Devotion to PARTA, KSU earns awards for two

Christina Tesar

Two Kent State students employed by the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority have been awarded $1,000 scholarships this semester.

Claudia Amrhein, PARTA’s human resources director, said a committee awarded Samantha Lindegarde and Thomas Dusek the Robert W. Blakemore Jr. Endowed Memorial Scholarship after reviewing their letters of application describing their commitment to PARTA and their Kent State education.

The scholarship was begun in 1995 by Robert Blakemore Sr. in memory of his son, a Kent State graduate and former Campus Bus Service employee, Amrhein said. The scholarship is given out every fall and spring semester.

“It’s based a lot from the letter that they write and how they best meet what Mr. Blakemore had set forth what he wanted students to express,” Amrhein said. “And they both expressed that.”

Samantha Lindegarde earned a bachelor’s degree from Kent State and is currently working on her master’s degree in justice studies. Since October 2002, she has worked for PARTA as a driver and road supervisor and is currently an operation supervisor.

“She has progressed at PARTA and taken on more responsibility,” Amrhein said.

With the help of the scholarship, Lindegarde said she can now get ahead financially, saving some of her own money for the future.

“The scholarship helps me to concentrate more on school work,” she said. “It helps to relieve some of the stress of not having to work as much.”

Tom Dusek, the second award recipient, is a senior accounting major who works as a PARTA campus bus operator. He also exhibited the dedication and commitment scholarship recipients must have.

To apply for the Robert W. Blakemore Jr. Endowed Memorial Scholarship, students must:

– Be employed at PARTA

– Have a minimum grade point average of 2.3

– Be committed to earning a degree at Kent State

– Earn part of their financial means to get them through school.

“It’s always a hard thing,” Amrhein said. “We would like to give it (the scholarship) to everybody, but in the end it’s something that we try to stay true to what was intended for it.”

Since its start, the scholarship has been awarded to 34 student employees and Amrhein said PARTA plans to continue the scholarship in the future.

“We only use the money that is generated,” she said. “We don’t ever touch what was originally endowed by Mr. Blakemore, so it will continue.”

Contact transportation and commuting reporter Christina Tesar at [email protected].