Purple Ducks place second in national space challenge

CareerTech represented TWICE in StellarXplorers VII top 10.

Francis Tuttle Technology Center’s Purple Ducks beat out 209 teams from across the country at the national StellarXplorers VII High School Space Challenge.

(L-R): Bryan Kitzrow, Sean Rice, Renardus Herholdt, Samual Doerflinger (Team Captain), Clark Howard & Charles Koutahi

StellarXplorers is an Air Force Association program designed to inspire students to pursue education and careers in STEM fields that use space system engineering.

During the competition, teams defined orbits and spacecraft components and launched vehicles to meet a set of mission requirements. The students had to choose where to launch from, what equipment/sensors to choose for the payload while staying within the weight and cost constraints, and what orbit to select for the satellite to optimize its objective. The scenario used actual “real-life” situations, numbers, and constraints. Teams also gave a presentation to a panel of experts.

While preparing for and participating in the challenge, students develop skills such as teamwork, time management, communication, conflict resolution, leadership, risk assessment, critical thinking and relevance. They use problem solving-methods with complex open-ended situations.

The Purple Ducks team members were Sean Rice, Renardus Herholdt, Sam Doerflinger, Clark Howard and instructors Bryan Kitzrow and Charles Khoutai. The Oklahoma City students finished just a few points behind the Africanized Killer Bees, which represented Aurora Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol, from Portland, Oregon.

Charles Khoutai said teams get to work with STK, a software platform that allows students to analyze the complex missions and operations in space.

“We never know what skills will open doors to for our students,” Khoutai said. “But with the establishment of the newest branch of military, “Space Force,” the relevance of space missions becomes real. 

CareerTech offers a state-approved course that aligns with the competition and includes earning an STK certification in level one and two.

Along with bragging rights, each of Francis Tuttle’s second-place team members received a $2,000 scholarship from the Department of the Air Force STEM program.

“The AFA is very proud of all the students who competed in the StellarXplorers National Finals,” said retired Lt. Gen. Bruce “Orville” Wright. “Not only were they among the top teams this season, but they competed in the midst of a pandemic.”

Stephen K. Gourley, StellarXplorers program director, said, “These very talented competitors represent the next generation of the technical workforce the nation needs. With the graying and passing of the Apollo-era cadre, the U.S. needs to find and challenge talented students, whoever and wherever they are. We are quite proud of the participants’ demographics, all backgrounds, races and genders drawn from urban, suburban and rural populations.”

Edmond North’s Alex Loney, national TSA vice president

According to the AFA, nearly half of the StellarXplorers are underrepresented minorities and over a third are female. Sponsors of the program include Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Air Force STEM Program and L3Harris, with additional support from the Educational Alliance of Analytical Graphics Inc., Space Center Houston and Coyote Enterprises. 

The Stars AFJROTC team from Edmond North High School also competed in the finals and placed in the top 10. One of the members of that team was Alex Loney, national Technology Student Association vice president: https://tsaweb.org/about/people/national-tsa-officers.  

The CareerTech STEM division partners with the local Gerrity AFA Chapter to support StellarXplorers teams in Oklahoma. The two partners will join forces with the FAA to provide training June 9-10 for teachers interested in competing and/or adopting the course next year. For additional information, visit the Oklahoma CareerTech website at www.okcareertech.org/educators/STEM and select Professional Development.

Related content: Oklahoma News Report story on StellarXplorers

CareerTech Champions

Desirae Woodward – ABE and Central Technology Center

NOW when she goes to a restaurant, she can sit and relax.

THEN: A waitress and a single mom. Desirae Woodward had dropped out of high school as a sophomore, and waiting tables was all she had ever done. Irregular work hours forced her to miss many of her children’s activities, and her job didn’t provide health benefits.

Food service was her only marketable skill, and even though she enjoyed her job, Woodward wanted more. In 2019, she enrolled in the adult basic education program at Central Technology Center. Determined to build a career for herself, she received her HiSET high school equivalency diploma a year later.

“I wanted to set a good example for my kids,” she said.

At Central Tech, Woodward

  • Gained computer skills and became more familiar with technology.
  • Developed good study skills and habits, which improved her testing scores.
  • Learned how to create a resume, which helped her land a job.

“I also gained confidence in herself and what I am capable of,” she said.

Having a diploma opened up doors for Woodward.

“I was able to apply for jobs I couldn’t apply for without a diploma or a GED,” she said.

She used that diploma to get a job at Central Tech. She said she uses her new skills every day.

NOW: No longer a waitress. Woodward said she has a “normal” job with great hours, working as secretary and classroom aide for Central Tech’s truck driver training program. She answers and directs calls, inputs student and class information, prepares graduation materials and orients incoming students. She receives on-the-job training in Word, Excel, Outlook, SharePoint and Lumatech software.

Woodward’s new job offers health benefits, and she gets to spend more time with her kids.

“CareerTech changed my life,” she said, adding that now, she gets to do her part to improve the lives of others.

She’s not finished learning. Woodward said she wants to build on her current skills and learn “any new thing thrown my way.”

“I want to raise my kids and just be happy,” she said.

“I want my kids to know you can do anything you set your mind to.”

Desirae Woodward, high school grad and Central Tech employee

CareerTech Champions

Phil Berkenbile – Agricultural Education and FFA

Retired state director’s dedication to CareerTech goes back to his high school days.

Then: A Dover, Oklahoma, farm boy, coming of age in the ’60s. When Phil Berkenbile enrolled in agricultural education at Dover High School, it literally set the trajectory for his life. He was an active FFA member, doing the usual ag stuff — showing animals, learning about crops and farming. But for Berkenbile, like so many other young people, FFA also taught invaluable life skills.

His ag education and FFA experiences taught Berkenbile

  • Public speaking skills.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Skills in agriculture mechanics, agronomy and livestock production.

Berkenbile said those skills have benefitted him well beyond his high school days. He said he uses them to work with professional organizations such as his local school board, the CareerTech Foundation board and the Morrison Lions Club.

“These skills are making a difference in my community,” he said. “I try to be involved and assist individuals and groups whenever possible.”

He has only worked in two places, he said. He began his career as an ag teacher at Morrison High School. In 1988 he moved into an ag leadership position with the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

“I use the skills I learned in FFA in everything I do,” he said. “It’s just become part of my background.”

He returned to Morrison Schools as superintendent, then later returned to CareerTech to finish his career, ultimately serving as CareerTech’s sixth state director until his retirement in 2013.

Berkenbile served on several boards and task forces, including as chairman of the Governor’s Taskforce on Healthcare and chairman of the Oklahoma Education Technology Trust Foundation. He received the prestigious 2012 VIP Award from the Oklahoma FFA Association and the 2010 VIP Citation from the National FFA Organization. The VIP Citation is one of the most prestigious awards a person can receive for supporting FFA and its programs.

Now: A 2015 inductee into the CareerTech Hall of Fame. Berkenbile called CareerTech a pathway to success.

“CareerTech programs prepare students with the skills to be successful in their field and in life,” he said.

Berkenbile serves on the Morrison School Board and the Morrison Community Development Association, among his many community service activities.

Six slated for induction into Oklahoma CareerTech Hall of Fame

The Oklahoma CareerTech Foundation will induct six people into the Oklahoma Career and Technology Education Hall of Fame in October. This year’s inductees are Kent Boggs, Carolyn Cotton, Nancy Randolph Davis, Bob Funk, Phil Waul and Greg Winters.

“These Oklahoma CareerTech Hall of Fame honorees have contributed significantly to the success of the CareerTech System,” said Marcie Mack, CareerTech state director. “Each recipient has advanced the mission of CareerTech in unique and extraordinary ways. We appreciate and honor their commitment to students, businesses and the lives of Oklahomans.”

Boggs retired from the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education in 2018 as the state FFA secretary. Before joining ODCTE in 1985, he taught agricultural education in Elgin and Marlow.

Cotton retired from ODCTE as a family and consumer sciences education program specialist. She taught FCS for more than 30 years before joining the state department.

Nancy Randolph Davis, who will be inducted posthumously, was the first Black student to enroll at Oklahoma A&M, which is now Oklahoma State University. She taught family and consumer sciences at Dunjee High School and Star Spencer High School.

Funk is the co-founder, president and vice chairman of the board of Express Employment Professionals and a longtime advocate of career and technology education. In 2018, he received the inaugural Oklahoma CareerTech Advocate of Excellence Award.

Waul worked for 42 years at Central Technology Center. He joined the tech center as a drafting instructor in 1973 and retired as superintendent in 2015.

Winters retired as Canadian Valley Technology Center superintendent in 2018 after 44 years in the CareerTech System. He also served as superintendent at Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center and Kiamichi Technology Centers.

The 2021 class of inductees will increase the Hall of Fame membership to 86. The Hall of Fame, which is sponsored by the Oklahoma Foundation for Career and Technology Education, was founded in 1990.

Previous inductees include governors, college deans and professors, business and industry leaders, educators and CareerTech System faculty, staff and agency members.

The reception and banquet will be Oct. 14 in the OSU Student Union Ballroom.

For more information about the Oklahoma CareerTech Foundation, visit https://www.okcareertech.org/about/foundation.

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides leadership and resources and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. The system offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts operating on 58 campuses, 399 PK-12 school districts, 13 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 32 adult basic education service providers.

The agency is governed by the State Board of Career and Technology Education and works closely with the State Department of Education and the State Regents for Higher Education to provide a seamless educational system for all Oklahomans.

CareerTech Champions

Kaydee Clark – Tulsa Technology Center and HOSA

CareerTech in high school gave this student-turned-instructor a way to pay for college.

THEN: One of three latchkey siblings with a single mom who worked two jobs to pay the bills. While her mother struggled to take care of the family and put food on the table, Kaydee Clark said, she was fighting battles of her own. Plagued with multiple health issues, she was in and out of health care facilities throughout high school.

Even though Clark’s mother worked hard, she couldn’t come up with college money for Clark or her siblings. Her brother and sister joined the military, but Kaydee needed to find a career. One of her mother’s jobs was medical assisting, and Clark’s health care experiences had made her realize she, too, had a passion for helping others.

Like mother, like daughter — the high school senior enrolled in Tulsa Technology Center’s medical assisting program. She joined HOSA, the CareerTech student organization affiliated with health careers education. HOSA and Tulsa Tech helped Clark

  • Develop the ability to prioritize and become organized.
  • Pass the board exams for medical assisting and phlebotomy.
  • Learn leadership skills and the value of teamwork.
  • Improve her communication and problem-solving skills.
  • Develop a strong work ethic and resiliency.

Clark watched her mom work hard to get ahead, advancing to vice president of a popular health insurance organization. Clark had the same strong work ethic, and in 2004, she graduated from Tulsa Tech and began working as a medical assistant. She met her future husband at an urgent care center, where he was a patient.

After Clark became pregnant with their third child, she made a career change, accepting a grant-funded teaching job at her alma mater. After that job ended, she was offered a full-time teaching job with Tulsa Tech’s high school medical assisting program, the same program she sat in as a high school senior. It was that program that helped her get a job, and it was that job that gave her the resources to continue her education.

“I would not have been able to attend college later in life if I hadn’t learned a trade,” she said. “CareerTech equipped me with the ability to work and make money to support myself and my family.”

NOW: A member of the Oklahoma State University President’s Leadership Society, working toward a degree in psychology and school counseling and maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Clark said she’s never leaving CareerTech.

“Even if I became a doctor,” she said, “my clinic would be staffed with Tulsa Tech students.”

“There is so much opportunity in CareerTech, and I am a product of it.”

Kaydee Clark, CareerTech instructor and OSU college student

Metro Tech announces new human cadaver lab

New human cadaver lab at Metro Tech offers training to first responders

A new human cadaver program at Metro Tech will offer training to first responders. Officials announced that Metro Tech is the first Oklahoma technology center to house a human cadaver lab program. On Mar. 31, over 40 first responders from Oklahoma’s Emergency Medical Services, Lawton Fire Department, Metro Tech health students and Great Plains Technology Center paramedic students practiced lifesaving skills on two human cadavers at the Springlake Campus located at 1900 Springlake Drive in Oklahoma City.

Metro Tech partnered with the University of Oklahoma’s College of Medicine and their Willed Body Program to host classes using donated human bodies. Utilizing human cadavers for medical training provides students with an exceptional learning experience and improved understanding over manikins alone.

Superintendent and CEO Aaron Collins said, “21st Century skills are created when partnerships come together serving a larger purpose. This is a great example of how we are helping our students and first responders in our state get real life training.”

Bill Justice is Deputy Chief of Special Operations for EMSA. As coordinator of the cadaver-procedure lab, Mr. Justice said, “We reached out to partner with Metro Tech to host the lab. Due to COVID, other cadaver labs were unavailable and remained limited to only full-time students.” He said, “By Metro Tech hosting this program, it will allow first response agencies to train on a more regular basis and allow individuals to obtain required skill checks for multiple levels of certification.”

The critical lifesaving skills taught were basic and advanced management of airway intubation, chest decompression, intraosseous (IO) vascular access and bleeding control techniques such as tourniquets, wound packing and compression dressing application. Brad Smith, instructor and physician assistant (PA) assigned to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Special Operations said, “EMSA recruits must complete the skills portion of the training before completion of their program. So, the ability to have a human cadaver lab ready to train in makes a world of difference.”

Smith received his training from the University of Oklahoma Physician Assistant Program in 2001, followed by adult trauma and pediatric trauma at OU Medical Center and has worked in Emergency Medicine for 15 years. Smith said, “There is no substitution for cadaveric tissue in critical skills training.” 

Jason Lankford, a critical care paramedic and now an adult instructional coordinator at Metro Tech said, “There are only a few universities that have this type of cadaver procedure lab. Mr. Justice with EMS and OU has been the driving force to make this possible. He is an excellent resource and we are proud to partner with him to offer this training at Metro Tech.”

This new lab will be used to enhance Metro Tech’s full-time health programs and offer a wide variety of specific one-day workshops to first responders who are paramedics, specialized law enforcement teams such as SWAT and the military. Lankford said, “We look forward to all of the possibilities this will provide our students, first responders and medical professionals in preparation of serving our communities.”

 Metro Tech’s original goal for a human cadaver lab was to customize one training event per quarter. However, based on interest, the frequency may change to once per month. For customized training, contact Jason Lankford at 405-595-4660 or Jason.lankford@metrotech.edu.

For More Information Contact:                                       

Cathy Story                                                                       
Public Information Officer                                                 
Metro Technology Centers                                                 
405-595-4403

Thousands attend FCCLA State Convention in person and virtually

More than 2,000 Oklahoma Family, Career and Community Leaders of America attended the 75th annual FCCLA State Convention in person, and thousands more participated virtually.

Oklahoma FCCLA held the event April 1 in the new Oklahoma City Convention Center. Oklahoma FCCLA was the first student organization to hold an event at the new facilities.

Many chapters attending virtually held watch parties. Students heard from outstanding keynote speakers and presenters, including opening session keynote speaker Kyle Scheele. Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt and Oklahoma CareerTech State Director Marcie Mack gave greetings during the sessions.

Competitors were recognized for their state competitions and first through third place competitors were recognized; National Leadership Conference qualifiers were also notified of their achievements. Chapters were recognized for membership awards including Star Chapters and the largest FCCLA chapter in the state (Midwest City High School).

FCCLA members elected the 2021-22 State Executive Council at the conclusion of the day.

CareerTech to develop film industry training programs

Oklahoma CareerTech and the Film Education Institute of Oklahoma are working together to promote the state’s film industry.

The two entities recently signed a memorandum of understanding to work together and with other industry partners to provide training and curriculum to meet the film industry’s employment demands in Oklahoma.

“This partnership is another example of how Oklahoma CareerTech is helping overcome the skills gap facing Oklahoma industries,” said Marcie Mack, CareerTech state director. “We are excited to add these training programs to our repertoire.”

Production companies are increasingly choosing to film in Oklahoma, thanks to tax rebates, unique locations and workers looking for opportunity. Recent movies filmed in the state include “Minari,” which has been nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won a Golden Globe for best foreign language film.

CareerTech’s network of school districts, technology centers and skills centers will offer career training for photographers, set designers, hair and makeup artists, grips, gaffers and other film and television production professionals. Training programs are already being developed, and more will be offered under the agreement.

Continued growth in the film industry in Oklahoma, however, may depend on the state’s ability to provide a trained workforce, one reason CareerTech and FEIO are working together.

FEIO’s mission is to connect students from across the state with the film and television industry, said Trevor Rogers, FEIO executive director.

“Oklahoma’s CareerTech System has served as a golden standard for education and workforce development in our state for many years,” he said. “That is why our growing film industry saw it as imperative to form a partnership and take this exciting new venture to the next level.”

The Oklahoma Film and Music Office estimates more than 10,000 Oklahoma jobs borne from 33 film and television projects using the state’s incentive program will directly pump more than $161 million into the state’s economy in fiscal 2021, which ends June 30. More than 150 additional projects are not part of the incentive program.

About Oklahoma CareerTech

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides leadership and resources and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. The system offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts operating on 58 campuses, 399 PK-12 school districts, 13 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 32 adult basic education service providers.

The agency is governed by the State Board of Career and Technology Education and works closely with the State Department of Education and the State Regents for Higher Education to provide a seamless educational system for all Oklahomans.

HERE’s The beef

Do you remember last year when meat was difficult to find?

https://www.cthorizon.org/2021/04/09/season-2-episode-2-heres-the-beef/

When the lockdowns went into effect, and major meat producers had to scale back production in the fight against COVID-19, many Oklahomans sought out local sources of meat. However, that highlighted a new problem: workforce shortages.

In this episode, CareerTech Horizon examines Oklahoma’s meat shortage and how teamwork from all over the state seeks to train more meat processors to prevent another shortage.

  • They examine how Oklahoma lawmakers responded to the initial meat shortage and began to expand the state’s local processing capacity.
  • They look into how CareerTech teamed up with the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry to train a new workforce in a partnership that paid dividends.
  • They hit the road to check out high schools and tech centers adding meat processing to their curriculum.
  • Check out the new Mobile Meat Processing Lab – a refrigerated semi-trailer converted into a classroom on wheels.
  • A new Oklahoma-certified beef standard seeks to help farmers and ranchers market their meat directly to consumers.

You can subscribe to the CareerTech Horizon podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google, TuneIn or Stitcher or ask your smart speaker to play “CareerTech Horizon.”

Also, don’t forget to follow them on Twitter @CT_Horizon, or on Facebook to stay up to date with this ongoing project. Visit their website for show notes, episode trailers and bonus content “Beyond Your Horizon” at http://cthorizon.org

This episode builds on their last episode about challenges and opportunities in agriculture. So definitely share this with the same people you shared that one with! It’s also a good way to illustrate the “why” of this program with potential students, parents, and lawmakers.

Driver’s license tests available across CareerTech System

The Oklahoma CareerTech Testing Center, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, is now offering Class D written driver’s license and motorcycle license tests throughout its network of test sites.

CTTC and the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety entered an agreement earlier this year to offer the tests through CTTC’s network of test facilities. The partnership began with a pilot phase at Moore Norman Technology Center. The pilot phase ended in March.

“The final phase of the project will be to use our existing infrastructure of 44 test sites in technology centers across the state to provide easier access to those who need to take the written exams,” said Jennifer Palacio, CTTC assessment manager.

The partnership is intended to help provide more test locations across Oklahoma to open appointments to more people. Individuals who have taken the exam through an approved CTTC test site will take their results to one of the driver’s license exam site locations to complete the application process.

CTTC’s website includes a list of locations offering the tests and a list of DPS license exam sites.

About CareerTech Testing Center

As a service of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, the CareerTech Testing Center has provided standards and assessments for career and technology education programs since 1985. It also partners with numerous state agencies to develop and deliver examinations required for certifications and licensures.

About Oklahoma Department of Public Safety

Since its formation in 1937, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety has grown into a multi-service safety and law enforcement organization. DPS is led by the commissioner of public safety, who is appointed by the governor, with the approval of the Oklahoma State Senate. The department is staffed by nearly 1,500 civilian and uniformed employees across the state. The Driver License Services division is responsible for new and renewed driver’s licenses. This division also manages the suspension, denial, cancellation, revocation or disqualification of individual driving privileges and the enforcement of driver’s financial responsibility laws and the state’s compulsory insurance law.

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