Meet Universal Technical Institute's TANYA ANDRES STEAM Sports Foundation Scholarship Recipient
College: Universal Technical Institute – Lisle, IL
Hometown: Chicago Heights, IL
Personal Car: Honda Civic EX
What You May Not Know About Me - My Likes:
2) Forest preserves
3) Chicago area restaurants
4) Coffee-espresso machine
5) Ice cream
How did you get so interested in cars/the auto industry?
I’ve always been amused by how vehicles work and the effect they have on our daily lives. As I was growing up, I would see my dad work on his car from time to time. I would always ask questions and try to help him out. The responsibility he would give me is being the flashlight holder. From that point on I knew I wanted to do more than hold a flashlight. I wanted to get more technical and hands on. I noticed in the automotive field that there are a few unreliable techs out there after seeing that bad experience some of my family members have experienced. I want to be part of the change and be a reliable technician and be able to help and support women out there.
So, when did it get serious for you?
After years of studying different majors at UIC (psychology, computer science, and criminology), I figured out that I haven’t found my passion yet. I took a course break and focused on my development at work. I figured I didn’t want to be on the corporate side of things. One summer my car’s tire went flat in the highway. At the time, I did not know how to change a tire. I took my car to my friend’s shop and he helped me out, but also showed me how to change a tire on my vehicle. After that experience, I had fun and it felt like an accomplishment being able to repair something. That’s when I knew that I wanted to join the automotive industry especially since it lacks women.
Who was your biggest influence growing up?
This may be cliché, but my parents have been my greatest influence growing up. They shaped and helped me be the person I am today. They have taught me to be open minded, to ask for help when needed, caring, compassionate, and had let me focus on my studies these past few years. My dad is always hard working and has shown me that things are earned in this world and not given. Which is why I feel so accomplished when I start a new milestone or have met a goal because I was the one who did the work to get me there. My mom has been so supporting and understanding throughout the years and has encouraged me to put in the work.
Describe your experience at UTI?
My experience at Universal Technical Institute has been amazing. When I first started, I met someone named Daniel. He introduced himself as the school’s tutor and guided me on my first day. He was in my first course and we became great friends. I ended up meeting his group of friends from campus and all of them were welcoming. I was scared to attend due to being one of the few women on campus, but my friends have helped me out by helping me understand concepts, Dean would help me find good and affordable tools, Robert was there to support me during tough courses and how to use ALLDATA, and all of them are currently pushing me to join a MSAT program. The instructors here have been a great help and help when needed. Most of the instructors here love to see their students succeed and have helped me prep for ASE testing.
What’s been the toughest part so far?
The toughest part right now has probably been not getting enough hands-on training. I try to see additional videos on YouTube or use resources from school.
What would you like to do when you graduate?
After I graduate, I would like to get more hands-on experience and be able to practice diagnosing, so I would like to work at a dealership as a technician and make my way up to journeyman.
How do you approach the challenges of being a minority engineering student in what has been traditionally a non-minority career path?
Some challenges of being a minority engineering student is you might feel out of place from time to time. Sometimes it feels like you have to be on your ‘A’ game to show that you actually know what you’re doing vs. those who just come to class and goof around. Some days are easier than others, but at the end of the day I like to remind myself why I am pursuing this career and how I would help influence other women to join the industry.
Tell us a little bit about the personal side of Tanya Andres.
For fun I like to spend time with my friends or family. I enjoy bowling with my family and going to forest preserves. I like to check out restaurants with my friends and find areas in Chicago with fun events. I also enjoy making coffee at home. I have a coffee bar set up with an espresso machine, different brewing equipment, and a selection of flavors plus I also have a selection of loose-leaf tea. On my days off I like to catch up on shows with a good side of ice cream.
What do you personally drive?
I personally drive a 2015 Honda Civic EX. I originally wanted a 2017 Honda Civic Type R, but for my first car the one I have was better as a starter and financially.
About STEAM Sports Foundation
Recognizing workforce and economic development as integral parts of corporate growth STEAM Sports Foundation works with companies, educators and sports groups to develop initiatives around science, technology, engineering, arts and math that impact the world of sports & entertainment.
The foundation’s focus is on scholarships and career summits in an effort to help create tomorrow’s vibrant workforce. Its “Women of Color” scholarship program in automotive/motorsports engineering provides diversity to a transportation industry that is ever-changing via innovation and technology with individuals who traditionally did not consider these career paths simply because they saw few who looked like them in the industry.
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