The Piston Fund:
A Skilled Trades Scholarship for Automotive Study, Technology, & Restoration
A Transparent, Simple Scholarship Process
Interested Students Apply For Scholarships Funds
If you have a strong interest in working with collector cars and plan to enroll or are enrolled in a two- or four-year automotive technology program, we encourage you to apply for a Piston Foundation scholarship.
Our Scholarship Committee Reviews Applicants
Scholarship recipients are selected on the basis of their demonstrated interest in a skilled trade career in collector car restoration and their related experience. Academic record, letters of recommendation, and financial need, also contribute to the selection.
We Stay Connected With Our Scholars
Through mentoring, events, and volunteer opportunities we stay connected with our scholars during school and beyond. For those who want to build a career in collector car restoration, a Piston Academy apprenticeship could be a next step.
Scholarship recipients will be selected on the basis of their demonstrated interest in a skilled trade career in collector car restoration and their related experience, as communicated through their personal statement and video essay. Their academic record, letters of recommendation, and financial need will also contribute to the selection of scholarship recipients.
If selected as a scholarship recipient a student will receive up to $5,000 for an academic year. Awards are for undergraduate study only. Students may apply in each scholarship period they are eligible. A student may receive a scholarship award up to two times.
The scholarship committee responsible for reviewing applications and awarding scholarships is made up of Piston Foundation leadership, select Foundation advisors, and industry partners. All applicants agree to accept scholarship committee decisions as final.
Individuals who have a strong interest in pursuing a career in collector car restoration and service may apply to our automotive trades scholarship program if they meet the following eligibility requirements.
- Be full-time U.S. citizens or permanent residents
- Be a graduating high school senior, high school graduate, GED recipient, or current college undergraduate
- Plan to enroll in undergraduate study at an accredited two- or four-year college or vocational-technical school in the U.S.
- Be pursuing an associate or vocational-technical degree or certification in one of the following skilled trade categories:
- Automotive technology
- Motorsports vehicle technology
- Automotive restoration
- Demonstrate financial need
Application Dates & Deadlines
Piston Fund automotive trades scholarships are awarded once per year.
|Application Open||Application Deadline||Award Announcements|
|Fall 2023||January 1, 2023||Extended to June 30, 2023||July, 2023|
An application period closes at 11:59PM ET on the application deadline date. An application is not considered complete until all required materials have been submitted electronically.
Funds will be distributed in two equal payments made directly to the school. The first payment for Fall semester will be distributed in August 2023 and the second payment for the Spring semester will be distributed in December 2023.
Jan 1, 2023
June 30, 2023
How to Apply
Individuals can apply for a Piston Fund scholarship through our online application.
- Register for an account and verify your email address.
- Complete all application questions.
- Submit a personal statement about your interest in a career working with collector cars. Minimum length is 500 words.
- Submit two letters of recommendation, one of which must be from a non-family teacher, supervisor, or mentor.
- Submit a complete transcript of grades.
- Submit a video essay about you and your interests in collector cars. No rules. Share a project, talk about your favorite cars, or tell us about your dream job. Maximum length is five minutes.
Required Application Materials
The following materials are required to be submitted electronically along with your completed online application before you can be considered for an award.
- Personal statement. Minimum length is 500 words.
- Two letters of recommendation.
- Complete transcript of grades.
- Video essay. Maximum length is five minutes.
Apply for a Piston Fund Scholarship
Our mission is to bring more people into the collector car industry and help them build rewarding careers.
If you plan to enroll or are enrolled in a two- or four-year automotive technology program, have a strong interest in working with collector cars, and meet the eligibility requirements, we encourage you to apply for a Piston Foundation scholarship.
Piston Scholar Stories
Victoria Bruno Is Turning Her Hobby Into a Career
In the “olden” days it might have surprised most people in the collector car world to meet a woman who had the same passion as they had for restoring cars and their engines. But, these are different times. Barriers have been knocked down and Victoria Bruno is part of a new generation of skilled technicians.
Piston Scholar Sean Whetstone is Dreaming of Collector Cars
Many of us are inspired at an early age to pursue a dream career. Fewer of us turn our inspiration into a reality. Sean Whetstone, 22, of Fort Collins, Colorado, is one of those individuals—a first generation “car guy” who knew his calling long before he purchased a 1966 Corvair to restore at the age of 17.
Jacob Koehn Shifts from Finance To a Restoration Career
Not all college students are in their teens or early 20s. Some return to higher education after years at “regular” jobs that don’t satisfy their need for personal accomplishment. Jacob Koehn took that turn into auto restoration and a Piston Scholarship helped him.
Piston Scholar Edwin Buiter Steps into Car Restoration
Edwin Buiter, of Ireton, Iowa, is an inaugural recipient of a Piston Scholarship and a student at McPherson College, at just 20 years old, has a collection of four classic cars and proudly and happily works on each of them. While he doesn’t have the budget of most classic car owners, he says, “cars are my passion and I make sacrifices in my life in order to own and maintain my vehicles.”
Piston Scholar Ethan Heck is Off to the Races
21-year-old Ethan Heck is a student at Lanier Technical College in Gainesville, Georgia, enrolled in the Motorsports Vehicle Technology program. While most recipients of the inaugural Piston Scholarships focus primarily on acquiring the skills to restore and/or work on classic and older cars, Ethan “stumbled across videos of stage rallying on the Internet,” at a young age and instantly knew he wanted to be a racing mechanic.
Piston Scholar Zoe Carmichael Loves Her Volkswagen
Zoe Carmichael, 27, is on the verge of turning her knack for repairing her beloved Volkswagen into a restoration profession. She is a non-traditional student at McPherson College and one of the inaugural recipients of the Piston Fund Scholarships in 2022 for students who wish to pursue hands-on careers in the collector car industry.
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