HAVERHILL – In conjunction with National Welding Month,Racheal Galicia recently became the first Whittier Tech student to earn an American Welding Society’s (AWS) Certified Welder distinction.
Galicia, a senior from Haverhill, received her certification on March 29.
To achieve the certification, Galicia had to pass AWS’s practical exam. Whittier Welding Instructor Stephen Palmer helped prepare Galicia for the series of weld tests. The exam was overseen by certified welding inspector Chris Gerber.
The exam included three timed welding tests in different welding positions, including the horizontal, overhead, and vertical positions. Gerber inspected Galicia’s work throughout the tests to ensure that it met the high standards set by the American Welding Society.
“Passing this test is a very difficult thing to do, she passed each stage on her first attempt, which is a testament to Racheal’s work ethic and welding skills,” Gerber said.
Certification can lead to higher salary potential, stronger employment demand, and better job stability. It also provides evidence of a person’s ability to learn and grow in the welding field.
“All of us here at Whittier are immensely proud of Racheal’s accomplishments, who as a female is a non-traditional welder,” Superintendent Maureen Lynch said. “She has defied stereotypes and proven that welding is a field in which anyone can have success. She also has achieved this success despite the challenges of remote learning due to the pandemic.”
In Grade 9, Galicia chose to follow in her older brothers’ footsteps and pursue welding. She also chose to pursue it because of job industry demands, the technical skills offered, and because she is a hands-on learner.
Galicia has worked at Salem Metal, Inc. since spring 2021 as part of Whittier’s Cooperative Education Program. Salem Metal, Inc. has supported her throughout this certification process, teaching her precision Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding and allowing her to take time off to earn the achievement.
Galicia plans to attend the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences to study Pharmacology and Toxicology.
“Even though I may not be pursuing welding right out of high school, going for this qualification was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Galicia said. “The work I have put into welding the past three years was worth it because I have skills that many other high school students don’t.”
National Welding Month is held each April to recognize the industry, its valuable work. and hardworking welders.