Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) student Savannah Almond has received a $1,000 scholarship that will help her reach her career destination as a diesel service technician and mechanic.

Almond was among 15 students selected by Noregon to receive a spring 2023 scholarship. She said she expects to graduate in July with her Diesel Equipment Technology diploma.

“I’m going to buy tools for my future career and to fix my current vehicle so that I am able to continue on my path,” she said, adding that she sees the funding as a way to invest in herself.

Almond, 26, said she grew up restoring muscle cars with her older brothers. She said she always wanted to pursue a career in the automotive field even though she would have been an under-represented gender student, but she allowed others to steer her into healthcare.

“Savannah’s ambition and dedication to becoming a diesel technician is astonishing,” said Salvador Gonzalez, program director and instructor of Diesel Equipment Technology at GNTC. “You can count on her to take the leadership role in the lab. She isn’t afraid to ask questions during lectures and is always ready to answer questions when called on.

Gonzalez was selected as GNTC’s 2023 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year and will move on to compete to become the Technical College of Georgia’s 2023 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year in April.

“Savannah is on the right track to becoming a great diesel technician,” Gonzalez said.

In 2017, the Floyd County resident earned an associate degree and diploma in Medical Assisting, a Healthcare Science certificate and a Technical Specialist certificate at GNTC. She also received a bronze medal in the Health Knowledge Bowl at the 2018 SkillsUSA Georgia competition.

She worked in healthcare until the pandemic when she began to question her career choice. Lingering questions related to a family tragedy that had occurred years earlier prompted her to change her career course, she explained.

After the brake failure of a commercial truck claimed the life of a family member, her desire to understand the cause of the accident and how to prevent it from happening to another family eventually drove her back to the automotive world and a career in the diesel industry.

Her education at GNTC has helped her to understand how and why the accident happened, she said, although she still does not know which particular brake system was on the truck.

“I wish I had gone into this field from the start but was worried about being a female in a male-dominated industry,” she stated. “I did what was expected of me.”

She is driven to succeed in her new field, placing on the President’s List for fall 2022. She looks forward to working after graduation so that she can provide her daughter with “a sustainable life,” she said.

Gonzalez said he received impressive feedback from the service manager following Almond’s participation in a training day at Penske, where she kept up and worked alongside some of his seasoned technicians.

“Savannah is blazing a trail for females in the diesel industry,” he said. “I cannot wait to see what the future brings for her. I know she will do great things in life!”

Noregon’s Education Program is a free service for post-secondary institutions with diesel technician programs, according to Noregon. The program provides institutions and their students “with training resources, discounted Noregon purchases and free access to the leading diagnostic and repair applications they will use in their careers.” Students enrolled in institutions that are part of Noregon’s Education Program are eligible to apply for scholarships.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma or a certificate in aviation, business, health, industrial or public service career paths. This past year, 11,601 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. GNTC has an annual credit enrollment of 8,071 students and an additional enrollment of 3,530 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training and Georgia Quick Start. For more information about GNTC, visit us at GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.