As the only woman in her automotive technology classes at Compton College, Compton
resident Nicole Aguirre used the opportunity to challenge herself to perform at the
top of her class. Her motivation paid off and she is now an electrical engineering
major in pursuit of a bachelor's degree at a California State University campus. In
the future, Aguirre hopes to work for a large automotive manufacturer, 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
The Compton College alumna graduated in spring 2020 with an associate degree in automotive technology, as well as earned two certificates in automotive technology through the college's career education courses. "There are so many options at Compton College to get job skills and learn a trade," she said. Aguirre currently works at an auto parts retailer where she fulfills commercial orders, such as for car dealerships and auto service/repair shops.
Aguirre believes that enrolling in Compton College's automotive technology courses provided her with a great foundation to continue her education in engineering. "The career education staff helped me every step of the way," she said. "We went through all the classes I needed step-by-step to earn my certificates and an associate of science degree, which I accomplished in three years while also working."
She also held a job on campus as a student worker in the Business and Industrial Sciences Guided Pathway Division Office, serving as an assistant for the automotive technology classes. "I liked being a student worker in automotive technology because I could interact with students and help them with basic electrical techniques. During student workshops, I was able to share my story about how the automotive technology program helped me build a foundation for what I am doing now in continuing my education as an electrical engineering major at Cal State Long Beach," Aguirre said. Even now, she stays in touch with the Compton College faculty and staff, who have helped her with job leads and other guidance while she continues her university studies.
"Compton College is very welcoming and supportive; it's like a second family," she said. "I received so many opportunities to help with achieving my goals and access to support and resources." She took advantage of financial aid and enrolled in Extended Opportunities Programs and Services (EOPS), a state-funded program that provides extra support for underserved students, such as a student laptop loan program, a $600 book voucher, counseling, and transportation assistance. "My counselors were extremely helpful and worked with me to map out my educational plan and assist with 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 for understanding how things work, Aguirre was inspired to pursue this educational and career path. She says the beginning of her education in automotive technology was eye-opening. "At that time, being the only woman in the program was weird at first," she explains. "But I worked hard to be at the top of my class and that gave me confidence. I don't think women should shy away from non-traditional career paths. If you want to do it and know you can do it, go for it!"