At age 16, Angeline Deluca fell in love with automotive technology. As a junior in high school, she went to a drifting event with friends at a local race track. She ended up spending the entire evening leaned up against the fence, fascinated by the cars somehow speeding both out of control and under control simultaneously. She was hooked.
Cracking Glass Ceilings and Stereotypes
She started taking shop classes and joined the hot rod club at her high school. As one of only a few women in her school’s automotive program, she had to quickly find comfort in a room full of people who didn’t look like her — and often didn’t support her.
“A lot of people didn’t support me and didn’t think I was serious or capable,” Angeline said. “My high school shop teacher was the first person who believed in me. To him, it didn’t matter that I was a girl. I was smart and capable, and that was all that mattered.”
After graduating high school, Angeline earned her associate degree in diesel mechanics technology from the Universal Technical Institute of Arizona, where she was one of the only women in a class that was 98% male.
“Even though I had to fight a lot of bias, my supportive teachers made a world of difference in my education,” Angeline said. “In every group, there are at least a couple of people who want you to be there. That’s enough to drown out those who don’t.”
Angeline completed training programs with Ford and Cummins, and was hired as an engine technician for Cummins after completing her training. Now working as a power generation technician in Portland, Oregon, Angeline specializes in consumer and commercial power generation technology. As the branch’s only in-shop technician with expertise in both power gen and electric vehicles, she’s responsible for all in-shop generator and electric vehicle projects from start to finish — from new installations to troubleshooting and repairs.
Lifting Her Way to Success
Angeline’s experiences and capabilities have instilled in her a striking confidence in her work. While it’s common for confident women to be unfairly labeled as bossy or arrogant in the workplace, Angeline fights gender stereotypes every day, letting her top-notch work speak for itself.
“Of course I deal with some customers not believing in me or trusting my work because of my gender,” Angeline said. “But I know I’ve earned my credibility. If they want work done by the best, they’re going to bring the project to me and I’m going to fix it.”
For most people, problem-solving is a task in a job description. For Angeline, it’s a way of life. Whether it’s in the shop or in her personal life, she’s all about finding solutions and getting results.
“Troubleshooting electrical problems is my favorite part of my job,” Angeline said. “Something comes to me and it doesn’t work and I have to figure it out."
She feels the same fire for weightlifting. After searching for a new hobby to pour her energy into, she took up powerlifting and started competing in the sport. Getting stronger has even helped Angeline in her career as a technician — she’s able to move larger tools and machinery with ease. The sense of accomplishment and empowerment helps, too.
“When I first started lifting, I was looking for a release and something to keep my mind occupied,” Angeline said. “I drove by this gym and everyone there looked really friendly, and I saw lots of strong, empowered women. I learned how empowering it is to lift something heavy, and I fell in love with the community.”
Angeline is also committed to developing the next generation of female leaders in STEM. She’s active in community outreach, finding new opportunities to teach kids about STEM education, mentor women in technical trades and appear on podcasts where she shares her experience as a woman in a male-dominated field.
In the shop or in the gym, Angeline’s drive for progress is unrelenting. She’s a go-getter by nature, busting stereotypes and solving problems at every turn. It’s not always been easy, but her confidence and determination have made success a habit in her daily life.
“Anything worth doing will be worth the struggle and the risk,” she said. “It’s the passion for my work that keeps me going — there is nothing that can stop me.”