Meet Vanessa. She’s completing an 18-month automotive training program at Ohio Technical College (OTC) and has leadership skills beyond her years. Vanessa is active in OTC’s Student Leadership Council and leads the OTC ASE study group where she helps other students prepare for ASE testing. Her positive attitude for learning and optimistic approach to the industry helps her get closer to a career as a technician every day. Vanessa currently works at a Volkswagen dealership and has two ASE certifications under her belt.
Q: Why do you want to be a technician?
A: I think I found my fondness for working on cars and other machines working with my grandpa and dad in the barn or in the driveway. But I really didn’t think about becoming a technician until high school. I knew there is a large need everywhere for skilled trade workers. I thought I would give being a technician a try, and turn something I thought would just be a hobby into a career.
Q: What is your favorite project or repair you’ve worked on?
A: Not too long after I started my job at Volkswagen, my foreman said he had a job for me. The engine was warranty, so I had to reassemble the engine before it could be returned. It was a pretty amazing feeling to get my hands in an engine. Engine work is something I want to get really proficient in, so just the opportunity to even just reassemble an engine truly made my day.
Q: What are your future plans?
A: Short term, I plan to stay at the Volkswagen dealership I work at now. Long term, I really am not sure. I may be at Volkswagen. I may go back to Indiana and work in a dealership there. I may start my own shop one day. Right now, I am just excited to be working in the field and gaining so much information and experience at my age.
Q: What do you think the future looks like for female automotive technicians like yourself?
A: Bright! Just in the year that I have been at OTC, I have met so many females who are going above and beyond to have incredible careers in the automotive, diesel and welding industries. I work directly with one female in my shop, and she has taught me so much and has inspired me to be the best that I can be.
“Vanessa has been a top performer in class from day-one…She has a clear focus on what it will take to become successful as a professional in the automotive industry. As a female in the industry, she has experienced an employer who didn’t value her skills, an opinion based solely on her gender. Instead of getting discouraged, she found an employer who not only appreciates her skill sets, reliability and easy-going attitude, but challenges her with more advanced opportunities as they come in.” – David Schmauder, Instructor, OTC
To nominate a student for the Continental Student of the Month program, visit TomorrowsTechnician.com/student-of-the-month/.