Cynthia Thielen

Cynthia Thielen of Surry, Maine, is on her college dean’s list and an enthusiastic volunteer for SkillsUSA at the state and national levels. She shares how her membership has given her a shot at a successful future.

My path toward SkillsUSA started out different than most. I have had autism my entire life, and I had several therapy sessions and resource room classes from around the time I was in second grade up until my last two years of high school. During that time, I thought for sure I was not going to get a job.

I did not think I was going to make much of my life until I learned about the Hancock County Technical Center through my guidance counselor at Ellsworth High School. I knew I liked taking photographs and hearing about moviemaking since I was younger, so I decided to give the media program a shot.

At first, I thought it might be a bit too much for me to handle because there was a lot involved with it, but after a few months, I realized it was the kind of thing I wanted to do. My instructor was very patient with me and made sure I understood the material and did not get too stressed out with it, which was a huge help in the long run.

Thanks to that, combined with my experience with photographing and participating in the Community Service competition at the SkillsUSA Maine conference four years ago, I am now a successful college junior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in journalism and studio art at the University of Maine, with my mind set on a career.

I am hoping to keep an active role in SkillsUSA as an alumni volunteer for states, as well as the Job Skill Demonstration contest and various areas at nationals, to give back and to let other students know they can do anything they want if they put their mind to it.

SkillsUSA is the best student organization you can find, and the people in it are the kindest and most helpful people you can meet. I owe them big time.