When NaviT’ Hill blew the head gaskets in her Subaru Forester, she didn’t bat an eye. She rebuilt the engine herself. She also fixed some body damage on the car after hitting a stump, using Associate Professor John Thompson’s lab for the work. 

“I’m super proud of it. It speaks to the amount of knowledge and experience I was able to get at Pitt State,” she said. 

Hill, one of PSU’s newest alumni, earned a degree in automotive technology with an emphasis in collision repair. Days after her December graduation, she was headed to Dearborn, Michigan, to start her career with Ford Motor Company as a Tech Support Analyst, armed with what she’d learned and experienced in the Kansas Technology Center. 

The seed for that career choice was planted when she was a child. 

“My dad worked in auto body his whole life; from the time he could take things apart, he did,” Hill said. “He worked for 30 years as an auto technician for dealerships, independent shops, and has his own shop. I grew up handing him tools.” 

But when Hill decided to follow in his footsteps, she was met with an industry stereotype. 

“My mom said, ‘There’s no place for you in the automotive field’,” she said.  

Hill relented and earned associate degrees in business management and business technology from West Georgia Technical College. But the pull was strong to follow her dreams; online research led her to PSU. 

“I found six schools in the U.S. with a four-year degree in automotive tech,” she said. “All are business oriented, for people who have been in industry and want to get into management.” 

Hill wanted a hands-on, by doing learn approach, and PSU was one of  

..women need to start telling more people, 

‘Hey, I’m doing it,  and it’s not that hard.

 two with such a focus. “Pitt State required the most technical classes, so I chose Pitt State,” she said. 

It was a good decision. 

“When the Big Three (General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler) are coming out here multiple times a year and are saying that PSU graduates are top talent, you know you’ve found a good program,” she said.  

Hill, now 24, wants other women considering entering the field to know that she’s been treated with respect by her classmates and co-workers. She plans to contribute to scholarships for women in technology as soon as she is able. 

“People told me you can’t do this as a career, you shouldn’t do this as a career, but women need to start telling more people, ‘Hey, I’m doing it, and it’s not that hard’,” she said. “Think back to the time when men went off to war, women worked in factories, they were building airplanes, and we’re just as capable as women were then.” 

“There are so many opportunities in this industry all over the world — all kinds of opportunities,” she said. “I did it. I’m proud that I could do it, and I proved that this is the place for me, that I fit in.” •