STC drives Automotive Tech student toward her future
Student of the Week: Isabel Ibarra
“My motivation has always been to be better, to do better and learn how to do things the right way. This is how STC prepares to go into the working world.”
Encouraged by her father from the beginning to follow her passion into a worthwhile career, STC Automotive Technology student Isabel Ibarra said she has always had mentors pushing her to reach her dreams.
As the daughter of immigrants, Ibarra, 23, said her father would work on cars to make ends meet. So, by the age of eight she began assisting him in the garage and before long would be helping him with routine maintenance tasks like oil or brake changes.
Those early experiences with her father would shape her future career choice, she said.
“My dad would do maintenance and he would always ask for help. I was always the first one to step up even though my mom never liked it. She thought that I would embarrass myself, but automotive work really caught my attention,” Ibarra said. “My motivation has always been to be better, to do better and learn how to do things the right way. This is how STC prepares to go into the working world.”
Now a student and a single mom working for her certificate in Automotive Technology, Ibarra says mentors in the program are encouraging her as a female in a typically male-centered career to make her mark as she moves on to her associate degree by next spring.
“My teachers here at STC are always reminding me that I can do this,” Ibarra said. “I can tell that faculty here believe in me and let me know that I can be equal to or even greater than the other people that are here. That has always given me more motivation.”
The Automotive Technology program prepares students for employment in the automotive service industry with an emphasis on hands-on learning to develop diagnostic and troubleshooting skills as well as repair procedures. Students gain knowledge in everything from automotive heating and air conditioning systems, electrical/electronic systems, manual and automatic transmissions, engine performance, brake systems, steering and suspension systems and computerized automotive control systems. As a future graduate of the Automotive Technology program, Ibarra said her goal is to find employment in a dealership and enhance her skills in the industry.
“I'm hoping to start with a dealership so I can get more hands-on experience that will help me grow in my career,” Ibarra said. “While I like doing standard work like tire rotation, alignments and oil changes, I’m looking to work more with things related to the motor, head gaskets, pistons and transmission.
“If you enjoy doing something that you love, don't stop because other people are telling you, you can’t do it,” Ibarra said. “If you enjoy doing it, continue doing it and put your heart into it because the alternative is just doing jobs to be get by, but that’s not a career. This is what I would like to tell my daughter when she’s old enough to understand. I am excited to see her choose what she wants to do and likes and follow her own path, which is what I did.”