Student Success Stories

Samantha Mayberry

Where you are from? I am from New Castle, Pennsylvania

What sparked your interest in a career in the skilled trades? It was my FFA advisor at Laurel High School that got me interested in welding. I took welding in his shop class and I enjoyed it and he said I had a "knack" for it that was back in 9th grade and I continued with welding/shop classes until I graduated.


Tracy Wilson

Tracy's Story

Where you are from? Reinholds, PA

What sparked your interest in a career in the skilled trades? I’ve always enjoyed staying active and working with my hands, so electronics engineering seemed like an obvious choice. As a kid, I would tinker with light switches, light bulbs, wires, and whatever else I could get my hands on in my dad’s workshop. As I got older, I started thinking about retirement and realized I needed more sustainable income for my two boys and myself.


Seamus Ian McGuoirk

Seamus's Story

Where you are from? Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

What sparked your interest in a career in the skilled trades? I needed to work with my hands and also the fact that my father has always been the handy man of the family. He helps out the whole family with cars, electronics, plumbing, rebuilding a bathroom for his mother. I truly skilled man that has inspired his son to walk in his footsteps.


Kyle A. Kralick

Kyle's Story

Where you are from? Coplay, Pennsylvania; a small borough in the Lehigh Valley of eastern Pennsylvania.

What sparked your interest in a career in the skilled trades?Since I was a kid, I was always fascinated by how things worked in our world. I loved watching the process of how things were made and put together on TV shows and videos like that. I was also interested in science as I progressed further and further through grade school. As I got older I found I was pretty decent at working with my hands. So, I ended up taking an Electricity and Electronics course...


Shawn Claypoole

Shawn's Story

Where you are from? I'm from a small town called Marienville, PA

What sparked your interest in a career in the skilled trades? After looking at all the options out there a realized that going for a trade was the best route for me 


Jarek Wasko

Jarek's Story

Where you are from? Gap, PA

What sparked your interest in a career in the skilled trades?  I like being hands-on and did not want to work at a desk.


Jason Taylor

Jason's Story

Where are you from? Bunola, PA / residing in Carnegie

What sparked your interest in a career in the skilled trades?  After working in the physical plant at Penn State Greater Allegheny for years, I decided to pursue a degree in Facilities Technology. That quickly changed to H.A.C. after observing the field in action. Keeping a campus comfortable and running smoothly seemed to be very rewarding.


Riley Kerr

Riley's Story

Where you are from: Murrysville, PA

What sparked your interest in a career in the skilled trades?  I have always loved heavy equipment ever since the days I played in the sandbox. I remember reading picture books about the different types of equipment and watching videos of Mega Machines as a kid. My Mom would take me to construction sites to watch the equipment in use, and that got me hooked.  I have also always loved being outdoors. In school, academics were not my strong suit. I found that I had a learning disability that made math hard to learn, but scien...


Travis Jumper

Travis's Story

Where you are from?   Carlisle, Pennsylvania

What sparked your interest in a career in the skilled trades?  I got interested into the trades, because I would help my grandfather fix things around the house when I was younger, and that was something that I enjoyed doing.


Kristen Suhan

Kristen's Story

What sparked your interest in a career in the skilled trades?  What sparked my interest the most is the amount of opportunities the trade has to offer. I enjoy a challenge, learning, and working on new equipment daily, all while getting my hands dirty. There are so many possibilities in the HVAC trade, and a high demand for good workers. I wanted to go in this trade knowing that I can make a difference helping people, all while enjoying the challenges that come with it.

What school will you be attending?  Currently I am enrolled in my second year at Westmorel...


Will Urquhart

Will's Story

Where you are from? Guys Mills, Pennsylvania (about an hour south of Erie, Pa)

 What sparked your interest in a career in the skilled trades?  I have been interested in heavy equipment from a young age, and was exposed to working with various sized tractors, a skid steer, and a mini-excavator in middle and high school. I enjoyed the work and the variety of tasks that could be completed, and running heavy equipment is a lot easier than using hand tools. In general I prefer to work outdoors and to have variety in my day to day routine/work so operating heavy eq...


Ryan Flynn

Ryan Flynn

Ryan's Story

Where you are from?  I am from Clarks Summit, Pa., which is a suburb of Scranton, PA

What sparked your interest in a career in the skilled trades?  My interest in trades was sparked at an early age. I have always loved construction equipment, tractor trailers, and cars. Since I was only 4 at the time, the closest I could get to the real deal were the numerous Tonka trucks in my sandbox. It wasn’t until eighth grade when I had to do an extensive research project on a potential future career, that...


Luke De Bruin

Luke De Bruin

Luke's Story

Where you are from? Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

What sparked your interest in a career in the skilled trades? I was working as a carpenter throughout the last 3 years of high school. I enjoyed the hard work with my hands, problem solving, and doing high quality work.


Wendy Binder

Wendy Binder

Wendy's Story

Where you are from? Derry, Pennsylvania

What sparked your interest in a career in the skilled trades? In July of 2017, I underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder.  After four months of post-op rehabilitation, at which time I was released back to work, I found myself unemployed for the first time in twenty-four years.  This is where my journey began.


Derek Dreps

Derek Dreps

Derek's Story

Where you are from?  Liberty, PA 

What sparked your interest in a career in the skilled trades? I became interested in my trade by working on my family's vehicles 


Emanuel Corral - Hays

Emanuel Corral - Hays

Emmanuel's Story

Where are you from? Carnegie PA 

What sparked your interest in a career in the skilled trades? Sitting at a desk in school for a long time each day was hard for me. I tried the construction block at Parkway CTC. After rotating through the building, masonry, welding and electrical classes, I felt most comfortable in the Electrical technology class. I knew I could not sit behind a desk to work, I had to be using my hands and moving around. This was a perfect choice.   


Levi Lilley

Levi Lilley

Levi's Story

Where you are from? Jersey Shore, PA

What sparked your interest in a career in the skilled trades?  What sparked my interest in a career in the trades was when I was working a job on a maintenance team for a college facility with no experience.  The boss that I had was so good to me and willing to teach me and I quickly began to see that that man had such great value because of all he knew about working with his hands and fixing or building things.  And I began to think that I wanted to be valuable in that way as well and I have loved learning more and more ...


Trista Wise

Trista Wise

Trista's Story

Where you are from? Linesville, Pennsylvania

What sparked your interest in a career in the skilled trades? From early on, I learned the value of hard work and integrity. I grew up in a small, blue-collar town and that had a great influence on the vocation I chose to pursue, as well as the occupations my family held. My father was a sheet metal worker and is currently a welder at a tool and die facility, my mother works at a meat processing company, and my brothe...


Tony Anico

Tony Anico

Tony's Story

Where you are from? Hastings Pennsylvania.

What sparked your interest in a career in the skilled trades?  I am not a person to sit behind a desk all day. I have to be busy and welding is defiantly hands on. I feel that welding is an art, a skill, and something that I can take pride in doing.


Nicholas Polakovsky

Nicholas Polakovsky

Nicholas's Story

Where you are from? Mount Pleasant, PA

What sparked your interest in a career in the skilled trades? My family owns a traveling Carnival, C&L Shows. My future plan is to become the 2nd generation owner and in order to do that I need to have a solid background in Electricity. We work 20 weeks out of the year and we have the winters off. Throughout our down time, we refurbish equipment and get everything back to the standard and look at new equipment.


Josh Wentzel

Josh Wentzel

Josh's Story

Where you are from: Wernersville, Pennsylvania

What sparked your interest in a career in the skilled trades? I have always learned better in school with hands on work more so than book or lecture learning, so that gave me the idea to find a career that best suited my needs


Hanna Gibson

Hanna Gibson

Hanna's Story

Hanna Gibson understands that an eagerness to learn all aspects of a trade can get you far in life. “I started out wanting to be an architect, but my Dad and Uncle told me that I needed to learn from the bottom up,” she explained. “So, I signed up for a carpentry building construction class at my career center, and while I was there I got to be a part of a Residential Construction Management Competition team, which gave me an opportunity to see all aspects of the building projects and I found I enjoyed the management portion the most.” Armed with this knowledge, Hanna is attending the ...


Josiah Bardo

Josiah Bardo

Josiah's Story

It was during a meeting with a financial aid advisor to determine ways to reduce his school debt that Josiah Bardo first heard of the mikeroweWORKS Work Ethics Scholarship. The long-time fan of Mike Rowe had an amazing first experience in welding, during a summer job where his friend (a welder) would answer his questions and show him the tricks of the trade. “I spent a great amount of time in his shop,” Josiah said. “I was always interested in the sights, sounds and smell of welds. He was the reason why I had decided to select welding as my area of study at Triangle Tech. I also know tha...


Katherine Muhlenkamp

Katherine Muhlenkamp

Katherine's Story

Katherine Muhlenkamp comes from a family who believes in the value of hard work, and the value of saving for the future — hence her reason for applying for the mikeroweWORKS Work Ethics Scholarship. She admits that when thinking of her plans post high school, she wasn’t really all that interested in attending a four year college but knew one thing — she wanted to parlay the science and math she learned in the classroom into a future career. She is enrolled at Triangle Tech in the study of Maintenance Electricity. “Right now, my plan is to work as a residential electrician,” she said,...


Terry Seaman III

Terry Seaman III

Terry's Story

Terry Seaman III also heard of the mikeroweWORKS Work Ethics Scholarship from a close source — his Mom. “She is a fan of Mike Rowe and listens to his podcast The Way I Heard It,” he says. The scholarship program ended up being just the right fit for Terry — he’d wanted to attend a trade school post-graduation (not a four year university) and didn’t want to accrue much debt. “I agree with every part of the S.W.E.A.T. Pledge, but the part that resonates most with me is that I don't believe in going into debt to live a life style I can't afford,” he said. Now, Terry is enrolled at...


Cole Smith

Cole Smith

Cole's Story

Cole Smith first heard of the mikeroweWORKS Work Ethics Scholarship from his Dad, who was browsing online and came across it. “I decided to apply for it because I really liked that it was based on having a strong work ethic — which is something I take pride in myself for having,” he said. Cole had heard about welding from a friend, who — while discussing the lack of skilled labor in the state — informed him of the field and its absence of young workers. “After doing some research, I learned that my local community college offered welding classes, so I tried it out for a semester an...