The Women’s Industry Network on Thursday announced it had awarded $1,000 scholarships to 11 female collision repair postsecondary students.
The 11 winners will also receive free registration at the 2021 WIN Educational Conference and mentoring from either a WIN board member or a Most Influential Women honoree.
“We are so lucky to have such supportive sponsors and members, who enable WIN to be able to offer students with this opportunity to advance them in the collision repair industry,” WIN scholarship committee Co-Chairwoman Debbie Menz (Axalta) said in a statement. “We have awarded 11 female students this year who will receive this stipend, along with real mentoring opportunities and exposure to other successful women in the industry.”
Some trade schools produced multiple winners. WIN awarded scholarships to Lewis-Clark State College’s Jessica Arnett (Moscow, Idaho) and Hanna Selzer (Lewiston, Idaho); Lincoln College of Technology’s Kelsey Pena (Chicago, Ill.) and Chellcee Williams (Chicago, Ill.); and the Universal Technical Institute’s Lydia Brown (Shepherd, Texas) and Jamie Folds (Daphne, Ala.).
The other scholarship recipients included Julie Ascencio (Apopka, Fla.) of Lake Technical College, Natalie Aulet (Bothell, Wash.) of the Lake Washington Institute of Technology, Octavie Fonou Kamagang (Monroe, Ohio) of Scarlet Oaks Career Campus, Sylvia Fort (Torrance, Calif.) of El Camino College, and Camille Sakizzie (Pocatello, Idaho) of Idaho State College.
The federal government estimates that 1 percent of the auto body repair industry was female in 2020, compared to 46.8 percent across all workplaces and 50.8 percent of the entire population in 2019. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also estimates collision repair to lag behind automotive service and mechanical repair (1.4 percent female) and bus, truck and diesel specialists (1.8 percent female) in terms of proportional representation by women.
Encouraging and developing talent among such a large yet underused demographic could be an important way to combat the technician shortage faced by the industry. Near-term, shops might also wish to use this list like a scouting report of potential talent to hire and schools to support and mine for future recruits.
“This program is such a big part of our mission at WIN and a great way to give to the future of collision repair,” scholarship committee Co-Chairwoman Jeanne Esquivel (Entegral) said in a statement. “We are proud to have a hand in propelling these women in their careers and beyond.”
Collision students — scholarship winners and otherwise — are welcome to join WIN for free, the organization says.
Featured images: The 2021 Women’s Industry Network Scholarship winners include, top row, clockwise from top left: Julie Ascencio of Lake Technical College, Natalie Aulet of Lake Washington Institute of Technology, Lydia Brown of Universal Technical Institute, Jamie Folds of Universal Technical Institute, and Sylvia Fort of El Camino College; and bottom row, from left: Octavie Fonou Kamagang of Scarlet Oaks Career Campus, Kelsey Pena of Lincoln College of Technology, Hanna Selzer of Lewis-Clark State College, and Chellcee Williams of Lincoln College of Technology. Not pictured: Jessica Arnett of Lewis-Clark State College and Camille Sakizzie of Idaho State College. (Provided by Women’s Industry Network)