PEORIA- The roar of a diesel engine is nothing new in the Diesel Powered Equipment Technology Program (DPET) at Illinois Central College, but a certain kind of student is.
DPET started in 1968, and 44 years later, Amanda Murphy became its first female student.
"Just this programs been going on for so long and she's the first girl you know, just threw me for a loop a little bit," said student Cory Olsen.
Olsen is Murphy's class partner, they're testing the hydraulics on a tractor. Murphy said, in an industry that's dominated by men, she feels right at home.
"They can crack a joke, relieve some pressure. I don't know, I haven't really worked with very many girls," she said.
Murphy's professor, Mike Daugherty said her hard work is often an example for her male peers to follow.
"One of the thinks that we articulate to our freshmen early on is in anything and everything you do, exceed expectations. And she's a shining star of exceeding expectations," Daugherty said.
While the job can be physically demanding, there is an advantage to being on the petite side.
"When you gotta climb around in the cab of a semi, or underneath it to get up to that top transmission bolt, you know, sometimes it isn't as good to be big," Olsen said.
Big or small, Murphy said she can do all the same things as her classmates.
"When you walk up to a machine and you just understand it and you know what you're working on, it's like a sense of pride that other people can't do this, but I can," Murphy said.
While diesel powers the big machines, Murphy says the big machines are what power her.
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