Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Student profiles and work

Mandi Hill

MandiI initially decided to take Welding classes sort of on a whim. A number of years ago I took some classes and never did anything with it, but really fell in love with welding. And in returning to the Welding program at PCC, I have made furniture, bed frames, handcarts, tables, things that would be of use, and that are beautiful. Some of the things I liked most about being a student in the Welding Program at PCC were being able to learn and work at my own pace, in a relaxed and supportive setting. Most of the time was spent doing lab work, actually doing it as opposed to learning through lectures. I think in my opinion that’s the best way to learn, is just get in there and do it. There are a million things in the world that are welded, if you think about it…art and industry and a lot of different ways to express yourself with fire. It’s heat and you’re in control of it and it’s exciting when you get to the point when you can make things look really nice. I’ve been working in the field for about two years now at a job which I really like and which the department was instrumental in helping me find. My advice to students, especially high school students, would be that if you think you’re at all interested investigate your high school program. I know a lot of high schools offer metal shop classes and it might be interesting to just give it a shot for a semester and see if it’s something you like.

MikeMike Ohanesian
Cooperative Education welding job site
Nic and SteveNic Burnie (left) and Steve Thornton
Power Hammer
ArielAriel Chilton
Pacific Gate Works
LaurenLauren Cobb
Vigor Marine Works
ShaneShane Hoogendam
Robert Gray Partners Construction
CharlesCharles Jones
Columbia Steel Castings
BrandonBrandon Little
Robert Gray Partners Construction
SethSeth Lowe
Columbia Industries

Artist Alisa Formway Roe

I see the world as shape, color, and texture. That interplay is what excites me and compels me to create. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from the University of Washington but until two years ago, largely focused my creativity with the challenges of being a parent.  I began welding with a summer evening oxy acetylene class.  When I repeated the class in the fall, the instructor introduced me to MIG welding. The capabilities of this medium were more in line with my ideas.

My ideas were beyond my skill level but the PCC instructors were always supportive. They taught me what I needed to know when it was needed. I had no idea all that was involved in welding. Each weld requires the metal being cut, then prepared to a bevel, tacked into place, welded, and finally ground flush. Each element needs to be considered for potential warp and distortion. It is far more difficult and time-consuming than I ever imagine. But the more I think of welding, the more I can see that can be created artistically as well as functionally but I find it tremendously rewarding and challenging.


Fire pit showing one of the facesThis fire pit shows 5 ethnic faces woven together, albeit tentatively. It is designed to impress the viewer with my belief that we are all connected and must work together or end up “in the fire.”

August Trunk

Sculpture of an elephantThis life-sized elephant of mild steel evolved over 18 months in the Rock Creek welding shop. The sculpture was chosen by the prestigious Lake Oswego Gallery Without Walls and will be on display in downtown Lake Oswego. Read the full story as featured in PCC Communities Magazine: Steely Pachyderm.

Bell Hanger

Bell hanger sculpture with Alisa standing next to itI received a bell as a gift and wanted a hanger for it.  About that time I was feeling overwhelmed by the tragedy of all the violence and fighting around the world. It seemed that someone was wielding a giant sword and they were slashing the very pillars on which societies and people around the world were constructed. I imagined that we were precariously balanced, not yet without hope, but in danger of falling; the one column is, therefore, sliced again and again, it teeters, and yet still stands, while the other column remains solid. The bell hangs from a chain and this chain is wound around the classic symbols of war, the sword and shield, binding them. The backside of the standing column holds the nest of a bird, a symbol of hope and renewal. I would like everyone to ring the bell for peace.

The Stair Railing

The Stair Rail installed alongside a set of outdoor stairsThe Stair Railing is a commissioned piece and is an abstract assemblage of organic solids and voids that flow down from the top of the stair and pile in a tumble at the bottom. The oval surface decorative elements repeat in line, the shapes of the openings, and are opposed and contrasted by the larger square shapes that have gathered in the bottom corner. Tension is created in the angle of descent. All of the shapes imply elements of nature but are left to the viewer’s imagination to specifically interpret.