The smile on Matelyn Jones’ face is a reflection of her inner happiness. One might wonder if she has ever had a bad day.
Jones, 17, and a junior at Tuttle High School, enrolled in Pre-Engineering at Canadian Valley Technology Center’s Chickasha Campus last year in hopes that it would help boost her success in college engineering.
“I knew it was a perfect fit that would prepare me for my future career,” she said.
Never mind that the classroom is mostly males or that men outnumber women nearly 9 to 1 in the engineering industry, according to information supplied by the U.S. Department of Labor. That does not bother her.
“I don’t feel like gender has been a problem in challenging me,” Jones said. “My favorite mantra, to challenge me, is, ‘It’s not about being the best. It’s about being better than you were yesterday.’”
By comparison, women make up 43 percent of the American workforce overall. Fortunately, the wage gap is much less for women engineers than virtually all other occupations. Women earn 89 percent of the wages of their male counterparts, which compares favorably to the 81 percent rate for which women in all occupations earn opposite men, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Median pay (half earn more, half less) is $87,370 for mechanical engineers, who design, develop, build and test power-producing machines, such as electric generators, engines and turbines. The job outlook is expected to be average compared to other industries with a modest 4 percent growth expected over the next eight years.
Pre-Engineering utilizes Project Lead the Way curriculum, which permits students to work individually and in teams to solve unique engineering challenges while using critical thinking and creative problem solving. Students test and modify structural, propulsion and robotic projects using advanced math and science principles. It is the only program at the Chickasha Campus that is open to sophomores.
Jones has been thinking about how she will use the knowledge she has gained at the next level.
“I plan to go to college in Oklahoma and major in an engineering-focused program,” Jones said. “Then I want to work for an engineering company that allows me to use my education in many aspects.
“I would love to incorporate a variety of engineering focuses into a job that pushes me to be better and help the environment.”
Jones serves as a CV Tech Student Ambassador. The leadership development group meets regularly for development activities and assists with recruitment efforts at area schools. She also is a team member of the school’s VEX Robotics team that recently won a state tournament qualifier.