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Cristie completed her training with the Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology in their Heavy Equipment Operations program about 2 weeks before actually graduating from high school.
Cristie already has a good command and knowledge of nearly 20 different pieces of equipment ranging from a skid steer, a blade, a scraper, backhoe, loader, excavator, 10 wheel dump truck and much more.
Cristie became extremely interested in the construction industry after attending the AZCCD, event held at the National Guard Papago Site in Phoenix during her last year in Jr. High School. Her interest became stronger after her freshman and sophomore year when she again attended the same AZCCD Event and learned more about the industry, especially from women that were in it and loving it.
At the end of her sophomore year she learned that NAVIT was offering a brand new program of Heavy Equipment Operations that is partnered with Central Arizona College and she applied and was accepted. She has learned to run equipment, as well as completing courses on surveying, grade staking, soil testing and mine safety.
I, Meredith Alarcio-Caldon, appreciated that companies were so enthusiastic to teach students about the different opportunities that were available through construction. Companies were willing to say that the only path after high school wasn’t college, and that there are other options. I found it very beneficial that there were multiple companies from all different disciplines of construction. The variety of companies and the activities they offer help students already interested in certain fields/disciplines learn more about those fields, while also helping students interested in multiple possibly narrow down to the one they are most passionate about. I also found it encouraging to see women there representing the companies that they were with. Not many girls are interested in construction in high school so it was reassuring at the time. Being in the industry now, I hope to get more involved in helping to educate students on construction and the different paths that are possible.