Next Stop: A Career in Trucking - Part 2

by Women In Trucking Staff, on Sep 20, 2023 10:01:23 AM


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-Lauren-MackayLAUREN MACKAY, TECHNICAL

I have grown up with father figures as truck drivers and farmers, which means I have worked on diesels since I could remember. I believe the impact trucks have had on my life was trucks always being there and being the reason I have had a good life, growing up with adequate food, home, clothes, toys, etc.

To keep it simple, I appreciate trucks and truck drivers because they are a foundation in our life. I am paying for my entire schooling at WyoTech and worked hard in my teen years by graduating early so that I could start working for a few months to save some money for school and start as soon as I could. I have bought both of my cars by myself, have had a job since I was 14, and always bought everything I need other than food since then. I would even help my mama with paying bills for our home because being a single mom isn't the easiest thing, but I tried to keep it as easy as I could for her.

WIT-Foundation-Scholarship-Recipient-Brittany-MarinoBRITTANY MARINO, DRIVING

I have always been interested in trucking, but I'm currently employed in their gatehouse and the longer I've been employed here, I would like to take the steps to become an operator. I was recently recommended by one of the environmental staff to the super intendant that I was interested in learning the operations field and they placed me in the field once a week to get a feel for everything they operate.

In order for me to apply for the operator position, I need to obtain my class A CDL. I am a single mother to a five year old boy, and just trying to provide the best I can for him. Praying every day that I can better myself an advance in my career to have better for my son. My decision to further my career is all for my son. I want better for him, I want to show him how strong his mother is an she does not give up despite the challenges against us.

WIT-Foundation-logo-frame-900x900DENITRA MAXEY, DRIVING

I chose the trucking industry initially as a partner to my husbands business. Growing up in Louisiana, truck driving was one of the main industry’s the men in our family would choose to support our family. In 2014, I met my husband who owned a trucking business and it was a no-brainer for me to join him in travels and manage the bookkeeping side.

Fast forward 9 years later, I want to drive trucks myself. The impact it will have is the ability to Team Drive with my husband. We both love this industry; traveling all over the US and getting paid to do so. In five years, I can see myself as an owner operator within my business, team driving with my husband on a dedicated route. I am enrolled in school to acquire my CDL. I am building the back office of our business to be a secure. I am networking with professionals in trucking. 

WIT-Foundation-Scholarship-Recipient-Jessica-McKeownJESSICA MCKEOWN, LEADERSHIP

I entered the trucking industry through a mix of chance and tragedy – the death of my oldest friend in a house fire led me to a relationship with her mother (who is now my supervisor). My company puts a great importance on continuing education. I was encouraged to return to school after a decade long absence to pursue a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management.

Though I had never previously thought about a career in the trucking industry, I am now about to start in job training to become a certified truck auditor. I also had the honor of being recognized as the first person to receive an LTL certification from SMC3. I have enjoyed learning everything I can about the industry and feel that my passion for education has been reignited.

Being raised by a single working mother, and now attending school while working a full-time job, has led me to be frugal and hard working. Because of these limitations I am unable to take as many classes as I would like a semester. Receiving this scholarship would allow me to remain focused on learning, and less on how I am going to pay for each class.

WIT-Foundation-Scholarship-Recipient-Kailee-MullKAILEE MULL, TECHNICAL - RYDER

I chose this industry because my entire life I have loved figuring out puzzles. I grew up doing puzzles with my mom which transitioned into me doing 3D puzzles. I went to my county's career technical high school where I completed a two-year program during my junior and senior year. The program that I completed is called Industrial Equipment Mechanics, so it was anything off-road from tractors to combines to lawnmowers to dirt bikes to four wheelers and so on.

During my senior year, I applied to UNOH and started my associate degrees in October of 2021. The associate degrees I am enrolled in are agricultural equipment technology, medium/heavy duty diesel technology, and diesel advanced technology education along with plans of obtaining my CDL. I come from a low income family and rely heavily on help from family members, along with loans to make it through college. I have struggled with paying for college since I started, but with help from my grandparents and aunts, I've been able to pay for college and stay a student. It's very hard for me to allow my family to help me pay for college as I am a person that likes to figure things out and accomplish them on my own, but at the end of the day, I wouldn't be where I'm at in life without their help.

WIT-Foundation-logo-frame-900x900DAWN MCCALLISTER, DRIVING

I chose truck driving because I want to be a part of an industry that is growing for women to be independent business owners. I have been recently widowed in May 2020, and my husband was our main source of income. When he died, it left us with social security benefits and my income as a school bus driver, but it was not enough to make ends met.

I see truck driving as a chance to retire on the east coast and help other single mothers make a better life for themselves. In the next five years, I plan on owing my own trucking company and give women who want to work in this industry a scholarship to help with the cost of getting a CDL. 

WIT-Foundation-logo-frame-900x900VIVIANA NEGRO, DRIVING

While incarcerated from 2008- 2016, I took a course in logistics and I loved it. When I got out, I got hired at a company named Dot Foods in Oklahoma. They gave me a chance by hiring me when they didn't normally hire felons. They had their own fleet of trucks and that’s when I realized what I wanted to do. I learned everything there was to learn in the warehouse and became a lead.

Now is my chance to get my CDL, and I know I'll get it and be an asset to the industry. I plan to work for a good company when I get my CDL and gain experience for the next few years there. In 5 years, I see myself purchasing my own trailer and being an owner-operator. I plan on having a fleet and hiring felons that have been through what I have and giving them that step up I needed once. 

WIT-Foundation-Scholarship-Recipient-Sue-McGriffSUSAN NELSON-MCGRIFF, DRIVING - RYDER

I acquired my Class B CDL in August of 2000 to drive school bus. I have been a school bus driver for a long time, and although I love it, it’s time to advance my career. My ultimate goal was to upgrade my license to a Class A when I was able to. Now is my time! After graduating school with my Class A CDL, so many opportunities will be available to me.

I love to drive and travel. I will be able to support myself and succeed as a single woman. I don’t want any restrictions and to be able to drive anything with wheels! For the past 18 years, I have been a stay-at-home mom and part-time school bus driver in Watertown, Wisconsin. My husband of 20 years and I are currently getting divorced and I’m living off my small bus check but making it work. I don’t want to work paycheck to paycheck. I want to thrive! My decision to update to a Class A has been an easy decision since it has been a dream of mine for so long and I know I will be successful at it.

WIT-Foundation-Scholarship-Recipient-Melisa-NevarezMELISSA NEVAREZ-MELECIO, DRIVING

I’ve been operating heavy equipment for 2 years now. Being a minority has been very challenging for me because others are very doubtful of my capabilities. There have been limitations for me not having a CDL license, and I don’t want the restrictions anymore.

The reason why I chose a career in the trucking industry is to change my life, and the lives of my family. I also want to prove to myself and others that I am capable of achieving my goals even if they doubt in me. The impact it will have in my life and in the lives of others will be very drastic because they will see my capabilities. To me, that impact won’t just impact but also spread like a ripple effect.

I’m planning to get a secure, full-time position when I do have a CDL license. I will be able to enjoy so much of the job, and can help support my family needs better and no longer struggle financially. The steps I have been taking is to obtain the licenses required to work in the trucking industry. Going to a school and studying long hours to make it so.

WIT-Foundation-Scholarship-Recipient-Lisa-TuckerNEVCIHAN OVERFIELD, DRIVING

Trucking is my dream job and is financial more compatibility to pay the bills as I support two families in my country (Turkey). My sister is a cancer patient and I pay her chemo treatment, so when I chose to take on this career path, finding funding to was not easy. I worked with my school to find additional grants to help along with my effort to obtain make this dream a reality.

I originally came to USA after meeting my husband in Germany when he was ın US Air Force. We married and I moved here and became a citizen. My husband was a truck driver in the US, but unfortunately was killed in Iraq. I am originally from Turkey and the recent earthquake shook me and my family to its core. I did not know if I would be able to handle the burden that this natural disaster took on my life. But I found the strength to carry on and now I'm well on my way of making my dream a reality.



The trucking industry plays a vital role in the economy. The industry employs millions of people, including drivers, mechanics, dispatchers, and support staff. For many communities, the trucking industry is a major source of jobs and economic activity. Truck drivers play an essential role in the industry.

Overall, the impact of the trucking industry can provide stable employment and opportunities for career advancement and keeps the economy running smoothly. Trucking has affected my life because my entire family is in the trucking industry. It is a part of my home culture and what I was raised in. I have had the privilege of seeing how the trucking industry truly can make a difference in almost everything people do on a daily basis.

I have not let challenges define me or hold me back from pursuing my dreams. I have worked hard to maintain excellent grades and have actively sought out opportunities to expand my knowledge and skills through extracurricular activities and internships. Additionally, I have had to overcome personal challenges, such as health issues or family responsibilities, which have impacted my decisions and forced me to develop resilience, determination, and a strong work ethic.



I have chosen the career in the trucking industry because it will have a positive effect on my life; I will be being able to travel, help people, and gain the knowledge and experience to become a leader and role model for the next generation of women truck drivers.

I’ve had to overcome many obstacles. The hardest obstacle was changing my career after being a hairdresser for 19 years to take care of my husband who had gotten diagnosed with brain cancer. I received my CNA degree and worked in home healthcare and hospice. In August 2019, after fighting a long battle, my husband passed away. I decided to change career paths and pursue trucking. In the next five years, I plan to have many miles on the road and keep learning and educating and getting educated.



The main reason I chose the trucking industry is because it just interested me. I started out wanting to drive but after some very much consideration I changed my mind. Driving wasn't for me. So I figured working on the trucks is more for me. And it's a great way to make a living.

I have worked my whole life just to get by because everything was just thrown on me so young. I don't want to struggle anymore. I want to have a career and just be able to breathe. This scholarship would be very helpful to me. Anything to help pay for school would be awesome. In five years, I plan on working as a diesel mechanic being happy. I just started school to learn how to do this so that is the first step. I plan on finishing school and finding a great job.



Trucking has always been a part of my family's life. From my dad, uncles, and cousins, they were either driving or fixing trucks. I loved seeing the connections they made within each division, how they loved their work/career.

As a little girl, I loved getting dirty and my brother made sure I knew what it meant to get dirty fixing cars. It wasn't the big diesel trucks but it definitely helped push me more into the love of finding and fixing the issues within a vehicle. It took me a few years to come back to my dream job but I'm here and extremely excited to learn.

One of the main reasons that I have waited so long before I started on my dream career was because of financial issues. I was never eligible to receive enough FAFSA to pay when under my parents and loans were out of the question. I finally decided to take on the risk of debt to get where I wanted to be. In order to achieve that goal you dream of daily, sometimes sacrifices have to be made.



In 5 years, I will own multiple Safety Compliance offices in different locations so that  I can train individuals who want to grow in the trucking industry for FREE. I am actively looking for free webinars and I ready safety compliance articles so that I can gain more knowledge in trucking.

I love keeping people safe and abiding by the rules for the betterment of everyone's lives. I have grown to like being in the trucking industry so much that I do not see myself in a different career path. I am a single mother who is struggling to come up with the Certification fees.



I have chosen to go into the trucking industry at the age of 59 to have a career which I feel will give me the opportunity to work independently and possibly travel to places I have not seen before.

I am Widowed for the past 11 years and this career will give me the opportunity to support myself and not need to depend on someone else. This career will also allow me to work a long time as I have no plans to retire and I will be able to drive for many years. I also feel by being in the industry I would be able to encourage other women to come into the field.

My plan is to gain as much knowledge and skill as possible to become a safe competent driver. Gaining the knowledge and learn the industry so I become an independent driver and own my own truck in the next 5 years.  The steps I am taking are getting my CDL, talking with other drivers and finding out as much information as possible about the industry.



My grandfather and my uncles were all long haul truckers and it is a core memory of my childhood that is very memorable. Every summer my grandfather would load up his semi truck with a large flat bed trailer and several dune buggies and dirt bikes and the family would spend a week up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on the state land and trails. I clearly remember the fond stories my grandfather and uncles told me about their time on the road and their love for the trucking industry.

I believe that my journey in trucking will be the same. I love the freedom, the open road, and the responsibility of delivering goods to areas throughout the United States.  In 5 years I hope to obtain more certifications for trucking, like hazmat certifications, and gain experience in the trucking industry. I am eventually hoping to become an owner/operator and have my own small trucking company that I can pass down to my son if he is interested in joining the trucking industry as well.



The main reason I was pushed towards the trucking industry is because I wanted to help, I wanted to help cut down on the food & supply shortages whenever the economy has an issue, it’ll have a dramatic impact because I’ll gain basic knowledge of my truck & I’ll learn the functions an parts under the hood.

In the next five years , I see myself owning and operating my own dump truck I also want to build a logistics company. I’ll take the time out to build a logo , name & brand for myself purchase a LLC & go to different socials about building companies to gain knowledge about the logistics industry.



I am speechless at how far the love of women can spread. While chasing my trucking dream, I had to overcome many obstacles, but I continued because I told my self that one day I was going to be a trucker and help other women.  I will make sure I give back to women in my country and continue to celebrate with all the wonderful women in this industry!

My dream is to start a trucking school for women in Africa. I grew in a community full of truck drivers who are only men. I would always see how older man train their sons into truck driving and girls were never allowed, yet deep down, I wondered why I couldn’t be behind that wheel? It is those barriers that kept on challenging me, but trucking has given me wings to fly and the power to conquer any challenges.

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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