Wednesday, July 12, 2017

This Latina Welder is Breaking the Mold




In a highly male dominated field, Jazmyn stands proud as one of few female welders in the United States. This Mexican-American Latina is defying odds and breaking status quo with fire and heat.

Jazmyn’s journey to welding began while searching for classes at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut California. This school, otherwise known at Mt. Sac, is where Jazmyn decided to take hold of her education and discover her career.

At first, Jazmyn thought she would take courses to become a physician's assistant. However, she also wanted to explore courses that related to art-which has been a lifelong passion for her.

She finds art to be therapeutic and personal  but she wouldn’t want to use it as a source of income. Aside from selling one-off pieces to people she knows, selling art has never been an option for Jazmyn.

So in an effort to become a PA, Jazmyn found herself at Mt. SAC flipping through the course catalog where she came across the art welding class, and she wanted to know more. She asked around, trying to determine if she needed welding skills for the class. Eventually, she decided to sign up for the basic welding class being offered during the schools winter intersession. She learned the basics of every welding possible and was hooked.

“At first I was intimidated,” she states, “I thought I was going to be out of my element.”

But Jazmyn soon found the exact opposite to be true.



Jazmyn is a naturally skilled welder and is really passionate about the work. Her message to herself changed. “No, I belong here.” she reassured herself.

She describes it as finding the missing link. “This is what I want to do and I’m going to do it.”

During the next semester, Jazmyn took 5 welding classes and began working towards her certification. She was on a roll, finding her groove and loving this new skill. In all of her classes, she was often the only girl or 1 of 2 at most. The difference was apparent, but Jazmyn didn’t let that stop her. Even when Jazmyn discovered that she was pregnant during her program, she didn’t quit. Instead of taking the hands on courses, Jazmyn took blueprint reading and other classes that went towards her program requirements. Again, she was one of few women in the class- and she was pregnant at that.

When Jazmyn returned to hands on courses, she took her final certification course. It was here that a male student came up to Jazmyn and said “Don’t be afraid to ask the guys for help if you need any help.”

This man had no idea that Jazmyn was more than qualified and capable of doing her own work. In fact, many of the students had been coming to Jazmyn for assistance from the start of her program. “I have a natural knack for it” she states. She really did not need this mans help and she surely didn’t need his condescending remark.

Regardless, Jazmyn took his comment with a grain of salt and carried on her own work. She passed the certification course and is now a certified stick welder. She’s only one class away from her associate's degree which is the only thing she needs to be able to pass on the torch and teach welding courses.

Jazmyn says that she is absolutely going to take the class and there is no other option for her. She wants to see more women in the field and she believes that more female teachers will help. Jazmyn wants to do her part to help them grow.

But for now, the options are endless for Jazmyn. As she listed off the many routes her career can go from here, it’s shocking that more women aren’t entering this field. There’s so much opportunity and possibility.

And the passion that Jazmyn brings to welding is apparent in the way she talks about the craft. It’s a passion that many spend their entire life trying to chase. She describes the process of welding, using a consumable to connect pieces together. “The whole art of it is watching that molten puddle.” she explains.

And that’s what it seems that Jazmyn has discovered here after all. Art.

Jazmyn feels fortunate to have discovered this skill and career. It’s fulfilled her in many ways. Yes, she found her passion here, but she also met the love of her life, a fellow welder and they have a beautiful daughter together.

The journey that has  brought Jazmyn to this place was not an easy one. It was a journey of many choices and deep questioning of the path she was on. While Jazmyn has always loved school and learning, she had some tough times and became distracted in high school. Sports were the only thing that kept her focused. When graduation time rolled around, she had no plans for college. Her mother was in the middle of her own education at USC but Jazmyn didn’t feel ready.

She began working full time and moving around to try and find her footing. Eventually, she tried to go to school but couldn’t handle the workload plus her full time job. Jazmyn failed her classes and was discouraged. She knew she could do better and she wanted to do better for herself.

So she moved back in with her mom and found herself at Mt. SAC flipping through the course catalog.

Jazmyn’s future is bright, like the starry flames coming from her welders stick. She has a tangible skill that she can use in an endless amount of opportunities in her field. And, unlike many other students in the United States, Jazmyn is leaving with nowhere near the amount of debt most students carry through life. She is more than happy with her choice to become a welder and you can hear the passion of someone who has really discovered their “thing.”

Jazmyn wants to encourage other Latinas to pursue this field. “I wish I could tell everyone, ‘Go and weld!” Jazmyn’s knows the field is challenging and can be rough, but she says it’s worth it.

“If you like working with your hands, being creative, seeing results...you should do this.”

Jazmyn’s message to Latinas considering welding, “Its a trade its a skill and if you’re not afraid of anything, you can do it.”

And you should.



To see more pictures of this awesome welding Latina, click through the slide show below.




"The Educated Latina campaign is designed to celebrate Latinas pursuing education in all their endeavors and to promoting a world where every Latina is inspired and empowered to seek education in college, career and beyond."

You can purchase an Educated Latina shirt by clicking the link here or the pictures on the right. All proceeds from the shirts go towards my tuition for Harvard Graduate School of Education.

-Sabrina



Do you know an Educated Latina that should be featured? Email me at sabrina@ShesChasingSunshine.com with their name and why you think their story is important to share!


Muchas Gracias!

1 comment:

  1. Wow good to see this latina pursuing what she wants to do and not letting anything hold her back. Thanks for sharing her story, looking forward to more posts from you soon!

    ReplyDelete