SEMA Member News—November/December 2015

SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund

University of Northwest Ohio Students
University of Northwest Ohio professors and students/scholarship winners were among those who attended the 2013 SEMA Show Student Welcome Luncheon.

The SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund is dedicated to fostering the next generation of automotive aftermarket industry leaders and innovators. Scholarship awards range from $2,000 to $3,000, with $5,000 going to the top student. Applications for the 2016–2017 academic year will launch November 1, 2015. A full year of tuition, valued up to $29,400, will be awarded to one student attending Ohio Technical College (OTC). Assistance is available for career paths in 12 automotive industry disciplines, including accounting, engineering, race car driving/crew administration, information technology, sales/marketing, advertising, manufacturing, design/graphics/photography and transportation.

A Few Words With a Scholarship Winner

Jeffery Kesterson is a four-time scholarship winner (2012, 2013 “Top Student,” 2014 and 2015). He also drove his car to the SEMA Ignited after-party last year and participated in Battle of the Builders.

SEMA Member News: Getting an education is a commitment that takes a lot of time and effort. What did winning a scholarship from SEMA mean to you?

Jeffery Kesterson: It was a tremendous honor for me because school is very expensive, and it helped offset those costs. It allows you to focus more on school instead of worrying about the financial aspect of it, which allows you to apply yourself more.

SMN: Based on your experience, what are your sentiments for potential student applicants?

JK: If you win a scholarship, even if it’s just a few hundred dollars, that’s going to pay for a book. It doesn’t take a lot of time—the longest part is your essays—and if you’re true and honest, that won’t even take long. I just explained my background and talked about how my dad raised me, how he was into cars and instilled his passion for cars into me, and how I’ve tried to transfer that to my kids as well. There are so many doors and opportunities available to you when you get a SEMA scholarship.

SMN: That’s fantastic! Getting the next generation involved is a huge initiative for SEMA. It’s great to see you keep the tradition going with your own kids.

JK: One of my daughters knows how to use an air impact gun, and I have pictures of her changing her rear tires. Anything and everything that has to do with her car, she does.

SEMA Loan Forgiveness Program

The SEMA Loan Forgiveness Program is dedicated to aiding recent graduates in getting off to a successful start in their automotive aftermarket careers. SEMA offers $2,000 awards toward outstanding student loans for individuals who are employed by SEMA-member companies, with a top applicant potentially receiving $5,000. The 2016–2017 Loan Forgiveness application launches November 1.

A Few Words With a Loan Forgiveness Recipient

Gregory Masterson worked full time for Chemical Guys while he went through school at California State University Long Beach, and he also produces and stars in product training videos on YouTube. He was a recipient of a SEMA loan forgiveness award.

SMN: What was the process like to apply for the loan forgiveness award, and what did receiving it mean
to you?

Gregory Masterson: What made it interesting for me was that you have to get letters of recommendation from different types of people in the industry, and I feel that’s very good for students because you actually have to build a relationship with someone in the industry. It made me make connections with people and build stronger relationships. The loan forgiveness award gives people the opportunity to test and build those skills and build relationships that help you grow and transition into other areas of the automotive industry as well. SEMA made it very easy to apply. I was able to log into the website and found all the information I needed for my applications. I also appreciated the way SEMA got in contact with me and was available to answer any questions and concerns that I had.

SMN: Do you have any advice for potential applicants?

GM: If you want to apply for the SEMA awards and scholarships, do it. If your dream or passion is automotive anything—aftermarket, paint, body, working for a big company like Ford, Chevy or BMW, or even working for a small aftermarket manufacturer that maybe makes vinyl wraps, audio, radar detectors or anything—you’re going to be working in an industry with people who are passionate about what you love. Anybody who wants that type of career should go for it, and SEMA is there to help! You don’t want to let an opportunity like this get away.

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