Auto mechanics

Auto mechanic student breaks down barriers

BOONEVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) — A Northeast Mississippi Community College student is proof that neither gender nor physical disability can stand in the way of a dream.

Lillie Austin has always had an interest in all things mechanical, especially when it comes to automobiles.

“I love old cars, so I wanted to learn more,” Austin said.

And that’s exactly what she does, through NEMCC’s Automotive Mechanics Program.

Lillie is the top student in her class, and she also works in the campus auto shop as part of the school’s work-study program. Besides being in a male dominated field, Lillie also overcame hearing loss.

Mark Morelock is the workshop foreman and says Lillie is an inspiration for her work ethic, drive and ability.

“Also, unbeknownst to me, she came back this summer to do the welding course, I didn’t know until I was told at the start of the summer, I thought it was amazing. Most of students don’t double up and put in as much effort,” Morelock said.

Lillie says she learned a lot not only about auto mechanics, but more importantly about perseverance.

“If you like doing something, don’t let it stop you, if you’re a woman, disabled,” she said.

Auto mechanics may still be a male-dominated field, but Lillie Austin is proof that neither gender nor physical disability are barriers to anything if you’re willing to work hard.

Lillie hopes to find a job at an auto repair shop near her hometown of Hernando once she gets her associate’s degree.

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