Student Perspective: Girls in Automotive Careers
My name is Alexis Kline-Donato, and I’m a junior at Hartford High School. Since freshman year I knew that I wanted to attend the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center (HACTC) because it was such an open and warm atmosphere. When I was a sophomore I got the opportunity to take the pre-Cosmetology class. I really enjoyed learning a bunch of new things and making new friends. At that time I really didn’t have my mind set on what I wanted to do for a career, so since I always like to try new things, I could test the waters before jumping into a program.
I heard that there was a Girls in Automotive Day going on at the HACTC with the Collision Repair & Refinishing (CRR) program. At that point, I had no idea that there even was a CRR class offered at the HACTC. After experiencing the Girls in Automotive Day, I knew going into CRR would be a really good decision. With all of the projects that I was told about, I knew that I could stay busy, learn, and grow. When I applied to be in CRR everyone thought I would see what it was like and transfer into a different program, but quitting isn’t in my vocabulary.
Being in CRR has been an amazing experience so far. Learning all of the different techniques and finding your own is really cool. In my CRR class I am the only girl. It’s a very huge change. Within the first week I made it clear that just because I am a girl doesn’t mean I can’t do the stuff that the guys are doing.
We have been working on repairing fenders for a while, and welding for a couple weeks now. There has been so much to learn about repairing fenders. Next we will have to learn plastic repair and estimating so we can be ready to go to Skills USA, a statewide competition. At Skills you can show off your skills, and if you place well, you get to go to nationals. Being able to participate in Skills could be a huge opportunity to show people that not just guys are good at CRR. All of the things I am learning this year will prepare me to work on customers’ cars during my senior year.