Category Archives: CareerTech Champions

CareerTech Champions

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Hailee Lindo – Canadian Valley Technology CenterHaileeLindo

Carpenter’s daughter learns design from the outside in.

THEN: A 16-year-old Piedmont High School student whose father was a framing carpenter. Hailee Lindo said she had been on a lot of building sites with her father. She knew she was interested in houses, but not in building them. Hailee says she wants to be an interior designer, and she enrolled in Canadian Valley Tech’s construction trades program as a way to get a head start on her career. At CV Tech, Hailee:

  • Is SkillsUSA vice president of the morning chapter.
  • Qualified for the regional SkillsUSA contest in cabinet making.
  • Was named student of the quarter for construction trades.
  • Serves as CV Tech’s student ambassador.

NOW: Hailee doesn’t seem to mind being in a mostly male classroom, but she wishes carpentry wasn’t a male-dominated field. She hopes that in the future there are more female framers in the carpentry industry. In the meantime, she’s learning to read blueprints and getting familiar with building codes and inspection regulations. She’ll take this knowledge with her when she goes to college, where she plans to major in interior design.

CareerTech Champions

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Malcolm Smith – Tulsa Technology Center

 

Malcolm Smith

Malcolm Smith – Tulsa Technology Center

Malcolm Smith made the “switch” from cleaning other people’s businesses to cleaning up his career.

THEN: The owner of a small commercial cleaning company who had a passion for technology. Malcolm Smith said Tulsa Technology Center’s Cisco certified network associate routing and switching program was a perfect fit for his schedule, his skill set and his passion.

Malcolm is on track to be a network architect in a few years. At Tulsa Tech, he

  • Gained skills in network configuration and troubleshooting, physical layer cabling and topology implementation.
  • Learned soft skills relevant to the network industry.
  • Was chosen to participate in Cisco Dream Team 2018, which took him to Florida for Cisco Live! 2018.

“That experience was one of the best in my life so far,” he said, “and I have to say that I never would have found that opportunity without Tulsa Tech’s CCNA program.

NOW: “Networking has become a way of life,” he said. “I’ve been introduced to an entire community of amazing people that I never knew existed.”

Malcolm is moving to Texas to work for CDW, a provider of technology products and services for business, government and education. He plans to be a sales engineer. Malcolm said most of his fellow students who began the program in high school landed great paying jobs right after graduating. A few of them were even hired before graduation.

“Tulsa Tech has amazing programs and I would implore anyone interested, especially those in high school, to get a head start on your career.”

Malcolm Smith

CareerTech Champions

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Emma Hutchison – DECA

Hutchison

Emma Hutchison – DECA

Former DECA officer plans to take her leadership skills into the courtroom.

THEN: A class dedicated to topics like sports marketing and fashion marketing sounded exciting to the Putnam City North High School student. Emma Hutchison had also heard great things about the DECA advisers at her high school and the strong reputation of their marketing program.

Emma got involved in DECA and later was chosen to serve as Oklahoma DECA president. She said the CareerTech student organization gave her

  • Public speaking skills, which she uses almost daily, both in law classes and advocacy competitions.
  • Leadership skills.
  • An opportunity to travel and meet DECA members from around the world.
  • Confidence about her future.

“I am more confident talking to professors or interviewing for positions because of my experience addressing the Oklahoma DECA membership and staff,” she said.

Emma said CareerTech is unique in that students are learning material in class and applying it outside of the classroom at competitions and other activities.

NOW: A college graduate with a B.A. in political science from the University of Oklahoma. She is a law student at George Washington University Law School and plans to practice law in the D.C. area after graduation. Her resume since high school includes serving as an intern for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma, an Appropriations Committee intern for the Oklahoma Senate, a legislative intern for the U.S. Senate and a law clerk for the National Association of Attorneys General.

“I would advise young people to take advantage of opportunities early in high school and college to get hands-on experience and gain skills you can use to make yourself stand out as a candidate,” she said.

“Employers should value CareerTech students because they are driven, passionate and skills students who will become valuable employees.”

Emma Hutchison, law student

CAREERTECH CHAMPIONS

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Adam Lettkeman – Meridian Technology Center

From homeschool to higher ed, pre-engineering grad is building a future for himself.

Lettkeman

Adam Lettkeman – Meridian Technology Center

THEN: A boy who loved creating crazy buildings and dragons and spaceships from a pile of Legos. Adam Lettkeman grew up with 10 brothers and sisters. His parents homeschooled him until he was old enough to find a formal outlet for his love of building things, along with his passion for graphic design. He enrolled in Meridian Technology Center’s pre-engineering academy and Project Lead The Way in hopes of channeling his interests into a career path.

Adam was a year younger than his classmates when he started the program, but he quickly became very active, competing in robotics competitions, building model airplanes and more. Adam said the engineering program and the instructors at Meridian Tech

  • Helped him choose architecture as his career path.
  • Fueled his love for creating things, from circuit boards to buildings.
  • Helped him adjust to a classroom setting for the first time and prepared him for college classwork.
  • Offered advance math and science classes that he said were more rigorous than some of his college courses.
  • Introduced him to 3D modeling software programs, which are a huge part of his architecture design studios in college.

“My instructor, Debbie Short, helped me not only in the classroom but also in my personal growth,” he said. “I will always remember how much joy she brought to the program and how much she helped me along the way.”

NOW: Adam has completed his first three years of a five-year architecture program at Oklahoma State University. He is interning at Guernsey, an Oklahoma City architecture firm, and will take time out from his internship to study in Europe with the OSU College of Architecture. His goal is to work in New York City next summer, accumulating additional internship hours that will apply to his architecture licensure requirements.

“PLTW really kick-started me into believing that my dreams could be accomplished if I set my mind to it.”

Adam Lettkeman

CareerTech Champions

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Tiffany Kinsey – Tri County Technology Center

Tiffany Kinsey1THEN: A high school student torn between two vastly different programs at her local technology center. Tiffany Kinsey was interested in taking both culinary arts and welding at Tri County Technology Center. She chose welding because she liked the idea of learning a little about a lot and admitted she didn’t know much about welding — at least not then.

Tiffany Kinsey2

At Tri County Tech she learned enough about welding to know she liked it, and she learned that she had a passion for the fine detail associated with it. After graduating from high school and Tri County’s welding program, she attended Spartan School of Aeronautics to learn how to X-ray welds. Three years into her career, she was bringing home a six-figure salary. Tiffany said because of Tri County Tech she

  • Discovered a passion for welding.
  • Learned basic welding techniques.
  • Has no college debts.
  • Is highly recruited in the oil and gas industry.

“The teachers are great at Tri County Tech,” Tiffany said. “They are involved in their students’ education and are true role models.”

NOW: An advanced ultrasonics technician for Element Integrity in Bartlesville, inspecting pressure valves at plants and pump stations. Tiffany is studying how infrared drones can help look for leaks. She specializes in nondestructive testing and examination.

“CareerTech students are able to get into the industry and find out what they like, what their passions are, and go to work.”

Tiffany Kinsey
Welder, Element Integrity

CareerTech Champions

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Cammi Valdez – Enid Schools – DECA and TSA

From TSA to Ph.D., Harvard scientist urges girls to pursue STEM careers.

THEN: At Emerson Junior High School in Enid, Cammi Valdez followed her sister’s lead

CammiValdez

Cammi Valdez – Enid Schools (TSA and DECA)

and got involved in CareerTech student organizations. She eventually served as a state officer in both Technology Student Association and DECA, and by the time she graduated from Enid High School she had competed in everything from building balsa wood gliders to public speaking. That technology education and TSA involvement – as well as an influential instructor and mentor – were the first steps on her way to a career in science, technology, engineering and math. Cammi earned both a B.S. Professional degree in chemistry and a B.S. in mathematics in just four years at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, and she received a Ph.D. in biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology from Harvard University.

She says she still draws from her experiences in TSA and DECA, including:

  • Leadership qualities she learned as a state officer. (At SWOSU she became president of the math honor society and her chemistry club, and at Harvard she held a number of leadership roles on her graduate student council, including two years as president.)
  • Public speaking and networking.
  • A love of all things STEM.

NOW: Assistant director for undergraduate research and fellowships at Harvard, she runs a fellowship program primarily for humanities and social sciences students – from underrepresented backgrounds – who are interested in careers in academia. She also runs a summer research program that prepares undergrads for STEM-related graduate programs.

Cammi says a STEM background can lead to job security, intellectual stimulation and more career opportunities than ever.

“The biomedical sciences field is exploding,” she said. “And the world is also becoming more reliant on computer science.”

The Harvard scientist has become a role model for young women considering a career in STEM.

 

“I remember having teachers who told me you don’t need to be good at math or science because you’re a girl…I hope students today have access to people who say, ‘You CAN do it.’”

Cammi Valdez, biomedical scientist at Harvard University

 

CareerTech Champions

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Porsha Lippincott

From living in a refrigerator box to repairing airplanes for Tinker Air Force Base.

THEN: A homeless high school dropout, living in a refrigerator box and working at Sonic. A counselor at Norman North High School learned of Porsha’s plight and connected her with an independent homeless shelter. She moved into an apartment, went back to school and saved enough money for a dilapidated car to drive to and from school. When that car broke down, she taught herself how to repair it. That motivated her to enroll in Moore Norman’s automotive technician training program after graduation. After completing that program she:

  • Earned her ASE certification.
  • Was referred to the aviation maintenance technician program at Metro Technology Centers.
  • Learned about assistance programs that would help her pay living expenses while she trained at Metro Tech.

NOW: A certified aviation maintenance technician, Porsha works at Tinker Air Force Base and is an instructor at Metro Technology Centers’ Aviation Campus. One of her process improvement ideas is already saving Tinker $2.5 million annually, which she considers a small way of paying back for all she has received from CareerTech and others.

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