Next Stop: A Career in Trucking - Part 1

by Women In Trucking Staff, on Aug 25, 2023 3:25:32 PM


The Women In Trucking Foundation scholarship program changes lives. By offering financial support through its scholarship program, the WIT Foundation allows women to overcome financial barriers to access education and training programs, empowering them to pursue successful careers in the trucking industry. Scholarships are awarded in four categories: Leadership, Driving, Safety and Technician. Recipients also receive a one-year membership to the Women In Trucking Association which comes with access to mentorship, networking and education resources. 

During its Spring 2023 scholarship application cycle, the Foundation received over 100 applications and awarded 31 scholarships. This is up from 23 recipients in the previous, Fall 2022 cycle. 

Meet the latest scholarship recipients and learn why they're passionate about pursuing a career in transportation.

WIT-Foundation-Scholarship-Recipient-Kathryn-AmbersKATHRYN AMBERS, DRIVING

To me, trucking is a pathway to independence and financial stability. I have been longing for a career that would allow me to utilize my skills and strengths, which includes being a strong driver and enjoy being on the road. At one time, I had a second job as an Uber driver, and I found that driving was something that came naturally to me, and I truly liked it.

Additionally, I have good sales and customer service skills which are vital to developing a career in trucking that will allowing me to develop my skills and provide exceptional service to clients.

Since I have started to study at NETTS, I have become even more certain that trucking is the right industry me because I find so many of the study topics interesting. I feel proud to be a woman in this field. I know I have both the physical and mental strength to be successful.

Trucking is not just a paycheck, but freedom to get out from behind a desk or a cash register while earning a living doing something I enjoy. It is exciting to think about being engaged in a career that I know I will enjoy daily. I have already started to inquire and learn about different types of career opportunities in trucking.

WIT-Foundation-Scholarship-Recipient-Daisy-ArriolaDAISY ARRIOLA, DRIVING

I chose a career in trucking because I want to experience it hands on and grow professionally, maybe become my own boss or own my personal truck. Whatever it may be in the long run, I have a lot of ambition.

While trucking has been historically a man-populated profession, I want to be part of the growing number of women in this field. I love exploring the world around me, and I will have the opportunity to visit my beautiful country while getting paid for it.

Lastly, the fair pay. While it's not the most important factor, it is necessary to live. Sometimes, jobs after school don't always turn out the way you expect, but it will help me and my family live more comfortably. The most beautiful part of overcoming hardships is the aftermath.

Determined to continue my education, not emotionally dependent on anyone, I understand that it's okay to get help, and define myself and worth only by my actions. I had to hit rock bottom to understand all of that. I am persistent in reaching my goals, I have a strong academic record, good leadership skills, enthusiastic in making this into a career, and passionate about school. I am ready to make a positive difference.

WIT-Foundation-Scholarship-Recipient-Kaylie-BallKAYLIE BALL, DRIVING

My desire to join the trucking industry stemmed from working in the landscaping industry. I began working in the landscaping industry at 12 years old for my parents. I have done every job, from general landscaper to office manager and equipment operator.

When I turned 18, I got my Class B CDL. I worked in the fishing industry hauling fresh fish while also working for my parents hauling landscape materials. In these two years, I have realized how many more opportunities I would have if I were to obtain my Class A CDL.

I plan to continue my parents' business once I am done in college and having a Class A CDL while running a women-owned business would allow me to excel in the industry and potentially branch into others. I will be furthering my involvement in the female trucking community and continue to be a role model for young women who want to join the industry.

As someone who is trying to build a life for myself once I am done in college, I do not have the extra funds to pay for a CDL upgrade. Now that it is a requirement to go through a school, the cost of obtaining a CDL has gone up exponentially. As a full time student, trying to work full-time is very difficult while maintaining a high GPA.

WIT-Foundation-logo-frame-900x900TRACEY BISHOP, DRIVING - RYDER

I would like to obtain my CDL so I can work in a field that society has always told us women that we could not do. I worked in Law Enforcement for almost 10 years and loved it, but it's time for a change of scenery. I want to show the girls that I teach every week at our church that a woman can and will do anything she puts her mind to.

I come from a line of truck drivers. My Dad has been a truck driver for 48 years now. I’ve seen him struggle when he worked long hauls over 40 years ago because it took time away from us, but the last 30 years he has worked for a company that allows him to be home every night and he makes a great living. I want to be like my Dad and provide well for my family.

I grew up poor, so I didn't have the advantage of going to college. I started working in a carpet mill when I was young and worked 14-16 hours a day. I plan to work for the company my Dad has worked for over 25 years. They told me once I received my CDL, they will put me to work. I plan on working with them until I retire. They have been so good to my family and I want to return the favor by working hard for them.

WIT-Foundation-Scholarship-Recipient-Heike-DaSilvaHEIKE DASILVA, LEADERSHIP

I don't know that it was initially a conscious decision to work in the trucking industry. I was recruited and started on the sales side for Ryder. However, I quickly fell in love with the industry as it literally touches every aspect of our lives. Every single item in the average American household has been on a truck at some point. It is one of THE most vital industries in the county.

On top of that, the trucking industry provides job security and has allowed myself and my family a comfortable standard of living without fear of layoffs. After graduating college, I packed my belongings into two suitcases and booked a one-way ticket to the United States with roughly $500 to my name. From there, I pursued my own American Dream starting with various jobs where I slowly worked my way up prior to making the move to join Ryder in 2014.

The immigrant experience shapes my worldview today and influences many of my decisions and the way I see other's struggle and try to make ends meet. I have a vast amount of empathy for those who call this country home and who work tirelessly to provide for their families but whose hearts reside elsewhere.

WIT-Foundation-Scholarship-Recipient-Alina-DitchALINA DITCH, TECHNICAL - RYDER

I started my Diesel Industrial Technology education in October of 2022. My stepfather, who is an automotive mechanic, has cultivated a passion for cars in me. I worked at 2 different car dealerships before UTI, and decided to go specifically into diesel.

I'm a big traveler and went to 15 different states with my dad, hauling our race cars, engines and transmissions. He owned a diesel pickup truck and one time it broke down, leaving us stranded in Texas.

As a pretty recent immigrant to the US, my family did not come with much. Meaning, I did not have a financial safety net nor a college fund set up. I've been working full-time and part-time jobs ever since 10th grade in high school, and my parents struggled to make ends meet most of my life. UTI was an expensive commitment to make, and I had to prove myself to them how badly I wanted to go here.  

WIT-Foundation-logo-frame-900x900KEARA FLAHERTY, DRIVING

I have chosen a career in the trucking industry because it will fit with my schedule. I went on a number of trips with a trucking company when I got my temps to see how well it would fit my schedule based on family obligations.

I realized what a gift it was to have that kind of availability, even if it meant longer hours away from home sometimes. I plan to be a truck driver for a very long time.

I wish I had started this sooner, but I did spend the better part of the last decade in school for my Criminal Justice Associate's degree. The CJ jobs I was looking into require at least a Bachelor's or higher, so I am sure it will take the better part of the next decade again for me to reach that goal. I am considering doing that online on the road.

WIT-Foundation-Scholarship-Recipient-Jennifer-HartJENNIFER HART, DRIVING

My husband has been a driver for over 20 years, and we often talked of wanting to drive together when our kids were grown - which they now are. I am at a crossroads in my career path, and this is the exact right time to make the change. I seek to empower and improve my life and begin our own family business that will build value and independence for us as well as our sons and their future families. I am a diligent and dedicated worker and want to be the one to reap the fruits of my labor instead of watching them go to some corporation.

Battling breast cancer while working this last year was one of the worst trials I have endured. Because of the treatments, surgery, mental and physical fatigue, I learned how much we need each other for support and that sanity is worth more than money. The blessing is that the difficulty in finding a new job is spurring me forward into this change,  rather than sitting back and waiting for the 'right time'.

WIT-Foundation-logo-frame-900x900WINDY HUAMAN REATEGUI, DRIVING

I was a passenger in a truck for three years while my husband was employed as an over-the-road truck driver. Through this experience, I was able to witness first-hand what it was like to be a truck driver.

I enjoyed the lifestyle, and would like to drive as well because I will feel like I’m serving the country. I would like to obtain my CDL so that I can team drive with my husband. It will be a new experience for me, but I am already familiar with the lifestyle elements involved in this career. Even though it will be a challenge, I feel I am capable to handle the unique situations I will encounter, and it will be a great opportunity for my family to achieve financial independence.

Trucking gives me and my husband the flexibility to take extended time off to work on other areas of our lives, and to make investments to become more financially independent. I would like to save up money from trucking for a few years, and then invest in furthering my education. By then, I will have a lot of experience in the trucking industry and will be a great candidate for an accounting position in the industry.

WIT-Foundation-logo-frame-900x900DESTINY-REY KAMA-CORNELIO, DRIVING

The reason I chose my career in the trucking industry is because of my biggest inspiration, my Papa Kama. I wasn't born yet while he was still alive, but my mother has never failed to let me know the type of man he was, let alone what kind of driver and teacher he was.

As long as I can remember, I was always around trucks - going on ride along with drivers and soaking up as much as I could. The impact it's had on my life so far has honestly been a load of ups and downs. Being a woman driver in a "man’s" job has been challenging, and I am held to such a high expectation level.

But out of all the challenges and levels I've had to reach, it has been nothing but strengthening as not only a driver but an individual as well. Any opportunity I am given, I am trying to better myself so when I am able to go solo, my company and I are confident that I can get the job done.

The Fall 2023 Scholarship Cycle is currently OPEN

The Foundation’s scholarship recipients, through their success and achievements, become trailblazers, inspiring future scholarship applicants to pursue their aspirations.

Any female who will be attending a training facility for the purpose of advancing their career in the areas of safety, driving, technical, or leadership in the trucking industry is eligible to apply for a scholarship. Applicants must complete the scholarship application, including an essay section outlining career objectives and how this training will help meet those goals.

Interested in this career development opportunity? Submit an application by Saturday, September 30. Learn More


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About Women In Trucking

The Women In Trucking Association is a non-profit organization with the mission to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments, and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the industry.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in articles within the WIT Blog are those of the authors/submitters and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the Women In Trucking Association.

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