Marcayla Lutzkanin

  • Diesel Truck, Heavy Equipment & Power Generation

In grade school, she excelled academically. Her school counselor and mom encouraged her to take college-prep courses and attend a “traditional college.” But Marcayla couldn’t ignore her love of trucks and knew a hands-on education was the only path for her.

Now she’s well on her way to earning a dual degree in Diesel Technology and Heavy Equipment along with a bachelor’s in Applied Management. Her goal? To open her own on- and off-highway diesel shop. 


Marcayla Lutzkanin

Q&A with Marcayla


No other diesel schools compare to what Penn College has to offer. The facilities here are state-of-the-art. Plus, my other options were straight tech schools. So, I wouldn’t have an opportunity to get my dual degree in both heavy equipment and diesel. Others just have certifications, not degrees. I also liked the location of Penn College, because it’s not too far away from home and it’s not in a big city.


When I was growing up, my mom worked at a diesel shop as an accountant. So, I was around trucks from an early age. I always liked trucks and knew I wanted to work on trucks. Now I’m working on heavy equipment, too. It was a natural transition. Apart from the undercarriage and the hydraulics, they’re pretty much the same.


I knew I wanted to focus on diesel when I was in sixth grade. I just like trucks. It’s just as simple as that. I like trucks that blow black smoke. When I first applied, I was just interested in diesel. But I live in the coal region so I figured I should also major in heavy equipment.


When I was younger, I always liked taking things apart, like my BMX bike. I’d take it apart and put it back together. If you like tinkering, this might be a path for you. You also need to like diesel, the smells and everything that comes with it. You do have to accept that you’re a lot smaller. For example, the torque wrench I had to use on my engine overhaul is the size of me. Things are heavy, too. You have to give it your all and try and figure out how to make things work.


There are advantages to being small, like I can squeeze into tiny places. For example, I can fit under equipment without putting it on jack stands, which saves time. I’m also able to change sensors on equipment without taking the tracks off because I can fit in between the track and the frame. Others would need to take the time to remove the track.


Even my first semester, all of the guys were chill. I never had any issues. A lot of my classmates call me ‘mom.’ I keep everyone in line. I think everyone is at the point where they realize that I actually know what I’m doing. I don’t pay any attention to what guys say, anyway. I played six years of football. I know how to handle it. You just got to push yourself and prove them wrong.

Mentors who inspire.

Who do you look up to most and why?

We asked Marcayla who she admires most and without hesitation, here's what she said:

"Mr. Sones. He’s a G (greatest of all time). He’s so smart. I can call him any time of the day or night and he’s there. I call him over the summer when I’m having issues with vehicles. He does everything for us. It’s like he’s got like 50 kids. It’s all of us. We’re like his children. He really cares. And it’s not just about schoolwork. He actually cares about your health and well-being. He wants to see everybody succeed and will do anything possible to make that happen."

Faculty & Staff

"Marcayla’s resume is already becoming quite impressive. She seems to have boundless ambition as she eats, breathes, lives, and loves our industry. We are very proud of Marcayla and admittedly envious of her drive and passion. I just gotta say...WOW!"

Mark Sones

Diesel Equipment Technology Instructor 

Full-College Experience

Go Wildcats!

At Penn College, you can chase your love of diesel and heavy equipment and enjoy all the perks that come with the full college experience–just like Marcayla. She’s not just thriving in her courses, she’s also a student senator, president of the Penn College Diesel Performance Club, and a member of the cheerleading squad. 

When class isn't in session, Marcayla lives with her mom and "Nan," her grandmother who is pictured here with the cheer squad.

Guaranteed Momentum
Accelerating learning

Accelerating learning

Penn College's Diesel Performance Club showed off their 1959 B-Model Mack at the 2022 Motorama Speed Show. After last year's event was cancelled due to pandemic concerns, Marcayla and members of the club were excited to return to Harrisburg's Farm Show Complex for this year's exciting event packed with truck and racing enthusiasts. 

Student Experience

"My advice for females entering the diesel and heavy equipment industry is do not listen to the people with negative comments. Always keep your head up and push yourself. You are smart enough and you are strong enough. You can accomplish anything you put your mind to no matter what anybody says to you. You got this; we all do."

Marcayla Lutzkanin


Diesel Truck, Heavy Equipment & Power Generation

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