Student Moving Full Throttle Towards Success

START YOUR ENGINE: Tulsa Tech Automotive Service student Mimi Alvarenga enjoys learning everything she can about cars and hopes someday to build her own engine for drag racing, or something similar.

Many of us prefer to schedule our day in terms of hours or perhaps even minutes, but Mimi Alvarenga likes to dream of how much she might be able to accomplish in just a matter of seconds.

The daily routine of this recent graduate of Union Alternative High School is al-ready quite full, attending Tulsa Tech’s Automotive Ser-vice Program each morning, spending the afternoon working to complete her general education courses at Tulsa Community College, followed by her regular job most evenings at a local restaurant.

But she still dreams of achieving more: like traveling 1,320 feet in approximately ten seconds.

“I’m definitely a Chevy Girl and I love Camaros,” Alvarenga says. “I would like to build a car that could run low 11’s or high 10’s.”

A quick translation for those less familiar with the sport of drag racing, this young student wants to modify a car engine that would catapult her from the starting line of a standard quarter-mile drag racing course in order to cross the finish line and achieve the much coveted goal of a ten-second elapsed time.

“I really enjoy everything about drag racing, especially the classic competition between Chevy and Ford,” she says. “I just think it would be great to take everything I’ve learned at Tech and use it to build my own car.”

The gasoline-powered engine of a National Hot Rod Association () Pro Stock car is measured in cubic inches or cubic centimeters, and typically produces about 1,200 horsepower. That’s about eight times the power of the average car. It’s somewhat difficult to think in those hefty units of measure when compared to this very petite, and barely 5-foot tall female.

“A lot of people are always like, ‘oh you’re so little’,” says Alvarenga. “But I really consider it as an advantage when I’m working in the confined spaces related to automotive engines and transmissions.”

If her success as a student is any indication, future competitors both on and off the track may not want to blink, or they’ll risk finishing second. Of course, it hasn’t always been an easy ride for this proud, determined Hispanic female, who studies each day to learn more about an industry still dominated by men.

“Some of the guys tease me about being a girl and that can be further complicated by my Latino culture,” Alvarenga says. “But that usually changes once they discover how much I know about cars.”

With her automotive classes, college courses and busy work schedule, this dedicated student still manages to find time to serve her community by participating with the Hispanic Student Association () in an effort which she feels is probably the most essential: promoting the importance of educational opportunities to others in the Hispanic community.

“Our members include students from Tulsa Tech, Tulsa Community College and Oklahoma State University,” Alvarenga says. “We organize events and visit schools to stress the importance of education to both students and their parents. I’ve always felt fortunate that both my mother and grandparents stressed the value of education to me.”

It doesn’t matter if accomplishments are measured in hours, minutes or seconds, Mimi Alvarenga is well on her way to achieving her goal of success.

If you’re looking for exciting classes for high school and adult students, award-winning business and industry training, or ready to rev up your next career, Tulsa Tech invites you to visit today. For more information, please call 918-828-5200 or visit us online at

Updated 05-12-2013

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