Young achiever: Michelle Braga
Residence: Bethel Park
Family: Mother, Erika Braga, and sister, Nicolle, 14
School: Bethel Park High School
Noteworthy: In January, Braga won the residential wiring event at Pennsylvania's District 8 regional SkillsUSA competition at Rosedale Technical Institute in Kennedy, where 42 high school students competed. Braga will particpiate in the state contest in Hershey in April. Winners of that will compete in Kansas City, Mo., for scholarships awarded by SkillsUSA, a Leesburg, Va.-based nonprofit, career and technical education student organization.
Activities/interests: Braga spends part of her school day at Steel Center Area Vocational School in Jefferson Hills, where she is enrolled in an electrical conception, or wiring, class. She plans to attend the University of Pittsburgh and enroll in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union No. 5 apprenticeship program to become an electrician. Braga hopes to inspire other women to enter the male-dominated field.
Quote: “There's definitely going to be challenges … but I love the work enough to put up with it,” Braga said of being a woman in occupation that is mostly male.
— Tory N. Parrish