Allison Hassard shows telecommunications cabling is not just for the boys
Contact: Laurie Hogan (336) 370-8307
Created: 7/29/2010 1:07:43 PM
When Allison Hassard entered the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program at Weaver Academy, there were not many girls in her classes. She says her male classmates were surprised that a girl could be interested in information technology. This summer as a rising senior, Hassard came in second place in the telecommunications cabling contest of the national SkillsUSA competition in Kansas City, Mo. She was one of seven high school students from North Carolina to place at the national level.
SkillsUSA is an annual competition for students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations. Telecommunications cabling is just one of the 96 career-based contests held during the national competition. It is studied by students who are interested in creating and installing cables for voice and data networks. During the competition, Hassard was tested on industry standards for building cables, putting cables in order for an Internet connection, troubleshooting and customer service. A judge for cabling construction was reportedly amazed by her work and called it, "textbook perfect."
Hassard's focus as a CTE student is computer technology, but she was open to learning a new skill. With the help of one of her male classmates, she started preparing in February for the regional SkillsUSA competition. After only a few months of studying telecommunications cabling, she won at the regional and state levels, including defeating her more experienced classmate to become the state-level gold medalist. "I think girls are better at cabling," said Hassard. "We take our time, while sometimes the guys rush through."
Hassard became interested in technology at a young age. She learned about Guilford County Schools' CTE program while attending a Tech Girls camp in the ninth grade. She began taking classes part-time at Weaver during the 10th grade. She has taken courses in computer engineering, network engineering and electronics. She also has earned A+ certification and is trained in customer service.
She says girls should not be afraid to learn technical skills and she recognizes that her talents and skills in telecommunications cabling are highly marketable in today's workforce. "It could be a career," she said. "I plan on going to college, but I'm not sure where yet. I would probably take my skills up a level and become a network engineer."
Hassard's teacher at Weaver, Reza Mohammadi, says she was the only girl competing at the regional, state and national levels, but he was not surprised by her success. "Never underestimate girl power," he said. "Allison has continuously excelled as a student. She is highly dedicated, motivated, prepared and respected by all of her classmates. I hope lots of girls can see the pictures of her competing with the guys and decide to get involved in the program."
To view photos, click on the link below.
Rising Senior Places Second in National SkillsUSA Competition