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Taylor Berglund wins $1,000 Women’s Industry Network scholarship

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Taylor Berglund poses with a wrench in her hand at the auto shop.

Because high school had been such a challenge, Berglund didn’t know if college would be a good fit for her, but it has.

Portland Community College student Taylor Berglund has been awarded a national $1,000 Women’s Industry Network (WIN) scholarship, which is given to students enrolled in post-secondary collision repair technology programs.

Berglund, who is currently one of the few women in the Auto Collision Repair Technology Program, will receive complimentary registration to attend the 2021 WIN Educational Conference in Newport Beach, Calif. to network with other female auto collision professionals. The conference will be held next year, due to a coronavirus postponement.

The 18-year-old’s long-term goal is to own her own auto body shop and hopes to encourage women to feel more comfortable while having car work done by employing women as service techs.

“In my experience, it can sometimes be easier for women to talk to other women,” Berglund explained. “It can be more comfortable, because they can avoid being talked down to.”

When she graduated from high school last year, the Oregon Promise scholar didn’t want to spend a lot of time and money on something she wasn’t sure she wanted to do. She planned on taking general education classes at PCC until she knew what to pursue, but discovered the auto collision classes in the catalog, sparking her interest.

Taylor Berglund sands down the door of a car.

Berglund tells other women who might be interested in the automotive repair industry to don’t be afraid to get out there and do it.

“In my family, we have a lot of males in the auto industry, whether in collision or servicing,” Berglund said. “When I came across the auto classes, I thought, ‘This is something really useful, something that everyone has to deal with. I could use it for the rest of my life.'”

Berglund is in good hands with the Auto Collision Repair Technology Program, which features curriculum approved by the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair. It’s facility at the Rock Creek Campus covers approximately 17,000 square feet, and has such toys us as four frame benches and computer measuring systems, two state of the art down draft paint booths and one prep booth.  All of the equipment meets current industry standards, and classes are designed to get students involved in projects that help them understand the most current practices in the industry.

Berglund attended one of the program’s information session and an adviser was able to help her figure out what her classes and schedule would look like. 

“No one in my family has been in college before, so having that support, getting help on what classes to take, made it so much less stressful,” she said. 

Even with this support, Berglund said she was nervous, in part because she had never really used automotive tools before. Before she started the program, Berglund and her dad went shopping to find all the tools she needed.

“Now I have more tools than he has,” Berglund laughed. 

Because high school had been such a challenge, Berglund didn’t know if college would be a good fit for her, but it hasn’t been an issue. In high school, she was in her school’s mostly male martial arts program and was able to succeed. At PCC, Berglund hasn’t missed a beat and has thrived in her training thanks to being able to engage in hands-on practice after lectures to go over what she learned.

 “I had a really hard time in high school,” she remembered. “Athletics kept me on track enough to get the Oregon Promise, but I struggled with school and homework. I was worried about college, that I would have a hard time staying proactive with my homework and keeping up with assignments.

“The (PCC) program is really cool, because it is super hands-on,” she continued. “At first it was weird, but I got to know everyone and found we worked together really well. The instructors are super nice. It is a really fun community. We get to laugh and joke around, but also get the work done.”

Berglund has a message for other women who might be interested in the automotive repair industry.

“If they are interested, they shouldn’t be afraid to get out there,” Berglund said. “Honestly, if you are determined and passionate, it will be worth it.”

About Sarah Rose Evans

Sarah Rose Evans is a graduate of Columbia University's school of the arts, and has been working for Portland Community College since 2015. more »