Meet Becky Marrero, LI Academy Female Trade Electrician Student
High School Student Disregards Stereotypes; Studies to be an Electrician
Meet Becky Marrero, female Trade Electrician student by day, and cheerleader, also by day. Becky, a senior at Patchogue-Medford UFSD, attends the Trade Electrician Program at the Eastern Long Island Academy of Applied Technology, Milliken Technical Center campus. She is one of two young women in the entire program.
The Academy is the Career and Technical Education Program (CTE) of Eastern Suffolk BOCES and has locations in Oakdale, Bellport, and Riverhead.
The Academy runs one Trade Electrician class in the morning and another in the afternoon. Becky attends the morning session and is the sole woman in an all-male class studying a traditionally male trade. Becky admits that she found this intimidating.
“At first it was scary and I was very nervous,” she said. “I think everyone was confused in the beginning and thought that I was going to drop out.” Now she describes her classmates as very accepting and helpful and said they consider each other as part of their classroom family.
Becky plans to follow in her father’s footsteps, and become a railroad electrician. She is happy with her career choice but admits there were moments when she wasn’t always confident. For example, at one point she didn’t think she had the strength to use a hack saw to cut through piping. Her teacher, Mr. Corcoran, showed her how to make the blade do the work and not rely on brute strength. “He is very supportive,” said Becky. “He believes in equality and tells me I have to be better than all the guys because if they ever put me down, I can show them that I am better than them.”
Currently, Becky is focused and working toward building a vibrant career for herself in the industry. This spring she competed in both the SkillsUSA regional and state championships. (SkillsUSA is a national leadership organization for CTE students.) She earned a full scholarship to continue her trade electrician studies with the ESBOCES Adult Education Program, and this summer she hopes to be selected for a paid summer apprenticeship with the International Brotherhood of Electrician Workers Local 25.
Now that high school graduation is around the corner and people ask about her future plans, Becky will tell you that it’s pretty common for more than a few people to raise their eyebrows in surprise at her response. “A lot of people tell me they weren’t expecting that, but it’s something I really enjoy,” she said. “It’s different. It’s hands-on. I don’t want to be in an office and wear office clothes. I really like feeling that I created something. It’s really cool when you plug in something and it works.”