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MMI Grad Selena Terrazas Paves the Way for Females in the Motorcycle Industry

Dec 14, 2020 ·

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Motorcycles are often associated with masculinity, and the field has been dominated by men for many years. However, female technicians like Selena Terrazas are breaking this stigma and showing just how successful women can be in the field.

Selena graduated from Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI) in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2017, and since has been working as a full-time Harley-Davidson technician. Her road to get there wasn’t easy — but her story is a great example of where hard work, dedication and drive can take you in this industry.1

Keep reading to learn about Selena’s journey to becoming a motorcycle technician, as well as her tips for aspiring techs looking to turn their passion into a career.

A Love for Motorcycles

From a young age, Selena has had a fascination with understanding how things work. She was constantly taking things apart and putting them back together. “I’ve always been mechanically inclined,” she shares.

While in high school, Selena had her sights set on becoming a Marine. However, through a turn of events, she was unable to join the military and had to change her path. After graduating, she worked a housekeeping job, but saw she wasn’t going anywhere. She was in need of a career, and knew she needed to go back to school in order to get there.

Selena had an interest in working on cars, which is what inspired her to consider attending Universal Technical Institute (UTI) and taking the Automotive Technology program. However, as much as she enjoyed working on cars, she had her doubts. This wasn’t something she saw herself doing long-term.

Around this time, Selena’s friend bought a Harley-Davidson® motorcycle. She went on her first ride and fell in love with it. In that moment, she knew she truly had a passion for motorcycles. “It flipped a switch for me,” she says. She began looking into MMI, and it’s safe to say the rest is history!

Training for a Career at MMI

When Selena announced to her friends and family that she was going to be attending MMI, they had their hesitations at first. However, after seeing just how passionate she really was, it didn’t take long for them to get on board. Selena’s mom wasn’t particularly fond of motorcycles, but today she’s one of Selena’s biggest supporters.

After enrolling in her motorcycle training program, Selena packed her bags and left Arkansas for sunny Phoenix. She didn’t know anything about motorcycles going in — but she was determined to learn as much as she could while she was in school.

“It was a whole new experience for me,” Selena shares. “School taught me a lot.”

Selena was one of just four females in her classes, and the only one who didn’t have prior experience working on motorcycles. However, she didn’t let that stop her from achieving her goals. She excelled in her program and finished with top grades in all of her courses.

“When I graduated, I felt like I knew what I was doing and could build off of what I had learned,” Selena says. Her training gave her a foundation of knowledge she was able to take with her as she began working in the field.

From MMI Grad to Harley-Davidson Tech

Being a fan of the Harley-Davidson brand, MMI’s Harley-Davidson program made perfect sense for Selena. Ever since she took her first ride on a Harley, she has loved the brand’s look, nostalgia and culture. “It’s like a community,” she says.

After completing her training at MMI, Selena was hired at Top Rocker Harley-Davidson in Canoga Park, California.5 She was initially hired to work in sales to get her foot in the door, but her manager saw that her true passion was in service. After just two weeks of working there, they created a spot for her in the service department, which was more in line with her skills and interests.

Selena worked at Top Rocker Harley-Davidson for a year and a half before going to nearby Harley-Davidson of Santa Clarita.

According to Selena, no two days on the job are exactly alike, which she loves. On a typical day, she could be doing anything from routine maintenance to a full engine build. “You never know what will come into the shop,” she says. The variety in her job keeps things exciting.

What’s it Like Being a Female in the Industry?

Not only is Selena the only female technician at her current company, she’s also one of the youngest employees. People are often surprised to see her in the back working on bikes, but for her, it’s just another day on the job.

Like many females in the trades, Selena has faced judgment and skepticism from others throughout her career, whether it was from employers who interviewed her or other technicians in the shop. This hasn’t stopped her — in fact, she’s used this as fuel to continue following her passion.

Being a woman in this industry can certainly present challenges, but according to Selena there are advantages as well. For example, women tend to be very detail-oriented, which can be of great benefit when working in the field. Women also put great care into their work, which helps keep customers happy.

Advice for Aspiring Female Techs

According to Selena, there’s a lot more room for females in the industry. While training to become a motorcycle technician might be considered a non-traditional path for women, it offers the possibility of a career of exciting opportunities.

Selena’s advice for other female techs is simple: Don’t give up. If this is your passion, go for it — and don’t let anyone stop you!

“I went from not knowing anything to now being three years in having worked at two different dealers who were both accepting of me,” Selena says. “As long as you show your drive and dedication, you’re set.”6

Like any great technician, Selena has big goals for the future. Right now, she’s focused on building her knowledge and experience working in the dealership. She eventually wants to become a master technician, and one day start a shop of her own. Having already accomplished so much at a young age, she’s well on her way.

Get Trained for an Exciting Career

Want to train for a career in the motorcycle industry like Selena? MMI’s 42-week Motorcycle Technician training program is designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills today’s employers are looking for. To learn more, visit our program page and request information to get in touch with an Admissions Representative today.

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1) MMI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.

5) UTI programs prepare graduates for careers in industries using the provided training, primarily as automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine technicians. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as a technician, such as: parts associate, service writer, fabricator, paint and paint prep, and shop owner/operator. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

6) UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on personal credentials and economic factors. Work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer and their compensation programs affect wages. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

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