7 Women Awarded Jessi Combs Foundation Scholarships

See who they are and why they won it

By Tricia Szulewski, Editor

The late Jessi Combs was a trailblazer and a stereotype-breaker driven to succeed while lifting people up, particularly women, throughout her career as a motorcyclist, racer, television personality, and master fabricator. After her untimely death in 2019, The Jessi Combs Foundation (JCF) was formed and scholarships were put together. Now, just one year later, the board of directors is awarding seven women with a combined $30,000 worth of scholarships who arepursuing careers in the trades. The JCF organization isexcited to see them succeed while carrying Jessi’s legacy forward.

Jessi Combs Foundation 2020 foundation winners
The winners of the Jessi Combs Foundation 2020 scholarship are: (clockwise from top left) Melissa Jester, Sana Anderson, Hannah Stout, Sarah McConkie, Heather Holler, Akai Longos, and Erin Joseph.

The recipients of the JCF scholarships are:

  • Melissa Jester,Huntington Beach, California
    Summit College,Structural Welding

  • Sana Anderson, Beach Park, Illinois
    College of Lake County, Welding Program

  • Hannah Stout, Sterling, Illinois
    WyoTech (Laramie Campus), Custom Fabrication/Welding
  • Sarah McConkie, Bountiful, Utah
    Davis Technical College, Rope Access Welding and Pipefitting
  • Heather Holler, Incline Village, Nevada
    Mitchell Community College, Mechanical Engineering (focus in motorsports)

  • Akai Longo, Taos, New Mexico
    MMI (Motorcycle Mechanic School), Motorcycle Mechanics/Metal Fabrication

  • Erin Joseph, Lansing, Michigan
    Lansing Community College, Automotive Mechanical/Electrical

jessi combs foundation 2020 foundation winners fabricating
Jessi loved working with her hands, fabricating metal or whatever was put in front of her. The foundation was created in her name to continue her efforts to empower women and young girls to follow their dreams in typically male dominated trades.

“The struggle she [Jessi] has gone through as a female in this industry [trades] is exactly where I am with the steps I have to take as a female technician,” said Sana Anderson, 2020 JCF scholarship recipient. “I’m taking this path for my mom and for other women to show them that we don’t need anyone to do anything for us. We are just as capable and skilled to do it. Everything about this scholarship means so much; especially to be recognized as a female.”

“We are so proud of not only the recipients but every woman who stepped up and applied for this scholarship in Jessi’s name,” said Dana Wilke, board member for The Jessi Combs Foundation. “Announcing the 2020 scholarship recipients does not mark the end of our journey with these women. It’s actually the beginning. As an organization, we are committed to connecting, supporting, and growing this community of like-minded women in the trades and we are thrilled to welcome them to the JCF family.”

Founded in 2019, the mission of The Jessi Combs Foundation (comprised of Jessi’s industry friends, family, colleagues, and loved ones) is to educate, inspire, and empower the next generation of trailblazing and stereotype-breaking women. The long-term vision for the Jessi Combs Foundation is to execute this mission through three pillars:

Educate: Trades were important to Jessi, the very vehicle that provided so many opportunities to her. JCF will distribute individual scholarships and in-kind partner donations to educational institutions and learning centers to continually be a driving force behind the next generation of women in trades. Additionally, JCF plans to support live event workshops that keep alive the one-on-one interactions that Jessi loved so much.

Inspire: This will come to life via in-house projects as the foundation looks to continually set new bars and use our voice to shine light and recognition on those whose achievements, talents, and accomplishments inspire others.

Empower: Grants and sponsorships will be the primary tools to support those women with a dream of achieving their own level of greatness and that aligns with the barrier smashing attitude Jessi embodied.

Those interested in learning more about the JCF, supporting or partnering with the Foundation are encouraged to reach out through the contact section on its website: TheJessiCombsFoundation.com. All donations raised will go to The Jessi Combs Foundation and will be used in compliance with the official purpose of the organization.

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