Taking a few moments to celebrate the Les Schwab scholarships are Carie Camacho, Lassen Community College interim superintendent/president; student Ciara Jinks, Matthew Bergseng, manager of Les Schwab, Susanville; student Nathan Smeltzer; and Chad Lewis, director of LCC’s automotive technology program. Photos submitted

Les Schwab awards scholarships to two LCC students

Chad Lewis, director of the LCC Automotive Technology Department, student Ciara Jinks and Matthew Bergeng, manager of Les Schwab, Susanville ponder Jink’s latest automotive project.

Two students — Ciara Jinks and Nathan Smeltzer — with the Lassen Community College Automotive Technology program, recently received $500 scholarships from Les Schwab, Susanville. Both students are freshmen pursuing an associate’s degree in automotive technology.

The Les Schwab Legacy Scholarship program is a partnership between the LCC Automotive Technology program and the local Les Schwab store in Susanville. The focus of the program is to provide financial assistance to LCC students pursuing a career in the automotive industry that display characteristics embodied by the Les Schwab brand; family, hard work and providing opportunities for growth and success. The program will be available to one Lassen High School senior this spring.

Jinks began her college career in 2011 but had to pause to take on other roles. The mother of two grew up watching her dad and grandfather working on their vehicles and rebuilding classics. Her dad gifted her a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air that she plans to fully-restore. Since returning to LCC, she has completed more than half of her automotive classes and by the spring of 2023, she will have completed her core classes. She is on track to graduate by spring of 2024 and plans to pursue a career in the automotive industry.

Chad Lewis, director of the LCC Automotive Technology Department, Matthew Bergeng, manager of Les Schwab, Susanville and student Nathan Smeltzer survey an automotive project.

Smeltzer, a native of Loyalton, California, and a car enthusiast, visited the campus and met with Chad Lewis, director of the LCC Automotive Technology Department for a tour of the auto shop last spring. He moved into the dorms in August and enrolled as a full-time student. After he earns his A.S., he plans to pursue a career in the automotive industry as a mechanic.

“Ciara and Nate are both amazing students and have shown great progress in the LCC Automotive Technology program,” said Lewis. “Nate has already made the move to working in the industry and is employed part-time at a local shop. Ciara has proven her skill as a work-study employee in the automotive technology program.”

Lewis added, “The Les Schwab scholarship will no doubt have a very positive impact on Ciara and Nate’s educational goals. A big thank you to Les Schwab of Susanville for this opportunity for our students. We will be able to award another Les Schwab scholarship in the spring semester thanks to their generosity.”

The LCC automotive technology program teaches students the necessary skills to acquire an entry-level position in the automotive industry such as service management, fleet repair, mechanics, parts and service writing. The program also assists those already employed in the industry who want to improve their skills. Students have access to a fully equipped auto shop, hands-on training, and one-on-one instruction.

About Les Schwab Tire Centers
Les Schwab Tire Centers is one of the leading independent tire dealers in the United States, with more than 7,000 employees and 500 locations across Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming.