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Apex Student Spotlight: Jennifer Mextorf

Jennifer Mextorf spent 13 years in the restaurant industry before she decided it was time to try something new.

“I went to Apex for a career change,” said Jennifer. “In the restaurant industry, I was drawn to the cash, which just made it easier for me to go down the wrong road. I realized a year ago that I had to get out of that environment. I wanted more for myself. And I know I can be anything I want to be.”

Despite going through rough patches and life-threatening experiences in her life, Jennifer saw hope for herself in pursuing a skilled trade like welding.

“I thought to myself: I’ve been doing the wrong thing all these years,” said Jennifer. “I finally want to do the right thing.”

Today, Jennifer is a graduate of the Combination Welding Technology program.

Making the Most of Class and Shop Time

Jennifer needed a hands-on, accredited welding program that offered class times that worked for her. At Apex, students can choose between day or evening classes.

“My class schedule worked around my personal schedule because I went to Apex from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.,” said Jennifer. “It allowed me to have the rest of my day. Commuting to Long Island City, Queens, to the Apex campus was challenging for me at first, but after about a week or two, I figured it out.”

Jennifer found that by giving herself enough time to arrive at Apex a half hour before class or shop started, she set herself up for success.

“I didn’t rush through the program,” said Jennifer. “I wanted to get the most out of my education until I got into the field. I wasn’t trying to ‘boom, bang, and get out.’”


Like Father, Like Daughter

Welding was present in Jennifer’s life from an early age—and she said it felt right that the trade would re-emerge again in her life.

“A counselor referred me to Apex for welding,” said Jennifer. “We talked about where my interests and passions might lead me in my career. Since my dad was a welder worked on bridges, I always had an interest in welding. I also happen to have a friend who had friend that attended Apex. She said it was a great school.”

Jennifer reached out to the Admissions team to get more information about the Combination Welding Technology program. As she learned about the hands-on welding classes offered at Apex, she thought about her dad.

“My dad motived me to attend Apex,” said Jennifer. “He passed away when I was 15. But I grew up around welding. Doing this brings me closer to him—he’s watching me do this. And it feels like it’s about time that I make him proud of me.”

Experienced Instructors and Extra Support

Apex’s dedicated instructors have field experience, so students get to learn from individuals with real-world trade knowledge. For Jennifer, this was critical.

“My experience in the welding program was great,” said Jennifer. “It’s not easy, but every instructor knows what they’re talking about, so that made it easier for me to learn.”

Jennifer’s positive experience didn’t stop there. Apex provides learning opportunities for students outside of traditional school hours.

“What I liked most about the program was the enrichment classes after school and on the weekends,” said Jennifer. “Those made me feel supported by Apex. It was great to be able to take advantage of the extra class time. I could redo projects because the more you do something, the better you can be at it. Enrichment time gave us the opportunity to catch up or get extra practice. It was great being able to stay after school or even come in on a Saturday.”


Hands-On Achievements That Pop

“My greatest achievement was a project in Mr. Peters’ class,” said Jennifer. “I was falling behind in class, so I cleared my work schedule. Another student and I, who helped each other out, committed to staying after school the whole week.”

Jennifer’s first day putting in extra work was a long one. She stayed on campus until 9 p.m. But she quickly realized all her extra work was worth it.

“I was super focused and zoned in on my project,” said Jennifer. “At the end, I handed in a welded Pop-Tart to Mr. Peters, and he held it up like a trophy! Later, he came to my booth and told me my grade was a 98 percent. He grabbed my finished project again and held it in the air. It was euphoric. It gave me more drive to want to become an even better welder. It was confirmation that I could do this.”

Related: Apex Student Spotlight: Garrett Hansen

A Simplified Trade School Admissions Process

Jennifer believes her experience training at Apex has set her up for success. She thinks it can do the same for others who are interested in different types of welding or another hands-on trade.

“At Apex, you’re able to get certifications you need for employment in the field,” said Jennifer. “And the Job Placement Assistance team is there to help.”

She also reassured prospective students not to be worried about the admissions process. Apex representatives are available to answer questions and provide more information every step of the way.

“It was a super easy enrollment process,” said Jennifer. “In three words: Helpful, well-explained, and clear.”

Learn more about Apex Technical School, trade school enrollment, and our hands-on programs.

*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.