DMACC Welding Instructor Alesa Pierce opens the door for women in welding
I am an Adjunct Instructor in the Welding department at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Ankeny campus. I teach night and weekend welding courses. I have been teaching there since June of 2012.
First interest in welding:
I first got interested in welding when I was told by an employer that I couldn't possibly be a welder. The foreman told me I was not strong enough to hold a weld gun for 8 hours a day. I had the opportunity to attend DMACC through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program after I was laid off by Maytag. I completed the welding program in 2005 and took my first full time welding job at McAninch Corporation. While at McAnnich I discovered how much I enjoy welding, I also discovered I could hold a welding gun for 8 hours with no problems.
Working in a field dominated by men
I have always been a tom boy so working in a field dominated by men was not a stretch for me. Occasionally men doubt my abilities, but they soon find that I can hold my own.
Have you ever met any other female welding instructors?
No I have not, but the DMACC students don't seem to be skeptical of my abilities as an instructor, so that's great.
I am qualified in FCAW 3G and 4G with unlimited thickness and for AWS code D14.3, Earth Moving and Construction Equipment. That basically means I have demonstrated advanced welding techniques and I can lay what we call a "sound" weld in these areas.
Why I do what I do:
I first became a welding instructor for the extra income; I quickly learned that I truly care about the students. It makes me extremely happy to guide them through the process of learning how to weld. It makes me feel pretty great to know that I played a part in that.
Women in Welding:
The best way to get women involved in welding is to lead by example. We need to find a way to show women that they can do anything if they really want to do it
My mentor is Mike Rahn (DMACC Welding Program Chair). He has taken the welding program at DMACC, along with the other instructors, and made it a very valuable asset for employers in the Central Iowa region. Mike also has an amazing ability to see a good welder in a person before they can see it in themselves.
What I do to get away from work:
Most of my free time consists of running my 2 children to various sporting events or 4-H meetings. I enjoy reading and camping with my family. I am also a Girl Scout leader to 14 wonderful, energetic girls.
I grew up in Mingo, I live north of there with my husband and children.
Words to live by:
Find a career that you love to do. It makes going to work every day much easier.