Incoming Freshman Advances to National Automotive Competition

Published 03.09.2009

Student News

Bryan SchaeferA Pennsylvania College of Technology enrollee shared top honors with his Jersey Shore Area High School teammate in the recent Pennsylvania Automotive Association Foundation-sponsored competition in Harrisburg.

Bryan Schaefer, who will start classes as an automotive technology major at Penn College in the fall, and Johnathan Nyman advance to the 2009 National Automotive Technology Competition, to be held April 10-19 in New York. They will be joined by their instructor, Robert Vlachich, at the industry's largest school-to-work initiative, which pits the nation's best high school automotive students against one another for the title of "America's Top Technician."

As the first-place central Pennsylvania team, Nyman and Schaefer received a $2,000 scholarship from the PAA Foundation and a tool chest from industry sponsor Wurth. Schaefer is the son of William H. Schaefer Jr., an assistant professor of automotive technology and a 2000 Excellence in Teaching honoree at Penn College.

"In addition to the valuable prizes and scholarships that these students win, the National Automotive Technology Competition is a tremendous opportunity for some of the best students in America to be introduced to various automobile manufacturers, auto dealers, auto industry suppliers and college recruiters," said Anne Shuman, vice president and executive director of the PAA Foundation. "These students represent the future of the industry and will become the single most important link between the manufacturer and the consumer."

Twenty students were selected for the Pennsylvania competition through a written qualifying exam, in which a pool of 95 students from 17 schools participated.

Nyman and Schaefer worked with K&L Auto Sales in Mill Hall to prepare for the state competition, which was held March 4. During the competition, each team of students was assigned an automobile that was rigged to malfunction. Nyman and Schaefer worked on a 2009 Jeep Compass.

Thanks to the generous support of local dealerships and industry suppliers, prizes were awarded to each of the competing teams. The PAA Foundation also awarded scholarships to the students from the top three winning teams to further their education in an automotive technology program at the postsecondary school of their choice.

The PAAF, which has awarded more than $840,000 in scholarships in the past four years, focuses on attracting and training qualified young people to work in the new retail automotive industry in Pennsylvania.

"With the increasing use of sophisticated technology in cars today, as well as an aging work population, it's critical that the automobile industry attracts talented, young minds into this business," Shuman said.

For more information about the School of Transportation Technology, visit online or call (570) 327-4516. For more information about Penn College, visit on the Web , e-mail or call toll-free (800) 367-9222.