Female students succeed in a male-dominated auto shop class

Cortlynn Stark, Griffin Nelson, and Joseph Anderson

By Zia Kelly and Cortlynn Stark

When most people think of autoshops, they think of oil-stained flannel shirts and work boots. But a select few sport skirts and sandals while they diagnose transmission issues.

Across six auto classes at LHS, there are three girls enrolled, all with varying levels of experience and interest in cars.

“I decided to take auto shop because I didn’t know how to change a tire or if my car was dead I wouldn’t know how to fix it or recharge it,” junior Auto I student Katie Murrish said. “I think it is important for girls to know just in case you’re on the side of the road one day.”

Senior Auto II student Miranda Sexton is far past recharging dead batteries and changing tires. Repairing cars has been a large part of her life.

“I’ve worked on cars for quite awhile,” she said. “My stepdad taught me how to work on them and I thought it would be something fun to do during school.”

Although Sexton already has experience with cars, Auto II keeps her brushed up on skills she knows while  teaching her new ones.

“[We are learning] about transmissions and a bit more in-depth about the engine,” she said. “There are some things I know but then the stuff I don’t know I get to learn more about.”

She will continue her involvement with car repair into her career after college. Next semester she will be studying auto or diesel tech at Washburn University’s  technical school.

Girls are a scarcity in the auto department, both Murrish and Sexton have noted the imbalance and navigate the class differently.

Murrish takes a more hands-off approach to the class, she said. She lets people who know more about cars do the talking.

“I stay back a little bit because the guys know what they are doing,” she said. “I just take it all in, I study, I don’t usually voice a lot because they know what they are talking about.”

Sexton, on the other hand, is used to the environment.

“It’s really not bad because I like hanging out with guys,” she said.  “It’s fun for the most part, sometimes the guys try to pick on me but I pick on them back.”

Although they have gotten different things out of the class, they both feel that it has been beneficial.

Murrish said that it is important for women to knows how to change a tire, fix dead batteries and know about the functions of their vehicles. She feels that she has learned what she needs in the shop.

“I have a general knowledge of what is wrong with my car,” she said.