Career Pioneer: Emily Kominek

Career Pioneer: Emily Kominek in welding lab
January 11, 2019

A stream of sparks flies past Emily Kominek’s welding helmet and braided ponytail before crashing into the walls of the booth she works in during her welding class at College of Western Idaho (CWI).

“I’ve always been curious how welding works,” commented Kominek. “I like the science behind it – it’s not just burning metal.”

In a class of 15 students, Kominek is one of two females learning to weld, but that did not deter her from pursuing her passion. “I like the feeling, I can’t draw to save my life, so I like to build things - it’s hands-on and dirty,” she said.

As a career pioneer, she is excited to help pave the way for future students interested in pursuing non-traditional paths for women.

The CWI Pioneer Mentor Program provides a support network within the Career and Technical Education community for underrepresented students. The program encourages empowerment, self-advocacy, and the creation of social networks.

“Emily is very enthusiastic, passionate, and willing to share her enthusiasm and teach other people what she’s learned, not just about welding, but about being a career pioneer and going after her dreams,” CWI Center for New Directions Coordinator, Annette Grove said.

Kominek’s drive and focus was recognized during her senior year at Emmett High School as she was awarded a number of scholarships.

“My college is paid for — I received over nine grand in scholarships,” she said. I received a Governor’s Cup Scholarship for $3,000 and met the governor and first lady. I also have a local technical scholarship, I was the first female to receive the scholarship in Emmett, which is pretty cool.”

Her contributions in the classroom have also been recognized.

"Emily has an amazing attitude — always cheerful and positive, and this positivity is an inspiration to others in the class,” Welding Department Chair, Mike Wheeler, said. “This attitude allows Emily to face obstacles and challenges with a smile and she helps other students work through problems in a similar fashion."

When she graduates from CWI’s Welding program in 2020, she plans on working in a local fabrication shop customizing trucks and motorcycles.

To learn more, please visit CWI's Career Pioneer Mentor Program webpage.

Student Spotlight: Emily Kominek, Welding