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PCC Student Finds Success… Under the Hood
Story by Christina Holmes. Photos by Jerry Hart
Ask Shane Scott about his dream car and he smiles and quickly answers. “A ’65 Pontiac GTO. Black or dark blue will do. I’d also take a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle.”
Armed with a new associate degree in automotive service and a promising career, owning such a car is within reach for Scott, a 28-year-old single father of two who began taking classes at PCC in 2005. He recently completed the rigorous academic program that allowed him to attend school in the mornings and to work as an automotive technician at Ron Tonkin Toyota in Portland in the afternoons.
“I feel a lot more comfortable working on customers’ cars because of the training at PCC,” he said.
A car buff who first popped the hood at age 10, Scott originally looked at automotive repairs strictly as a hobby. Instead he went into construction – namely residential remodels and roofing repairs.
But after years of physical labor Scott wanted another career. He heard about PCC’s program but worried he couldn’t afford the tuition and fees. Then he researched financial aid options and soon learned he was eligible for assistance.
“The whole process was a lot easier than I thought it would be,” said Scott, adding that he’s a role model for his own children as he returned to school in his mid-20s, showing them the importance of education.
The PCC Foundation recently awarded Scott the Angelina and Pete Costanzo Vocational Scholarship Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, given annually to students who show academic achievement and master technical skills.
“Shane is a very good student and he works hard to understand the subjects at hand. He’s always lending a helping hand to students who might be struggling with lab projects,” said automotive technology instructor Russ Jones, who refers to the 6-foot-8-inch Scott as the gentle giant. “He’s the perfect example of how quickly someone can come into a professional/technical program and be well on their way to a great career.”
Scott was impressed with the entire PCC program and appreciated the focus on using computers and other electronic equipment to diagnose automotive problems. “For someone like me who’s not a computer person, I thought it would be hard to use them when it came to cars. But my instructors were so good at explaining how to use them and now I feel very comfortable around computers,” said Scott. “I still use my hands to fix the cars but have a big box of tools to help me.”
He typically works on Hondas and Toyotas, overhauling engines and transmissions, replacing clutches and repairing electrical and mechanical systems.
“I like to see a difference in what I’m doing. When a car gets pushed in because it’s not running and then I work on it and drive it out – well, that’s very exciting,” he said.