The Truckload Carriers Association awards about 50 scholarships to students each year to students who have a family connection to TCA.
One past recipient of one of the top scholarships is Blake Quinn of Springfield Missouri, who is a student at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. His dad works for Prime Inc., and Quinn is studying supply management.
“As I progress through my college career, I am made increasingly more aware of the impact the trucking industry has had (and continues to have) on my family life,” Quinn said in a press release from TCA. “As a supply-chain major, I am gradually learning more and more about the industry my dad climbed the ladder in to provide for my family.”
Andrea Vidaurre of Indianapolis is a student at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Her mother works for WEX EFS.
“I have always respected my mother’s work ethic and learned early on to follow in her footsteps, whether it be my schoolwork, basketball or my own job,” said Vidaurre. “After college, I look forward to beginning my career in accounting or finance with the same passion and drive as my mother has for an industry that has played such an important part in our lives.”
Marli Hall, TCA’s senior director of outreach and engagement, said the scholarship fund is an independent organization governed by the bylaws and the board of trustees, which is always actively recruiting to be a part of the fund.
“If there are TCA members who are interested in helping advance TCA’s successful scholarship program, we encourage them to share their interest in becoming a TCA Scholarship Fund Trustee,” Hall said. “The trustees help fundraise and judge the application submissions.”
Hall said TCA, which was founded in 1938, is the only trade association whose sole focus is the truckload segment of the motor carrier industry.
TCA’s scholarship program includes seven larger scholarships named after significant contributors to the fund. To have a scholarship named in their honor, donors must give $50,000 for that scholarship, or at least $10,000 over the course of five years. Students receive up to $6,250 for the full year, split between the two semesters.
The application process begins in early March through an online application.
To qualify for any of the scholarships, a student must be in good standing, with a minimum grade-point average of 3.0, and attending an accredited four-year college as an undergraduate. The student must also be a child, grandchild or spouse of either an employee of a TCA member or an independent contractor affiliated with a TCA member.
“We try to be as transparent as possible,” Hall said. “This is what you need to have to be eligible and the qualifications considered. We also share when the winners are posted.”
Hall said the application process includes submitting headshots, school transcripts and a course schedule. Hall said TCA is up front with what is needed before prospective recipients “dive into an application.”
“We’ve got some guidelines for the judges — a framework — but for the most part, it is up to their discretion,” Hall said. “They judge (the applicants) on their workload, such as are they taking 12 credit hours or 21, or are they in honors classes, and they take (the students’) extracurricular activities into account.”
She said even if a student does not have a 3.0 GPA, but is close, perhaps with a 2.8, he or she is still encouraged to apply because the judges will take into account factors such as extracurricular activities or a student working to pay for classes.
The scholarships are funded by members of the trucking community. Hall said anyone who wants to give to the program can, and that “there are lots of different avenues to do so.”
“We are working on a campaign, which has been placed on the back burner for now,” Hall said. “Once the economy picks back up and starts to improve, we will reach out for funds. In the past, one of the largest ways we generated funds was through a scholarship gala.”
Hall said the gala, which was held annually until 2018, raised about $90,000 each year, adding that some years the event brought in closer to $200,000. She said the gala was held in conjunction with the annual convention and would usually host about 400 people.
Sam Pierce has been a journalist for more than a decade and has written for several publications including The Trucker, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and Living Our Faith magazine. He enjoys spending time with his family including his two daughters. They like to watch movies, read books and build LEGO sets.