Jillian Marie DeJoseph, a graduate of Gordon Cooper Technology Center, recently received the Breaking Traditions Student Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council.
She was one of 21 Oklahomans recognized at the 25th annual Making It Work Day at the Capitol on March 28. 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 and members who received national honors for their efforts.
Individuals were recognized on the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and presentations were made at a luncheon at the Oklahoma History Center. DeJoseph was unable to attend so Gloria Wallace, EAGLE program director at GCTC, accepted the award on her behalf.
DeJoseph entered Gordon Cooper Tech’s EAGLE Program in July 2016 with a career plan. She wanted to study aviation maintenance technology and had earned scores on the ASVAB and Compass tests that would allow her to do so, said Gloria Wallace, EAGLE Program coordinator, who nominated DeJoseph for the award. DeJoseph entered the program as a full-time student in August 2016.
As a student, DeJoseph developed study guides that she shared with other students and also tutored other aviation students, Wallace said. She maintained an A average and graduated in May 2018. She became certified in aviation maintenance technology - Airframe/Powerplant and received national aircraft mechanic certification from the U.S. Department of Transportation - FAA.
After graduation, Wallace said, DeJoseph worked as an aviation maintenance tech at Stillwater Aircraft Services Inc. and as a substitute at GCTC’s Aviation Center before achieving her goal of working at Tinker Air Force Base as an aircraft mechanic in November 2018.
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.
“OkCTEEC is so very proud and honored to host the Making It Work Day award ceremony and also very excited that Oklahoma’s Legislature has the opportunity to recognize those students who were nominated for outstanding achievement. This day is about recognizing not only outstanding students, but also business and community partners, instructors, OkCTEEC members and outstanding leadership. The students have incredible stories to share about overcoming barriers, but without all the partners, sometimes the barriers may not be overcome. This day is a day of celebration for all those who have vested their time and energy into seeing students succeed and rise to the occasion,” said KayTee Niquette, Work Prep and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families coordinator at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.
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.
“OkCTEEC Making It Work Day at the Capitol is about making connections, reaching out to the community and recognizing our students who have pushed through many obstacles to make completion and employment goals a reality. It is a day to celebrate our administrators and instructors who focus on making it accessible for programs involved in the process,” said Angela Barnes, OkCTEEC president and coordinator of the Student Success and Opportunity Center at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City. “OKCTEEC Making It Work Day is a day to tip our hats off to our business partners for providing their valuable services and supporting our vision and purpose. It is a great day to let our state leaders, legislators and Oklahomans see the faces of those who go over and beyond at making a difference in our state.
“Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council is an organization devoted to equity in education and employment for disadvantaged groups. I can’t emphasize it more. We are dedicated to providing real-life experiences for our students, developing leaders and maintaining relationships within communities.”
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 www.cteec.org/. For more information about the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, visit www.okcareertech.org.