For DonorsFor Applicants

Slater Miller Memorial Fund

Funded by
Picture of the donor
Miller Family
5 winners, $246 each
Application Deadline
Oct 19, 2024
Winners Announced
Nov 19, 2024
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
Trade school student
Financial Status:
Non-profit or volunteering experience

Slater Miller was a beloved nephew who passed away too soon.

Slater was a machinist who graduated from the Minneapolis Community and Technical College in Minnesota. Slater was passionate about social issues, standing up for what’s right, and ultimately helping others. 

This scholarship seeks to honor the life of Slater Miller by supporting trade school students with financial need. 

Any trade school student who is low-income and has non-profit and/or volunteering experience may apply for this scholarship. 

To apply, tell us why you want to pursue a career in the trades and what social causes you care about.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published February 27, 2024
Essay Topic

Why did you choose to pursue a career in the trades? What social causes do you care about and why?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Amanda Villa
Victor Valley CollegeApple Valley, CA
For me it's not just a career that I am pursuing its my passion. I have always loved all things automotive, so when I decided it was time to go back to school I also decided I would change careers and fallow my passion instead. My favorite part of automotive is there's so many different ways to turn my love of cars into a career. Being a active member of the offroad community I decided to choose offroad fabrication as my career path with the hopes of one day having my own shop doing everything from recreational offroad vehicles to offroad race cars. Although I knew alot about cars and fixing them I knew I needed a proper education. I also knew that going into offroad fabrication I would need to learn how to weld, so I am currently going to school for both automotive and welding. I am glad I made this choice because I really enjoy doing both so for me it's not working hard to reach my career goals but it's doing something I love everyday to be able to achieve my goals. One social issue that is really close to my heart for many reason is our Vetrens and the lasting effect war has on them when they return from war. Be it a physical effect from injuries why deployed or a mental battle they have after, they need to have more resources available to them. They fought for our freedom so after they get home we should fight for them. Our offroad club has several vetrens from different branches of military and we also take part in events like 4wheel for vets where we take a group of disabled vets on trail rides either helping the through in their own vehicle or thoes that don't drive get to ride in our rigs. One major reason this is very important to me is that my fiance, and owner of our offroad club, was an army vet. He was the most wonderful father to my kids, and was even going to adopt my daughter, who's dad bailed on us when she was 6 months. We lost him on March 15, 2022, the day before my daughter's 6th birthday. He had alot of heath issues both physical and mental from war and his humvee being blown up. He struggled with PTSD, and had lasting medical issue he would have to fight with the VA to do anything about this. He had a pace maker put I'm after having a heart attack over a year ago, which was caused by medical issues from the war. The night he passed I was at school until 9pm and he was home with my daughter, I got home to find her crying and scared and him face down. His pace maker had failed causing him to have another heart attack. He had been fighting with the VA for a couple months telling them he thought there was still something wrong, but they hadn't done anything about it. Now he's gone, and it has pushed me to fight even harder for veteran resources, while also trying to hold our family together and finish school but it's been very hard financially with losing our only source of income.
Carrie Jones
University of Cincinnati-Main CampusCincinnati, OH
First and foremost, I would like to thank you for the generosity of the “Slater Miller Memorial Fund” administered by the Miller Family to offer this phenomenal opportunity to 2022 scholastic candidates! I would also like to extend congratulations to your organization for accomplishing great feats and soaring unparalleled heights in the automotive industry for students, educators, and organizations. I am applying to the “Slater Miller Memorial Fund” as a quantum leap to catapult change in the landscape of the City of Cincinnati and the State of Ohio – one life at a time, starting with my very own. In the spirit of Slater Miller, it is my utmost desire to study in the living legacy of inventors, and engineers who pioneered and rebranded the United States via a trade - the auto industry. Although women are almost half of the US labor force, they represent just over one-quarter of the Automotive Workforce. In 2020: Women held 26.1% of jobs in the motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment manufacturing industry. Women of color made up a fraction of employees in the industry: Black women: 6.2% Asian women: 1.7%  Latinas: 3.1%  White women: 17.5% Women were 21.1% of automobile dealers and 9.0% of automotive repair and maintenance employees ( The social causes I care about and intend to address are wage disparity, equity, inclusion, and representation in underrepresented fields. Therefore, as a double minority, enrolled in Cincinnati State Technical and Community College’s Pre-Business Administration Program for Accelerated Summer Session 2022 seeking a trade as Automotive Technician starting in Fall 2022 to break barriers, shatter glass ceilings and demystify socio-economical stigmas about women in business and automotive industry. As a double minority in the United States of America, I embody the “American Dream” by electing to harness the reigns of education in underrepresented fields in pursuit of liberty, opportunity, prosperity, and success through education despite my gender, race, socio-economic status or circumstances at birth, as a first-generation student, by choosing to attend college to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree with a specialized trade as a female automotive technician through innovation, technology, engineering, and business. I am currently a participating member of the Honors Program, Trio Program, and Collegiate Writing Club. I look forward to working with Miller Family, as an exemplary student and candidate of honor, shortly to enhance the lives of individuals, families, and businesses - nationwide. Thank you in advance for your scholastic investment, Carrie M. Jones
Matthew Spiccioli
Johnson CollegeKingston, PA
Graduating from High School was a very scary thought and idea for me. Where was I going to go? What was I going to do? How would my life have changed after 4 years of being in school? Well, fast forward a year later and I am enrolled in a trade school. So why did I decide to attend a trade school? I was never really excited or enthusiastic when college would be brought up by my friends and family. I just couldn’t see myself going to school for another 4 years, and studying something I knew I would have no interest in. Growing up, my father was always doing projects around the house and really enjoyed working with his hands, and I think that really interested me. Another contributing factor to my interest in the trades was the ability to start working at such a young age. Most degrees and careers that people go to study in typical college require a minimum of 4 years whereas a trade school is typically 2 years, like the one I am currently attending. To me, the comparison in time and money was a very big consideration. I also attended a Catholic High School, where blue collar work was not promoted or encouraged. Many public schools have the opportunity for students to take shop classes or co-op programs, whereas a Catholic school does not. I personally think that it is unfair, because not every student who attends a Catholic school, plans on attending a college afterwards. After all of these considerations and thoughts, I enrolled in a local trade school. As far as what trade I am studying one may ask? Electrical. Why am electrical? Well, after some research and conversation with family friends who are electricians, I decided that it would be for me. Electricians in my opinion are one of the highest paying trade jobs there are, and one of the most in demand. I think that studying electricity and how it works is complex, which makes me want to further investigate as to how things actually work, and why things happen the way they do. I see myself being an electrician for the rest of my life and I feel confident and proud to say it. I would recommend the trades or blue collar work in general to anyone, especially if you are like me and like to work with your hands. The opportunities are endless, and the demand for these jobs are higher than they ever were before. Now is the time to get into this industry, and to continue it for the generations to come.
Phineas Porter
Career College of Northern NevadaReno, NV
When you learn how to become a welder, you aren’t just setting yourself up for one type of job. Upon your graduation, you’ll be qualified to work as a professional welder in a variety of industries. Fields in which you could have a career after you’ve earned your education include: Construction Energy Oil and gas Manufacturing Automotive Industrial maintenance I chose a career in welding because it’s easy to get into with a two year certification program and no prior experience. There’s a huge demand for welders and it’s easy to climb the ladder It pays well. Entry-level welders earn $40,000 a year on average, and the increase continues regularly, up to between $50,000 to $500,000 with experience in a good field. You can travel the world as a welder. It’s easy to pick up side work if you need extra income. It’s easy to start your own business. It’s enjoyable work. You learn valuable skills to use outside work.The welding industry is so diverse with a wide variety of jobs, such as working on bridges, buildings, pressure vessels, and heat exchangers, to name a few. Additionally, there are opportunities available across many exciting industries, including construction, engineering, automobile, and aerospace. Welding is a very rewarding and challenging career that is extremely important for industry and construction. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates welding jobs will grow 4% over the next several years. This means there will be plenty of job opportunities to choose from. Welders don’t have to worry about being stuck in a cubicle. While the working conditions are often physically demanding, those who enjoy working in various settings, both indoors and outdoors, enjoy working at different locations. As a welder, I can help with social causes such as poverty and homelessness by volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. To build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter, Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that helps families build and improve places to call home. They believe affordable housing plays a critical role in strong and stable communities. Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. It partners with people in your community, and all over the world, to help them build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. With my support, Habitat homeowners achieve the strength, stability and independence they need to build a better life for themselves and for their families. Through their 2020 Strategic Plan, Habitat for Humanity will serve more people than ever before through decent and affordable housing.
Lisamarie Davis
New England Tractor Trailer Training School of ConnecticutNewington, CT
Lorenz Anderson
Santa Fe CollegeGainesville, FL
Human beings are innately resilient creatures. I have faced numerous battles throughout my life, overcoming obstacles and evolving as new challenges arise. Resilience empowers me to fight; adaptability allows me to adjust to ever-changing circumstances; furthermore, accountability anchors my drive to take responsibility for my choices. I was left to survive independently in my youth; the cruel fate of cancer robbed me of both parents, leaving me to navigate this world on my own. I was ten when my mother, my sole refuge in this world, succumbed to the ravages of breast cancer.       Helpless, I watched as she withered away before my eyes. I was there when she was clinging to the toilet, puking her guts from the radiation treatments. She braved the trials of chemotherapy and radiation, but in the end, the cancer virus overpowered her, eroding her essence until she was a memory. My father passed from prostate cancer two years later, unlike most peers who can rely on their parents for support. I am the support system emotionally, physically, and financially.       Many take housing for granted the ability to come home to a warm cook meal or simply turn the key to unlock your personalized sanctuary. In America, we are facing a homelessness crisis with limited housing supply. I am pursuing a Construction Management degree at Santa Fe College to be able to start a construction business; However, my long-term goal is to create a trade apprenticeship school.             Skills and trades are essential for our success in today's society, but many lack access to the education and training we need to thrive. Previous generations were lucky enough to attend high schools that provided apprenticeship courses in various trades, such as Woodshop, electrical, plumbing, and auto mechanics. These skills provided them with employment or entrepreneurship opportunities that allowed them to support their families and communities. I believe that it is essential to have transferable job skills to succeed. We must create opportunities for education and training in skilled trades that can lead to employment and entrepreneurship. I'm determined to establish a trade apprenticeship school, providing access to the skills and knowledge to empower communities and create substantial economic change.      I am a product of public housing; the harsh realities of living in low-income developments every day was survival of the fittest I survived shootouts, domestic violence, drugs, and mental health disorders that plagued my community, bearing witness to drugs that destroyed families forcing children to turn to gun violence, leaving them to turn to gangs for a false sense of family security. I watched many in my community bleed out on the concrete streets. While some overdosed, hunched over against the brick buildings. Yet, they did not own a street or brick. They left no generational wealth, only section 8 vouchers of misery.       However, on the other side of that coin, I saw fierce mothers protecting and providing for their children, making daily sacrifices to place food on the table. My community's survival boot camp environment molded the individual I am today. My adversities and real-life experiences in low-income public housing allow me to witness society's worst attributes and, yet, the true beauty of the resilience of humanity.       For me, it's not merely about offering individuals the opportunity of homeownership at an affordable rate but also providing employment opportunities for individuals like myself, who are often left with few options. I would like to be able to help those who might have lost their way on the path to their dreams. I aim to create real economic change in communities, transforming the narrative from survival to thriving.
Derek Otter
Summit CollegeSantee, CA
In the vast landscape of career choices, I stumbled upon welding, and little did I know that this discovery would ignite a flame of passion within me. Now, as I embark on my journey as a beginner welder, I seek your support through a welding grant that will enable me to explore and develop my skills in this dynamic field. This essay delves into my reasons for choosing welding, my aspirations for the future, and how this grant will play a pivotal role in shaping my professional growth. As I ventured into the world of welding, I quickly realized that it is more than just a trade; it is an art form and a technical skill that demands precision and creativity. The ability to take raw materials and transform them into functional structures or artistic pieces spoke to my innate desire to create and shape tangible objects with my hands. Welding offers a world of possibilities, from constructing towering skyscrapers to crafting intricate sculptures that evoke emotions. Having researched various career paths, I discovered that welding is a rapidly evolving industry, with vast opportunities in manufacturing, construction, and even aerospace. The demand for skilled welders continues to grow, making it a field of immense potential for personal and financial growth. Additionally, welding's portability and versatility excite me, as it provides opportunities to work on diverse projects in different locations, further enriching my experiences and skills. As a beginner in welding, I understand that this path will not be without challenges. However, I am prepared to invest time and effort to learn and master the techniques required to become a proficient welder. This welding grant will offer me access to top-notch training programs, workshops, and educational resources. By immersing myself in these opportunities, I can enhance my technical skills, broaden my understanding of industry practices, and stay updated on the latest welding technologies. Moreover, this grant will provide me with the chance to work with experienced mentors and peers, fostering a supportive learning environment that will fuel my progress. With this welding grant, I envision forging a path toward a fulfilling and successful future. My immediate goal is to obtain industry-recognized certifications that will attest to my expertise and dedication to welding. I also plan to gain practical experience through internships and apprenticeships, which will equip me with real-world knowledge and problem-solving abilities. Moreover, I am determined to contribute to my community through my welding skills. From supporting local construction projects to collaborating with artists in creating public sculptures, I want to use welding as a means to give back and make a positive impact. In conclusion, my journey as a beginner welder is just beginning, and I am eager to embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Welding is not merely a job; it is a passion that fuels my desire to create, learn, and grow. The support provided by this welding grant will play a transformative role in shaping my future as a skilled welder, allowing me to pursue my aspirations and contribute meaningfully to society. I sincerely thank you for considering my application for this welding grant and investing in my dreams of becoming a proficient welder. From the moment I held a welding torch in my hands, I was captivated by the transformative power of fusing metals. Now, as I embark on my journey as a beginner welder, I seek your support through a welding grant that will enable me to explore and develop my skills in this dynamic field. Thank you, Derek Otter
DeMarques Alexander Dixon
Pittsburgh Institute of AeronauticsNewark, DE
Early in my childhood, I was taught only two things when I lived in the hood, “Don’t get caught and if you do, don’t fold.”. Often I kept myself busy as a youth doing bad stuff in the streets with my friends, but all I knew, being a 12 year old, was that if I ever get caught, the time won’t be too much because I was under 18. And at the time, Juvenile Detention was just a playground for more bad kids like me, so it wasn’t anything to be afraid of. But a switch clicked in my head when my best friend’s dad died when I was 17. He would always show us his cool projects he would be working on with the cars he had in his garage. I remember one time, the jack almost broke under the car, and I was under it. That was definitely a memory to keep, but my best friend's dad saved my life by pulling me out from under the car as soon as he saw it happen. Not a day goes by that I’m not working hard in school, on my car, or in athletics, and I thank the mentality I have to allow me to do so. I remember one thing he told us both, was that if we ever decide to be an engineer, that we should be our own vision of an engineer and have our own method. He said, if you become and stay an oddball you’ll have the better chance of standing out in front of big companies, and if you work there you have the better chance of making real changes and leaving your mark in history. With that said, I told myself after I graduate high school that I’ll learn a trade. I was never keen for a behind the desk job anyway so it was either a trade or the military, so I chose a trade. The first school I applied to was Williamson College of Trades, there were a lot of people who decided to apply the year I did, sadly I didn’t get in, but I didn’t let that faze me. I started researching the Air Force and the different jobs that they offered. I noticed applying to PIA, an aviation technical trade school, that if I were to get my degree from there and then apply to the Air Force then I would automatically become an officer or even have a higher rank because I’m already FAA certified. There are many social issues in the world, but I feel that the lack of proper education in Inner-city schools comes unfairly unspoken about it. I’ve noticed firsthand the difference between Inner-city and Suburban schools. Inner-city institutions fail to care about the evolution of their students and the importance of having teachers that care and teach for students to retain and learn, rather than just showing slideshows, collecting their paycheck and calling it a day. In order to have the proper teachers, schools have to have the proper funding to be able to hire teachers with more experience, and in order to do that they have to be given more money from either city funding, sponsors or government agencies.
Austin Waggoner
Midwest Technical Institute-East PeoriaPekin, IL
I, austin waggoner, am pursuing this trade for the purpose of offering affordable help in the field. As most people are aware, trade jobs pay well at the expense of the customer. I hope to use my skills to volunteer my time and resources that I can spare for low income families such as my own. I will work for a company who pay moderately as most company's in this trade do, and on the side offer services to those who are not as well off as the clients I service with the company. In times of need, I will be the guy they want to call due to my persistence, and ambition to do the job efficiently, and effectively. I have always been a tinker whilst growing up, and never truly stopped. I hope to expand to other forms of education such as a more in depth education in electrical, plumbing and metal work to harness more skills, and techniques to improve myself. As all people though I do have end goals. My end goal for a career in hvac would be a hobby in the end strictly to help those less fortunate than I. I have an incredibly and Insatiable lust for hvac as it truly Caters to my need to help others and keeps my mind occupied as it often wonders while idle. While it may be considered selfish to join a career for the sake of praise, this is not my only reason. I have always had an affinity to the arts such as wood, metal ceramic or mixed media. I find hvac to be a great use of my artistic skills as a lot of metal work such as galvanized sheet metal is used in ductwork. This ductwork I find myself to be especially great in, incorporates my artistic abilities. Aside from my artsy side, I do have a Mechanical aspect to myself. I have always had a love of vehicles and maintaining them. This aspect I find to be very inclusive with my hvac skills. Not only do my passions improve my skill in this field, my upbringing has been a big part of my artistic and Mechanical prowess. I was raised adopted into my great aunts family. She is a single mom who raised my father, my uncle, my siblings, and myself. My Mother grew up in the exact situation I grew up in and learned to be independent at a very young age. She learned how to work on her car and fix electrical and repair problems to save money. These skills she learned became the skills that I learned and involved me in the world of trade. Without my upbringing I do not believe I would have ever even thought about hvac, or Mechanical, or even trade work in general. She became my inspiration to better myself and in turn better the people around me with the skills I have to offer this trade field. I truly appreciate the chance to get this scholarship and to possibly honor slater Miller. Thank you for the opportunity.
Noname Yang
Saint Paul CollegeSaint Paul, MN


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Oct 19, 2024. Winners will be announced on Nov 19, 2024.