Auto scholarships go to local students

NORWALK - The Cerritos College Foundation awarded three automotive scholarships to six promising students at its board meeting on Nov. 17.The Jeannie M.T. Yang Scholarship, a $500 award was presented to Emerson Hemedes of Whittier and Joseph Park of Victorville. The Jeannie M.T. Yang Automotive Scholarship awards a total of $2,000 each year to four promising students in the automotive department at Cerritos College. Established in memory of Dr. Jeannie M.T. Yang, a community college professor originally from mainland China, who had a great passion for education. Hemedes has always had a passion for cars and currently works at the Sears Auto Center in Brea. He plans on working as an automotive technician while pursuing his bachelor's degree in journalism. His ultimate goal is to become an automotive journalist. Park has already earned his bachelor's degree in public administration and is a transportation officer in the Army Reserves. He is pursuing another degree in automotive repair to increase his skill set, advance in the military, and pursue a career with the Bureau of Automotive Repairs. The SMCDA Automotive Technology Scholarship, a $500 tool voucher toward the purchase of MATCO tools was received by Yosias Alfaro of Bellflower, Zane Mortensen of Fullerton, and Eddie Ornelas of South Gate. This scholarship was designed to assist the college's automotive apprentice program students in purchasing tools to use in their classes. The tool voucher, combined with the 50% tool discount program which MATCO also provides for Cerritos College automotive students, is actually worth $1,000. Yosias Alfaro has always loved a challenge. He is a father of two young boys, works full-time and attends classes at night. He will be earning a certificate in engine performance and diagnostics at the end of this semester and completing his associate degree in automotive technology next semester. Yosias is currently working at Page One Automotive as an inspector and driver. Mortensen is currently enrolled in his first semester of Chrysler's College Automotive Program and is working toward his associate degree in automotive technology. He currently works at Don-a-Vee Chrysler Jeep and was quickly promoted from porter to technician due to his outstanding attitude and performance on the job. Ornelas began taking automotive classes last spring. He is currently employed as an auto technician at Wal-Mart and looks forward to transferring to Northwood University to pursue his bachelor's degree. SMCDA also presented the $750 SMCDA Northwood 3rd Year Scholarship to Richard Salazar of Santa Fe Springs. This award assists Cerritos College students who have completed their first two years in automotive technology training and are pursuing their bachelor's degree through Northwood University. Salazar will soon be completing his second semester as an automotive technology major. Once he completes his associate degree, he will be transferring to Northwood University to pursue a bachelor's degree in automotive marketing & entrepreneurship. "These outstanding students will be great assets to the auto industry," said Todd Leutheuser, executive director of the Southland Motor Car Dealers Association (SMCDA), as he presented each student with the scholarship. "It is exciting and truly inspiring to see these dedicated students work hard towards their career goals." The Southland Motor Car Dealers Association represents franchised new car dealers throughout Southern Los Angeles County. Cerritos College's Auto Technology Program provides students with hands-on, nationally authorized training for GM, Ford, Chrysler and import vehicles. The College also hosts an Advanced Transportation Technology Center, one of nine Centers in the state of California, to encourage use and development of clean, renewable energies, and alternative fuel sources. Students can also earn a bachelor's degree in automotive management at Cerritos College through an agreement the college has with Northwood University.

********** Published: December 22, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 36