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Cuevas Blazing Her Own Trail in Auto Collision

Monday, February 18, 2013
By Eladio Jaimez

CuevasCristhian Cuevas has come a long way from her folkloric dance recitals in Mexico.

The 20-year old Texas State Technical College student spent most of her life dressing up, putting on makeup, learning to pose for photos and attending recitals growing up.

Her daily routine is rather different these days. And most would say unconventional for the typical 20-year old female.

Cuevas graduated from Los Fresnos High School in 2011. She was a dual enrollment student while at LFHS and continued her education at the Harlingen college after graduation. When she arrived on campus, she inquired about the engineering technology program. But then someone suggested the auto collision technology program and it piqued Cuevas’ interest.

“As soon as I got here, the professors were very welcoming and ready to teach you,” Cuevas said. “They really helped you understand the material and quickly became mentors.”

Cuevas plans on graduating in the summer and hopes to find a job as an estimator. But Cuevas is prepared to do more than just paperwork. The ACT program has readied Cuevas to take on any role in an auto body shop.

“I’ve fallen in love with this program,” Cuevas said. “I’ve learned so much in so many different areas. From refinishing to body work and welding, I’ve really learned about the whole process of auto collision.”

And Cuevas has the credentials to back it up.

She’s received I-CAR training and has reached pro level in refinishing, body work and is a certified welder. Cuevas has competed in Skills USA and won third place in refinishing.

And she credits her instructors and classmates for her success.

“One of my best mentors has been David Wilt,” Cuevas said. “He’s told me about different scholarships and taught me a lot about the industry. He’s the advisor for the Auto body Club and I’m the treasurer. I’ve just really fallen in love with this program.”

Cuevas is one of six females in the male-dominated program which has nearly 60 total male students.

Cuevas is aware that when she graduates, she’ll be moving on to a male-dominated industry. But she said the last couple of years at TSTC have prepared her perfectly.

“It’s a male dominated industry so working closely with these guys will help me prepare for the real world.” Cuevas said. “The guys here have really helped me a lot and they treat me like one of them. Some of them even ask me for advice. This really is like my second family.”

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