Sole Education Week 2 : Shattering Stigmas

At this point, it is safe to say that we are all becoming increasingly aware of the skilled trades shortage that is coming our way. Decades of misrepresentation in pop culture and in high schools, coupled with shop classes being cut from public schools have led us to the skilled labor shortage.

There’s a lot of opportunity for growth and job security within the trades; however, they can carry a variety of stigmas. It’s dirty work. There’s no money to be made. It doesn’t require an education. It’s a male-dominated field.  You name it, we’ve all heard it.

This week, we asked Mikayla to talk about stigmas that she and other students face within her field, and what she is doing to combat them. Every field has them, so let’s learn about what Mikayla has noticed over the course of her education thus far.

As a female in a traditionally male-dominated industry, Mikayla chose to speak to her experiences as a woman entering the trades. Read on to learn about her experience and what she is doing to shatter the stigma:

Stigma:

Sole Education Week 2: Shattering Stigmas
This is a photo I took with my co-workers from Volvo Trucks. We had just finished a science fair at an elementary school for our Women in Engineering club. We took the day to teach young girls about the fields of science and how they relate back to building trucks.

“As a woman entering the male-dominated field of engineering, I knew I would have to face many stigmas throughout my degree and my career. When I walked into my first engineering class, I noticed I was the only female.

Despite this, I made sure that the men around me treated me no different.
Somehow, I felt a sense of confidence against the stigma of being a woman in engineering; I felt that I had to prove myself more than my male peers. This pushed me to study hard, excel as a leader in group projects, and be more outgoing.

Solution:

Due to my determination and perseverance, I graduated with my Associates in Engineering Technology at the top of my class. My achievements in school lead to me being offered a mechanical engineering internship at Volvo Trucks North America.

When people see me, they do not believe me when I say I want to be an engineer. This makes me think about the phrase, “shattering the glass ceiling” and wonder if there is any validity to it today.

Personally, I believe that the glass ceiling has not been even cracked. With my degree and career, I hope to help drive the wrecking ball into that glass ceiling for good.

Follow along with our students’ progress here.
Learn more about the Generation T movement here.

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