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Female Cadet Proves Firefighting Isn’t Just for Men

(Texas City, Texas) — Tired of her job as a cashier, Marissa Cermeno wanted more than just change; she wanted a challenge. Wanting to experience and learn something new every day, Marissa decided to pursue a career in firefighting and Emergency Medical Services (EMS). A career typically thought of as a “man’s job,” Marissa is defying stereotypes and aiding in the growth of women in firefighting.

“Every day you’re just at the register, getting groceries, greeting customers; I wanted something different every day,” said Marissa. “Firefighting and EMS are different every day, and you don’t know what you’re going to face.”

What began with an interest in EMS and emergency medicine, grew into an infatuation with firefighting. With a career change in mind, Marissa began to take more notice of female firefighters. From characters on TV shows to real-life female firefighters on TikTok advocating for the career, the seed was planted in her mind to pursue firefighting.

“I saw that not a lot of females do it,” said Marissa. “It was a challenge and something I was ready to go for.”

After discovering College of the Mainland’s (COM) fire technology program, Marissa quickly enrolled. It was then that Marissa saw first-hand the lack of women in firefighting, when she was the only female cadet in her fire academy class.

“It was weird at first, but then I got to know everybody and got used to it. We treated each other like family.”

Focusing on her end goal and overcoming the mental and physical challenges of the academy, Marissa went on to be the only female cadet of the graduating fire academy class 0223. Now, she is a firefighter with the San Leon Volunteer Fire Department and continuing her education in emergency medical services at COM. She is setting the example for not only girls and women interested in the field but those around her as well.

“My nieces and nephews look up to me because I’m a first-generation firefighter, and I’m a female, especially my nephews.” She went on to state how her nephews were amazed when first told of her career, and how they were also under the assumption that firefighting is for men only. “People look at firefighting as a man’s job. This proves that we are capable of doing anything a man can do.”

To learn more about the fire technology program and other public service career programs at COM, visit