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.

Lawson TLawson Thompsonhompson – Carney Public Schools

Ag educator says students gain “purpose, preparedness, and professionalism.”

THEN: A self-described sports fanatic growing up in a small town, in a sports-minded family. Lawson Thompson aspired to play college sports, like his mom, dad and brother had done. That was before he got involved in agricultural education. In his senior year at Deer Creek-Lamont High School, Lawson decided to give up sports to dedicate his energy toward his new passion, FFA. He served as a state officer that year and went on to Oklahoma State University for a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences and natural resources. Lawson said devoting himself to agricultural education and FFA was one of the greatest choices of his life.

“It’s a lot more than cows, plows and sows,” he said. In FFA, Lawson developed skills he uses every day, including

  • Communication – the value of clearly communicating with people of all ages in various settings, as well as public speaking.
  • Leadership – how to be a better leader, mentor and role model.
  • Time management – active participation in numerous ag and non-ag activities helped him learn how to manage his time.

“I utilize skills I gained from agricultural education/FFA every day,” Lawson said. “I would not be an effective educator, mentor, husband or person if I didn’t understand values such as hard work, dedication, discipline, leadership and service.”

NOW: Agricultural education instructor and FFA adviser at Carney Public Schools. Lawson’s FFA chapter was chosen as one of the top 10 chapters in the country. His students also nominated him for KFOR-TV’s Thankful 4 Teachers award, and he was one of the top 10 nominees in the state. Sponsor Air Comfort Solutions recognized Lawson with a $5,000 check.

“I strongly believe that if an employer interviews a candidate who came through any one of CareerTech’s eight student organizations (FFA, FCCLA, HOSA, DECA, TSA, BPA, SkillsUSA or NTHS) and one who did not, that candidate who was a CTSO member will get the job 10 times out of 10.”

Lawson Thompson, agricultural education instructor
(former Oklahoma FFA state officer, former Oklahoma CareerTech ag education intern)

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.

Ethan Tucker – Red River Technology Center

Home-school student does double-duty at Red River Technology Center.Ethan Tucker

THEN: A home-school student growing up on his grandparents’ farm. Ethan Tucker never received a diploma, and when he decided to work outside the farm, his options were limited. At Red River Technology Center, he signed up for high school equivalency classes, at the same time enrolling in Red River’s HVAC program. He went half days to HSE classes, and the other half of the day he studied HVAC.

“I chose HVAC because there’s a constant need for heating, and in Oklahoma there’s an even greater need for cooling experts,” Ethan said.

Ethan said at Red River, he:

  • Earned his HSE diploma.
  • Learned fundamentals of electrical skills.
  • Gained mechanical troubleshooting skills related to heating and air conditioning.
  • Won both state and national titles at SkillsUSA competitions.

“I’m a competitive guy,” he said, “and SkillsUSA allowed me to compete while working on my troubleshooting skills.”

NOW: Ethan is an industrial maintenance technician for Goodyear Tire and Rubber in Lawton, Oklahoma.

SkillsUSA is probably the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Ethan Tucker, industrial maintenance technician

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

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