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Director's Memo 2021-8-30

CareerTech Educator Conference includes virtual option

Registration is open for the Sept. 16 session of the CareerTech Educator Conference, which has an in-person option and a virtual option.

The conference is a one-day professional development opportunity designed to empower, inspire and educate CareerTech teachers. The conference will feature sessions on student engagement, grant writing, cybersecurity competitions, OK Career Guide, teacher collaboration, flipped classrooms and more.

The conference will be at the Tulsa Tech Owasso Conference Center. For more information, visit the CareerTech website.

 

CareerTech Champion: Julie Smiley Foster – FFA, HOSA and STEM

Julie Smiley  FosterTHEN: The first female to become a national FFA officer. Julie Smiley Foster was a high school student in Mount Vernon, Washington, when she enrolled in agricultural education and joined her local FFA chapter. FFA is the CareerTech student organization aligned with agricultural education.

It was there she learned numerous life skills from her instructor and chapter adviser. That was back in the 1970s, but Smiley Foster still recalls how he coached her and helped her win the state’s public speaking contest.

“To be able to speak to people I know and don’t know, whether planned or unplanned, has been a gift,” she said.

It was a gift that kept giving after high school. A few weeks after graduation, Smiley Foster was elected FFA state president, the first female to serve in that capacity. It wasn’t her only first, however. She continued to shatter glass ceilings in college when she was elected Western Region vice president for the national organization – the first female to hold a national office.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism (with a double major in agriculture science and journalism) from Texas A&M University and a master’s in counseling from Midwestern State University.

In addition to helping run the family farm for more than two decades, Smiley Foster taught junior high and high school science. She said she uses many of the skills she gained from FFA both in and out of the classroom. In addition to public speaking, she learned

  • How to plan, organize and follow through to produce successful events.
  • The importance of saying thank you and the value of writing thank-you notes.
  • How to speak to adults in business and how to remember names.

NOW: A National Board Certified instructor at Francis Tuttle Technology Center’s Biosciences and Medicine Academy. She teaches biomedical innovation and honors anatomy and physiology. Smiley Foster is an adviser for HOSA Future Health Professions, the CareerTech student organization that aligns with health careers education.

“CareerTech education is hands-on, problem-solving, skills-based and how-to-get-a-job training,” she said. “My purpose is to prepare students for the marathon of acquiring a career as a health professional.”

She said the professionalism she learned in the ag classroom is also a big part of her biosciences classroom. Smiley Foster said she hopes she’s a bit like her FFA adviser, Mr. Howell, who required the best of his students.

 

CareerTech Champion: Cody McCuistion – Meridian Technology Center and BPA

Cody McCuistionTHEN: A lover of technology, long before high school. When Cody McCuistion heard he could spend half of each day at Meridian Technology Center learning more about what he already enjoyed in his spare time, it was an easy decision for the Guthrie High School student. But then, McCuistion discovered he was also going to earn 68 hours of college credit -- while he was still in high school!

He enrolled in Meridian Tech’s network engineering program and joined Business Professionals of America, the CareerTech student organization affiliated with business, marketing and information technology education. McCuistion said he loved BPA and enjoyed competing at the state and national level.

He said the two-year program at Meridian Tech fast-tracked him to receive industry certifications, knowledge and experience. McCuistion

  • Received CompTIA A+ certification, Microsoft Server certifications and Cisco network training.
  • Graduated with a high school diploma and essentially a two-year associate degree in the same year, while only paying $5 per credit hour.
  • Gained confidence in his abilities through BPA.

“The program led to a jump-start in my career path,” he said.

Although technology has advanced since McCuistion was in school, he said he uses a variation of those network engineering skills every day.

NOW: A solution architect for Hitachi Vantara. McCuistion sets up and delivers proofs of concept and product demonstrations for Hitachi Vantara’s Unified Compute Platform suite of enterprise products.

He has designed and built various server deployments and worked in mission-critical scenarios to restore failed services or resolve performance, reliability or security issues. McCuistion also has experience in highly secure environments tied to the Department of Defense, identifying security vulnerabilities in deployments and engineering ways to close those holes.

McCuistion said CareerTech’s concurrent enrollment options offer students the opportunity to learn skills that apply immediately to their future success. He urged today’s young people to avoid accruing debt for education expenses whenever possible.

“Seek out training in skills that can generate an income stream now and use that income to pay for further education, if that’s wanted or needed down the road,” he said.

 

Companies partner to boost SkillsUSA

Carhartt and Tractor Supply are joining forces to benefit SkillsUSA, a CareerTech student organization.

The two companies are launching a limited edition “Support the Trades” T-shirt and donating the proceeds to SkillsUSA as part of an effort to promote trade and industrial education programs.

Read more at MediaPost.

 

Useful links

Follow us on Twitter at @okcareertech and find us on Facebook at OklahomaCareerTech and on Instagram at oklahomacareertech and read our blog, Oklahoma CareerTech Delivers. Find our podcast at https://www.cthorizon.org/.

For news about Oklahoma’s CareerTech System, subscribe to CareerTech communications.

State Agency Assistance at a Glance

National Center for Research in Career and Technical Education

OK Career Guide

OK Career Guide Training Opportunities

CareerTech Curriculum

Apollo 13 taught me that challenges are to be met and overcome. -- Jack Swigert
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