Student Success Stories

Luke De Bruin

Luke De Bruin

Luke's Story

My name is Luke De Bruin and I am from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

What sparked my interest in the skilled trades 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. I am attending Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology for Electrical Technology. My dad told me about the scholarship.


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...


Aaron Schroeder

Aaron Schroeder

Aaron's Story

Aaron Schroeder heard about the mikeroweWORKS Work Ethic Scholarship from his college advisor at the end of his high school senior year. The advisor said the scholarship was meant for students going into specific trades, and that welding was one of them. When Aaron read about the qualifications for the scholarship he was pleased because, as he put it, “It seemed to describe me.”

A student at Pittsburgh Technical College, Aaron is working towards his Associate’s Degree in welding. He chose this area of study because he fell in love with the idea of welding when his grandfather showed him s...


Calvin Nelson

Calvin Nelson

Calvin's Story

Calvin Nelson heard about the mikeroweWORKS Work Ethic Scholarship from the financial aid director at the technical school he wanted to attend, Triangle Tech. When Calvin heard about the scholarship knew he wanted to apply because he felt “it would be a great honor to receive it,” and it would allow him attend Triangle Tech.

A student of Carpentry/Electrical, Calvin chose his area of study because of his interest and study of building construction since tenth grade.  He says, “I loved building and wiring the home projects we did in class.  It was a pleasure to have the house I helped bu...


Charles Kern

Charles Kern

Charles' Story

A student at Pennsylvania College of Technology studying welding technology, Charles Kern heard about the mikeroweWORKS Work Ethic Scholarship from his father.  He applied for the scholarship because, as he puts it, “I believe in what the scholarship says about the trades and having a good work ethic in what you do.”

Charles chose the field of welding because of a scouting merit badge he earned in high school.  He enjoyed that type of work so much that he decided he wanted to make a career out of it. 


Seth Hewitt

Seth Hewitt

Seth's Story

A student of machine tool and computer aided manufacturing at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, Seth Hewitt heard about the mikeroweWORKS Work Ethic Scholarship from his mom.  When he read more about it, he “thought it was one of the most interesting types of scholarships I’ve seen. Plus, I would watch a good amount of Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs so that furthered my interest in applying for a scholarship he created and started.”

Seth chose his field of study because of his deep interest in the great world wars, the history of firearms and gunsmithing.  During his eight grad...


Sandra Hilbert

Sandra Hilbert

Sandra’s Story

Sandra Hilbert first heard about the mikeroweWORKS Work Ethic Scholarship through Mike Rowe’s Facebook page.

She applied for the scholarship because, as she puts it, “as a creative person, I surely appreciate the time and dedication that artisans commit to their life’s work. However, though I love creating with my hands, my present carpentry skills are those of an amateur.”