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15 exceptional students across MS receive automotive manufacturing scholarships

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A total of fifteen scholarships were awarded for the Mississippi Automotive Manufacturers Association (MAMA) 2021-2022 academic year to community college and university students interested in pursuing a career in the automotive manufacturing industry.

Since 2006, MAMA has supported the growth of a strong workforce essential to the health of all industries in the state by awarding more than $280,000 in scholarships to technical and engineering-related majors, as well as non-traditional majors, that can be applied in the automotive industry. Along with the scholarship, recipients will also receive one on one mentoring from a MAMA member in their region and the opportunity to participate in job skills workshops.

MAMA serves it members by promoting growth, development, and improvement in the automotive industry in Mississippi, as well as serving as a forum for interaction among automotive manufacturing companies in the state. In extending his congratulations, Kevin Burgess, MAMA’s President, said, “MAMA provides scholarships for ambitious students with an interest in an Automotive career to become the next leaders of our industry. I congratulate this group of excellent students who received this year’s Mississippi Automotive Manufacturers Association Scholarships, and wish them success in completing their degree, followed by a successful start in our industry!”

2021-2022 MAMA Scholarship candidates:

Community College Winners

  • Tyler Boothroyd is a sophomore at East Mississippi Community College majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Tyler has certifications and licenses in MCTC Automotive, including Drivetrain, Engine Repair, Service and Safety on, as well as Ignition Program on and Automatic Transmission and Transaxle on He has had automotive/mechanical training from August 2018 to May 2020. In addition to his passion for cars, Tyler was a National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) Member and an Eagle Scout.
  • Rokeyvis Dotson, a junior at Hinds Community College, is studying Diesel Technology. He is a Certified Auto Mechanic, Licensed MIG Welder and has his Commercial Driver’s License. Time spent driving a semi-truck taught him the importance of maintenance so that his vehicle was road ready to provide a steady income stream. Rokeyvis has had a lifetime passion for auto mechanics beginning around the age of eight. His goal is to own his own fleet of semi-trucks. In his letter of recommendation, one of Dotson’s instructors stated, “He is passionate about Diesel Equipment and has been willing and eager to learn more about the industry. Rokeyvis is the father to 5 children. His children are his motivational force pushing him forward at this time. He informed that he wants to leave a legacy for his children to look up to.”
  • Tim Zwiers is a sophomore enrolled at Hinds Community College majoring in Automotive Technology. He currently works at Midas Auto Service in Ridgeland during the day and attends classes at night. His experiences as a Tire and Alignment Technician and an ATV Repair Intern have helped him excel in the classroom. His first words were “nice car.” Tim plans to start his career as a mechanic and eventually move into the design and manufacture of automobiles or their parts. Along the way he hopes to have his own project car. According to his instructor, “Tim always had a smile on his face and was willing to do whatever was asked of him. He was a very responsible young man who treated everyone with respect.”

University Student Winners

  • Tyler Blaylock is a junior majoring in Computer Science at the University of Mississippi with emphasis in manufacturing at the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence. Tyler has his Toyota Production System Certification and serves as a Center for Manufacturing Excellence Ambassador. Blaylock served as an IT intern this summer at Milwaukee Tool in Jackson, MS. He is an Ole Miss Rocket Rebels member, a student in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, a Brevard Scholar, a Comcast Scholar, and a UM 1848 Scholar. Currently, Blaylock works as a Marketing and Media Coordinator for several businesses and is owner of Tyler Blaylock Photography, LLC.
  • Kristopher J. Bond is a senior Business Administration major at Mississippi Valley State University where he serves as Vice President of the Student Government Association, as a Student Ambassador, as a University Trailblazer, and as the Student Assistant to the Vice President of Student Affairs. Kristopher has recently completed an internship with the American Honda Motor Company in Marysville, Ohio, and has worked as a Customs Trade Agent-College Connections participant with FedEx Logistics. A Thurgood Marshall College Fund Leadership Institute Scholar, 100 Black Men of America-Greater Montgomery Chapter Student Social Impact Micro Grant Recipient, and President’s List and Distinguished Scholar, Bond finds that the most interesting part of the automotive industry is marketing and design.
  • Ciara Brewer, a senior at Mississippi State University in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a 3.94 GPA, is an All-Mississippi Academic Team Scholar and a NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar. She was awarded an Engineering and Technical Science Achievement Scholarship and was recognized in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Who’s Who. Ciara has received the Phi Theta Kappa Distinguished Chapter Member Award and the Phi Theta Kappa Golden Key Award. Currently a co-op Distribution Engineer for Mississippi Power Company, Brewer chooses to be an advocate for safety, efficiency, and accessibility and wants to pave the way for advancements for the autonomous car.
  • Oluwatosin Dahunsi is currently enrolled as a senior at Alcorn State University in Electromechanical Engineering Technology. Oluwatosin has had one goal in mind since he was ten – to be an automotive engineer! He has served as a student intern at NFI Industries in the operations department and as a student intern and a research assistant in the Advanced Technologies Department at ASU where some of his activities included organizing educational STEM events for more than 1,000 high school students across Mississippi. He also constructed four different robots and two drones for a robotics showcase in Seattle, Washington. Dahunsi is a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and serves as an Executive Member for the Alcorn Chapter of NSBE. He participated in the Virtual Jumpstart Undergrad Diversity Forum, as well as the Goldman Sachs’ 2020 HBCU Possibilities Summit. Oluwatosin currently serves as a Jopwell Alcorn State University Ambassador.
  • Anna Grace Dickerson is a junior at Mississippi State University majoring in Computer Science. A member of the Mississippi State Shackouls Honors College, Anna Grace has maintained a 4.0 GPA. She received a Colvard Future Leadership Scholarship and a Freshman Academic Scholarship. She works as an intern at Sandia National Laboratories, assisting the Operations Research and Computational Analysis Department in developing and testing software products in areas of optimization, data querying and analysis, and knowledge management. Dickerson is most passionate about the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and believes that what the car industry needs now is more computer scientists.
  • Jordan Hundley is a senior Information/Industrial Technology major enrolled at Jackson State University. Jordan, a President List Award recipient, is active in Airforce ROTC. He was chosen as Airforce Cadet of the Year in 2020 and Mr. Airforce ROTC 2020. Hundley is a recipient of a You Can Fly Scholarship and served as an intern at the NOAA Cooperative Science Center in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology. According to an instructor, Jordan pays strong attention to detail and has strong analytical skills. Repaying the sacrifices his single mother has made for him is a strong motivator. With that in mind, he would like to be an entrepreneur and give back to his mother and his community.
  • Don Min (Ethan) Kang is a junior at Mississippi State University majoring in Industrial and Systems Engineering. He has served on the EcoCAR Project Management and Human Machine Interface Sub-Teams at the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS) for two years. Ethan also participated in a Virtual Exchange Program Sustainable Humanitarian Engineering Class that collaborated with French students to create a simulation of increasing agricultural production in the Vakinankaratra region of Madagascar. Along with his studies, Kang serves as a Resident Assistant for MSU’s Housing and Residence Life. Ethan’s involvement in the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge played the most significant role for him to jumpstart the necessary knowledge to carry on his stepfather’s 40-year legacy of project and operational management.
  • Mason Koons, a Chancellor’s Honor Roll student at the University of Mississippi, is a senior majoring in Accounting and minoring in Managerial Finance and Manufacturing at the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence. Mason is a recipient of a Toyota-Haley Barbour Scholarship and a Lucian Minor General Accounting Scholarship. Mason believes that constantly improving logistics is the best way for auto companies to remain competitive with consumers. He hopes to put his experience as the Treasurer of the Ole Miss Chapter of Beta Upsilon Chi National Fraternity, along with the skills he has gained as a Warehouse Specialist and a Receiving and Inventory Clerk, to work as he pursues a career in automobile manufacturing.
  • Madison Oglesby is a junior Mechanical Engineering major at Mississippi State University. A member of Magnolia Heights High School National Honor Society, Madison also excelled at Northwest Community College where she was a member of Gamma Beta Phi, Mu Alpha Theta and treasurer of the American Chemical Society. One of Madison’s mentors described her this way, “Madison is very intelligent. She grasped difficult concepts easily and was able to master the most difficult concepts.” Madison would like to build a more efficient vehicle for the environment and the people who use it.
  • Riley Phillips, a senior Mechanical Engineering major at Mississippi State University, has laid out his post graduate plan, “I look to be an engineering manager who will help coordinate projects, such as upgrading manufacturing processes or bringing in newly developed processes, using lean manufacturing techniques to better production and manufacturing for an automotive or automotive parts company.” Riley has completed a quality engineering co-op with Borg Warner and served as a United States Senate Intern. Phillips believes basic 3D printing/additive manufacturing advances will benefit the people of Mississippi more than the electric market surge.
  • Emily Robinson is a junior enrolled at the University of Mississippi majoring in Mechanical Engineering. She is currently working in a co-op position as a Quality Engineer at Nissan North America in Canton, Mississippi. For Emily, working in automotive manufacturing is personal, “At the age of 18, when a close friend of mine passed away in a car accident, I solidified my decision to be involved in automotive manufacturing that valued quality and safety design.” Robinson has been presented with the National Center for Women in Technology State Award for being a leader in the community as well as encouraging young women to seek out their curiosity for STEM related subjects and has worked as a teacher at a STEM camp at Tugaloo College for elementary girls interested in robotics and coding.
  • Jaylin R. Smith is a senior President’s Scholar and Mass Communications major at Mississippi Valley State University. Jaylin’s interest in the automotive industry is concentrated on the human resources and communications sectors. A radio personality on MVSU’s collegiate radio station, she has spent hours recording and producing shows, holiday specials, and public service announcements. Smith is a Captain of the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge, an Augusta C. White Scholarship Recipient, a member of the Student Alumni Association, the Director of The Culture of Manhood, a Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) Scholarship Recipient, and an Instituto De Cultura Y Lengua Costarricense (Costa Rica Institute of Culture and Language) Scholar.

Click here to learn more about the MAMA Scholarship program.

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