Greater Tulsa Reporter
CONSTRUCTION INTEREST: Cinnamon Anderson, a student in Tulsa Tech’s drafting program, has been nominated for an Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education “Breaking Traditions Award,” in recognition of her pursuit of a “non-traditional” occupation.
Courtesy Tulsa Tech
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 of and support for 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 says. “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 Oklahoma 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, she says.
“Studying a subject that has a lot more males than females is similar to working on a construction site,” she continues. “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 is easier to learn with individuals 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 says. “Wherever her career takes her, that determination will translate into success.”
Anderson credits her instructor with providing knowledge and patience and taking the extra time to explain the reason behind each correct answer.
“Mr. Doering is very helpful,” Anderson says. “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 and more opportunities, helping her to learn valuable skills outside of her drafting courses.
“My involvement with SkillsUSA has not only provided me with support and encouragement,” says Anderson, “but, 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,” she says, “is just to keep at it. If you want to work in drafting or construction or 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 are 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.