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Breaking Barriers: STC Faculty Member Champions Women in Electrician Technology

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In recognition of International Women’s Day, South Texas College Electrician Technology faculty member Christina Aguilar explains how the experience at work with her father in construction sparked a fire in her, and how she used it to put a focus on the incredible things women can do if they are inspired to achieve from an early age. STC Image
In recognition of International Women’s Day, South Texas College Electrician Technology faculty member Christina Aguilar explains how the experience at work with her father in construction sparked a fire in her, and how she used it to put a focus on the incredible things women can do if they are inspired to achieve from an early age. STC Image
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By Joey Gomez

McALLEN, TEXAS – As a female professional in a male-dominated career, South Texas College Electrician Technology faculty member Christina Aguilar says she has always had to prove herself – more than anyone else in her field.

From her introduction to the trade as a young girl, shadowing her father, a construction worker, onto various job sites, Aguilar said she was underestimated from day one.

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Now, in recognition of International Women’s Day, Aguilar explains how the experience at work with her father sparked a fire in her, and how she used it to put a focus on the incredible things women can do if they are inspired to achieve from an early age. 

“As a female, you do get a lot of doubts about your capabilities. Everyone questions you and you’re always having to prove yourself over and over again,” Aguilar said. “As the oldest of three daughters, my father would take me to work, and I would be out there climbing roofs with him and doing any odd jobs he had for me. It was where I learned that as a female in this field, you will always have to prove yourself more than any other person out there.”

Aguilar said it was the electricians who arrived at the job sites back then who inspired her into her future career choice.

“I would notice the electricians who would come on to the job site with their white shirts and big trucks, and I knew they were making more money than anybody else, but I would later find that it wasn’t all glamorous,” Aguilar said.  “As an electrician you’re in an attic a lot of times and you come out all sweaty and dirty and everything. But I love it and that’s why I became interested in the electrical field.”

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A straight-A student in high school and later in college, Aguilar said she nevertheless opted to take some time off before entering college. After a five-year break, she returned to school but with the intention of studying Accounting at South Texas College, which she ended up realizing wasn’t for her.

Moving on from Accounting, Aguilar would instead graduate with an associate degree in Electrician Technology in 2014.

“My parents didn’t have the funds to send me to college, so I waited five years and then I started off in accounting, but just the thought of sitting in a chair all day didn’t appeal to me. I was getting A’s in my classes but it just wasn’t for me,” she said. “I am proof that just because you pick one career doesn’t mean that’s where you’re going to end up. You might fail, but you must learn to always get up and find something you like. If you like doing that one thing, then you work on it and always persevere so can reach your goal.”

Aguilar said she was hired at STC as an instructor after graduation. Now 10 years later, she is a part of a program that goes the extra mile to prepare students for their future careers as electricians with courses in residential, commercial, industrial, solar and wind sectors.

“I’m at the stage where I already know that I’m going to be doing this for the rest of my life, whether it’s teaching or doing electrical work or solar installation, working with your hands is very gratifying,” Aguilar said. “But the most gratifying part of this career path is getting to work with students. I get letters from students saying, ‘I went into this field because of you and now I’m feeding my family because I have a job that pays me $30 an hour.’ They’re telling me that I made an impact in their life. This is why I love the path I have chosen.”

For more information on STC Electrician Technology Program visit www.southtexascollege.edu/academics/electrician/.

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