The Young Woman in the Weld Zone
For many people, their path in life is not linear. On the way to the destination, we encounter deviations, distractions, and disruptions. In the midst of it all, we hold onto an anchor of hope that always helps to navigate the way, if only we practice enough patience to weather the storm.
For Cheyenne, Goodwin College’s Welding Program is her anchor of optimism. Hanging onto the helm, Cheyenne was looking for some sort of direction to sway her towards her future, and Goodwin is just that success she seeks beyond the horizon.
Cheyenne Walsh comes from a long line of strawberry farmers in Tolland, Connecticut. Her family lives on a vast road where aunts, uncles, and cousins are just a few footsteps away. Cheyenne likes her steak well-done, and her favorite color is yellow because, well, “it’s the color of happiness.” She has three brothers and one sister— including her brother Hunter, who always challenges her to be the best version of herself.
Cheyenne has an amazing support system in her two friends, Jess and Alix, who encourage and drive one another to keep going. Cheyenne is a student of Goodwin College earning her Welding Certificate. Jess is going to be in the FBI, and Alix is going to be a police officer. Self-identifying as their own version of the Powerpuff Girls, pursuing their passions in male-dominated fields are clearly their combined superpower.
Having worked three jobs in high school, Cheyenne is no stranger to dedication and perseverance, even more so as she attends class every Monday and Wednesday. Proclaiming herself an introvert, she enjoys welding for the solitude behind the shield. She’s closed off from the world around her, still, focused, and meticulous behind the mask. She knows she’s being careful and calculated, an attribute she admiringly picked up from her brother Hunter.
Her first time welding, she was apprehensive.
“I was nervous to get started…” Cheyenne readily admitted, “I don’t have a background in this at all…”
Her first day in the shop, Cheyenne was constantly looking at others around her. She checked her placement and then the machine, then her placement, then the machine, then her peers, then the machine, and her placement again. On her first go-around, just to play it safe, Cheyenne had someone stand over and watch her the whole time. Nowadays, she’s much more confident in the overall process, and, more importantly, “less critical of [herself].” The only female in her welding class, her classmates say “so what she’s a girl…” and the only thing that seems to get in Cheyenne’s way from time to time is her long, pin-straight hair.
“My teachers know me by name…” she shared, sounding surprised, “…and I haven’t even been here that long.”
Cheyenne enjoys Goodwin for the small class sizes and the advisors who care enough to check-in. She appreciates instructors like Keith Carter who practice patience with her throughout the learning process. At Goodwin, the Welding Program’s Universal Design of Learning initiative caters to a variety of learners. When Cheyenne was unable to grasp a concept in the curriculum, Keith showed her an instructional video to give her an alternative point of view.
“[Keith’s] really good…” she made it a point to mention.
At first, Cheyenne was scared to ask questions in class, but Carter recognized the curiosity that burned inside of her. When asking the class if they had any questions and Cheyenne didn’t speak up, her instructor persisted. He noticed her quick sparks of curiosity and would say things like, “I could see it in your face Cheyenne… what is it… what’s your question?” This eventually raised her confidence. As a result, Cheyenne became more comfortable raising her hand and started to gain a better understanding in the classroom.
When asked about the difference between her life before Goodwin College and her life as a student now, Cheyenne said, “I know what I want for the future… I have goals now.” As for any advice for people thinking about coming to Goodwin, after a brief pause and a closed one-sided smile that stuck to the corner of her mouth, Cheyenne advised women (and men) seeking stable careers and a sense of purpose “don’t be afraid to take chances.”
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.