DIAMOND BAR, Calif. — The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has selected 119 individuals working in or pursuing careers in the automotive aftermarket industry to receive scholarships or loan-forgiveness awards via the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Those selected include 97 students who received scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, and 22 employees of SEMA-member companies who received loan-forgiveness awards to help pay off student loans.
The total payout is valued at $296,000, SEMA said, bringing the amount issued since the program's founding in 1984 to over $3 million.
For the first time in the program's history, five students have been awarded Top Student Awards valued at $5,000 — the highest award possible, SEMA said.
In addition, 10 winners will be selected to take part in a SEMA Show student experience that debuts this year. The students will be flown to the SEMA Show in Las Vegas in November, where they will be able to take in the show, make business connections and gain valuable experience.
"We're excited to honor another fantastic group of students and members to represent the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Program," Ian Lehn, SEMA student program committee chair, said.
"We are particularly thrilled for the student experience, and are excited to have top students join us at the SEMA Show for hands-on, real-world experience," he said. "They will see the SEMA Show up close, leave with meaningful industry connections and experience the magic that one can only get by being at the SEMA Show."
The SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund and the SEMA Show student experience are designed to encourage and support future talent and leaders in the automotive aftermarket industry. Scholarships are awarded annually to foster the next generation of automotive aftermarket industry leaders and innovators by helping them get off to a successful start in their education and automotive aftermarket careers.
The application process for next year's award will open starting in January 2022, at sema.org/scholarships.
Among those receiving loan forgiveness is Heather Tausch, a University of Phoenix graduate who joined Mickey Thompson Tires & Wheels in July 2020 as director of product management.
Other recipients can be seen at sema.org.