Updated: Aug 16, 2022
written by Tiffany Rae Johnson
Kimberly Barragan, age 36, is the daughter of head instructor Greg Barragan. She came into the
Gladiator Welding Program looking for “something that was missing.” As a pharmacy technician of 18 years, she comes into the program with a desire to learn. “Growing up, I needed a clean cut job, and I have that. I feel that I have reached my peak as a pharmacy tech.”
The pandemic played a big role in changing her perspective on how she wants to live her life. Kimberly expresses this newfound insight, “you don’t realize what you have until everything’s gone… I left my comfort zone.”
Going into Gladiator Welding, as a student, her first experiences brought her to “a whole different level.” Surrounded by different types of people, different levels of welding skills, most with no experience at all, is just what she never knew she needed. “It bit me, now I’m hooked.”
It takes a strong-willed woman, such as Kimberly to be unfazed in a male-dominated line of work. “Like why not,” leaving her comfort zone was exactly what she was looking for. . The Gladiator Welding Program creates an atmosphere where she finds herself realizing she doesn’t “want to go home yet.” Her transition into an instructor has come with a burst of inner strength. “As a female, you are questioned by the students… the reactions to my weld are like, what the…” Kimberly admits.
One objective the Gladiator Welding Program implements into the application process is equal opportunities. It is important to come together, and work towards breaking the social stigma that this is a man’s world. At times, Kimberly finds herself “in a position where my students are earning my respect.” For women in many male-dominated fields, find themselves working harder to be recognized as equal. “I am still figuring out where I stand with being one of the few females within the program, if they put in, I put in, if they’re all in, so am I. The tone must be set coming in, that I am their equal.”
As an instructor she looks forward to a good time every class. Growth is recognized on a daily basis. “I want my students to remember when they leave, they were respected,” Kimberly addresses. “You did the work, they showed up. They did it for them.” Going forward, her growing passion for welding keeps her motivated, “Once I put my foot on the pedal and see the sparks fly, it gets me every time. This is it.”
About the Author
Tiffany Rae Johnson was born in 1997, in Fresno, California. She has a passion for boxing. Once a competitor, she now enjoys coaching upcoming talent in the Central Valley. She also enjoys traveling and painting. She thrives on spontaneous adventures and creative ways of viewing her surroundings.
She is a graduate of Clovis Community College, where she received her Associate’s Degree in Kinesiology. After a change in career path, she is now a senior at Fresno State University, where she is receiving her B.A. in Mass Communication and Journalism in December 2022. She has experience as an SCCCD Public Relations/Marketing, Fresno State Athletics Strategic Communications/Digital Media, and CMAC TV Community Media intern.