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Girls learn about non-traditional careers at annual Diva Tech workshop

Submitted Photo Girls show off the “bolt flowers” they made in a welding class during the Diva Tech workshop at Minot High School on Dec. 2.

Twin sisters Karina and Kathy Pena, both seniors at Minot High School-Magic City Campus, were on hand on Dec. 2 to help younger girls learn how much fun it can be to learn welding.

The Minot school district has been holding “Diva Tech” for a number of years to help girls in the district explore non-traditional careers and learn about all of the classes they can take in different areas once they reach the high school level. The free workshop was open to girls in seventh through 11th grades. This year 54 girls from Minot and surrounding communities signed up.

Pam Stroklund, CTE director, said each instructor had a female role model like the Pena sisters to help girls see what is possible for them. The district also invited alumni from past Diva Tech workshops – some now women in non-traditional careers – to return to talk to this year’s crop of girls.

The Pena sisters were assisting welding technology instructor Ray Helseth to weld “bolt flowers.”

Automotive Technology Instructor Jami DeCent taught the girls how to test and change the oil in a car.

Andrea Johnson/MDN Girls weld bolt flowers during the Diva Tech workshop at Minot High School on Dec. 2.

Information technology instructor Maria Carpenter taught the girls about coding a mobile application.

Technology and engineering instructor Mike Frank taught girls about engineering a boat and sailing it.

Instructor Jeff Ball taught girls how to wire a light switch and Aviation Technology instructor Meric Murphy taught the girls how to fly a plane using a flight simulator.

Earlier in the day, girls attended a forum where local female professionals spoke about their careers, including MInot International Airport operations manager Deanna Stoddard, architect Jessica Egge and engineer Emily Heutl, both from Ackerman-Estvold Engineering, chiropractor Andrea Burckhard from Spine and Sport Chiropractic, and June Stroklund, information technology specialist from First Western Bank and Trust.

The program is funded through a Career and Technical Education Grant.

Some of the girls, like Karina Pena, might go on to contemplate careers in a nontraditional career field like welding. Others will just have a good time trying new things at Diva Tech.

Students at Minot High are starting to register this month for next year’s classes.

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