Jana’s dream has always been to become an automotive technician, but she was discouraged from pursuing it her entire life. Now, after 18 years of raising a family through her husband’s military deployments and a recent battle with a serious illness, Jana will be graduating technical school at the top of her class later this year.
In her own words: “After waiting 18 years to pursue my dream job while my husband deployed and I raised my kids, often alone, (during which I owned a salon and taught at a beauty school) I am finally able to put myself first, I was always told my dreams to be a tech were selfish and I was even laughed at! Only a few years ago I was very sick and was very nearly wheelchair bound, and have been on a major life overhaul journey to embrace my passion while I am still healthy and active. There was a time I could not even drive a car and now I am living my dreams with extraordinary gratitude for doing the most simple tasks like changing oil or helping neighbors and friends replace parts on their cars. I was just offered a summer job as crew chief for a 1300hp race car! I gladly accepted that opportunity as a way to grow in the industry and widen the path for female technicians to have more opportunities, acceptance, and exposure.”
"After graduation I have been accepted into an apprenticeship program and will begin immediately. I am also considering going back to school for restoration if I can make it work with my schedule. This award would be a spring board toward my goals, it would allow me to invest in my future by purchasing tools and may even help with tuition if I am able to continue my education. Since I am staring over at the age of 37, and it looks more and more like we will evolve toward electric vehicles soon, I would love to one day work for a museum restoring and maintaining our petrol vehicle history, as a steward to the true art form of American muscle, while highlighting what women have done within the field to grow and influence the automotive industry. Knowing what it’s like looking for guidance as a student, and also being a natural teacher, I will be sure to use whatever I have to mentor and build community within the field."