Hear the word “machining” and the verb likely conjures up an image of a man hunched over a lathe or mill shaping a piece of metal as sparks fly.
But modern-day machining has changed. Not only in how the workpieces are manufactured, but also by way of who exactly is doing the creating.
Early this month, four female students from Oakland Schools Technical Campus Southwest (OSTC-SW) (Wixom) competed at the SkillsUSA Michigan State Leadership and Skills Conference in Grand Rapids. And not only did they compete, but they placed, meaning they are the best of the best students in this trade in the entire state.
“The chairman of the machining event said this was the most female machining students who had ever participated in the contest,” said Steven Rose, OSTC-SW Machining instructor.
Rose said he’s always had female students in his machining classes, although the gender is still considered “nontraditional” in this field. He did add, however, that this is the highest number of female students he’s taken to the state competition, let alone who’ve placed:
- Megan Diskin, Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Turning -Silver medal
- Madison Goyette, CNC Milling -Silver medal
- Jadyn Paver, CNC Milling – Bronze medal
- Brianna Staton-Daupin, Job Interview (machinist position) -Silver medal
“It’s wonderful and I hope we can use this to get more females to the class and to get the word out that females can do well in machining,” said Rose.
Rose said the students studied hard for the competition, which has a variety of written, verbal and hands-on machining tests the participants must pass.
Goyette, a Lakeland High School junior, said she felt pretty well prepared going in to the competition despite the fact it was her first year participating.
“It was a little nerve wracking because there were a lot of guys, but finally, when I got the test, it was easier to get in my own zone,” she said.
Staton-Daupin, a senior at Milford High School who plans to attend college for mechanical engineering, had success in the mock job interview portion of the competition.
“I was very shocked. I participated in the same competition last year and I also had gotten second place and to be able to make that spot again this year was very important to me,” she said.
Diskin, a junior at Walled Lake Northern High School, said her uncle is an aerospace engineer and she would often use a CNC machine he had in his basement.
“I studied really hard for what codes meant what and I practiced a lot. I was really nervous but I was confident enough to know I could do it,” she said. “It was incredible. I wasn’t expecting to do as well as I did. There were all these seniors, all these boys, and I thought for sure they were going to place before me and it was amazing to know I got second place and everything.”
Paver, a junior from Holly who is home schooled but attends OSTC-SW, agreed with Diskin that she was “very nervous.”
“I don’t even have words really. I was so sure that I wouldn’t do that great because I was so nervous and I was a junior and there were so many seniors there. I didn’t even worry about placing. I just wanted to do good and be proud of myself. When I did place, I was just baffled,” she explained. “To be the third in the state out of the whole competition – that is so mind blowing to me and I am just so proud of myself because I never would have imagined I would have placed at all.”