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SPECIAL REPORT: Women in welding

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Two women help break down the gender barrier in the male-dominated welding industry.

“I’m not a normal like nine to five person I find that so boring and I like to be outside and I love to build," said Rose Rivera, part-time welding lad aid at Arizona Western College (AWC).

After being introduced to welding in high school Rivera joined the military where she stayed for five years and became a sergeant.

After the military, she says a popular toy helped build her next path.

 "I love Lego’s so I did that and doing welding… welding like sculptures just building any type of projects it’s it’s like the same feeling,” said Rivera.

Local Katelynn Bobb is another prime example of not allowing stigmas or stereotypes to stop you from reaching your dreams.

“It doesn’t matter like just stick with it if it’s what you want to do then just stick with it because it doesn’t matter who’s around you,” said Bobb.

The 19-year-old Arizona Western College Freshman started welding at the young age of eight, alongside a very special family member.

“And I would like weld little Christmas ornaments I thought it was all great and then looking at it now it’s just like a piece of metal hanging but I started at my house with my grandpa when I was little and I just did it a little bit here and there when I was with him but then when I got into high school I started to do it more regularly," said Bobb.

Both women have competed in SkillsUSA and were able to share how it felt being a part of a competition made up of mostly men.

“At the time I was the only female in all of my classes so I became good friends with a couple males and then sometimes like they intimidated me a little bit sometimes I wanted to quit but also they like kept me from quitting as well,” said Rivera.

Bobb was even able to win one of the top prizes.

“I got to walk the stage getting first place with my sculpture a welding sculpture, everybody hears welding and they’re like oh my gosh it’s a girl’ but I feel like it feels really good because you can like show all the other girls like I said they see you doing it and they’re like I could do that,” said Bobb.

They're the first women to work as lab aids for AWC’s welding program.

Their boss and professor, Bobby Alvarado, says he's proud of the work they have accomplished.

“They’ve helped me our in a drastic way they’ve picked up a lot of slack they do what I ask of them overall they’re a great team to have honestly probably the best team I’ve had since I started, said Alvarado.”

Alvarado recalls how he brought them on board, saying everyone has value, regardless of their gender.

“Treat them like a normal employee like it’s your own business and you know if you have a successful business good things are going to happen that’s the way I look at things whether it’s a class or whether you’re running your own business as long as you treat people fairly with respect kindness it’ll come back to you ten fold,” said Alvarado.

Bobb and Rivera say they appreciate Alvarado's mentorship.

“He has helped us in a lot of ways he’s the one that when you take a class here he’s in your ear telling you what to do like do this do that he fixes it to a tee of how you’re welding, he makes you to be the welder that you are,” said Bobb.

“Just to be able to learn different types of welds and learning how to weld differently he has definitely helped and then I would say working with him as well I get more hands-on with different projects,” added Rivera.

Both ladies have a message for other women looking to break the mold.

“I say do it, knock it out of the ball park just do it it’s a great thing to do and knowing that you’re apart of something bigger than just it being a male-dominated industry it’s great," said Rivera.

“You got to keep moving past it like you can’t let it stop you when you get to the standstill of like oh my gosh I shouldn’t I shouldn’t be doing this there’s too many guys here and you just got to keep going because you’re going to get that regardless so the only way for you to get past it is just keep doing what you want to do, not what anyone else wants you to do but what you want to do," said Bobb.

Rosie will be competing in SkillsUSA this February, where we wish her good luck, while Katelynn was recently appointed a full-time welding lab aid.

Article Topic Follows: Special Reports

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Eduardo Morales

Eduardo Morales joined KYMA as a reporter in September 2023. If you have any story ideas or tips, email him at


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