Non-traditional careers in computer and engineering tech, auto collision repair, finance, firefighting, EMT and welding are classes gaining in female enrollment. Gone are the days when these were guys-only choices.
Even fathers are encouraging their daughters in many instances, said Kendra Ward, communications coordinator at EHOVE.
Lily Antonio is a senior from South Central High School who is studying business and marketing. She always has loved math and problem-solving.
“One of my family members is in finance at R. R. Donnelley and she makes good money. I'm really interested in finance. This profession has a wide range of possibilities. Besides classes in business and marketing, we also study law, lots of laws and entrepreneurship. I like the fact that I can do my own finances. I can start with mine and later make it a business,” Antonio said.
Besides taking accounting in the future at Ashland College, she looks forward to earning her master’s degree. When asked about competing in a male-dominated profession, Antonio’s quick comeback was “it doesn't scare me to be challenged by a man.”
Antonio was asked her advice for other young women thinking of careers in finance.
“Take advantage of all the opportunities you can. I've been taking a college credit lab class here at EHOVE and also at BGSU Firelands,” she said.
Sierra Scroggy is a senior from Huron High School studying collision and refinishing.
“Before I got into collision I wanted to be in culinary (arts). My dad and grandpa always worked on cars; it's in my blood. I got accepted in (the) culinary lab first. But before the lab started I was accepted into collision instead,” she said. “My dad thought I would enjoy it and I had more knowledge of cars."
Scroggy had grown up watching her father and helping out in small ways in his shop. He encouraged her to do what she enjoyed most.
“He told me that just because I was a girl I didn't have to be afraid to get my hands dirty or get in with the guys. If I get confused about lab questions my dad can help me,” she said.
"Our instructor, Mr. Duane Koch, treats us all equally. There are four seniors and one junior woman in class. I'm more friends with guys, more than with the girls. I had four brothers and a sister who is a tomboy, so I get along better with guys. My dad says I have two different sides. I can get dressed up in pretty clothes and all, but when I get to the lab it's a full 180-degree turn. Let's get our hands dirty. I may not stick to this field; I may go to vet tech school, but still have my certifications to fall back on,” Scroggy said.
Her advice to aspiring female auto mechanics is “don’t be afraid to show them what you can do.”
“Just because you're a girl doesn't mean you can't do a guy's job,” she added.
Riley Bland is a Western Reserve sophomore in the explore STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) program. She rotates through each one, hoping to locate the most interesting career opening.
“I want to be a nurse, then a kidney doctor. I can learn a lot of technology here. I just finished doing the CO2 model car, painting and sanding them down. It's pretty cool. We'll race them for a prize now,” she said.
This lab enables students to make just about anything, to model, prototype and test their creations.
“I’ve made a rose of sheet metal in fabrication lab,” Riley said. “It's really hands-on, fun — things I wouldn't have done on my own.”
"Have to be careful not to catch yourself on fire,” Scroggy piped up.
Hannah Grose, a junior at Western Reserve, enjoys engineering tech.
“It's challenging; it's lots of math and science. It gives you a better understanding of what (various) engineers do. I want to be a combat engineering officer, a civil engineer. My dad was a combat engineer. They build whatever they need. For example, when they are deployed they may need a temporary bridge or another temporary structure,” she said.
“I love solving problems, having the challenge of making something from very little. There are lots of mechanical terms, basic understanding of simple motors and electronics (in IT). I hope to go to Columbia University in New York or to OSU.”
Grose also is enrolled at BGSU Firelands classes that will lead to an associates’ degree. When she graduates from EHOVE she will have her certificate in engineering tech.
Alyssa Burch, a junior at Western, is studying construction tech.
“We just finished a dugout for the T-ball field at Vermillion H.S. I've learned about laying brick and how to mix concrete. I want to be a construction manager,” she said.
Students go into communities for local projects such as refurbishing very old structures.
“The seniors are at a farm in Wakeman now. The kids build and supply labor,” Ward said.
Janotta & Herner officials advise EHOVE teams in electrical and construction tech. As many as a dozen teams work on comprehensive proposals for real projects. They price supplies, make a time line, etc. in a competition judged by Janotta & Herner, which has hired many EHOVE alumni over the years, acts as the customer. The judging is based on the completeness of every aspect of a plan.
Hannah Laney, a Monroeville High School senior, is in the firefighting/EMT program.
“My entire life I wanted to be a canine cop, so tried out the criminal justice program. Hated it. Then I went to firefighting. I've always loved helping people; it's a hands-on job. There are more and more women in this career field — around six in this class. Females are more compassionate. They get into a ‘mom’ stage. If you have a kid who is hurt, who is 6 years old, women relate better.
“Don't let the boys scare you, break you down. Stand your ground,” she added.
"You have to be really willing to study, put in the work if you want to pick this career for life. Even if you graduate, you take continuing ed. Half of the EMT class is anatomy and patho-physiology, where you learn the body upside down, each organ, etc. Certification tests as a junior will be for FEMA, OSHA, CPR and BLS (basic life support). Today we are covering six chapters on emergency management. We will have an advanced life support paramedic certificate from EHOVE when we graduate. I already have a job offer and can work the day I graduate,” Laney said.
Students do ride-alongs with North Central EMS once a week for clinicals.
“We see real crashes, feel the long hours and the pressure. We wear a badge as an EMT. You don't want to be acting like a 17-year-old punk because you are representing a company. You have someone's life in your hands. You definitely don't want to screw it up,” Laney said.