(HUTTO, Texas) – Among the drywalling and framing tasks she was doing with her father for a barn project last spring at the family home in Granger, Mikayla Larremore picked up an affinity for welding she did not know she had.
“I got into it because everything I had done in my life before, I was good at,” she said.
The discovery changed her mind about what she wanted to do in her career. Larremore went from studying psychology at a university to enrolling last fall at Texas State Technical College’s East Williamson County campus in the Welding Technology program. She said she enjoys welding because it means job security.
Larremore, now in her second semester at TSTC, did not see the program’s work area until her first day of classes. She is taking three classes at night this semester and said she enjoys using what she learns and applying it.
“I like being around people who like the same kinds of things I like,” she said.
Charli Wright, an instructor in TSTC’s Welding Technology program, said Larremore is exceptional at what she does.
“She is motivated, organized and is not afraid to get behind the hood and put in the practice to become a good welder,” Wright said. “Mikayla is very inquisitive and is able to take constructive criticism and turn it into success.”
Larremore said she has adjusted well to the hybrid teaching that program instructors are doing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lectures and reading are done online, and hands-on work is done in labs.
“It has not been a big deal for me,” she said. “I thought a lot about that. I have always grown up in the middle of nowhere. I’m used to doing things remotely anyway and not being around a lot of people.”
Larremore is around horses a lot. She said she learned how to ride horses before she could walk.
“I barrel-raced the entire time I was in school until I started playing sports in seventh grade,” she said. “I took a break and started back roping. I do calf roping and started team roping. There is an arena in Georgetown where I go to rope once a week.”
Larremore took dual enrollment classes while at Granger High School and was quickly able to earn an associate degree in psychology. She continued her education at a university and completed a semester before taking time off and deciding to enroll at TSTC.
Larremore’s career plan is to start her own business, possibly focusing on farm and ranch welding, in Central Texas. Her advice to women interested in welding is not to feel discouraged and just to be themselves.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that more than 452,000 brazers, cutters, solderers and welders will be needed by 2029.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.