Auto Technology student Shalina Dawson has been offered a great part-time job as a paid teaching assistant at the Larz Anderson Automotive Museum, in Brookline, MA. Shalina will be helping Girl Scouts learn some basic automotive care and maintenance, as she finishes up her studies at Porter and Chester Institute in Canton. “I’m really excited about this great opportunity,” said Shalina. “I’ve always liked to teach and I think it’s really important for girls to learn some basic stuff about the cars they’ll drive,” said Salina. “I also think it’s better to teach them when they’re young.” Shalina said she can’t wait to get started –and the people at Larz Anderson can’t wait to have her. Director of Education Gayathri Arumugham was effusive in her praise of Shalina, noting the student’s bright smile and “awesome strong handshake.” “She’s outgoing and friendly and personable, but what I was really impressed with is how hard she works,” said Gayathri. “I know she’s going to be a great role model.” Gayathri went on to compare Shalina to the typical job candidates that pass through her door. According to Gayathri, many of them are too busy looking down at their phones to even make eye contact. On the contrary, she said, Shalina looked her in the eye and was appropriately confident and pleasant. “I don’t know if it’s something they teach,” said Gayathri referring to Porter and Chester Institute, but all of their students seem “comfortable speaking to potential employers, and that’s really, really cool to see.” Gayathri added that she was “just blown away by how enthusiastic and passionate” Shalina was about cars. Shalina has grown up around cars –even her mom is a mechanic. But it wasn’t cars that connected her to Larz –not exactly. A stellar student and student ambassador with perfect attendance in her first semester, Shalina had finished working on a car one day when she asked instructor Paul Kaszanek to teach her some welding. Before long, Shalina had created an art sculpture, completely fabricated from car parts. Recognizing Shalina’s talent and a possible opportunity, Career Services Advisor Eurydice Barros suggested Shalina donate the sculpture to the museum. When Gayathri attended a Porter and Chester Institute Career Fair to accept the gift, she thought that Shalina would be a perfect solution to the museum’s planned Girl Scout outreach. There are also plans for more generalized automotive training for young people and even a teen safe driving program for which Gayathri thought Shalina would be a perfect asset. Shalina said she’s up for the challenge, as she’s already had her fair share of them. On her own since she was 18, Shalina is putting herself through school by working part-time and picking up odd jobs wherever she can. “I want a better life so I will struggle till it happens but I will make it happen. So the fact that these opportunities are opening up, it gives me sight that things are getting better,” said Shalina. Shalina’s new boss would probably agree that things are getting better –for both Shalina and the people coming to the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. “With Shalina, I feel that whatever I give her she’s going to be able to do it,” said Gayathri, “and I have no doubt in my mind that she’ll go far.” Located in Brookline, the Larz Anderson Auto Museum is home to “America’s Oldest Car Collection” and now an original piece of artwork by Shalina Dawson, Porter and Chester Institute student. Porter and Chester Institute is a career training school with nine locations in Connecticut and Massachusetts. It has more than six decades of experience offering students training across a wide range of career training programs.
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