Opa-locka teen is first female graduate of new school for auto mechanics

The first and only female graduate from the Braman Automotive Training Center now works in the Braman Miami Collision Center, but Joselyn Marrero said she never realized she was making school history. She just loved working on cars.

“It shows that a woman can do anything a man can do. You have to put your mind to it,” said Marrero, 19.

She has been working on cars since she was a little girl. It’s a passion that developed from working on her dad’s 1976 Toyota Corolla.

“My dad always took me with him to fix cars,” said Marrero. “It all started with tools and I started learning how to use the tools.”

The love for mechanics has led the Opa-locka resident to be in the first graduating class from the Braman Automotive Training Center in downtown Miami. She graduated in Dec. 2012.

The Braman Automotive Training Center is part of a partnership with Miami-Dade public schools where high school graduates get the opportunity to receive a fully-funded technical education onsite at the new Braman Service Center, established by auto tycoon Norman Braman. Marrero was encouraged by her high school auto mechanics teacher to enroll in the program after graduating from Miami Central High School.

For Marrero, working on cars is her way of helping people who really need it.

“You can help people a little more with something they use every day,” said Marrero. “That brings a smile to my face.”

Being the only female in the auto-shop does seem out of place to some clients, but Marrero lets her work speak for her.

“You get the stares and their eyes open wide, like, ‘Is she really working here?’ But all you can do is smile and wave and keep walking,” said Marrero, who works in the Braman Service Center painting cars, mainly BMW’s and Cadillacs.

Marrero understands that women are sometimes leery of mechanics because they do not want to be taken advantage of, and hopes that seeing her and other female mechanics will make them more trusting. She dreams of one day owning her own body shop with an all female staff.

“I would love to open my own body shop and show the world that a woman can do it as well as a man,” said Marrero.

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