Category Archives: CareerTech Champions

CareerTech Champions

Raylynn Thompson – Indian Capital Technology Center and HOSA

Biomed program is just what this future doctor ordered.

Thompson

THEN: A voracious learner who said she ran out of classes to take by the time she was a sophomore in high school. Raylynn Thompson had completed pre-AP biology and the introductory Project Lead The Way courses at Muskogee High School. When she heard about Indian Capital Technology Center’s biomedical academy, she knew it was a perfect fit. She enrolled as a high school junior in order to take the advanced classes she needed to reach her medical career goals.

Raylynn worked long, hard hours to complete the biomed program. She even found time to serve as chapter president of HOSA, the CareerTech student organization for future
health professionals. Her efforts earned her the designation of Stern Award Recipient Valedictorian of her high school class, with a weighted GPA of 4.7. When she graduated from MHS, Raylynn had already earned 31 college credits.

She attributes much of her success to Indian Capital, which helped her

  • Gain acceptance into 65 universities.
  • Receive multiple full-ride scholarships.
  • Develop classroom skills that allow her to better understand college coursework.

The academy provided Raylynn with a knowledge base that allows her to better grasp concepts in her college biology and calculus courses.

“Since I was exposed to it early on,” she said, “I understand it better, easier and faster.”

NOW: Raylynn accepted a full-ride scholarship at Alcorn State University in Lorman, Mississippi, where she enrolled as a sophomore biology major with a concentration on medicine. She said that although the curriculum is challenging, she finds herself assisting classmates who are further along in their education.

She plans to graduate from ASU in three years. She then plans to go to medical school to become a neonatologist, a pediatrician who specializes in the care of newborn infants.

“CareerTech students begin with the end in mind, so they don’t undervalue the work they’re doing.”

Raylynn Thompson

 

CareerTech Champions

T&C Meats – Autry Technology Center

Tech Center helped Enid men cook up a plan for their new business.

THEN: Two backyard grill masters with an idea for a new business. Eldon Campbell and

T&C Meats

Tyler Tate thought Enid, Oklahoma, needed a place where fellow grillers could go for all their meat and grilling needs. They entered their business idea in Autry Technology Center’s Cherokee Strip Business Model Competition in 2014. It was apparently a pretty good idea, because the men won $10,500 and services from Autry Tech.

Tate said the competition helped them prepare for the next steps in their entrepreneurship. He said the contest helped them get organized enough to:

  • Buy equipment and hire an architect.
  • Move into the Strate Center to continue to develop their business idea.
  • Develop the correct plans to provide to potential investors when they pitched their idea.

NOW: Campbell and Tate are the proud owners of T&C Meats, a retail meat market in Enid. They moved into their own facility in 2017 and carry a wide variety of specialty meats, cheeses, hand-crafted sausages and bratwurst, seasonings and more. T&C makes their own snack sticks and jerky. They also provide specialized barbecue and dry-aged steaks

“Autry Technology Center is an unbelievable resource people need to take advantage of.”
Tyler Tate, business owner

 

CareerTech Champions

Leisha Mahseet – Caddo Kiowa Technology Center

Nontraditional is becoming a tradition for female diesel services technician.

THEN: A soft-spoken woman whose goal was to provide a better life for her and herMahseet family. Leisha Mahseet wanted a career that could do help her do that, and she wasn’t afraid of hard work. Leisha didn’t set out to break any stereotypes; she just wanted to make a decent living. She enrolled in Caddo Kiowa Technology Center’s diesel services tech program, and once she started the hands-on training, she said, she loved it. At CKTC, Leisha

  • Earned ASE student certifications in engines, brakes, steering and suspension and electrical.
  • Maintained excellent grades, positioning herself at the top of her class.
  • Served as a strong role model for her classmates as well as for women considering nontraditional careers.

Her instructor said Leisha is a natural leader.

“She’s a perfect example of someone who breaks traditions and promotes equity in a male-dominated industry,” Allan Leatherbury said.

Breaking traditions is nothing new for Leisha. She was the first female employee to work at the top of the wind turbines for the Blue Canyon Wind Farm near Apache.

NOW:  Leisha completed the diesel services tech program and went on to earn her commercial driver’s license through CKTC’s truck driver training program.

“I feel this is just the beginning for Leisha,” said Leatherbury. “She’s done quite well in the program, and I expect she will be even more successful in the field.”

 

CareerTech Champions

Skyler Riggle – Gordon Cooper Technology Center

RiggleSmall town graduate has big plans for his future.

THEN: He came from a long line of veterans and dreamed of attending the U.S. Naval Academy. Asher High School sophomore Skyler Riggle enrolled in Gordon Cooper Technology Center’s pre-engineering academy, where he had the opportunity to explore and investigate engineering careers. As well as tackling hands-on college prep activities in mathematics and science, Skyler also

  • Competed with the school’s robotics team.
  • Was chosen as one of only 300 students in the country to receive the prestigious Gates Scholarship.
  • Received a conditional offer to the U.S. Naval Academy Preparatory School.
  • Received the valedictorian scholarship from the University of Oklahoma.

NOW: Once he’s been officially accepted to the USNA, Skyler will have to choose between OU and USNA Preparatory School, where he would complete a 10-month course to prepare for the Naval Academy.

Skyler’s principal and counselor Shawna Magby said Skyler was not your typical high school student.

“He’s very diligent, responsible and self-motivated,” she said.

CareerTech Champions

Trevor Hughes – Meridian Technology Center, FFA, HOSA

FFA taught Morrison High School student a $60,000 lesson about hard work.

THEN: His father once told him, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re Hughesin the wrong room.” So,Trevor Hughes found a different room. The high school junior said he needed more challenging math and science classes than his small high school was able to offer him, so Hughes enrolled in Meridian Technology Center’s biomedical sciences program. There, the Morrison High School standout was able to take anatomy, physiology, precalculus and biomedical sciences.

Already a member of FFA, Hughes enrolled in HOSA, the CareerTech student organization affiliated with health careers education. At Meridian Tech, he said he learned about

  • Lab safety and procedures.
  • The body’s reactions to everything from diseases to open wounds.
  • The importance of homeostasis.

After a year at Meridian, Hughes took college and high school classes concurrently. Hughes said he knows the value of hard work, and he attributes that to his membership in FFA.

“I am forever in debt to the FFA,” he said. “I am thankful for every person who pushed me to better myself, and I hope to carry on the values of the organization for the rest of my life.”

In addition to classwork and involvement in CareerTech student organizations, Hughes played baseball, football and piano.

Still, he said, he found time to apply for numerous college scholarships, and one of those paid off in a big way. Hughes received the OG&E Positive Energy Scholarship. If he keeps his grades up, that scholarship will be worth $60,000 throughout his college career.

NOW: This fall, Hughes will major in engineering at Oklahoma State University. After graduation from OSU, he hopes to travel the world and inspect above-ground oil storage tanks.

“A life full of service rather than self-absorption is a life well lived.”

Trevor Hughes

 

CareerTech Champions

Hunter Poston – Meridian Technology Center and Central Technology Center

Paramedic chose CareerTech and higher ed in crafting his career plan.

THEN: A Perkins Tryon High School student whose CareerTech experiences began in HunterPostonhigh school and continued after college.

Hunter Poston started down his health care career path by enrolling in Meridian Technology Center’s pre-nursing program. He loved it enough to enroll in Northern Oklahoma College’s health services technology program after high school. Hunter left NOC with an Associate of Applied Science degree and a passion for emergency medicine.

He returned to Meridian Tech to get his EMT certification, then continued his CareerTech education at Central Technology Center’s paramedic program. At Central Tech, Hunter was active in HOSA, the CareerTech student organization affiliated with health careers education. His public health team took first place at HOSA’s international competition in 2019.

He said CareerTech taught him how to

  • Be a more confident public speaker.
  • Remain calm in chaotic situations.
  • Think critically.

“Speaking in front of a small audience is required of me on almost every emergency call I run,” he said. “I may have to speak with family and friends of my patient or give instruction to other health care providers.”

NOW: Hunter is a paramedic at LifeNet EMS. He has earned numerous professional certifications, including Emergency Medical Technician and National Registry Paramedic.

CareerTech Champions

Lowder Brothers – Kiamichi Technology Centers, Poteau campus

Brothers return to technology center to find workers for their new HVAC business.

HVAC grads (L) Evan Bean, Jacob Branscum, Jeremy Riggs, with (R) Justin Lowder and Heath Lowder.

THEN: Two brothers who graduated from the heating, ventilation and air conditioning program at Kiamichi Technology Centers’ Poteau campus. A few years later, Justin and Heath Lowder opened their own business, operating out of a small shop behind Justin’s home. The brothers said the training they received at KTC was a key factor in their success. The two-year program enabled the brothers to:

  • Begin their careers with no student debt.
  • Create what they described as great paying jobs.
  • Comfortably support their families.

NOW: Operating out of a brand-new facility in Pocola, Oklahoma, Lowder Brothers Heating and Air LLC has grown to 18 employees, five of whom are also graduates of the same KTC program. Justin said he and his brother pride themselves in offering a low-stress work environment, and his employees truly enjoy their jobs.

In addition to hiring KTC graduates, Justin serves on the tech center’s Business and Education Council for the HVAC program.

“Serving on the BEC allows me to contribute to students today by keeping the program up-to-date on industry and work trends,” he said.

The job market for HVAC grads is strong and is expected to grow considerably in the next few years.

“It’s rewarding to watch our employees excel and accomplish their career and personal goals.” Heath Lowder, business owner and HVAC grad

CareerTech Champions

Leisha Mahseet – Caddo Kiowa Technology Center

Nontraditional is becoming a tradition for female diesel services technician.

Then: A soft-spoken woman whose goal was to provide a better life for her family. Leisha Mahseet wanted a career that could do help her do that, and she wasn’t afraid of hard work. Leisha didn’t set out to break any stereotypes; she just wanted to make a decent living. She enrolled in Caddo Kiowa Technology Center’s diesel services tech program, and once she started the hands-on training, she said, she loved it. At CKTC, Leisha

  • Earned ASE student certifications in engines, brakes, steering and suspension and electrical.
  • Maintained excellent grades, positioning herself at the top of her class.
  • Served as a strong role model for her classmates as well as for women considering nontraditional careers.

Her instructor said Leisha is a natural leader.

“She’s a perfect example of someone who breaks traditions and promotes equity in a male-dominated industry,” Allan Leatherbury said.

Breaking traditions is nothing new for Leisha. She was the first female employee to work at the top of the wind turbines for the Blue Canyon Wind Farm near Apache.

NOW:  Leisha completed the diesel services tech program and went on to earn her commercial driver’s license through CKTC’s truck driver training program.

“I feel this is just the beginning for Leisha,” said Leatherbury. “She’s done quite well in the program, and I expect she will be even more successful in the field.”

CareerTech Champions

William E. Powell Jr. – Lexington Skills Center

Business owner: Success started with one CareerTech instructor who cared.

L to R: Instructor Cecil Wainscott, CareerTech Director Marcie Mack, business owner William Powell.

THEN: He had lost everything. William Powell was serving a 10-year prison

sentence, and in his own words, his life was completely void of any source of pride. Then a former student at Lexington Correctional Center told him about Cecil Wainscott. Powell said the one-on-one guidance he received from the licensed trades instructor transformed his life.

After Powell was accepted into the licensed trades program, he had something he could be proud of. In fact, he had a lot to be proud of. He completed his GED while he was incarcerated and later became a certified unlimited electrical journeyman and contractor.

Powell said the electrical training and his CareerTech experience helped him develop:

  • Focus – giving him “the proverbial bullseye” he said he is always looking for.
  • Accountability – “It’s not only about me,” he said. “It’s about making everyone around me better.”
  • Pride – “Being able to call myself an electrician gave me a drive to succeed,” he said.

Powell said he uses the skills he learned in the CareerTech program on a daily basis.

NOW: William Powell owns his own electrical business, Powell Electric, in Ponca City, Oklahoma. The business is bonded and insured.

Powell said he is blessed beyond measure.

“I have money in the bank, I own a home and vehicles, and I am a pillar in my community,” he said.

CareerTech Champions

MaxQ Research – Meridian Technology CenterMaxQ

Start-up company receives national grants for space-age technology.

THEN: Four scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs operating a business out of Saravan Kumar’s house. They developed a proprietary platform that allowed them to recreate various gravitational environments for space-based research. They pitched the idea to NASA, who suggested they apply that same technology to something with a broader market. That led them to explore what other industries might need the same technology.

In 2012, the group moved its business, MaxQ, into the Meridian Technology Center for Business Development.

Meridian Tech’s business incubator program:

  • Allowed MaxQ to customize its office and lab space to meet development and production needs.
  • Offered coaching on real-life business scenarios.
  • Consulted with the group on market research and establishing a customer base.
  • Helped MaxQ secure grants from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance and the National Science Foundation.

NOW: MaxQ has patented the MaxPlus thermal control solution, which allows blood and other biological products such as nerve graphs, bone marrow and stem cells to be transported in precise temperature-regulated pack-outs. MaxQ’s lightweight, impact-resistant insulated shipping containers are 10 times more insulating, 20 percent lighter, and 10 times more impact-resistant than Styrofoam.

MaxQ recently received a grant for applied research from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.
About Max Q:

Stillwater’s MaxQ Research is good example of Oklahoma innovation

http://www.packmaxq.com/

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