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CareerTech STEM Students Prepared to Follow Their Dreams

CareerTech STEM Students Prepared to Follow Their Dreams

During the past five years, enrollments have tripled in Oklahoma CareerTech STEM academies – from more than 5,000 to nearly 15,000 for Oklahoma middle school through seniors in high school students.

Oct. 13, 2015

If you are a curious middle school through senior in high school student who is adventurous, creative, motivated and interested in mathematics or science, then Oklahoma CareerTech STEM education may be for you.

If you like being challenged, working with robotics and animation, solving problems and investigating something new, then Oklahoma CareerTech STEM Gateway To Technology, biomedical science, biotechnology, pre-engineering or computer science might be for you.

During the past five years, enrollments have tripled in CareerTech STEM academies – from more than 5,000 to nearly 15,000 for Oklahoma students from middle school through seniors in high school.

“Through world-class K-12 curriculum, high-quality teacher professional development and outstanding partnerships, CareerTech is helping students develop the skills needed to succeed in the global economy,” said Becki Foster, Oklahoma CareerTech associate state director.

“We have one of the finest CareerTech systems in the nation. That is a direct result of the outstanding teachers who work hard to cultivate high-quality classroom experiences for their students.”

Examples of CareerTech STEM teaching excellence can be found across the state.

Mark Thomas, pre-engineering teacher at Meridian Technology Center in Stillwater

 received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and was honored recently in Washington, D.C.

Fiona McAlister, biotechnology instructor from Southern Oklahoma Technology Center in Ardmore, received the Arch Alexander Award, one of CareerTech’s most prestigious awards for pioneering the development of the center’s Biotechnology Academy.

Jason Proctor, a CareerTech pre-engineering instructor at Tahlequah High School also teaches geometry, Algebra II, pre-calculus and AP calculus. He was selected as the 2015 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.

Jackie Archer, a biomedical instructor at Great Plains Technology Center in Lawton and Frederick, received the top statewide recognition by Express Employment Professionals as the 2015 Oklahoma CareerTech Teacher of the Year.

“Many of Oklahoma’s rural students are receiving advanced math and science courses including AP courses through their local technology center’s STEM academies,” said Sara Wright, Oklahoma CareerTech STEM manager.

The impact of Oklahoma CareerTech STEM education was evident this summer during the Project Lead The Way Engineering and Development State Competition and Showcase. Oklahoma State University College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology Professional Development hosted the event, which drew 131 students on 41 teams.

Members of the top three teams in the contest all won OSU CEAT scholarships and were students at Tulsa Technology Center’s STEM Academy.

“STEM education is working for high school students by creating an environment that allows them to focus on their dreams,” said Wright. “During the past several years, the Oklahoma CareerTech System has seen a number of its STEM students become Fleming Scholars.”

According to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, the Fleming Scholars Program pairs the best and brightest of high school and college students with the best and brightest scientific and mathematical minds in government and non-government laboratories.

Duncan High School graduate Sam Allen’s life goal is to become a neurosurgeon. As a Red River Technology Center biomedical student, he was able to focus on that life goal. In 2014, Allen was selected as one of 12 Sir Alexander Fleming scholars and offered a research fellowship by the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.

“Students who are graduating from CareerTech STEM academies are exceling in math, science and their STEM courses,” said Foster. “They successfully complete calculus, trigonometry, chemistry, anatomy/physiology, physics and other advanced placement courses – then follow their dreams to more education or a career in STEM fields.”

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides leadership and resources and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. The system offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts operating on 58 campuses, 393 comprehensive school districts and 13 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities.

The agency is governed by the State Board of Career and Technology Education and works closely with the State Department of Education and the State Regents for Higher Education to provide a seamless educational system for all Oklahomans.

Ann Houston, Communications and Marketing Coordinator

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STEM Map 2008STEM Map 2015

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