From a high school class to a shop class, Vanguard Rembrandt T-STEM Early College High School junior, Mariana Robles, is setting the tone for female welders, encouraging other girls to enter the skill trades as well as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
“My goal is to one day become an underwater welder,” Mariana said. “Once I become an established welder, I would like to come back to Rio Grande Valley and teach welding at Vanguard Academy to continue to inspire and encourage other females into this field.”
According to STC Welding professor, Eliseo Cantu, the participation of females is slowly rising in the Rio Grande Valley.
“I wish we had more females in our welding program,” he said. “We have a great program and encourage girls to join.”
“From my first day of welding class, I fell in love with welding,” Mariana said. “It is a great career and field for anyone to study and learn.”
Eliseo also added that girls tend to have a steadier hand, making them better welders.
“Girls ultimately make great welders because of their steady hands,” he said. “They are precise and learn fast.”
Vanguard Academy Career and Technical Director, Cesar Garcia, emphasized the importance of equipping students with unique skills “they can sharpen should they continue in a STEM field.”
“We are in our fourth year of offering welding courses to our students,” Cesar said. “Exposing girls to welding, or any high school vocational opportunity, allows them to learn more about emerging industries and careers within our region.”
While at South Texas College, Mariana will spend five weeks learning how to manipulate the weld and master the precision of welding.
“It is fun and I am excited,” Mariana said. “More than anything I am blessed to be given this opportunity by Vanguard and making my dreams come true.”