Michelle Porter first tried her hand at welding on the New Hampshire farm where she grew up, mending broken tractor parts.
Now, she is a newly minted graduate of Manchester Community College with a degree in Welding Technology. From the day she first visited the program — timid, at first, until she saw other women learning the trade — she was “in love” with welding.
Her plan is to someday own and run her own shop — and fabricate components of buildings and bridges. She likes the idea of stepping back, looking at something tangible and huge, and knowing that she helped build it. Medallion Fund scholarships from the Foundation have helped cover the cost of her degree.
Throughout college, when Michelle finished classes for the day — like gas and arc welding, manufacturing and repair technique, blueprint reading — she swapped her
welder’s hood and gloves for a bartender’s apron. She worked three bartending jobs while maintaining a full course load and graduating with honors.
“You gotta want it,” she says, with a shrug.