Shona is an instructor at the ReBuilding Center. She teaches primarily Electrical and Plumbing classes, but has recently starting teaching woodworking classes as well. Learn more about Shona, her experience working in the trades, and teaching in the Education Shop!
What led you to your work in the trades? What led you to work at RBC?
I have a degree in Journalism/Natural Resources Technical Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but never could find anything other than contract or part-time work. Eventually I moved out here, and working full-time with a living wage and decent benefits drove my decision to become an electrician. I’ve never regretted it!
I had to reboot my career about ten years ago when I became allergic to concrete dust, so I transitioned from construction to maintenance. Now I work as a supervisor and my office/typing skills come in handy. I started volunteering at the ReBuilding Center as a Teaching Assistant in the Electrical for Homeowners classes in 2017, and then applied as a part-time instructor. Since then, I’ve worked with the Education Team to develop other electrical classes that we’re working into the rotation.
What was it like when you first started working here? What were your impressions?
I have been a fan of RBC for many years, but was blown away by the first staff meeting I attended. Everyone here is so engaged and I am thrilled that all types of employees have been actively involved in “big picture” decisions like developing the mission statement and recruiting a new director. RBC walks the talk! It’s great to see the support for diversity and community.
Do you have any favorite or memorable moments from the classroom?
Teaching here is so much fun. Every class has at least one “light bulb” moment when someone gets really excited about what they’re learning. Students tell us that the classes are very empowering. I love getting emails from students telling me that they’ve used what we’re teaching here to successfully tackle a project at home!
What inspires you?
People who work to make a difference every day. All of the little efforts add up to big changes.
What has been your experience with teaching Women's classes?
I have always enjoyed teaching women’s classes for different organizations. I think that women are much more likely to help each other out in group settings. If they already know how to use tools, they will usually step back and encourage someone else to take advantage of the opportunity to learn.
What do you like to do when you aren't working?
I hang out with family and friends, read a lot, and do crafty stuff. I like polymer clay, needle felting, and decorating cakes with fondant. Anything small and sculptural.
If there is a class you’d like to take, please let us know! A lot of the offerings started out as suggestions from students. And if you have any tools that you’d like to donate, we’d love to have them!