Female students pioneer male-dominated career fields


Marissa Jimenez

Riley Booth, one of only two females in the Marine Diving Program this semester at City College, stands with the Kirby Morgan SuperLite 27 helmet in the Marine Technology Building at City College, Thursday, Dec. 4. ‘I think when girls realize there’s nothing limiting them just based on their sex…a lot of girls might be interested in this kind of thing,’ said Booth.


Riley Booth


Riley Booth is one of the only two women to take the dive this semester by joining the Marine Diving Technology program.

“There’s no reason that the program is only male-dominated except that it’s just how it has been going so far,” said Booth, 27. “I hear about women who are out there trailblazing and there’s going to be more every day.”

This semester, City College’s Marine Diving Technology program started classes with almost 40 male students and only two female students. Over the years, the MDT program has been highly concentrated with men.

Booth believes that while the program is made up of primarily male students there is no reason women should be discouraged if they are considering joining.

“It’s not for everybody. I don’t think it’s for just every guy either,” said Booth. “And I think when girls realize that there’s nothing limiting them based on their sex there may be a lot of women interested.”

She had never dived before joining the program but now sees that her passion is in the water. Booth hopes that after she finishes her second semester and gains her certifications that she will work as a commercial diver. She is specifically interested in saturation diving, where one goes down and lives underwater for the duration of the job they are working.

“From the moment I realized that people could actually get paid to work underwater, it was all I could think about. Nothing could be more satisfying like excitement and creativity along with a certain level of danger,” said Booth.

Now that she’s on her way to achieving her goals, Booth looks back and realizes she had no reason to be worried about the program. “I’ve made some great friends that I’ll probably have for the rest of my life,” said Booth.

Booth knows that everyone in the MDT program thinks of each other as equals. “I thought I was coming in way behind everyone and in some aspects that was true,” she said. “But everyone has been so awesome about helping each other out and we’re all learning together. No one is really getting left in the dust.”

Booth offers her support for women who are considering getting on board with the Marine Diving program. “There has definitely been women who have gone through the program before—usually about one or two at a time and there will definitely be more,” she said.

Abigael Orozco


Electrical Engineering major Abigael Orozco spotted in the CS lab in the Humanities Building on East Campus, finishing up a project before finals week, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. Says Orozco, “I never saw myself going into Electrical Engineering, but I loved my math and science classes so much that it just felt right.”
Jazmyne Cushenberry
Electrical Engineering major Abigael Orozco spotted in the CS lab in the Humanities Building on East Campus, finishing up a project before finals week, Thursday, Dec. 4. Says Orozco, ‘I never saw myself going into Electrical Engineering, but I loved my math and science classes so much that it just felt right.’


A City College student has chosen to break the norm and aspire in electrical engineering, a field that few women choose to be a part of.

The National Science Foundation reported that women occupy 11 percent of jobs in engineering fields but comprise 46 percent of the total workforce.

“It is very sad that engineering in general is a male dominated industry,” said Abigael Orozco, 25. “The world is extremely diverse and it only makes sense that one of the most important fields out there should be diverse as well.”

Orozco believes the problem really starts at adolescence. Instead of reminding young girls they are pretty, adults should remind them they are smart and creative too. Science, technology, engineering and math, also referred to as the STEM transfer program target women specifically for certain careers. “I didn’t even know what an engineer was or did until I was 20-something years old,” said Orozco.

Orozco was 23 when she decided she wanted to pursue a career in electrical engineering. After City College she hopes to transfer to University of California Santa Barbara or California Polytechnic State University.

Orozco currently works at Raytheon, a company that is developing a new generation of electronic warfare products.

“It’s a great company to start out at and gain experience,” said Orozco. “It also provides room to grow and the opportunity to work on many different kinds of projects.”

When Orozco first started at City College she wasn’t sure what she wanted to major in, but after taking Nick Arnold’s Engineering 101 course at City College she knew at that moment what she was meant to do.

The type of engineering field Orozco wanted to be in was unknown until she took more specific classes and discovered she was interested in programming and physics. “Electrical engineering was the perfect fit,” she said.

“To me, the most fascinating thing about electrical engineering is that it is implemented in everything around us— from the microwave, to an iPod, to mass communication systems,” said Orozco.

A mechanical engineer Edith Rodriguez first inspired Orozco. “When she told me she was studying to be an electrical engineer I thought she was so confident and brave to choose a major like that,” said Orozco. “She is a Mexican female, a minority within a minority, and I thought that if she could do it maybe I could too.”

Orozco believes it is important to not let anything intimidate one pursuing a male-dominated career. “Don’t doubt yourself over it and know that you are just as smart as they are,” she said. “After a while, you stop noticing and it becomes extremely empowering.”