CTE Programs: Engineering

With only fourteen percent of women employed as engineers in the United States, their voices are muffled in comparison to the eighty percent of men currently dominating the field. However, Downey High’s engineering pathways, led by Mr. Yamasaki, provides female students with a breath of discovery, exploring potential careers in STEM. Through the infinite creativity in coding projects to identify and solve problems, there are no bounds. 


Eager to take on the realms of engineering, Alejandra Pelayo,12, explains how this “hands-on” experience has challenged her to excel in an environment where “nothing is limited.” Hoping to become a biomedical engineer, she stresses how this pathway has opened up a window of opportunity, guiding her pursuit of knowledge. 


“Nobody expects anything from us, so when they say you can’t do it, we say watch us,” Pelayo stated. Her unyielding determination empowers females to exceed in STEM whilst simultaneously divulging in their passions. 


The engineering pathway has a unique classroom environment where students can use trial and error on their teamwork-based projects. The flexibility in their work that this provides helps students like senior Jasmine Vallejo, build their confidence in the field.  


“You can build your confidence a little bit; it’s very low pressure and [you can] mess up here. You can learn from your mistakes,” Vallejo said. “In a group setting as well, the kids here are very understanding and welcoming. Honestly, we’re all like a team together.”


The CTE engineering programs provided have opened a door to a new world at a young age. Not only that but it has given girls the opportunity to explore a STEM related field which is usually male-dominated.  The CTE programs, however, dismantle this environment, ensuring a safe space for girls like Pelayo and Vallejo to gain confidence and work on their engineering skills. These classes in the pathway have ignited their interests to further study engineering and has encouraged these individuals to keep their heads up high.