The Next Generation: ‘I knew welding was right for me the first time I picked up my helmet’
Editor’s Note: Along with the women we feature who are currently working in male-dominated industries, we are featuring female students at the Darlington County Institute of Technology who are taking classes in some of those same fields. DCIT staff has provided the biographies and photos of these students to us. We extend special thanks to Robbie Smith and Aurelia Burgess at DCIT for partnering with us on this project.
A year ago, Briana Calcutt spoke with her guidance counselor about her future. All students are required to meet with their counselors to discuss their Individualized Graduation Plan (IGP). During Briana’s meeting, she informed her guidance counselor that she had no interest in going to college, but that she would stay open -minded.
The IGP meeting resulted in Briana signing up to take welding at the Darlington County Institute of Technology (DCIT). Briana said, “DCIT opened my mind for the better, and ever since the first day I picked up my helmet, I knew welding was the right thing for me!”
She says that not a day has passed that she regrets making the decision to take welding. “I may not be the best in the class and I’m not trying to be. I just do it because it’s a passion.” Briana is one of only two girls in her class. She realizes that many people see welding as a “guy thing” but that doesn’t prevent her from wanting to share her love for welding with others and encourage girls especially that they should give it a try.
Briana admits that originally, “I took it because I was looking for something that would challenge me, but then I fell in love with what I could do.”
Briana’s interests are diverse. She does plan to return to DCIT next year to take Welding II, but she also wants to take Health Science. After high school, she wants to go to Florence-Darlington Tech for Welding and later attend Winthrop to study nursing. In her future, she sees herself both as a welder and a prenatal nurse. She is grateful that she can learn about both of those at DCIT in preparation for college. With her determination, one thing is certain – her future will be bright.