By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer
In 1998, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association recognized the need to develop a scholarship fund to help ease the financial burden for its members to send their children, grandchildren or dependents to college or trade school.
Since that time the OOIDA Mary Johnston Scholarship Fund has awarded more than $220,000 to help high school students afford college or trade school. And for the past five years, Shell Rotella has donated $10,000 each year to help young people achieve this goal.
Recently, the committee checked back in with previous scholarship recipients to find out how the financial support they received helped them in their educational endeavors – and their accomplishments can only be described as impressive.
Below are excerpts from some of the past winners, who updated the scholarship committee on “where are they now.”
Tiffany Sirucek, a 2009 scholarship winner, graduated in May with her degree in nursing from the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. Her dad, Quincy Sirucek, a long-time OOIDA member from Louisburg, N.C., is still trucking. She is currently studying to take her state boards to receive her registered nurse license.
“I personally cannot thank the OOIDA scholarship committee enough for all of the support you provided in order for me to receive my degree,” she said. “It not only helped me but also took a little bit of the hardship off of my parents, as well.”
Jacob Hadley recently graduated with his doctorate of pharmacy degree from the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy in 2012. He found a job in his field shortly after graduation in Wichita, Kan., and is specializing in medication therapy management and personalized diabetic education. He said the scholarship money he received from OOIDA was a “huge blessing.” Jacob credits his dad’s hard work running his own company as his motivation to succeed. His dad, Matthew Hadley, is an OOIDA member from Burns, Kan.
“My advice to those going into college or any form of secondary education would be to stick with it,” he said. “Though going to school, studying late and working later won’t always be the fun things to do, never lose sight of the tremendous investment others have placed in you.”
Nate Boring, an OOIDA scholarship winner, already has two undergraduate degrees in political science and sociology under his belt and recently completed his first year of law school at the Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh, Pa. His plan is to graduate with his law degree in May 2015.
Nate was hired as a law clerk for the summer for a Pittsburgh law firm, Dodaro, Matta & Cambest, P.C., which specializes in labor and property law for municipalities and school districts.
“I still believe that truck drivers are often unsung heroes on the highway and that their contribution economically is severely underestimated by the general public,” he said.
He is the son of James Boring, OOIDA senior member from Belleville, Pa.
Future aerospace engineer
After graduating with his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering in May 2011, Trevor Layh has been working at the Department of Defense, assigned to the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Va. He has also been accepted into the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering’s aerospace engineering and mechanics program.
He wrote that he has become more aware of some of the challenges truckers face out on the road since moving from South Dakota to the Washington, D.C., area.
“Obviously, there are advantages and disadvantages to driving in both the rural and urban areas; however, prior to living in this area of the country I had only witnessed those experienced by drivers in the Midwestern states.”
Trevor is the son of OOIDA member Glenn Layh of Winner, S.D.
When the scholarship committee last checked in with Kevin McCoy in 2010, he had just finished his second year of law school at Duke University School of Law. Now he is an associate at a law firm in Irving, Calif., specializing in patent prosecution and client practice in various industries including the medical device and automotive fields.
His advice for those entering the work force is to find their niche or “creative way to differentiate” from other applicants.
“Try to get involved in projects that will provide you with a particular skill set which an employer might find valuable,” he said.
Kevin is the son of OOIDA member Timothy McCoy of Hewitt, N.J. LL
The OOIDA Mary Johnston Scholarship Committee will have booth No. 414 at the Association’s 40th anniversary event on Oct. 18-19 at the Kansas Speedway. Information will be available at the booth on how to apply for a scholarship that can be renewed for up to four years. Stop by the booth and say hello.