Trinidad State News

Trinidad State student splits time between the garage and the kitchen

Valley Campus / December 8, 2014


Erin Bonemeyer is continuing a family tradition of motors and mechanics at Trinidad State. “I kind of grew up with it,” she said, “and after my uncle passed away, it was a way for me to get closer to him, to keep his memory alive.” She recalls working alongside her dad and two uncles installing a new engine and replacing a steering column and transmission on her uncle’s van. She loves to bake and has dreamed of being a mechanic during the week and a chef on the weekends. “That way I could have the best of both worlds,” said Bonemeyer. “If I have to stay inside, it’s horrible, unless I’m in a shop or a kitchen.”

“It actually makes sense for females to be mechanics because their hands are smaller and fit in tight places easier than a man’s hands do,” said Bonemeyer. She also feels women’s hearing is more fine-tuned because they are accustomed to listening for children’s cries. She believes this ability aids women in identifying and diagnosing engine problems more readily than men.

A few years ago, Bonemeyer’s cousin, Travis went through the diesel program at Trinidad State and loved it, so Bonemeyer decided she would give it a try. “I’m really loving it too,” said Bonemeyer, “and I’m learning a lot. We have all the tools we need here. We studied a whole chapter to learn about tools. Although my dad has a lot of tools, I don’t want to be borrowing his all the time.”

She says the guys in the diesel class don’t treat her any differently because she’s a girl, but she would like to have more upper body strength to help with heavy lifting. She’s working on building upper arm muscle by doing upper body lifts, push-ups and pull-ups.

Her older sister, Tylar, is currently in the CNA program at Trinidad State, and her boyfriend will join Erin in the spring semester to learn about small gas engines and hydraulics. He earned his certification in welding at the college last year.

Bonemeyer attends school during the day and works nights at Dairy Queen. She will graduate with her certificate in Diesel Technology in May. She has her sights set on NAPA where she hopes to land a job and learn more about the parts that go in to different engines.

Bonemeyer said her instructor is great to work with and is understanding when it comes to family issues. He is equally complimentary. About her he said, “Erin is an excellent student. She hangs with all the guys, shows up every day, likes the hands-on part and doesn’t mind getting dirty. She’s an all-around wonderful student and I love having her here.”.