Oklahoma CareerTech student organization state officers recently attended CareerTech University at Camp Tulakogee in Wagoner, Oklahoma. Officers from all seven co-curricular CTSOs attended the conference, where they learned about goal-setting, time management, teamwork and presentation skills.
At CTU each year, officers participate in training sessions and group activities to help them lead their organizations. They also learn more about the Oklahoma CareerTech System during the event. CTU provides the student leaders an opportunity to come together and share ideas about how they can best represent the CareerTech System as a whole.
Oklahoma Education & Industry Partnership offers an outstanding professional development opportunity for Oklahoma educators each summer.
What is OEIP? These events are the ultimate teacher/industry connections! The mission is to create a pipeline for partnerships among educators, counselors, administrators, partners, students, industry leaders, government policy makers and members of the economic development community. See video here
Sessions will be June 10 at Green Pasture Studios in Spencer, June 16 on Zoom, July 15 at MidAmerica Industrial Park and Northeast Technology Center, July 20-22 at Metro Technology Centers and July 26 at Oklahoma City Community College.
When: June 10 Where: Green Pasture Studios, Spencer What: Industry Panel Studio Tour
The Air Force Association Central Oklahoma Gerrity Chapter presented Tonja Norwood with the Gerrity Chapter President’s STEM Education Award.
Norwood has been the program manager for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education since 2018. She previously served as an information technology program specialist in ODCTE’s Business, Marketing and Information Technology Education Division.
“Tonja has been instrumental in expanding STEM educational opportunities across the state,” said Marcie Mack, CareerTech state director. “Her dedication and leadership are vital to the success of our students, educators and future workforce. Tonja is very deserving of this award and recognition from AFA. We are honored to partner with them for the betterment of our state.”
Oklahoma CareerTech has partnered with the AFA Central Oklahoma Gerrity Chapter to provide CyberPatriot and StellarXplorers, providing classroom space and equipment, volunteer instructors and more, said Janelle Stafford, president of the chapter.
“Because of CareerTech’s involvement, we have had a much wider and more pervasive reach for both programs,” Stafford said. “Tonja has been at the very heart of all of this with our chapter. She knows these programs inside and out. She put in the time to get both programs certified as curriculum for Oklahoma Promise credits. Most recently, she undertook the certification training for the STK software used in StellarXplorers just so she would understand it better — not an easy thing to do!”
Norwood is also leading an effort to establish a train-the-trainer summer camp for StellarXplorers and is involved in both CyberPatriot and StellarXplorer student camps this summer, Stafford said. The AFA chapter wanted to do something to show its appreciation for Norwood’s support, so it created the Gerrity Chapter President’s STEM Education Award, Stafford said.
“With the support of Tonja and CareerTech, the Gerrity Chapter will continue to grow STEM education in our state and invest in our future workforce,” she said.
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 59 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.
Cody McCuistion – Meridian Technology Center and BPA
Guthrie High School student said MTC technology program was “too cool to pass up.”
THEN: A lover of technology, long before high school. When Cody McCuistion heard he could spend half of each day at Meridian Technology Center learning more about what he already enjoyed in his spare time, it was an easy decision for the Guthrie High School student. But then, McCuistion discovered he was also going to earn 68 hours of college credit — while he was still in high school!
He enrolled in Meridian Tech’s network engineering program and joined Business Professionals of America, the CareerTech student organization affiliated with business, marketing and information technology education. McCuistion said he loved BPA and enjoyed competing at the state and national level.
He said the two-year program at Meridian Tech fast-tracked him to receive industry certifications, knowledge and experience. McCuistion
Received CompTIA A+ certification, Microsoft Server certifications and Cisco network training.
Graduated with a high school diploma and essentially a two-year associate degree in the same year, while only paying $5 per credit hour.
Gained confidence in his abilities through BPA.
“The program led to a jump-start in my career path,” he said.
Although technology has advanced since McCuistion was in school, he said he uses a variation of those network engineering skills every day.
NOW: A solution architect for Hitachi Vantara. McCuistion sets up and delivers proofs of concept and product demonstrations for Hitachi Vantara’s Unified Compute Platform suite of enterprise products.
He has designed and built various server deployments and worked in mission-critical scenarios to restore failed services or resolve performance, reliability or security issues. McCuistion also has experience in highly secure environments tied to the Department of Defense, identifying security vulnerabilities in deployments and engineering ways to close those holes.
McCuistion said CareerTech’s concurrent enrollment options offer students the opportunity to learn skills that apply immediately to their future success. He urged today’s young people to avoid accruing debt for education expenses whenever possible.
“Seek out training in skills that can generate an income stream now and use that income to pay for further education, if that’s wanted or needed down the road,” he said.
“CareerTech offers much-needed skills for today’s workforce. Don’t pass up the opportunity to take advantage of it!”