Ariqueña student who dreams of having her own women's mechanical workshop won Luksic Scholarship to support her studies

13 •  jun •  2024

Gretel Tobares, a student of Automotive Mechanics and Electromobility Technology at Inacap, is among the 100 students nationwide who will receive support from the Luksic Foundation.

Since she was a child, while her classmates played hide-and-seek or tag, one of Gretel Tobares’ (34) favorite pastimes was disassembling and reassembling any device she could find at home. “Since I was little, I liked to repair and give things a second chance,” recalls the young woman who is currently studying Automotive Mechanics and Electromobility Technology at Inacap.

Despite being one of the few women in a predominantly male career, the student says that her motivation is precisely to break gender stereotypes around mechanics, and in the future, she dreams of having her own mechanical workshop specifically for women.

“I feel that it can often be intimidating for a woman to go get her vehicle fixed. It has happened to me; they generally assume that I don’t understand these topics just because I’m a woman. My dream is for all women to have a place where they feel confident, where the treatment is kind and cordial, and where the services are professional,” says the student.

Support to Boost Her Studies

The path to accessing higher education was not always easy. “I finished eighth grade only at the age of 18, and in 2018 I finished high school at night school here in Arica. Despite not always being able to study due to life circumstances, I was always interested in learning. I read encyclopedias and tried to know about general culture. Today, I am proud to be in this career, and my family is also proud of me,” the student shares.

Earlier this year, in search of extra support, Gretel applied for the new More Women in STEM Scholarship from the Luksic Foundation, whose application process was conducted in partnership with technical training centers and professional institutes: INACAP, Santo Tomás, Duoc UC, and AIEP.

The scholarship will provide $150,000 monthly, freely disposable, to 100 women across Chile who are studying technical careers related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. “These benefits help a lot and motivate women so that we can level the playing field in these areas and show that we, along with the world, can achieve everything we set our minds to,” highlighted Gretel.