Two OSUIT CAT Dealer Prep students were awarded mikeroweWORKS Foundation scholarships last week at a small presentation in their classroom with Heavy Equipment and Vehicle Institute Division Chair Roy Achemire.
Sean Balzanna, from Poteau, and Josh Hurla, from Topeka, Kan., were each awarded a $1,000 scholarship to assist them when they start their careers at CAT dealerships after graduating in August.
The mikeroweWORKS Foundation supports and promotes skilled trades and grants scholarships to men and women who have an interest and aptitude in mastering a specific trade.
Fifty-one students from across the country were awarded MRW tool scholarships this year, and OSU Institute of Technology is the only school in the state that had scholarship winners.
Hurla and Balzanna found out they had been awarded the scholarships last month.
“We didn’t even know about it. We just happened to have the highest GPAs,” said Balzanna. “I was pretty excited. I thought it was cool, out of the CAT and Komatsu programs, we got it.”
Each received a $1,000 check during the presentation and plan to use it to purchase equipment they can use at the dealership they will work at.
“I’ll use it on a couple of the more expensive things we can get,” Hurla said.
After graduation, Hurla will return to Topeka to the CAT dealership there.
“I was working at a job in high school and got introduced to the CAT dealership,” he said. “OSUIT is where they send people to learn so this is where I came.”
Balzanna will work not far from his hometown at the dealership in Fort Smith, Ark., an opportunity he may not have had he not attended OSUIT.
“I was looking for a new job, a new career, something more stable,” he said, the CAT Dealer Prep program at OSUIT is helping get that. “I’ve done a lot of learning. The education we got here helps us with troubleshooting everyday problems we may come across at the dealership.”
“I learned about a lot of things I didn’t know before.”