Monthly Archives: September 2021

CareerTech Offers Funds for Rural STEM Program Recruitment

Oklahoma CareerTech is accepting proposals from schools and technology centers serving rural populations for grant money to recruit students into STEM programs.

Oklahoma is one of five states that received a Strategies for Attracting Students to High Quality Career Technical Education grant of $20,000 from Advance CTE. The grant’s objectives are to support innovative recruitment strategies; increase awareness of and interest in high quality CTE programs; and identify and develop strategies to close access and equity gaps for families historically marginalized from participation in CTE programs.

“Oklahoma CareerTech offers students the opportunity to explore careers they can be passionate about,” said Kylie Moulton, communications and marketing coordinator at ODCTE. “This grant will help rural schools bring awareness to the diverse programs offered to students through CareerTech with funds and marketing materials that may not be available otherwise.”

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education will award $1,000 to 20 Oklahoma schools and technology centers to run a sponsored Facebook ad focused on recruiting students into science, technology, engineering and math programs such as aerospace and construction.

“Students begin making career decisions as early as elementary or middle school, and most students only know about careers that a family member or close family friend works in,” said Tonja Norwood, Oklahoma CareerTech STEM program manager. “It is critical that students are exposed to STEM hands-on curriculum that teaches a concept and immediately allows students to apply that concept.”

CareerTech STEM teachers also incorporate into their courses Technology Student Association competitive events that align to STEM careers, along with guest speakers, TSA conferences, research projects, videos and OK Career Guide, Oklahoma CareerTech’s online education and career planning system.

“CareerTech STEM students learn how STEM careers will allow them to solve problems and use their creativity and skills to improve the future,” she said.

Applicants must serve rural populations — defined as fewer than 50,000 residents. They also must offer STEM courses and have an official school or technology center Facebook page.

Grant application documents and instructions can be found at https://www.okcareertech.org/educators/cte-grant/high-quality-career-technical-education. The deadline for submission is Oct. 8.

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, 394 PK-12 school districts, 14 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 31 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

Delaney Medcalf – Southern Technology Center

CareerTech background made college “easy” for this biology student.

THEN: Auditing a biotechnology class at Southern Technology Center as a high school sophomore. When the instructor invited Delaney Medcalf to participate in the lab portion of class that day, she knew instantly she was in the right place.

“I had never had that kind of hands-on science experience,” the Lone Grove High School graduate said.

Medcalf enrolled in the two-year biotech program at Southern Tech, where she learned

  • How to properly use lab equipment and perform sterile technique.
  • How to culture microbes.
  • How to think critically and to express or explain those thoughts.

She also gained numerous life skills. Medcalf said the program gave her self-confidence and improved her communication skills, as well as teaching her patience, teamwork and the importance of building connections with professors.

“Most importantly,” she said, “the biotech program reinforced my love and passion for science.”

Medcalf passed the Biotechnician Assistant Certification Exam and completed the biotech CAPSTONE program at the Noble Research Institute, her contributions for which were published in a New Zealand paper. Because of her new skills and achievements, she was chosen as a 2019 Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation Fleming Scholar in her senior year, which included a paid internship after high school.

In college, Medcalf said, she breezed through her courses because of the foundation she got from Southern Tech.

“The biotech program gave me such high standards that honestly, college labs have been a big disappointment,” she said.

NOW: A student at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha, Oklahoma, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biology with a triple minor in liberal arts, psychology and chemistry. After graduation, Medcalf plans to get her master’s degree, go to medical school and get her Ph.D. She would like to be a dietitian or emergency medicine doctor.

“Choosing CareerTech was the best choice I could have made, and it definitely changed the trajectory of my college experience.”

Delaney Medcalf, college student

Meridian Tech Students Renovate Train

Students in Meridian Technology Center’s metal fabrication, welding, automotive technology and collision repair technology programs recently completed renovation of a train for the Hydro Free Fair.

The students began the project in 2018, working with the Hydro Fair Association to bring the Century Flyer miniature train back to its original glory. See before and after photos of the train on Meridian’s Facebook page.

The project was also feature on KFOR’s “Is This a Great State or What?” segment.