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Scholarship Recipient Pursuing her Passion

TMCC student Laurel Allen standing with an automobile engine.
Jeannie Byassee

As a result of TMCC Foundation scholarship funding from both the Jacobs Presidential Scholars program and the William N. Pennington Foundation, TMCC student Laurel Allen is pursuing her dream of opening her own repair and roadside assistance shop. 

Allen is a student in the male-dominated Automotive and Diesel Repair programs. She is following her passion and breaking gender barriers along the way to achieve her career goals. She hopes to inspire other women to pursue careers of their choice despite obstacles. 

“I currently work in a repair shop and the drivers are always hesitant about my ability to work on their trucks, so every successful fix is that much more enjoyable,” said Allen. Her inspiration to train for a career in the auto and diesel repair industry was motivated by her grandfather who taught her basic auto repairs as a teenager. “I always enjoyed diagnosing the problem and making the vehicle run again so I decided I wanted to do this as a career,” she said. 

In the future, she hopes to own her own automotive and heavy-duty diesel repair business that provides roadside assistance. “Very few companies focus on both automotive and diesel repairs so there is a need for a business that can perform fleet repair as well as repairing personal vehicles. I would also like to provide opportunities for more women to follow their dreams and pursue a career in this industry.”  

Yet Allen admits that following her dreams was not always easy. “My first year at TMCC was the hardest year of my life,” she said. “I was trying to pay my bills and tuition for school while taking care of my son. The faculty have been very supportive of me on this journey, and I knew that having the education to do what I enjoy would change my life.” She knew, however, that in order to finish the automotive and diesel programs, she was going to need some help. So, Allen applied for scholarships.  

“When I received the scholarships, I realized the financial burden was lifted to allow me to not only complete my education but reduce my stress so that I could work even harder to be at the top of my class,” she said. “I was able to work less, and still spend time with my three-year-old son.”

Allen is deeply grateful for the scholarship support she has received and said, “Being able to successfully complete my education is life-changing. My success is the direct result of the generous support from donors. I know it takes a very special person to invest in someone else’s future. By making scholarships available, donors did just that for me! Thank you for believing in me and making this opportunity available!”

Scholarships through the TMCC Foundation help students cover the costs of tuition, fees, and other expenses to help make education or job training attainable. Scholarships also help students excel by improving their morale and confidence, which encourages educational completion. In many cases, receiving a scholarship can be that first step to helping a student succeed.

The TMCC Foundation currently has close to 200 scholarship donors, many of whom fund multiple scholarships each year. “For the current academic year, the TMCC Foundation has awarded 476 scholarships totaling over $536,000. A total of 397 students have received awards with an average scholarship of $1,026. There is an additional $300,000 to award in the spring semester which should bring our scholarship total to roughly $830,000,” said Becky Josten, TMCC Foundation Scholarship Manager.

On Friday, Oct. 4, the TMCC Foundation will host its 10th annual Legacy Scholarship Reception. This event provides an opportunity for donors and scholarship recipients to meet and share their accomplishments. 

To learn more about the impact of scholarships on TMCC students, or for more information about establishing a scholarship, please contact TMCC’s Foundation Office at 775-674-7648.