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Issue 37

James Neel – Tulsa Technology Center

Persistence and CareerTech training opened the operating room doors for Dr. James Neel.

THEN: A young college graduate who dreamed of becoming a doctor. His admission to medical school was denied twice. Not one to give up on his dream, he enrolled in Tulsa Technology Center’s first-ever evening surgical technology program. Under the direction of instructor Mildred Hill, he worked to gain medical experience while he continued to improve his academic record. He worked two jobs during the day and attended classes at night. The CareerTech training and hard work paid off, and James

  • Worked for four years as a surgical technologist.
  • Was accepted into the University of Oklahoma College Of Medicine.
  • Completed his surgical internship at St. John Medical Center.
  • Continued his surgical training and cardiothoracic surgical fellowship in Louisville, Kentucky.

NOW: A prominent cardiothoracic surgeon at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City. Dr. Neel performed the first combined heart-kidney transplantation in the history of Oklahoma. He readily credits his training and experience as a surgical technologist for providing a solid foundation for medical school.


“Ms. Hill from Tulsa Technology Center was a key part of my medical school foundation.”

James Neel

Porsha Lippincott – Moore Norman Technology Center and Metro Technology Centers

From living in a refrigerator box to repairing airplanes for Tinker Air Force Base, Norman teenager has come a long way.

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.



See the Oklahoma Horizon story about Porsha Lippincott


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