March 30, 2021 – “I’ve been interested in cars since I was a little girl. I was always excited to buy Hot Wheels. Whenever they had the “boys and girls” toys at McDonald’s, I always picked the Hot Wheels. There was a little collision shop that I would pass by as a kid. I’d see these cars that were totally destroyed and broken. You wouldn’t even think they were repairable. Then a couple of weeks later they would be back together like brand new and that just amazed me. I look at it like art.
Repairing older cars is a major part of my background. Then I moved on to working on my own vehicles. I got ‘70s and ‘80s Fords, classic trucks, and I would fix them or figure out any issues they had.
Then I joined the automotive program at Santa Fe College. My teacher is Chester Cowart. He’s excellent. He’s very helpful and gets his students engaged. There’s a lot of hands-on so that we understand what we’re doing. I’ve asked Chester for help understanding things and he’s always there to give us another way of thinking about them. My program advisor Tom Mason encouraged me to apply for the Women’s Career and Technical Education Scholarship and I received it. It’s been helpful because money is tight. I feel like the college really wants its students to succeed.
During the program, I worked for a couple of dealerships. Sometimes the industry can be tough because some people don’t necessarily like women being in there. Not everyone is like that. Most people are accepting, but there are certain people who aren’t so that’s been tough.
I’m trying to start my own business at home, working on people’s cars in a 30×51 garage that I’m getting built so that I can get my lifts in there and do what I need to do. It’ll be a little shop where I can work on cars and trucks, and my daughter can hang out there after school, too. She enjoys the heck out of it.
- Samantha Long, Automotive Service Management Technology, A.A.S. ‘21