For more than 75 years, New England Tech has supported women in gender-breaking stereotypes and glass ceilings – by helping them launch successful careers in what were once thought of as “men’s fields.” Here’s our salute to four courageous and determined New England Tech graduates who are making waves and redefining industries while doing what they love.
Elizabeth Bergeron – Video Games Designer
Elizabeth came to New England Tech with a clear career goal in mind – to break into the male-dominated game development industry. Not only that, she set her sights on becoming a successful designer in the world’s epicenter for game design – Seattle, Washington. And that she did – quickly.
“It’s amazing to come into work every day and work with brilliant people that are passionate about the project that they are working on”
A 2012 graduate of New England Tech, Elizabeth landed a position with ArenaNet, a video game developer and subsidiary of NCSOFT, which developed the online role-playing game series Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2–massively multiplayer online role-playing games. Currently, Elizabeth is in charge of overseeing all test work done on all aspects of Guild Wars 2, which has sold more than three million copies. She was previously the Quality Assurance (QA) Lead in charge of the first Guild Wars 2 expansion, Heart of Thorns.
Anne-Marie Rosario Flores – is Unafraid of Bias, and Cleaning Up
Rosie the Riveter was a fictional woman munitions worker of World War II. Then came Lillian Baumbach, recognized as America’s first female master plumber in the 1950’s. Now Woonsocket has its own queen of the trades, “Anne the Plumber.” Based on years of study and experience, Anne-Marie Rosario Flores can show you her license as a master plumber and an impressive roster of satisfied customers.
Flores started working at a young age in a variety of occupations, including church jobs and working with nuns. She then became a demolitions expert in Boston with North American Site Developers, a national construction company. In 2004, having gained on-site experience in several trades, she decided to go into plumbing.
“I like working with my hands, dirty work doesn’t bother me and plumbing offers good pay,” she said. “So, I enrolled at New England Tech, graduated, and went to work for various master plumbers earning the experience necessary to pass the state license examinations.”
By 2014, Anne-Marie opened her own statewide plumbing business – Anne the Plumber – based in Woonsocket. “It’s a tough road for anyone,” she said, “but it’s extra tough for a woman in a male- dominated trade. ‘Whadaya know about it?’ a lot of guys would say. But then I show them that I know a lot, and everything is OK.
In its first three years, Flores’ company has grown to include three master plumbers, an apprentice, and an office administrator. The company primarily serves residential properties, but it also serves dental offices, charter schools and assisted-living complexes throughout much of Rhode Island.
Kierstyn Ebbeling – and the Art of Fusion and Ship Building
Wearing a helmet and wielding a fiery torch is in all in a day’s work for Kierstyn Ebbeling, who completed an eight-week welding training program at New England Tech that helps unemployed Rhode Islanders connect with jobs in the marine trades and manufacturing industries.
The Shipbuilding/Marine and Advanced Manufacturing Institute (SAMI) at NEIT recruits, screens and trains individuals for high demand careers in these industries at no cost to participants. “I’d always been interested in mechanical things, but, being a small-framed woman, my options were limited,” Ebbeling says. “The SAMI program opened me up to the world of welding, which I had tried in high school and really enjoyed, but had never thought of as a career path.”
Kierstyn can’t believe how far she’s come since beginning the training program in March. “I love welding. I could do it all day. It’s incredible to be able to go and work at Electric Boat and have them set me up with welding right away,” she says. “To get into shipbuilding is a dream come true.”
Brittaney Lanphear – Gets Under the Hood
Brittaney Lanphear graduated with an associate degree in Advanced Automotive Technology in 2015, and she’s already making her mark in this traditionally male-dominated industry. She loves to share her passion for her work and enjoys the respect and empowerment she’s so rightly earned.
Brittaney is employed as an automotive technician at Mulzer’s Car Care in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, a position she landed before her graduation from NEIT’s Automotive Tech program.
“The work setting provides change and new challenges on a regular, if not daily, basis. The automotive field is rich with employment opportunities,” she says. “This type of work provides a true sense of accomplishment and empowerment for women. At my job, I’ve experienced so many positive interactions with my fellow workers who offer words of encouragement and assistance – and often ask me for assistance with tough jobs.”
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