Student Spotlight: Meredith Esposito
Meredith Esposito first attempted welding years ago but it did not go well for the self-proclaimed perfectionist.
“For years, I would joke that I was good at many things but a terrible welder,” she said. “That little gnawing failure stayed in the back of my mind and inspired me when I was at a point in my career seeking a change. I didn’t want to end up grumpy and miserable by staying where I was.”
Having previously earned a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from Louisiana State University with an emphasis on 2-D printmaking, Esposito decided to return to school and find a program leading to strong opportunities for employment. That’s when she looked at welding again.
“I wanted to give it another try and overcome that failure,” she said. “Welding is also a universal skill that covers a wide range of industries. There is a huge skills gap in America and there are many people retiring with not enough skilled tradespeople to fill the gap. And with my art background, welding would literally add another dimension to my skill set.”
After looking into another school, which offered a rigid schedule, Esposito discovered College of DuPage. The Welding program provided the flexibility that made it difficult for her to say no.
“I met with Welding program coordinator David Ellis and that solidified my decision,” she said. “He couldn’t do enough for me, giving me a tour of the amazing facilities and becoming my strongest ally and mentor in my new career path.
“COD is now giving me the tools I need to change careers mid-life. The instructors have a wealth of real-life experience and guide all the students through their choices post-graduation. Resume-building and job-seeking skills have been addressed in the classes and I appreciate how all the instructors truly have an eye to post-graduate employment for their students.”
Esposito is the recipient of a scholarship from the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, a national organization that is helping to close the skills gap in technical careers. Carrying a 4.0 GPA so far, she plans to complete her Welding Technology certificate at the end of 2018 and find part-time work as a welder until she can ultimately leave her current job. In addition, she builds steel furniture as a hobby and wants to incorporate her welding skills into her art.
Esposito encourages students to consider College of DuPage’s Welding program and to put everything they can into it.
“The program is great, but the teachers can only guide you so far. You have to want to push yourself to improve,” she said. “The instructors will provide critiques and help you improve as much as you will let them, but they won’t write your resume or fill out your job applications. They will do whatever they can for you. They will coach you on how to get the job and what to expect in interviews. They have given us tours of their personal welding shops, emailed us about various welding opportunities and have been instrumental in helping me set up my own welding studio at home in my garage. They add things to the curriculum if a student shows interest and will tailor your program to your own personal needs. I couldn’t be happier at College of DuPage!”
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