Each year the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education recognizes students who have chosen to study specific programs based on interests and abilities, rather than traditional gender roles, with the aptly named, “Breaking Traditions Award”. Nominees for the award contribute by creating more awareness and support of all non-traditional students and programs.
Non-traditional training and employment is defined by occupations and careers where individuals from one gender comprise less than 25 percent of the individuals employed in a particular field.
Cinnamon Anderson, an adult student in Tulsa Tech’s Drafting program, has been nominated for one of this year’s awards. Her initial decision to follow this career path wasn’t determined by her gender, however, it was built on her desire to achieve her career goals and follow her dreams.
“I decided to study drafting because it was more along the lines of what I wanted to do in the future,” Anderson said. “My goal is to someday own a construction company, and specialize in the construction of power plants.”
The Nebraska native has worked on construction projects in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida. In fact, it was a power plant construction project that brought her to our state in 2011. Although Anderson admits that studying in a male-oriented class can be challenging at first, her experiences on numerous construction sites have made her confident in her abilities, and everything has worked out fine.
“Studying a subject that has a lot more guys than girls is similar to working on a construction site,” Anderson said. “At first it can be competitive, which is good, because once everyone knows that you have the skills to succeed, then we can all get back to work. I really enjoy my class. We a have a good group, and it seems easier to learn with folks around me who also want to learn.”
Michael Doering, one of Tulsa Tech’s drafting instructors, thinks there are plenty of opportunities in the industry for students with Anderson’s drive and determination.
“There is no doubt that Cinnamon is determined to learn as much as she can, in order to achieve her goals,” Doering said. “Wherever her career takes her, that determination will translate into success.”
Anderson credits her instructor with providing knowledge, patience, and taking extra time to explain the reason behind each correct answer.
“Mr. Doering is very helpful,” Anderson said. “He doesn’t just tell you something, he takes time to visit with you and explain why this is the correct solution.”
The proud mother of two feels her involvement with the student organization, SkillsUSA, has provided her with additional confidence, more opportunities, and helped her learn valuable skills outside of her drafting courses.
“My involvement with SkillsUSA has not only provided me with support and encouragement,” Anderson said. “Most importantly it has taught me about leadership; I feel it demonstrates to employers and others, that as students, we are striving to be our best.”
Like all Tulsa Tech students, Cinnamon Anderson is making her own path toward success, and she is quick to encourage other young women, regardless of their interests, to do the same.
“My advice to other young women,” Anderson said. “Just keep at it. If you want to work in drafting, construction, become a mechanic, or an engineer, it doesn’t matter. If you feel it in your heart, then just keep at it.”
If you’re currently looking for exciting classes for high school and adult students, quality business and industry training, or determined to begin a new career, Tulsa Tech invites you to visit today. For more information, please call 918-828-5200 or visit us online at tulsatech.edu.