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Highland student receives a Women in Auto Care scholarship

Photo of Heather Ripley

Heather Ripley of Freeport is the recipient of a $5,000 scholarship from Women in Auto Body. Ripley will start her second year at Highland Community College in the fall. She is studying Auto Body and Welding.


Women in Auto Care is a national organization that has been around for the past 15 years. It is comprised of auto care professionals dedicated to providing opportunities, education and career leadership to women in the auto care industry.


Ripley is honored to receive the scholarship that will aid in paying for her education at Highland. Ripley once studied art therapy in college but recognized her passion was working on cars.


“I love art and I believe there is artistry in auto body and detail,” Ripley said. “Working on cars is so hands-on and creative,” she said. “Highland has taught me a lot and has given me the tools within myself to follow the steps I need to be part of my chosen profession.”


Vonda Lee, a representative for the Women in Auto Body organization, said in 2018, $75,000 was given to women studying auto body repair.


“We are committed to supporting women entering the automotive aftermarket,” Lee said. “These scholarships are open to women of any age group into any field within our industry. We have particular requirements for our applications. We had incredible applications this year, it is only the best candidates that raise to the top for our scholarships. They are outstanding women in all areas of school work, outside activities, essays and more. Heather fit right into an exceptional winner of one of our higher scholarships.”


Todd Vacek, auto body instructor at Highland, said, “Heather has an outstanding eye for detail for every job. Having that eye is critical in this industry. We encourage all of our students to apply for grants and scholarships and we are excited that Heather took this opportunity.”