As a child, Stephanie Guttierez and her dad shared a passion for fixing cars. That passion has led her to pursue a career in automotive. Through her automotive classes at Riverside City College, she's been able to grow her automotive skills and apply them to her apprenticeship with Audi Ontario.
Through the LAUNCH Apprenticeship Network and Network Kinection, Stephanie's been able to apply what she's learned in her classes directly to her work at Audi Ontario. In her own words, she shares her story with us.
My name is Stephanie Gutierrez and I currently study automotive technology at riverside city college. I’ve always been interested in cars ever since I was a little girl, I actually have vivid memories of being a 6-year-old running around handing my dad his tools as he worked on his 1975 nova. Thinking back to those moments makes me realize I was really meant to work in this profession and studying at RCC has given me the knowledge, skills and confidence to stand where I do today. While studying at RCC, I have learned so much that can be applied to my work and my personal life, all the notes that I’ve taken in class and the homework I’ve done are still being used to this day.
When I’m stuck or don’t fully understand something I find myself still going through my notes from previous semesters to find the answers I’m looking for or, I’ll take those questions to school and ask my instructors for advice. That being said, I’m also grateful to have a mentor at work that has taught me so much, as well as pushed me to take on larger projects I would have never imagined I could do myself. One project in particular was removing a rear differential, with little to no help. I was very intimidated when he first offered the idea of me taking this project head on, since I had never done anything like that up until that moment. I also need to point out at that time it was my second or third week working at Audi, so I was still pretty green. However, I was determined to use that project as a way to show everyone what I’m made of. I felt that if I was able to successfully remove and replace that rear differential, I’d be able to show my colleagues and my manager that it was the right decision to choose me and since I am a female in the industry, I did kind of have a chip on my shoulder but, I managed to complete my project successfully. It was a struggle, but I did it and in return not only did I grow as a tech, but I also gained the respect from those around me I showed that I was serious about being a tech and that I wanted to be one of the best.
After that every piece of advice anyone in the industry had to give me, I took to heart. I learned from it and still apply it in my work, and since doing that I have definitely seen an improvement in my skill. Don’t get me wrong I still have much to learn and I’m improving every day, but I feel like I’m sort of a product of all of these great people around me, my amazing mentors, and the help I’ve received, that’s why I’ve become the tech that I am today. So, for any college student out there that is passionate about their profession I highly recommend using internships for you to reach the goals you want. Internships are an amazing resource provided to us college students so why shouldn’t we take advantage? Thanks to my internship I received so much help and I've made it to where I’m at today and this is just a steppingstone to my future, the same could be said and done for you too.