Cars and Girls
When it comes to cars, girls rule! Just ask Sajesha (Sunny) Manoharan who made history at that 17th annual Toronto Automotive Technology Competition.
Sajesha’s journey to the competition began two years ago in the Grade 10 Transportation program at Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School. Since beginning the class, Sajesha and her partner Nerissa D’Souza have spent innumerable hours preparing for the challenge as they transitioned to senior students.
Right from the get-go, Sajesha and Nerissa earned their respect in the automotive industry by identifying and correcting the reason which prevented the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta from starting. The girls were a force to be reckoned with when they successfully started the car in twenty minutes with their closest competitor taking forty-five minutes to solve the problem. There were an overall of four teams completing the challenge. As they continued to complete a series of tasks throughout the day, Sajesha and Nerissa achieved third place in the competition at the Canadian International Auto Show, and hold the honour of being the first all-female team to finish in the top three. Sajesha’s accomplishments go beyond this challenge though. Through TCDSB’s CITI-Motive OYAP Program, Sajesha is recognized as an Automotive Apprentice. This allows her to complete her second year of college while finishing her final year of high school.
At such a young age, Sajesha has not only followed her passion to achieve success but she has broken cultural barriers. To that, she is grateful to her parents who have been supportive of her career decision and she admits that they protect her from other members of the Tamil community who voice their disapproval of a girl being in the automotive trade.
Sajesha hopes that her success inspires other students to follow their passions and not be limited by gender or cultural stereotypes within the community. Sajesha’s determination to carve a path for her future that is fuelled by her interests rather than community expectations shows her to be a mature, independent, young woman who sets her sights firmly on her goals. She aims to study and work in a field that she is truly passionate about which in turn motivates her to continue to learn everything she can about the automotive industry. Although she has a few more years to complete her education and firm up her work experience, she hopes to become a leading entrepreneur in the field.
With her dedication and tenacity, expect to see a lot more of Sajesha as she takes on the world of cars. Sajesha Manoharan is an inspiration to all of us to follow our passions and, in that process, be true to who we are.