With less than one percent of diesel mechanics in the United States being women, you might not expect to find too many of them in a high school diesel technology program. But a trio of local high school students are doing what they can to change that percentage, as well as mindsets, this year in the Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical School (CTE) Diesel Tech program.
The juniors in Sam Frink's class — Jasmine VanWormer of Mohonasen, Mackinzie Pinney of Greenville and Torie Cadey of Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk — aspire to careers repairing trucks and buses and have turned to BOCES to get them there.
"Everything about diesel technology interests me," Pinney said.
On a recent Monday, the students were working in the diesel shop alongside a couple of dozen male classmates.
"When we first got here, they were kind of looking at us like 'what are you doing here?' But they understand and work with them," Pinney said.
VanWormer said she enjoys repairing vehicles.
"It intrigues me to see what things do and how they work," she said. "I like to fix things myself."
"It's fun to be able to fix things by yourself," she said.
Pinney and VanWormer plan to pursue their passion in technical school after graduating from CTE in 2018 â€” VanWormer at the University of Northern Ohio and Pinney at Lincoln Technical School.
A visit to Lincoln Technical School is where Pinney first got the idea to attend BOCES for diesel technology.
"My brother is at Lincoln Tech and we were out there visiting him and he told me I should go into diesel tech. So here I am," she said.
It's nothing new for a female student to pursue diesel technology â€” Victoria Carl â€” graduated from the program last spring - but having three female students at once is certainly the exception rather than the rule.
"It's great for our girls to see that there is no such thing as gender-specific careers and that they can do anything they want," said Nancy Liddle, business liaison for Capital Region BOCES CTE.
In the top photo, Mackinzie Pinney and Jasmine VanWormer work in the diesel tech lab. In the second photo, they smile and pose in the lab.