Students applied for college, learned about and applied for scholarships, took tours of their specific departments with Oregon Tech students and met staff and faculty to help them start their college careers.
By Samantha Tipler, public relations, Klamath County School District
Phone 541-851-8743; Email firstname.lastname@example.org
On Monday, 30 Mazama High School seniors made big strides toward their future after high school.
“You guys are right on the brink. You’re at the end of your senior year and you can see graduation coming,” said Ashlie Pence, Oregon Tech interim assistant director of admissions, said to the room of Mazama seniors. “You’re so excited.”
Pence led the students through the Oregon Tech Fly-In, where they applied for college, learned about and applied for scholarships, took tours of their specific departments with Oregon Tech students and met staff and faculty to help them start their college careers.
“It’s really exciting to get in the computer lab and work on scholarships with people who know what they’re looking for,” said Aislinn Browder, 17, who plans to attend Oregon Tech and study radiologic science. Aislinn was the lucky student to win a $500 scholarship at the end of the Fly-In.
As an Oregon Tech and Bonanza grad, Pence knows the ins and outs of college life and funding higher education. She and Mazama counselors helped students take those important steps.
“I’m excited to prepare myself and learn about scholarships,” said Matt Volpe, 17, who plans to study software engineering and embedded systems engineering at Oregon Tech.
Both he and Browder had already applied to Oregon Tech, and are both members of the STEM&M Program. Thirteen of the 30 students at the Fly-In were STEM&M students.
STEM&M focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Medical and is a partnership between Mazama High School and Oregon Tech where students work on a specific pathway, earn college credits and have the chance at Oregon Tech scholarships. The Class of 2018 is the first group of seniors completing the STEM&M program. Both Browder and Volpe said STEM&M has helped them.
“It’s given me a leg up on scholarships,” Volpe said, “and it’s given me all sorts of opportunities to come here and see it’s the school for me.”
“It’s helped me get scholarships for STEM&M and other institutional scholarships,” Browder said. “I feel like it’s setting us up for more successes when we come here.”
Marla Edge, director of academic agreements, said earning college credits helps set students up for success. Of the 34 students invited to the Fly-In, 24 had earned college credits before finishing high school.
“Research indicates very strongly that is one of the best things you can do to be successful in college,” Edge said. “It sets you up for knowing the procedure, for understanding the rigor of a course and for understanding that studying is required.”
At the Fly-In students went on a campus tour, including seeing the labs where Oregon Tech students get hands-on experience. Those skills make Oregon Tech grads valued in the job market.
“We’re very focused on what you’re going to actually use in the workplace,” Pence said.
“It’s focused on jobs,” Volpe said. “Their job placement rate is amazingly high.”
While these students have their futures planned out, getting through the nitty-gritty of starting college can still seem a mystery, said Jessica Radmaker Reichardt, Mazama school counselor.
“They’re super nervous because they’ve never been through it,” she said. “So having someone to walk them through, step-by-step, is exactly what they need. I wish they could go to every college and do that.”
The Fly-In gives the students the chance to get all their ducks in a row for Oregon Tech. All along the way their counselors and Oregon Tech admissions staff were there for any questions students had.
“That’s why we want to get them here, get them on campus and get those applications filled out,” Pence said. “It gives them a more in-depth look at what we have to offer.”
While Mazama was the first school to complete a Fly-In this year, Oregon Tech plans to host more Fly-Ins for other Klamath County schools. So far Bonanza, Hosanna and EagleRidge high schools are scheduled, and Pence is working with other schools for more events.
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