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Maria Palma – Autry Technology Center

Autry Tech grad finds TWO careers for the price of one!

THEN: A little girl who loved to play with Barbie dolls, spending hours styling their hair. When Maria Lopez was a high school senior, she enrolled in Autry Technology Center’s cosmetology program. She returned the following year to finish the program and get her cosmetology license, competing in Oklahoma SkillsUSA. After completing the program she decided that although she loves working with hair, she wanted to try something different. Eligible for two more years of free tuition at Autry Tech, she enrolled in its graphic arts program, where she:

  • Competed in SkillsUSA in promotional bulletin boards and photography, helping her team earn national gold medals two years in a row.
  • Took advantage of networking opportunities and met new people.
  • Improved her public speaking skills and gained self-confidence.
  • Learned job skills such as interviewing and creating a resume, which helped her land a graphic arts job right after she completed the program.

NOW: Creative marketing specialist in Autry Tech’s marketing department and a board member for SkillsUSA Alumni and Friends. Maria says she gets paid for doing everything she loved to do in the classroom.


“The SkillsUSA motto is preparing for leadership in a world of work, and I lived that every day…CareerTech prepared me for what comes after graduation.”

Maria Lopez

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