CVSA Awards $5,000 College Scholarships to Two Deserving Students

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s college scholarship award program. Recent high school graduates Katarina Dries and Eva Hannan will each receive $5,000 to be used toward their college education. Dries intends to major in nuclear engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Hannan will attend the University of South Dakota with the goal of becoming a kindergarten teacher.

Each year, the Alliance awards $5,000 college scholarships to two outstanding high school seniors by weighing academic performance, volunteer work/community service and extracurricular activities.

Applicants for the CVSA College Scholarship Award Program must write and submit two essays, provide two letters of recommendation and a high school transcript, and have a 3.0 minimum grade point average (or equivalent).

In addition, scholarship award applicants must be the legal dependent of a current CVSA member. Katarina Dries is the daughter of Tony Dries with the Wisconsin State Patrol. Eva Hannan’s father is Tom Hannan with the South Dakota Highway Patrol.

“On behalf of the Alliance, I’d like to congratulate this year’s college scholarship award recipients,” said CVSA President Maj. Chris Nordloh with the Texas Department of Public Safety. “We deeply value education and these scholarships are a token of our commitment to supporting the next generation in their future endeavors.”

Our first scholarship recipient, Katarina Dries, intends to pursue a major in nuclear engineering to combine her love of science with her passion for helping others. “My interest stems from my awareness of the increasing global shortage of diagnostic isotopes,” said Dries. “I have personally experienced a situation where a loved one was unable to be diagnosed using medical isotopes when my grandma was unable to receive treatment due to a lack of supply.”

“My upbringing and experiences have inspired me to become a globally focused individual responsible for new technological discoveries that will benefit my fellow humans at home, at school and across the world,” added Dries.

During her high school career, Dries was president of the Science National Honor Society, co-captain of the Engineering Club and was a regional qualifier at her area’s academic decathlon. She was also a member of the Key Club, National Art Honors Society, National Chinese Honors Society, Russian Club/World Culture Club, Global Scholars, Red Cross Club, Women Empower Lifting and the National Honor Society, to name a few.

“Katarina is very dedicated to her studies, school, teammates and community,” said Patrick Gasper, communications officer for the school district. “She has shown again and again that she is willing to do the extra task to make something easier for those for whom she serves and works.”

To further her scientific ambitions, Dries was a participant in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Engineering Summer Program and served as group leader. She participated in the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, where she studied particle accelerators and particle detectors, and interned at the Wisconsin IceCube Particle AstroPhysics Center, where she learned about particle physics and increased her mastery of computer programming.

Her teacher Robert Schraedley added, “Katarina strives to make herself better in every facet of her life and has the effect of making those around her better. This is one of those traits that we see in young future leaders. She makes her fellow students, her coaches and her teachers better. She improves her school and her community through her passion and her actions.”

Dries’ volunteer work included serving as host sister and cultural ambassador to foreign exchange students; creating and donating art to the nonprofit organization Memory Project to benefit orphans in India; volunteering at the Bags of Hope food drive; playing the viola as part of her neighborhood’s porch concerts during the pandemic; serving as city of Janesville election inspector; planting flower bulbs at the Rotary Botanical Gardens; creating and donating art for YWCA fundraisers; and donating blood to a local Red Cross. She also volunteered abroad at high schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina tutoring students in advanced English.

Our second scholarship recipient, Eva Hannan, plans to become a successful kindergarten teacher with a side-business in photography.

Her decision to become a teacher happened when she became a lifeguard and fell in love with teaching kids. “Private lessons with the youngsters was my favorite part of the summer because it was such a rewarding process,” said Hannan. “I want to impact my students’ lives for the better. I want to keep them interested in learning and keep that sparkle in their eye when they come to school.”

Of her passion for photography, Hannan said, “Over this past year, I have really developed my photography skills. It would be another really rewarding experience to see the joy on peoples’ faces when they get to see the pictures I took.”

Hannan earned the Governor’s Academic Excellence Award, was awarded the platinum certificate (the highest achievement) on the National Career Readiness test, received the Lora Schaunaman “Rising Star” award and earned the title of class valedictorian. She was a member of the National Honor Society and served as president of her school’s student council. In addition, she was also a highest honors student every year of high school, achieving the title of regent scholar.

“Eva just doesn’t want to lead academically, she wants to leave a positive presence wherever she goes,” said Yvette Houck, Hannan’s high school principal of three years. “She is always willing to help out younger students and sets a high-level example of who we would like our students to become.”

Hannan is also an animal lover, which has reflected in her volunteer work. When she was 10, she learned that some shelters euthanize animals that have a low chance of adoption or have been there the longest. “This began my mission to support the no-kill animal shelters in South Dakota,” said Hannan. She made and sold various products at craft fairs and started her own business, donating 100% of the proceeds, totaling over $13,000 worth of animal products, to no-kill shelters. Hannan also volunteered at animal shelters walking dogs and helping with major events. She has also been a pet sitter, taking care of pets for 15 different families in her community.

“Eva’s personal strengths are as impressive as her intellectual accomplishments,” said math teacher Mrs. Eisemann. “She’s an active and positive presence in class with a great ability to make people feel comfortable. Her cheerful nature and openness to feedback means she’s always learning and growing as a learner, an impressive strength that will continue to serve her well in college and beyond.”

Hannan has already gained experience that can be used toward her goal of becoming a teacher. She volunteers at her community’s summer reading program and, during the school year, she volunteers at her school’s kindergarten classroom to gain experience for her future career as a teacher. She does all that while holding down multiple part-time jobs at the same time.

“CVSA is proud to provide college scholarships to these two incoming college freshmen,” said Maj. Nordloh. “We are confident that they will do great things and the Alliance is honored to support them with these scholarships as they start their college careers.”

This year’s college scholarship award was made possible, in part, by the program’s sponsor , a trusted source for transportation, workplace safety, human resources, construction safety and hazardous materials regulation compliance products and services. J. J. Keller helps its customers increase safety awareness, reduce risk, follow best practices, improve safety training and stay current with changing regulations.

CVSA will begin accepting 2024 scholarship applications in February 2024.

The CVSA College Scholarship Award Program is dedicated to Gary E. Curtis. While working for the Virginia State Police, Curtis was an active member of CVSA and a cornerstone in the development of the North American Standard Inspection Program. He served as CVSA’s director of technical services in 1992. His efforts and contributions helped form the solid base upon which CVSA now proudly stands. Curtis lost his life to cancer in December 1998.