Scholarship Winners

We awarded two scholarships and three honorable mentions to students for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Winners - GPS Insight Skilled Trades Scholarship Program Logo


Thank you to everyone for applying for the GPS Insight ‘You are the Reason’ Skilled Trades Scholarship!

GPS Insight established the “You are the Reason’ Skilled Trades scholarship in 2022 to advance and give back to the skilled trades industry. Each year moving forward, we plan to award two $10,000 scholarships to deserving students in our network of customers. Please join us in congratulating our winners.

$10,000 Winners:

GPSI Data Dots

Michael Lyons is from Scotrun, Pennsylvania, and he began school at the Pennsylvania College of Technology in 2023.

Since he was little, he loved trying to figure out how things worked. He grew up watching his father and stepfather fix their cars, and he became extremely fascinated with mechanics. Since he learns best by using his hands, he felt a trade route was the best for his career.

After his parents divorced, his mom, who had no college education, went back to school while raising Michael and his two sisters. During his senior year, he tragically lost his father.

He enjoys building computers, which he compares to mini cars or big Legos. He also has done lots of work to his cars, from replacing the transmission line to putting in rear control arms to fixing the rack and pinon. His stepfather has helped him, and Michael sees him as a great example of successful work in the trades.

When he’s not in school, Michael likes to skate, play video games, and be outside working on his car. He plans on focusing on mechanics, in particular aviation.

“I have learned to work through some of the most difficult situations and not only get through them, but come out a better person because of them. The trials I have faced have not caused me to be a victim of terrible circumstances but rather have molded me into a determined and focused student and worker. My parents taught me to be strong and never let life beat me down, and that is what I have done so far and plan to do in the future.”

  Skilled Trade: Mechanics

Jacob Paquette of Plantsville, Connecticut is a high school senior at Karen Smith Academy. He is planning to attend Bristol Technical Education Center to enter a career in automotive technology.

Jacob enjoys working on all things mechanical and taking the time to figure out how they work. Some of his earliest memories are riding with his dad on their garden tractor, and now he rebuilds those, in addition to dirt bikes, quads, golf carts, trucks, and other machinery.

He currently has an internship at Good Guys Auto House, where the owners think he will have a promising career in the automotive field.

Jacob also works part-time at Subway. In his free time he races dirt bikes, traveling to competitions all over the East during race season. When he’s home, he’s usually working on machinery with his friends.

“I will be the first in my family to attend post-grad schooling, and this scholarship will make a big difference in my life. I’m looking forward to taking what I know and expanding my knowledge through a trade school so that I can use it to enter a career in automotive technology.”

  Skilled Trade: Automotive Technology


“We are incredibly proud of Michael Lyons for receiving this scholarship, and we are grateful for GPS Insight for providing such a generous scholarship to students working towards a career in the trades. This is a wonderful achievement for Michael and well deserved as he has worked so hard and been through so much to get to where he is today. This scholarship will help to provide a new beginning for Michael and a successful career in mechanics."

"This scholarship creates opportunities for students in the trades for many reasons. It is already incredibly difficult for students to pay the high cost of tuition and most trade schools are similarly priced to state colleges, so they do not necessarily offer a more affordable option. Additionally, students in the trades typically need to purchase thousands of dollars’ worth of tools on top of their tuition to their college. The GPS Insight scholarship of $10,000 could easily pay for all the students required tools for their college degree and could be the deciding factor of whether they will be able to attend college at all. This scholarship also gives students an opportunity to feel proud of themselves for choosing a career in the trades and honors them for their hard work and success in both their academics and chosen field.”

“I think this is a great opportunity for Jacob to further his education in a field that he truly enjoys.”


"As Jake's mom, I've seen his school struggles over the years and have always worried about what he would do with his future. School and he never quite clicked from day 1. He's a super smart kid, but sitting at a desk all day isn't his thing; he's a hands-on kind of person. When he made the decision to learn a skilled trade, I saw a new passion in him for what to do with his future. This scholarship has just made that future even more possible. Thank you again to Gary, Carla, and everyone else at GPS Insight who made this possible as well as Jeff, our service manager, here at Magnakleen."

Honorable Mentions: $500

GPSI Data Dots

Alexandra Zapien is a high school senior at Freedom High School in Oakley, California. As a kid, Alexandra Zapien had a variety of interests, from different forms of art to personal protection dog training. Her dad had his own welder, and out of curiosity, she tried using it. That was it – she’d found an activity that would keep her interest.

Since she also has an artistic side, she began creating and selling metal roses.

Alexandra plans on using the funds from the scholarship to go to community college to get her associate of science degree in welding technology. She will then move onto an apprenticeship.

Alexandra works a part-time job at Raley’s Grocery. When she’s not at school or creating roses, she spends a lot of time training and playing with her three-year old Italian mastiff, Bourbon.

“When I first decided to commit to becoming a welder and pursuing this as my career, I was extremely nervous due to what I have heard about being a girl in the trades. I'm very lucky to have such a supportive family and friends. The support for my metal roses alone has been overwhelming, I even have coworkers supporting me. Although there are always those people who will make a comment every now and then, I am so excited to pursue welding and be a woman in the trades.”

  Skilled Trade: Welding

Briley Lehman is a high school senior at Vienna High School and lives in Grantsville, Illinois. He is enrolled in the Illinois Laborers and Contractors Joint Apprenticeship and Training Program, which is a two-year apprenticeship program. He is currently in his second year.

He plans to use the scholarship toward tuition for his associate degree at John A. Logan College in the construction management program.

Briley is captain of his high school wrestling team, teaches martial arts, and has a 2nd-degree black belt in Taekwondo.

He works part-time doing maintenance and lawn care for two local companies - Bailey Funeral Home and Gholson Financial Services.

When he’s not involved in sports, school, or work, he makes time to go out with his friends on the weekends.

"I have a willingness to learn and have a drive to be independent. I enrolled in the program to have a better knowledge of trade work and to give me a better understanding of the skills that are necessary to work in the construction field."

  Skilled Trade: Construction Management

Tyler is from Scottsdale, Arizona, and he began attending Mesa Community College in 2022 to earn a welding associate in science degree.

Tyler has always liked making things with his hands, and has built shelves, tables, and a bed. He finds it satisfying to finish a project and know what he’s made will be used for a long time.

He plans on using the scholarship money toward his tuition, fees, books, and to purchase a welding setup so he can begin working as soon as he graduates.

Tyler was homeschooled until he started college.

When he’s not at school, Tyler enjoys painting and writing. After graduation, he plans to move east and find a job that matches his skill set.

“It’s been a real learning experience to jump into a formal education, and I’m enjoying the welding class very much. I can already see my skills improving as we work through the different materials and techniques.”

  Skilled Trade: Welding


“Going into the trades is a thing that has been lost. I think it’s great when anyone takes an interest in doing a skilled trade, because we need people to support our crucial infrastructure. Also, there aren’t too many female welders now, and having more opportunities for females in the field might start to balance the male to female ratio. The fact that Alexandra taught herself to weld, and she took the time and dedication to learn her craft and keep advancing – she will do great things. I appreciate that you selected her for this scholarship. When she’s looking for a job, she can call me, because I need a welder.”

“We are honored to have helped Briley in this process. Every little bit helps. The area we are from is very rural and opportunities can be limited. This will help segue him into a trade or career that he can provide for his life and future family.”

“Tyler is the son of a GPS Insight employee, and we’re happy the dedication to skilled trades is a quality that has been passed down. Congratulations to Tyler. We’re so excited to be able to offer this scholarship opportunity to all of the recipients.”

We will offer this opportunity again in the fall of 2023!


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