla.
- Elyssa Wilson: Liscomb, Nova Scotia
Acosta feels that the opportunities in the collision fields are endless, so she knew she would have a variety of options to choose from for her career. She plans to start as an estimator and work on building her skills. She hopes to become a shop manager or even CEO of a paint distribution company some day. She has made the dean’s list as a result of her outstanding academic performance and is very active in volunteering in various groups at her college.
Berglund attends Portland Community College in Portland, Ore. She has maintained a 4.00 GPA since she began her college career in auto collision repair. She has also earned her place on the president’s list. She is a volunteer for the Tualatin Valley Young Marines Program. All adult volunteers must complete six weeks of boot camp that consist of learning first aid, Marine Corps history and courtesies. Additionally, they must complete a personal fitness test that follows closely to the Marine Corps PFT. Berglund is the awards officer for the TVYM Program. After completing her fall term with another 4.00 GPA, she was offered a spot in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Her long-term ambition is to own her own shop. She aspires to have an all-female staff with the intention of encouraging women to feel more comfortable while having car work done.
Frey attends Aims Community College in Windsor, Colo. She has been around cars her entire life, growing up with her machinist father. She was introduced to drag racing at a very young age and began drag racing herself at the age of eight. She is an extremely motivated person. Despite working, going to school full-time and being a single mother of three children, she still finds time for community service. She holds an officer position in the automotive club at her school, which builds and maintains a 1999 Chevy Camaro. The club also helps at a local food pantry, supports local car shows and raises money for childhood cancer. Frey has competed in SkillsUSA both on a regional level and national level. Her long-term goal is to own her own shop.
Errin Gill attends Lake Technical College in Eustis, Fla. She loves to take a vehicle that is damaged or faded and turn it into something beautiful again. Her interest began when, as a young child, she and her father worked on his car together. After graduating, she plans to continue her education by earning a four-year business degree, which she will use to start her career. While young in her career, she wants to be a painter, but as her skills progress, she hopes to open her own restoration shop. Once she is established, she wants to give back to the industry by offering internships to young students at her shop. In her spare time, she volunteers to represent her school at community events.
Hasty attends Washburn Tech in Topeka, Kan. Her interest in the collision repair industry began when her mother received a repaired minivan from a collision repair school through the Recycled Rides program. She took little interest in it at first, but then learned how the students had taken the wrecked vehicle and turned it back into its original form. In attending Washburn, she learned that there is much more to the repair process than simply painting and take dents out. She was soon educated in the detailing, estimating and repair processes. Her two favorite areas are painting and welding. Since she is attending the same school that fixed her mother’s minivan, Hasty also gets to work on cars with the Recycled Rides program. She participates in the SkillsUSA local chapter and helps with Toys For Tots. Her long-term goal is to work in the collision repair industry painting cars.
Kline attends South Central College in North Mankato, Minn. Her interest in cars began at a very early age when she and her father would spend countless hours watching Chip Foose’s show, “Overhaulin'”. Once she began her auto collision classes at South Central, she immediately knew this is where she belonged, and every day since it has been a dream come true. She is currently the president of the SkillsUSA Club at South Central College. In 2018, she was awarded first place at state competition for automotive refinishing technology. She continued onward to the national competition in Louisville, Ky., placing fourth. She was registered to compete again this year. Kline’s long-term goal is to own and operate her own collision and restoration shop. She hopes to become a role model for other women entering this career.
Ramirez attends Universal Technical Institute in Houston, Texas. She loves working with her hands and has been interested in cars since she was young. She has an interest in competitive driving, drag racing and car shows. She volunteers her time by coaching a grade school soccer team and helps the community of Galveston, Texas, by cleaning the beaches each summer. She also volunteers at the Houston Truck Show each year checking in trucks. Ramirez’s long-term goal is to work full-time in the industry while completing her business degree. Her dream is to own her own collision shop. She hopes some day to be a part of the force that is working to improve the image of the industry and hopes to make a positive difference in the industry.
Reed attends the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, Idaho. She is one of WIN’s very few multi-year scholarship winners, as she was also a 2019 WIN Scholarship recipient. Reed has been participating in SkillsUSA both locally and in Louisville, Ky., since her junior year in high school. Last year, she took third place at the state level. She would like to continue competing and wants to coach the new class of college students competing in SkillsUSA. She has received her intermediate technical certificate from the College of Southern Idaho and is now moving forward with both a liberal arts and applied science degree, planning to complete these degrees by the end of 2021. After graduation, she plans to go to work in a shop and increase her skills as a painter. Reed would like to do custom work at Creative Auto in Idaho Falls. Her long-term goal is to become an instructor.
Kristina Tedesco attends Ohio Technical College (OTC) in Cleveland, Ohio. She is from a small town and grew up believing her options were limited. She was very involved in FFA throughout her high school years and received the Keystone State FFA degree, the highest degree awarded. Then, her high school went to tour the local vocational center, and that is where she was introduced to collision repair. She joined SkillsUSA and held the position of president for two years. She quickly knew she had found her future career and began making plans to attend OTC to earn her associate degree in applied sciences in collision repair. She feels that national FFA organization and SkillsUSA showed her that hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard. She now feels that she is right where she needs to be.
Turner attends Lake Technical College in Eustis, Fla. She became interested in the collision industry after witnessing the admiration that people have for their vehicles. She feels that owning a vehicle is part of the “American Dream,” which allows for expression of freedom, individuality and wanderlust. She would love to have a place to be able to teach girls and women how to repair and maintain their own vehicles. She imagines it to be a space where women can inspire and empower each other by following their dreams. She donates her spare time to support St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
Wilson attends Nova Scotia Community College in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. She has always enjoyed hands-on work, vehicles and meticulous work. She began her career in collision repair in May 2019 at Highway 7 Collision Centre in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where she developed base skills and an understanding of the process and trade. She then decided to attend college and take the Motor Vehicle Body Repair Program. Her plan is to complete each apprenticeship level and pass her Red Seal certification exam. The Red Seal is the highest collision repair certification you can achieve in Nova Scotia. Wilson looks forward to being a role model for young females who want to work in a traditionally male-dominated trade.