Cerritos College News Release - April 2009

Girl on the Hood: Northwood Student Driven by Unwavering Passion for Wheels


Media Contact: Aya Abelon, Public Affairs; (562) 860-2451 ext. 2287

Noemi CastroNORWALK, Calif. – April 22, 2009 – The automotive industry is often considered a male trade. However, this was not the case for Noemi Castro, an automotive marketing major at Northwood University at Cerritos College.

“My parents were always supportive…even though the automotive industry wasn’t a typical field for a girl,” Castro laughed.

Castro is the oldest of four siblings. Born in Mexico, she migrated at the age of one year to California with her parents, who were looking for opportunities America had to offer. She grew up in the small town of Janesville, north of Sacramento, where her parents worked in a strawberry field.

Having spent her childhood in a predominantly Caucasian environment where there were few fellow Latinos in school, Castro was very shy and kept everything to herself. She was always interested in cars but never voiced her interest, thinking high school automotive programs were only for boys.

“I’ve always liked cars ever since I was little. I don’t remember playing with Barbie dolls,” laughed Castro, “but nobody told me that the doors (for automotive programs) were open for girls!”

When Castro was a sophomore, a girl from her church said that she was in an automotive technician training program at her high school.

She immediately joined the SKillsUSA automotive program, a high school program that helps students to develop their knowledge and skills in trade, technical and skilled service occupations. She became very involved in the program and she served as a state and national officer for the program. 

Growing up on a strawberry farm, she didn’t really see herself going to a college; however, with an automotive background, Castro received a scholarship and she was able to enroll in the Chrysler Automotive Program at Miramar College in San Diego. She received her associate degree in automotive technology in 2005, and worked as a Chrysler certified automotive technician for five years.

Castro found out about the Northwood University program at Cerritos College from a teacher at Chrysler’s annual training session. He knew that Castro was interested in getting her bachelor’s degree in the automotive field and showed her a flyer of the Northwood program. In 2007, she moved to Norwalk to attend Northwood University at Cerritos College. It was a perfect fit for Castro. The accelerated six-week classes helped her reach her academic goal quickly, the teachers who brought in real life experiences were valuable, and, most importantly, the convenience of taking all necessary classes at Cerritos College and paying only community college tuition until the third year was a significant savings.

She will be graduating in December 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in business/automotive marketing.

Castro currently works as a lead research analyst for Polk in Long Beach, where she researches prices and specifications for new cars. She plans on continuing to work for Polk. In the future, she would like to become a field technician in Mexico and collect Mexico’s automotive marketing data.

Northwood University is a traditional four-year private university based in Michigan and has partnered with Cerritos College offering Bachelor of Business Administration degree at the Cerritos Campus.  Students in the program attend all classes on Cerritos College's campus and take higher level courses from Northwood instructors after meeting general degree requirements through Cerritos College.  The adult degree program is one of 30 located throughout the country and has become a model for working adults to further their education. For more information on the bachelor’s degree program, please contact Northwood University at (562) 988-9506 or visit Northwood University online at www.cerrtios.edu/northwood.


Cerritos College serves as a comprehensive community college for southeastern Los Angeles County. Communities within the college’s district include Artesia, Bellflower, Cerritos, Downey, Hawaiian Gardens, La Mirada, Norwalk, and portions of Bell Gardens, Lakewood, Long Beach, Santa Fe Springs and South Gate. Cerritos College offers degrees and certificates in more than 200 areas of study in nine divisions. Annually, more than 1,200 students successfully complete their course of studies, and enrollment currently surpasses 26,000 students. Visit Cerritos College online at www.cerritos.edu.