October 26, 2021

Murdock is one of two female students enrolled in Great Bay’s welding program.

Ruby Murdock has a strong message for women who hesitate learning to weld because they perceive it as a male-dominated trade or because they worry they won’t fit in.

“I think that is definitely an out-of-date stereotype. I actually think that’s true for most trades,” said Murdock, 25, who lives in Kittery, Maine, and is studying to become a welder through the one-year certificate program at Great Bay Community College.

She enrolled at Great Bay in August and is one of two female students in the program. “I would like to encourage more women to try out learning a skill in the trades. It can open up lots of doors and you can accomplish things you never imagined doing.”

She previously worked as an arborist in Portland and was taking heavy-equipment operating classes at a community college in Maine when the program shut down. “Intro to welding was part of the curriculum, and I wanted to at least continue with the knowledge I did have,” she said.

Murdock is unsure of her plans after she completes her certificate at Great Bay, a goal she expects to accomplish in August 2022. “I’m still learning about career possibilities. Heavy equipment maintenance and repair is definitely an interest of mine, but also project management and safety. I want to be open to possibilities.”

She became interested in operating heavy equipment while working as a horticulturist for the City of Portland and with private companies. “I really enjoyed learning to operate different pieces of equipment, doing heavy physical labor, and working through weather extremes,” she said.

In addition to her classes at Great Bay, Murdock is working toward a bachelor’s degree in management from University of Maine at Presque Isle, taking classes online.