Auto Body Technology
“I was originally an art major, though I also did endurance motorcycle road racing as a hobby. [Auto Body instructor] Frank Millsap’s wife taught at my school, Garland High School, and she was the one who suggested that I try out the Auto Body program at Eastfield. So basically, I just switched art forms.
“I worked at a restomod shop, restoring old cars for about two years and in several body shops, and I found that I really liked the work in the custom industry more than collision repair.
“The best part of the Auto Body program was that the instructors encouraged me to go and do more. I wasn’t sure that it was what I wanted to do, and it’s not always easy for a woman to succeed in such a male-dominated industry. The guys don’t necessarily make it easy on you, but I’ve always been stubborn. If someone says I can’t do something, I’ll just make it a point to show that I can — and I will.
“With welding, I had already been welding for several years building restomods and fixing cars and figured it would be a good idea to also have an associate degree in Welding. I've built metal sculptures for Eastfield’s Career Technology building and am looking forward to being able to share with students how to make these objects and other projects in a Welding sculpture class. My plans are to build metal furniture and sculptures with my welding skills as well as teach some welding classes here at Eastfield.
“Though I’ve been working in related fields for a while, beginning teaching at Eastfield was my first time to be an instructor. I love it when a student tells me that they get it, that they understand something. My favorite part — besides getting to work on projects with them — is seeing my students apply what they’ve learned.”
Stephanie Graham began teaching Auto Body courses at Eastfield in January 2010 as a visiting scholar. She earned an associate degree in Auto Body Technology from Eastfield, which includes classes in Welding Technology, and received certificates in custom metal fabrication and custom paint and graphics from VC Tech. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in teaching technology at the University of North Texas, which accepted her associate degree for transfer credit.