She’s found success in a man’s world

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 1, 2015

Chancey Wyatt of Opp welcomes challenge.

For five years, she braved the winds and climbed higher than 300 feet to repair wind turbines throughout the United States and into Canada. Now she is in a career field not typically chosen by females.


“Welding has always been an interest for me because I didn’t understand it,” she said. “I watched people weld in the past and it is something I wanted to learn for myself.”

The challenge to learn welding led her to enroll at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College in 2013. Because it is a traditionally male-dominated field, walking into classroom the first time was a little scary, she said.

“The warm welcome the instructors and students gave me made a difference. They made me feel comfortable.”

Soon after classes started, she realized she had underestimated welding.

“I thought it would be something that you could just drop your hood and just weld and not think. I was shocked at how many details are involved in it and the math it takes to know how to weld.”

Getting started, Wyatt first worked on a virtual reality welding simulator, purchased by LBWCC through a grant from the Alabama-Florida Technical Employment Network (AF-TEN).

“As a student, it was a great opportunity to learn. The simulator measures placement of the beads, the arc length and travel speed. It provides a way to learn everything it takes to go out into the labs with no waste of materials.”

While a student at LBW, Wyatt also worked in the welding department in the work-study program, picking up more knowledge and skills by assisting faculty members.

In 16 months, Wyatt accomplished the goal of a welding certificate. After graduation in May of 2014, she took her knowledge and work-study experience into the field and landed an aluminum welding job at a local manufacturing company.

After two short months in the field, she was excited to accept an adjunct instructor position in the very program she just completed.

“She is an asset to the program because of her keen interest, high grades, and commitment to excellence,” said Tammye Merida, LBWCC associate dean of applied technology.

“As an adjunct instructor, my job included hands-on lab work with students,” said Wyatt. “I also assisted the instructors in ordering the supplies and materials needed for the program.”

As the welding program at LBWCC grew, Wyatt advanced to the full-time position of laboratory facilitator.

Duties now include a safety course for oxy-fuel cutting, stick welding, Mig welding, Tig welding, flux core welding, arc gouging, plasma arc cutting, and training students on the virtual reality simulators.