Skip to content

Somos Dallas College: Nikki Brilliant

Nikki Brilliant

School of Manufacturing

and Industrial Technology


How was your life in El Paso and what was your journey coming to Dallas? 

Living near the border in El Paso is very cultural. You meet so many new people coming from different backgrounds. The journey to Dallas was an impulsive decision. I wanted to go to school for this Honda program. I looked into many other programs, but Dallas College seemed to be the most affordable and the one I was most interested in. I was ready for a new start. El Paso is such a small city compared to Dallas, so I was excited to explore new and bigger things. 

All throughout high school, I was in an automotive program. I was constantly talking with my teacher about going to another city — about continuing to pursue my passion and education. So, I heard about a few programs, including the Honda PACT (Professional Automotive Career Training) program. Since I had only owned Hondas, I decided to look more into the Honda program. Compared to other schools across the state with the program, there was something about Dallas College that stood out to me. 

Why are you passionate about the automotive industry? 

I’ve been around cars for almost all my life. Mainly me, my dad and grandpa doing something as simple as changing oil in a car for my cousin when I was 12. From there, it grew into this curiosity of wanting to know more about how cars work. A car is like a big computer. Everything connects and will work if it’s put together properly. It’s hard to explain. I like to be in control of it. If I put something in a car, I want it to work, and I’ll figure out a way to make it work if there’s a problem.

It’s also about how women feel when they take their car to a shop or dealership. A lot of women feel like they’re being gypped or scammed. After working at a dealership as a technician, women would ask me to work on their cars and for me to provide those car details to them. They felt more comfortable talking to me and trusted me. I like gaining the trust of other women especially when it comes to their safety and cars. I just want to make women feel more comfortable visiting a shop. 

How have you been navigating your path in a male-dominated industry? 

It can be difficult at times because there is sexism in this type of environment or the idea that I don’t know what I’m doing. I manage to get through it by proving them wrong. I love what I do, and I’m more than happy to educate others in how things should be done. 

Why are you proud of your culture? 

I don’t necessarily look like the stereotypical Hispanic person. My mom and my grandparents are from Mexico and Spain, so I have more of the Spaniard look. Throughout high school especially, I was very infatuated with my culture by joining clubs like the Spanish Honor Society and being a mariachi for six years. I played the trumpet, and I sang.

I love getting involved firsthand and showing appreciation to my culture. Being a mariachi really gave me my love for music and my culture. So, I have family across Mexico in Juarez and Mexico City, and in Spain. I’m definitely the “wedita” in my family because everyone else is a bit more tan and has darker features. A lot of people don’t even know I’m Hispanic until I start talking to them. 

How would you encourage other Latinos or others to be proud of their heritage? 

I would tell them to think about where they come from. It may be tough at times during this time period to be proud to be Hispanic or Latino. But it’s important to think about the challenges and sacrifices your family has made for you to be where you are now.

What’s your favorite thing about Hispanic culture?

For me, it’s definitely the music. Music can bring anyone together. Our music is diverse with different genres and yet you can also dance to each of them. Also, I love how family oriented my culture is. I’m proud of it all really but definitely the music bringing everyone together. 

What advice would you give other women in a male-dominated industry? 

Everyone is just human. There is nothing that makes you better than anyone else. You just (have) to put your mind on what you know and what you’re good at to get through it. Whether that be cars or engineering. Do what you do best, focus on your studies and prove people wrong.

What legacy do you want to leave? 

I don’t want any woman to feel scared or feel that they can’t succeed in a male-dominated industry. Being only 19 and moving away from home and starting fresh in a new city with no family and friends has taught me to focus on what I love and to not feel anxious about the future if it’s what I do best.

Don’t feel anxious or intimidated by others if you know deep inside you can succeed. It’s important to bring women into male-dominated industries and to break any cycles where things are not equal. I’ve doubted myself when it comes to the automotive industry. But it’s something I’m good at and that I’m passionate about, so I can push through obstacles or challenges that come my way.  

Published inWhy Dallas College?