Hobby to Career

“The moment I walk in that room I am judged. I always want to come out on top to prove that it is a man’s world but I can do this just as good, if not better.”

Amber (Bryce) Scotti is a woman in a male-dominated profession. Her confidence didn’t come overnight. It came from years of hard work and heart-to-heart conversations in a garage.

Amber is a 2012 L’Anse Creuse High School — North graduate who took Career and Technical Education classes at the Frederick V. Pankow Center. Now she is a successful Paint Technician for Penske Vehicle Services, where she mixes just the right amount of art and science to do specialized painting on vehicles of all makes and models.

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To truly know Amber one needs to go back to when she was a young girl. Amber grew up in her father’s garage, spending countless hours with him learning how to fix cars. At the age of 10 her father brought home her first project car, from then on there was no turning back.

Once in high school, she was excited to see auto body classes as an option at the Pankow Center. She signed up right away with a plan in mind: she was going to fix up her dad’s 1970 Chevelle SS. For her, it was her chance to give back to him. In only five months, she and her classmates completed a top-to-bottom restoration and showed the car at the Detroit Autorama car show.

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The timeline seemed unrealistic but they got it done. Amber cites what she found to be the biggest benefit to enrolling in the auto body classes: time management.

“They really taught me how to make sure that that you have a plan because in the field it’s all about deadlines. I’m not just tinkering in a garage anymore. I’m getting stuff done.”

After high school, Amber thought that cars would always be her hobby, and she went to college to become a math teacher. But something didn’t seem right. She pursued nursing and returned to teaching. Every time she questioned her career path, she was with her father in the garage. Then finally, it hit her. The one common denominator and passion throughout her life was cars. So she closed the books on teaching and turned her hobby into her career.

Today she talks about how much she loves her job.

“It is a very critical thinking field, so it always keeps your motor going and you always have to face new challenges daily. The reward out of it is always the greatest feeling.”

Her advice for a teenage girl who loves working on cars but is nervous about being the only one in the room?

“Just go in there and forget that you’re a girl. Pretend you are a normal person doing something that you love. You are not defined by your gender. You have to go in there with passion and confidence and just forget you are a girl.”

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