2017 SEMA Memorial Scholarship: A Highlight of Recipients

SEMA Member News—March 2018

2017 SEMA Memorial Scholarship: A Highlight of Recipients

By Jenny Galvan

  Jacob DennyCurrently studying mechanical design at Michigan Tech, Jacob Denny received the 2017 Top Student scholarship.

Each year, SEMA helps students from across the nation pay their way through college with awards from the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund. As this year’s application period comes to an end, we highlight last year’s scholarship winners.

Jacob Denny: 2017 Top Student

When Jacob Denny first heard that he was the $5,000 scholarship recipient for being the 2017 Top Student award winner, he couldn’t believe it.

“I was really excited,” he said. “It almost felt like I won the lottery.”

As a transfer student from Northcentral Technical College, he’s currently in his first semester at Michigan Technological University, where he is majoring in mechanical design. His passion for cars and technology is what motivates him to pursue a career as an automotive engineer.

“Being able to turn that interest into a career is really a dream of mine,” he said. “The automotive industry is at the forefront of technology, and it provides opportunity for creativity.”

During his high-school years, Denny worked at a family-owned auto shop that introduced him to the aftermarket world. The shop owners went to the SEMA Show every year, so he was thrilled to go to the Show in 2017. (Part of the reward for being a scholarship recipient is free admission to the SEMA Show.)

“As an automotive enthusiast, I’ve followed a lot of builds that end up at the SEMA Show,” he said.” SEMA is the biggest name in the industry, and I’m really thankful for the scholarship. It helped put me one step closer to my overall goal.”

Summer Miller: 2017 Recipient

Summer MillerSummer Miller received the John Menzler Memorial Scholarship. She studies business management at the University of North Texas.  

Growing up on a Texas farm where a normal day included going to school, raising cattle and working on cars alongside her grandfather, Summer Miller knows how to roll up her sleeves and get work done. In fact, she currently works for a dealership repair shop. Though she earned her way to becoming a service advisor, she began as a service technician, where fixing a motor and a transmission were all in a day’s work.

As a senior at the University of North Texas, she is set to graduate in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in business management. Her goal is to start her own performance shop, so she plans to apply the knowledge she gains from her degree.

“To be able to successfully run a business, I’m going to need that know-how,” she said. “The technical side, I already have.”

She could hardly hold back tears of joy when she was recognized with the John Menzler Memorial Scholarship during the Hot Rod Industry Alliance reception at the 2017 SEMA Show and Menzler’s daughter herself congratulated her on the award.

“She did not know that they were going to be presenting me with that scholarship,” Miller recalled about the encounter with Ms. Menzler. “She came up to me. She was so happy to see how happy I was and to know that there are other women that are passionate about the automotive industry.”

Scott George: 2017 Recipient

  Scotty GeorgeScotty George was recognized with a SEMA Memorial Scholarship. His studies at Utah Valley University include business management and automotive technology.

After graduating from high school, Scott George jumped into his first full-time job at a local mechanic’s shop, where he learned the basics of automotive maintenance. Not knowing at that point whether working at a shop was something he wanted to do for the rest of his life, he moved on to earn multiple degrees. During an accountancy internship, he realized that wasn’t for him.

“Sitting at a computer all day just didn’t give me the satisfaction that working on cars all day did,” he noted.

That satisfaction and passion for cars led him and fellow pinstriping friends to present a car show every year. The show raises money for local charities and the local community.

Now a senior at Utah Valley University, he’s on his way to earning his bachelor’s degree in business management, with an emphasis in automotive technology. He was drawn to study at the university because of its street-rod program. He has learned custom welding, panel fabrication and other custom modifications while working on his own ’68 Ford F-100 at school.

“The truck is one of many projects and learning experiences for me,” he said. “But ultimately my goal is to be able to use my career and automotive endeavors to give back and serve others.”

The spirit that motivates George to help others is the same one that drives SEMA to award its scholarships.

Learn more about the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund at www.sema.org/scholarships.

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