Yoselin Serrano is used to her classmates doing a double take when she first enters the classroom. As one of the few female students enrolled in the automotive technology program, she has made a habit of changing people’s perception of her.

“They look at me and say ‘There’s no way this little girl will be able to handle this,’” Serrano said. “After I am in class with them for a few weeks and they see me work, they don’t say that anymore.”

Serrano always had an interest in cars because of her father’s background as a mechanic but she initially wasn’t sure where to continue her education after she graduated from World Language High School in the Little Village neighborhood.

However, her mind was made up after she earned the Star Scholarship to cover her tuition and books and toured the automotive classrooms at Kennedy-King.  She has already earned her Basic Certificate in Auto Body Reconstruction Technology and now has her sights on completing her Associate in Science – Engineering degree. She hopes to transfer to a 4-year institution to obtain a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering.

“Now I’m interested in how things inside the car are built and actually work,” Serrano said, who added her dream car is a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle. “The physics portion has been the most interesting to me.”

She also wants to change the stereotype that females can’t succeed in the automotive field.

“My long term goal is to start a non-profit that helps young women get involved in the science and automotive fields,” Serrano said.

Serrano has already completed a research paper on the topic for one of her courses and has done initial research on how to form a non-profit corporation.

“I think there are a lack of female role models in the automotive and scientific fields,” Serrano said. “You can’t do something if you don’t see it on a regular basis. I’m working to change that mind set.”

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