2021 Hugh A. Krentz Exemplary Student Award Recipient: Cierra St. Germain

When I was younger, I knew I wanted to do something unique that was not common for girls. Working with my hands, seeing all the pieces, deciding what to make with them and using my skills to create something that they had not been before always fascinated me. I chose a high school with a welding program, and this school was located an hour away from my home. I put forth the dedication of getting up and travelling to school before most of my classmates were even out of bed. The teachers encouraged me and gave me the skills and knowledge of a broad range of welding techniques. This is when I fell in love with welding and decided to pursue welding as my future career. I chose this field of study because I enjoy welding and love pushing my limits to do new things and doing my best to succeed. While welding, watching my puddle, making sure I have an equal leg, keeping a consistent bead, getting lost under your hood is something that I cannot explain; it is something you must feel and experience for yourself.

This dedication was told to a couple of local sponsors, which led to a paid summer co-op with Carrier Industrial at 16 years old. During my summer placement, I worked as a welder fitter. This was an exciting and challenging opportunity as most of the people I was working with there were men (I was the only girl in the shop). I was able to prove myself to my co-workers as both hardworking and knowledgeable in my duties. I also formed bonds with the senior crew, who then became my mentors, and I learned from them and improved my skill base. I am currently working at City Welding as a welder fitter. Since starting in April 2021, I have been able to further develop the techniques that were taught during my first year at Cambrian College. Thanks to my employer, I am able to benefit from a seamless continuous learning opportunity. Every day I get to work on a variety of large- and small-scale jobs for different companies around the area of Greater Sudbury in addition to surrounding regions.

I have maintained a 4.0 GPA during my first year of college and being on the President’s Honour Roll. I am a dedicated student who is also a varsity member of the Badminton team who works extremely hard to ensure I maintain the highest academic average possible while balancing my employment, studies and training. I successfully accomplished this goal and achieved a 93% in both my first and second semester this past year while continuing my training during the pandemic. I was able to maintain this GPA while also working two part-time jobs while attending school full time. This year for Cambrian College’s open house, they had a student takeover for which I was chosen to represent the Welding and Fabrication Technician Program. This was an experience like no other! I had the opportunity to answer any questions or concerns that future Cambrian students may have before accepting their offers.

Being so involved in this industry at a young age, I have a full understanding on why standards are important. First, I would like to start with the definition of standards; a level of quality or attainment. Weld quality standards are very important. This ensures that the weld will be able to sustain the weight or load it will be subjected to, knowing the consequences of failure if the weld breaks and if the weld will need to be leakproof. There are three general classes of weld discontinuities that were created to keep standards. The three classes are: dimensional or geometric, structural, and property discontinuities. These inequities are a change in the intended structure or properties of the weld. To ensure I follow the established standards, I follow all procedures and processes such as ensuring there is no undercut, no spatter, and that the appearance is esthetically pleasing as well as satisfactory.

Standards are essential to me because safety is always my number one priority. Without standards, there could be fatal consequences, as mentioned above. Standards also set guidelines and uniformity in the trade no matter where your place of employment is. Standards in welding and construction are very specific and based on the type of material being used, for example, rebar, round bar, mild steel, aluminum, etc. Standards play a huge role in ensuring Canadian public safety. Welding is a technique used on everyday items to ensure strength, durability, reliability, and safety. The standards we follow in the industry reflect the highest quality that certifies that the products we create are secure. Building structures, vehicles, chairs, railings, tire rims, etc. are only to name a few. Failure to successfully complete all tasks when welding products can lead to catastrophic failure, accidents, unnecessary harm to yourself or another, the collapse of a structure are all incidences that can occur when the standards are not adhered to. This is where Welding Procedure Data Sheets are used. Welding Procedure Data Sheets have all the different procedures (SMAW, GMAW, GTAW etc.) as well as the five joint types, with the settings you should use (voltage and wire speed) for the most effective welds. These are determined by an engineer who calculates the appropriate electrode stick-out, the pass or layer sequence with a proper setting for each layer, as well as the appropriate travel speed (Inches Per Minute) and gas flow rate. This is for good penetration and strength to ensure that anything being welded will be safe for the community that it will be going to.

Upon graduating from the Welding and Fabrication Technician program, I am looking forward to working in the field for a few years and returning to Architectural Engineering School. Opening my own company that brings the two trades together is a dream, and I am persistent. When there is something I want to do, I do everything in my power to accomplish it. My goal with this company is to be the highest reputable and knowledgeable resource when businesses are looking to expand off existing buildings.