Ferris Student Wins Mike Rowe Scholarship for Skilled Trades
“When I read the email, I started screaming,” says Victoria Knight, a Business Administration student at Ferris State University’s Dowagiac location. “My grandparents heard me and asked what was going on. I told them I had just won all this money.” The email stated that Victoria had won a 2017 Work Ethic Scholarship from Mike Rowe’s mikeroweWORKS Foundation.
You may know Rowe from the Discovery Channel show Dirty Jobs. These days, along with his many TV gigs, he keeps himself busy with a new role: CEO. His non-profit, mikeroweWORKS, provides financial assistance to qualified individuals who are passionate about learning an in-demand, skilled trade.
Victoria, having previously completed an associate degree in construction at Southwestern Michigan College, fits the bill perfectly. Her scholarship application video was set in her great-grandmother’s house, which she has been rehabbing since last spring. “We’re gutting the entire house,” she says, “This project really helped bring my family together, and we’re bringing back a lot of old memories in the house, too.” The 22 year-old Niles, MI native has also worked on the University of Notre Dame’s football stadium during her internship at the Barton Malow construction firm. “It’s really cool being a part of such a massive project, especially since it was my first.”
While working with such a prestigious company like Barton Malow is a huge accomplishment, Victoria has even bigger plans. She hopes to open a non-profit or an all-women’s construction team, and knows that the Ferris State business program will help her get there. “An industry professional told me early on that in order to be successful I should pursue a degree in business, and I really took that to heart.”
Ferris State’s partnership with Southwestern Michigan College helped Victoria fit an education into her busy life. Having multiple commitments, including family, running her own home rehab company and working, Victoria knew she needed something close to home. “I love that Ferris provides classes right on SMC’s campus. It’s so beneficial and it’s allowing me to meet the goals I have for my education.”
The Work Ethic Scholarship will help Victoria meet another of her goals: graduating college with no debt. “This scholarship is so helpful. I’ve been saving up every dime to pay for this semester. I can’t even explain how helpful this is.”
But for Victoria Knight, winning this scholarship isn’t just about the money. Being able to inspire people, especially young girls, to follow their dreams and help them learn about industries they may be unfamiliar is what she’s most passionate about. “It feels really good being able to teach people about new ideas and open their mind. Letting them know that you don’t have to follow what everybody else does, but to do what’s going to make you happy.”
Being able to bring awareness to careers that are often overlooked, especially by women, is what Victoria, and this scholarship, are all about.
Head to our Dowagiac homepage to learn more about all of the programs we have available at Southwestern Michigan College.