(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Working on a car most of the week is building confidence in two women at Texas State Technical College.
Kelsey Rice, of Abilene, and Nianica Dorado, of Wichita Falls, had different reasons for studying Automotive Technology, but they have similar goals.
“I wanted to learn for myself all of the ins and outs of a car,” Rice said. “I did not want to take my car somewhere and they told me one thing was wrong and I knew it was something else.”
Dorado began the program after being injured in an automobile accident in 2019.
“It took six months to fix my car. I decided then I wanted to learn more about what to do if something happened,” she said.
Both students plan to complete their certification and enroll in TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program.
Rice said working with her classmates has helped her build confidence in herself.
“It is a good feeling, knowing you have done something right,” she said.
Dorado and Rice both like the hands-on approach that TSTC provides.
“I love the hands-on work we do. It offers a person great experience in the shop,” Dorado said.
They agreed that working in a male-dominated field is not a concern for them, but they acknowledged that there can be some disadvantages. Rice said loosening or tightening bolts has been challenging for her, but she is working to correct it.
“I have been working out a lot to increase my strength,” she said. “Some of the guys like to jump in on my work, but I tell them I have it, and they step back.”
Dorado said she has to overcome her height limitations when vehicles are on the rack.
“I know I am short, but I work hard to make sure I get the work done correctly,” she said.
Both students said they have one advantage over the men in the program.
“Sometimes the guys ask us for some help in those tiny spaces. It pays to have tiny hands in that situation,” Rice said.
The two students hope to continue working together.
“When I see Kelsey walking into the shop, it brightens up my day,” Dorado said. “We are showing people this is not just a man’s job.”
During the month of March, TSTC wants to honor women in history and right on our campuses who work to make strides in STEM fields every day. For more information, visit tstc.edu.