Christa with a bench she crafted in carpentry class

How a Carpentry and Construction Degree Provided This Student With an Exciting Path Forward

Christa Maese has all the skills she needs to pursue a career as a general contractor
November 08, 2022

Growing up Christa Mease always helped her family maintain their rental properties. She didn’t love the work, however, so she decided to study religion in college. But then COVID-19 hit and she felt isolated at her desk job and started to think about a more active career. 

That’s when she decided to move back to New Mexico, enroll at CNM, and study Carpentry and Construction Technology.  

“When I decided to go back to CNM, I wanted to do something totally different,” Chista says.

That choice soon blossomed into a world of opportunity. She loved the flexibility of her classes and that she could receive a quality trades education in a short time. She was also grateful for the real world experience of the program. 

“With the structure of the carpentry and construction program, I feel confident in the basic skills that I will need as a general contractor, and can troubleshoot from there,” Christa says.

Along with her classroom hours, Christa helped construct an eco-friendly home with her classmates in the Barelas neighborhood -- it was designed to meet Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certified platinum status and it will be sold to a local family with the help of Homewise, which helps low-income families become home owners. This home took over two years to build, and Christa saw first hand what it takes to succeed as a general contractor. 

“Working on a true-to-size home helped me see just how much time different parts of the build take,” she says. “Learning how to take into account real world factors, like the economy and finding help, have set me up for success in the future. Before working on this project I wouldn’t have known where to start, but now I can put everything I learned into practice very quickly.” 

Looking forward, Christa isn’t exactly sure what she wants to do, but she does want to continue in the construction and general contracting field. 

“I change my mind a lot,” she says with a laugh. “I know I want to get my general contracting license for sure, and with that I could build custom homes or renovate and flip houses. I also have really fallen in love with woodworking, so I think it would be cool to own a woodworking shop, too.”

Most importantly, Christa wants to continue to learn and grow in her trade.

“I don’t know that I will ever choose a career,” she says. “I just love learning, and as long as I can live a good life, I want to keep trying new things and exploring different creative outlets.”