Why She’s Amazing
Elizabeth Trudgeon doesn’t want to be a princess. She wants to be more.
As a young girl, Elizabeth was drawn to cars, trucks or anything with an engine. Through a class at a tech center during her senior year of high school, Elizabeth had the opportunity to combine hands-on learning with her love of science and math in the form of welding. She was hooked and has been blazing a trail in a male-dominated field ever since.
It hasn’t always been easy, but hearing comments such as “you can’t; you’re a girl” or “you can’t weld as well because you’re woman” only motivated her more. Elizabeth also has extra incentive to never give up on her dreams – a daughter who’s watching her every move.
We had a chance to ask Elizabeth a few questions. Something tells us that welding is just the beginning of Elizabeth empowering women!
“I didn’t want to be what all the
other little girls were.” – Elizabeth Trudgeon
Q & A
Q: When you were a young girl, what did you want to be when you grew up and why?
A: When I was a young girl, I wanted to be a mechanic. I have always had a car obsession. I would have rather went to a car show with my dad and brothers than played with dolls. I wanted to be one because I just loved cars, trucks or anything with a engine.
Q: What did people think when you told them that?
A: A lot of people supported that, but then again, a lot of people my own age did not support that. They thought that was boyish or that’s not a girl’s job.
Q: Did people call you “princess” when you were a little girl and, if so, how did that make you feel?
A: I was called a princess a few times when I was a child, and it sometimes upset me because I wanted to be different. I didn’t want to be what all the other little girls were.
Q: What does the word “princess” mean to you?
A: The word princess automatically makes me think of a Disney movie. All girls want to be like the main star/princess out of a Disney movie.
Q: How did you become interested in becoming a welder?
A: I became interested in becoming a welder because I grew up seeing my dad weld. He was a welder. I first off wanted to be a mechanic but my passion started transitioning into wanting to become a welder after watching my dad do it for so many years. The science and math behind welding is what drew me in the most.
Q: What did you have to do to accomplish this?
A: I’ve had to leap over so many obstacles to get where I’m at today. I had trouble in school because I was a hands-on learner and there weren’t many hands-on classes at my school. I struggled a lot with school, but when I had the chance to go to a tech center my senior year and learn hands-on in welding, it was the greatest gift. I also had to overcome the fact that I became a teen mom at 18. When I found out I was going to be a mom, I knew I had to finish school and do what was best for my child.
Q: Did you have a mentor or role model who inspired you?
A: My parents inspired me the most. Seeing what they came from and seeing what they have now pushes me like no other. They are so supportive of all my decisions, and they help me out so much.
Q: Did your family and friends support your aspirations?
A: My family and friends support me to the very end. I love my friends, family and fiance for that exact reason. I was given many reasons to give up and not push forward, but they were there helping me through it all.
Q: Did you think about being called a “trailblazer” for choosing this path?
A: I never thought of calling myself a “trailblazer” just unique, I guess, but I’ll call myself a trailblazer now.
Q: Have you ever felt discriminated against, overtly or subtly, for being a woman?
A: I have felt discriminated a few times. Just comments from some people saying things like “you can’t; you’re a girl” or “you can’t weld as well because you’re woman”, but it only motivated me more. I sometimes felt let down, but I tried not to let it interfere with my dreams and my goals.
Q: What motivates you?
A: My daughter, fiance and my family motivate me the most. They help me push through the hard times. But, most of all, I know I need to make them proud, and that’s what motivates me the most. I can’t let them down, especially my daughter.
Q: Of what are you most proud?
A: My accomplishments up to where I’m at. The fact that I didn’t let very huge things get in the way of my dreams. The fact that I didn’t follow in the stereotypical path of the modern day woman.
Q: What would you like people to learn from you?
A: I want people to learn from me that it’s ok to be different. It’s 100% ok to be different from everyone. To push through all the bad times, and the ending will be totally worth it.
Q: What three words would you like people to use to describe you?
A: Motivated. Courageous. Fun.
Q: What do you want people to know about you outside of your accomplishments?
A: Even though I act like a tough welder, I actually wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m a normal everyday girl. I have emotions. I like to dress up and feel frilly. I’m not always dirty with a welding coat on and dirt under my nails.
Q: Given the choice, would you do it all again?
A: I’d do it over 1,000 times. Time and time again. Doing it once made me an unbelievably strong woman. I can’t imagine how much stronger I’d be if I had to do it again.
Q: If you could eat lunch with one person, whom would it be?
A: If I could eat lunch with one person, it would probably be Martha Josey, a professional barrel racer. Growing up, she was my idol. I always dreamed of being as good of a barrel racer as she was and, through the years, the motivation she gave me in riding horses ended up transitioning into being motivated into becoming a welder.
Q: Which woman would you choose to have on U.S. currency?
A: Rosie the Riveter
Q: What advice would you give to a girl who right now wants to be just like you?
A: I’d tell her to never give up! Ever.
Bonus Question: What question would you ask the next Modern Day Trailblazer we interview?
A: I would ask the next trailblazer what her favorite color was because the stereotypical color for a girl is pink, but sometimes it’s not a girl’s favorite color.
- Elizabeth is a night owl.
- Her favorite sports team is the Detroit Tigers.
- Elizabeth’s favorite movie is Flash Dance.
- She prefers vanilla over chocolate.
- Elizabeth’s favorite quote is “Don’t tell me the sky is the limit
when there are footprints on the moon.”