Yazmin Gonzalez: 4’11” Bilingual Tech
Words: Stacy Malone, Director of Auto/Diesel Programs, UTI-Dallas/Fort Worth
"You don’t see a lot of girls as auto technicians,” says Yazmin Gonzalez of Dallas.
The 4-foot-11-inch Yazmin is an auto technician at Enterprise Holdings at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, where she helps maintain the company’s fleet of rental cars. She loves her job because it’s different and “it’s cool to see how everything works.”
Growing up in the Dallas suburb of Garland, Yazmin was never into Barbies. She liked cars. In high school she took body work classes, and her interest blossomed. But she was more interested in how cars worked than how they looked.
After graduating from high school, Yazmin enrolled at the Dallas/Fort Worth campus of Universal Technical Institute (UTI). She completed UTI’s combined automotive and diesel Technology II program with a perfect 4.0 average in November 2015. Yazmin was named Student of the Course in four classes.
"I thought about going to a four-year college and becoming a nurse or a surgeon but I didn’t want my parents to pay for college. I could afford to go to UTI, and it wouldn’t take years to start working and making money,” Yazmin says.
Yazmin has selected a field in high demand. By the year 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor projects there will be more than 1.2 million jobs in the automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine industries. To reach that total, the transportation industry will have to fill more than 37,000 technician job openings every year.[i]
“Yazmin was motivated,” says Kevin Renner, Education Manager at the UTI-Dallas/Fort Worth campus and one of Yazmin’s instructors. “Rather than choosing Auto or Diesel, she took both programs. In addition, because of her stature, Yazmin had to learn how to use tools to her advantage. She was an outstanding student.”
The 19-year-old is currently using the hands-on, technical skills she gained at UTI to work on cars, but Yazmin is qualified to work on both auto and diesel engines. “Diesel engines are fun,” she says. “They are big and bad! In school both the instructors and students were really enthusiastic about diesel.”
Yazmin is also using her training in her personal life. Her parents especially like the “free mechanic work,” says Yazmin, the oldest of four siblings. She’s replaced the spark plugs and repaired the power window on her mom’s 2007 Toyota Highlander. On her dad’s 2001 Nissan Frontier, Yazmin has installed a new coolant hose and replaced the distributor. Yazmin is also tinkering with her own 2002 Honda Civic. Already, she’s torn apart and rebuilt the suspension, and she’s replaced the crankshaft position sensor.
Her professional tip for others? “When I did the crankshaft position sensor, I took the valve cover off and replaced the valve cover gasket. I used the opportunity to inspect other engine parts that were exposed, like rocker arms. I didn’t want to miss seeing anything that could cause a problem down the road.”
A few years down her own road, Yazmin sees herself owning her own shop, where she will repair both diesel and auto engines. There are some differences, she admits, but at the end of the day, both are vehicles on four wheels. “Why not help both?” she asks.
Her desire to help is a recurring theme. Since Yazmin is fluent in both Spanish and English, she is eager to assist other Spanish speakers with repairs. “When people can’t speak the language, that makes getting help so much harder. I love helping people, and if I could do it for free, I would.”
This successful auto and diesel technician says this about herself. “I’m a girly girl,” she admits, showing off her blue nail polish. “My favorite color is pink, and I wear a lot of it. I just happen to think cars are very cool.”
[i]Based on data compiled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections (2014-2024), www.bls.gov, viewed Dec. 8, 2015. UTI cannot guarantee employment or salary. For information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, visit our website at www.uti.edu/disclosure.