As the only woman in her automotive technology classes at Compton College, Compton resident Nicole Aguirre took the opportunity to challenge herself to be the best in her class. Her motivation paid off and she is now an electrical engineering student pursuing a bachelor’s degree at a California State University campus. In the future, Aguirre hopes to work for a major automaker, such as Tesla, to gain hands-on experience in the field. After gaining experience, her goal is to apply her electrical engineering skills as an independent consultant for automotive companies.
The Compton College alumnus earned an associate’s degree in automotive technology in the spring of 2020, as well as two certificates in automotive technology through the college’s career education courses. “There are so many options at Compton College for learning career skills and learning a trade,” she said. Aguirre currently works at an auto parts retailer where she fulfills commercial orders, such as auto dealerships and auto service/repair shops.
Aguirre believes that enrolling in Compton College’s automotive technology courses provided him with an excellent foundation to further his education in engineering. “The career education staff helped me every step of the way,” she says. “We took all the classes I needed step by step to get my certificates and an Associate of Science degree, which I completed in three years while working.”
She also held a job on campus as a student in the Business and Industrial Science Guided Pathways Division office, as an assistant for automotive technology courses. “I liked being a hardworking automotive technology student because I could interact with the students and help them with basic electrical techniques. During student workshops, I was able to share my story of how the automotive technology program helped me lay the foundation for what I do now as I pursue my studies as an electrical engineering major at Cal State Long Beach,” Aguirre said. Even now, she stays in touch with faculty and staff at Compton College, who have helped her with work leads and other advice as she pursues her college education.
“Compton College is very welcoming and supportive; it’s like a second family,” she says. “I had so many opportunities to help achieve my goals and access support and resources.” She took advantage of financial aid and enrolled in Expanded Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS), a state-funded program that provides additional support to underserved students, such as a computer loan program. student laptop, a $600 book voucher, tips and transportation assistance. “My advisors were extremely helpful and worked with me to develop my study plan and help me through the university transfer process. They go out of their way to help students in any way they can.”
With a passion for classic cars and a curiosity to understand how things work, Aguirre was inspired to pursue this educational and professional path. She says the start of her automotive technology training was an eye-opener. “At that time, being the only woman in the program was weird at first,” she explains. “But I worked hard to be top of my class and it gave me confidence. I don’t think women should be shy about pursuing non-traditional career paths. If you want to do it and you know you can do it, go for it!
Compton College offers career education course in 17 different programs including Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Administration of Justice, Automotive Repair and Painting, Biotechnology/Biomanufacturing, Business Management and Marketing, Commercial Music, Cosmetology, Nursing , machine tool technology, welding, etc. Low tuition fees and well-paying jobs are a recipe for success; financial assistance is available! Explore the professional training opportunities available and enroll at Compton College for the Spring 2022 semester, which begins February 12. Apply for membership in four easy steps: https://www.compton.edu/steps/