Painting Her Dreams

Published: June 3, 2022

Sophie Rusling, who hails from the Isle of Man in the United Kingdom (U.K.), came to Idaho in the summer of 2017. It was among the towering ponderosa pines and stunning views of Payette Lake working at Paradise Point Camp in McCall where she first heard about College of Western Idaho's (CWI) Collision Repair Technology program, highly recommended to her by a student. 

Later, after returning to the U.K., Rusling recalled this conversation and knew CWI would be the perfect fit to satisfy her passion for car restoration and customization sparked from watching BBC television shows.

“When I realized I could actually do a job based on my favorite T.V. shows, I decided it was time to go back to college and pursue my dream of one day owning my own collision repair and restoration shop. I looked around at different places in the U.K., and nothing had what I was looking for. When I looked into CWI, I knew it was exactly what I wanted.”

Painting and restoration calls for a combination of art, science, and technique that requires an understanding of new products and technology to perform high-quality work. CWI's Collision Repair Technology program provides students, like Rusling, an opportunity to work with the newest paints and equipment in an up-to-date facility and learn the skills and traits necessary to succeed in the field.

Rusling had a chance to put the valuable skills she has learned at the College to good use this past spring when hired to work on Great Britain’s catamaran that races in the global sailing league. 

She added, "overall it was a great experience, and although I thoroughly enjoyed working on the boat, I definitely prefer working on cars!"

Rusling is a dedicated student who brings positive energy to her work.

"No matter what day I came into the lab last year, I was always greeted by Sophie with a smile,” said Department Chair, Alex Beal. Sophie is the type of student with “sunshine in her soul each day. She uplifts everyone she is around.”

Following completion of the program next May, Rusling plans start working in the industry.

“I would like to work for a few years and save up to eventually open my own collision repair and restoration shop. I am undecided as to whether I want to be a body tech or a painter right now, but I am sure when the time comes I will know.”

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