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Career & Technical School News

CTE spotlights its ceiling-shattering students on International Women's Day

These students seek out non-traditional career

PetrisinoIn honor of International Women's Day (March 8), Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical Education Center (CTE) is highlighting some of the female students who are seeking to break glass ceilings in traditionally male dominated fields.

Whether it is in welding, automotive repair or diesel engine technology, CTE has a wealth and has had wealth of females seeking to smash through gender roles in the workplace.

Samantha Petrosino, a senior from Middleburgh, is one such gender warrior. She once had her sights set on graduating early, but now the Middleburgh Central School District is defining her future in the CTE welding program at the Mohonasenasen Center for Advanced Technology (CAT).

Despite growing up in an education family — her mother, Lori, is the junior high/high school principal at Middleburgh — Petrosino had a goal of getting out of school as fast as possible.

"I wanted to graduate early. I didn't like the whole atmosphere, but then I came here," she said during a break from welding in the CTE lab.

"I am a hands-on person and I get to come here half a day and work and enjoy school and then I get to go back to Middleburgh and learn what I need to," said Petrosino.

CiotoliPetrosino refuses to be stereotyped.

Besides being one of only a handful of female students in the entire CTE welding program, she is also a cheerleader.

"It really confuses people. They say, 'you are a welder?' and I tell them 'yeah, it's fun.' They don't know what to say. It challenges what people think," she said. "I love it. Women power all the way."

Petrosino plans to continue to shatter stereotypes and glass ceilings in an industry that is 94 percent male and largely consists of men near retirement age, according to the United States Department of Labor Women’s Bureau.

Upon graduation this summer, she plans to go to the National University Polytechnic Institute in San Diego, California to pursue a degree and certification in commercial diving/underwater welding.

CTE welding teacher Chris Panny said Petrosino has a bright future.

"She is one of my best students. She is eager to learn and always prepared," he said.

Pinney and CadeyDiesel divas

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 Mohonasenasen, 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 school day, 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." Victoria Carl

Cadey agreed.

"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 — VanWormer at the University of Northernwestern 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 — Victoria Carl — is a senior - but having three female students at once is certainly the exception rather than the rule.

Carl, who attends CTE from Voorheesville and wil attend the University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH) for diesel technolog, aspires to a career as a diesel mechanic. That makes her one of a very small percentage of women interested in the field. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, of the 339,000 diesel mechanics employed nationally, fewer than one percent are female.VanWormer and Pinney

"I want to be a diagnostic technician for diesel engines," said Carl. "When I graduate from here, I plan to go college to get a degree in diesel mechanics."

Carl doesn't mind learning the ins and outs of diesel mechanics in classroom filled with guys.

"It's very entertaining. I have made lots of friends," said Carl. "They are good. I have learned a lot from them."

A shocking career choice?

2016 graduate Laura Ciotolo also chose CTE to pursue a non-traditional gender career.

A desire to work with her hands was the draw to CTE for Ciotoli enroute to future studies at Hudson Valley Community College and a career as an electrician.

The electrical industry is definitely a male-dominated field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 1.5 percent of the 691,000 electricians in the United States in 2010 were females.

"I really like hooking up boxes and figuring out what wires work with each other," she said. "It's fun and interesting to flip a switch and know you did your job correctly."

While Ciotoli is the only female student in a class of a couple dozen students, Ciotoli said it isn't a problem."There haven't been any problems. We all get along," she said.

First photo shows Samantha Petrisino; second photo Laura Ciotoli; third photo is of Mackinzie Pinney and Torie Cadey; fourth photo is of Victoria Carl; fifth photo is ofJasmine VanWormer and Pinney.


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