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Jennifer White

Murray State College Moving Into Tomorrow graduate

Jennifer White, a Murray State College Moving Into Tomorrow graduate, recently received the Outstanding Student/Graduate Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council.

She was one of 12 Oklahomans honored, along with four businesses and organizations, at the 27th annual Making It Work Day at the Capitol in a virtual ceremony April 30. Making It Work Day recognizes individuals who are committed to removing barriers to success for single-parent families by providing educational experiences for students beyond the classroom. The ceremony also recognized nontraditional students.

White completed several short-term trainings through Moving Into Tomorrow, along with other aspects of the program, and successfully entered Tulsa Community College as a paralegal student. She is continuing her education at East Central University, where she plans to complete a bachelor’s degree, said Mari Plumlee, MSC coordinator, who nominated her for the award.

She was the first person in Pontotoc County to earn a certificate as an early settlement mediator for the state of Oklahoma, Plumlee said. She is enrolled in 18 hours at ECU, works part-time at Early Settlement and Mediation at ECU and interns every week at local courts doing mediation, Plumlee said.

“In all my years in the employment and training field, I have never been more proud of a student and her accomplishments,” Plumlee said.

OkCTEEC is affiliated with the administrative division of the Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education. The council advocates for students pursuing nontraditional careers and for resources for educating single parents.

“The Making It Work Day ceremony is such an important part of OkCTEEC as it publicly acknowledges those students, programs and business partners that have done an outstanding job meeting their career goals,” said KayTee Niquette, Work Prep and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families coordinator at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. “The event this year is even more important, as we have persevered through a pandemic and still have individuals who have excelled.”

She serves as an adviser for OkCTEEC, along with Lisa French of the Department of Human Services and Gina McPherson of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

The COVID-19 pandemic created challenges, said Lisa D. Brown, OkCTEEC president and director for career transitions at Oklahoma City Community College, but students, faculty, staff and community partners met the challenges head-on, redesigning traditional methods of assistance and education.

“These students have persevered through the many changes in their pursuit of their goals and even some events in their own families,” she said. “In addition to their academic success, they have strengthened even more skills in communication, collaboration, adaptation and endurance that will be of great benefit as valuable life skills they will never forget they developed or discovered they had.”

OkCTEEC’s purposes include promoting and supporting career and technology education, increasing its effectiveness, promoting research in the field and in educational equity, developing leadership and advocating for equity and diversity.

For more information about OkCTEEC, visit https://www.cteec.org/okcteec. For more information about the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, visit www.okcareertech.org.

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