High school students Channell Rogers and Sierra Buster refuse to let gender stereotypes prevent them from pursuing construction, a hobby they both enjoy and a career they both aspire to. Our Student Reporting Labs report as part of Outside the Box, a series on the ways that young people are challenging traditional gender roles.
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And now we bring you a unique profile of two female high school students who refuse to let gender stereotypes get in the way of their passion for building and learning with their hands.
This is the fourth installment of our Student Reporting Labs series called Outside the Box, and it's produced by the aspiring journalists at Hughes STEM High School in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Only 9 percent of U.S. construction workers are women, which is a relatively small percentage compared to other industries.
In the morning, typical females have a hard time picking out what they want to wear, but not Sierra Buster and Channell Rogers. They worry about safety gear and tool belts. A hard hat and goggles are all they need each morning as they prepare to learn the skills required in the construction pathway.
CHANNELL ROGERS, Woodward Career Technical High School:
I chose construction because it was a hobby to me. It was something I always knew how to do. I was small playing with LEGOs, and I ended up playing with tools. And it's just something I love.
SIERRA BUSTER, Woodward Career Technical High School:
My family is OK with all this. They — whatever I choose, I choose. They go along with me. They're pushing me to motivate me to keep going.
I plan to be a carpenter, and just keep doing hands-on, just hands-on. I can't just sit back and watch all the fun. I want to be able to tear things down, build it. It's just a passion.
What I have learned is how to use a power tool properly. There are a lot of things that can hurt you in construction. Like, you can poke your eye out.
It gets difficult working with the boys, but they get used to me, because I'm just as strong as them. I know just as much as them.
WEST DAVIS, Teacher, Woodward Technical High School:
Some of the female students tend to be some of my better students, some of the sharper students, good leaders, good managers, and they do a great job.
To see more student-produced stories that reveal how today's teens are breaking down gender barriers, visit the Outside the Box page on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour.
And that's the "NewsHour" for tonight.
On Friday, I report from Iowa with the latest on the race for the White House in the last days before the caucuses.
I'm Judy Woodruff.
Join us online and again right here tomorrow evening. For all of us at the "PBS NewsHour," thank you, and good night.