Faces of Gateway

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Autumn Tyler, NOC 2007-2009

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“As a first-generation college student, and a graduate of a high school that had little resources, I lacked the know-how and guidance necessary in the process of applying and attending college. NOC helped me to navigate this new terrain and set me in the direction I needed to go in order to achieve what I was searching for. With small classrooms, and personable instructors, not only did I learn how to be a student, I learned how to be the most successful student I could be. This benefited me greatly once I transitioned to OSU. NOC’s Study Abroad program has had one of the greatest influences on both my life and my career and continues to influence me to this day. I believe NOC helped me to create the foundation on which I have built my life and my business.”

Arlene Hidalgo, NOC 2010-2011

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“Stillwater will always have a special place in my heart. My education began with uncertainty as my future as an adult student, I felt out of place with no direction. The faculty inspired me to believe in myself; they created stability in my journey. I rediscovered education, and I obtained my degree as a result of their motivation and support. I completed a Bachelor in Science in Criminal Justice Degree through Texas State University in 2014. Currently, I am working as an artist and a military service member. The time I spent at NOC has instilled in me the desire to keep learning, and I share my gift every chance I get. NOC will always be a part of my life!”

Garrett Sullivan, NOC 2014-2016

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“My experience at NOC was life changing. I was so conflicted and full of self-doubt when I applied to the Gateway Program. I remember telling my advisor my story and how I knew that I needed to get back in college. I could tell from the beginning she was all in; she believed in me and challenged me. She told me the truth that it would be harder than I imagined due to the choices I had made from my previously attended university. She looked me in the eye and told me that if I was willing to put in the work that I could obtain an associate’s degree and be granted admission to OSU by the time I was done at NOC. She was absolutely correct. Between her and the rest of the faculty at NOC Stillwater, when I was accepted into OSU, I was more than ready. I had the skills and confidence I needed to finish what I started and graduate with a bachelor’s degree. Because I had such an incredible experience at NOC, I continued to take classes on their campus instead of taking them at OSU. I felt so comfortable and at home with the faculty and the rest of the staff that it was hard to enroll in classes that weren’t offered by NOC.

Eventually, I earned an Associate in Science in Business Administration and had no choice but to enroll in classes offered strictly by OSU, but I continued to come by NOC and see Mrs. Lewis and Mrs. Kathy. Every time I saw Mrs. Lewis, she told me she was proud of me and was waiting on her invitation to come watch me walk across the stage. I know without a doubt that my time at NOC and the lessons I learned are the reason I walked across the stage at GIA in the Summer of 2018, earning my Bachelor in Science in Business Administration. It is because of the amazing experiences and connections with faculty that I am working on my Master’s in Education right now while I teach Computer Science for Stillwater Public Schools. Mrs. Lewis, in fact, is one of the main reasons I am a teacher today and work so hard to have a positive impact on our youth. If I can have the slightest impact on a student that Mrs. Lewis and NOC had on me, then I will have accomplished something!”

Glena Osban, NOC 2014-2016

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“I came from a small rural town and spent a lot of my life before college with the same group of people. I chose NOC because I felt that it would be a great way to get adjusted to college life, and I am extremely glad that I did. I enjoyed how the professors wanted to get to know each of their students and were willing to help their students on a one-to-one basis. I also enjoyed how enthusiastic some of the professors were while teaching and the lengths they would go to in class to ensure that everyone understood what they were being taught.

I personally owe a lot of my success in college to two professors who always made me feel like I could achieve anything I set my mind to and were always there to help me whenever I needed them. This has impacted me by giving me more courage to reach for the things that may seem impossible and teaching me how to always give my best effort at everything I do. I not only gained a degree from this great institution, but I also gained some lifelong friends and mentors while I was there.

Currently I am working as a Fish and Wildlife Co-op Lab Technician as I complete my Bachelor in Science in Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Oklahoma State University.”

Charity Robertson, NOC 2015-2017

Faces of Gateway_Robertson

“Coming to NOC was by far the best decision I have made in my college career. NOC made immersing myself into college much easier with smaller class sizes and every single one of my instructors made it a point to make sure everyone understood the subject, whether that was through simply answering a question or staying after class for hours to help.

Being in the President’s Leadership Council also helped me to open up and become better at making connections, something that is extremely important in my career. Everyone at NOC guided and encouraged me throughout my time there and I can honestly say I’m more than grateful for my experience.”

Corie King, NOC 2012–2013

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“When I first came to NOC Stillwater, I had failed out of OSU and needed to improve my grades enough to get back in and graduate. The professors at NOC made me realize that I could be successful if I put in the effort and encouraged me to dedicate my time and concentration to getting good grades. I spent two semesters at NOC and earned A’s in every class I took. I graduated from NOC with an Associate in Arts in Behavioral Science in 2013. Once I returned to OSU, I continued my streak of good grades and made President’s Honor Roll every semester until I graduated with my Bachelor in Science in Psychology in 2014. Now I have a job in my field conducting research on child abuse and neglect prevention, and I am also a full-time graduate student at the University of Central Oklahoma, studying Counseling Psychology with a projected graduation in 2020. Thanks to NOC I now have confidence in my ability to achieve and have continued to earn perfect grades in my Master’s program.” -Corie

“Without a doubt, NOC has made an indelible mark on my life.Not only did I learn how to be a successful college student, but I also grew immensely as a young adult. My professors here went far beyond the call of duty to help me become who I am today. The culture of NOC is undoubtedly unique in the love that I felt from the first time I walked into the building.

In 2012, I earned an Associate in Arts in Social Science and continued to Oklahoma State University where I earned a Bachelor in Bachelor of Art in University Studies with Emphasis in: Entrepreneurship, Journalism, and Political Science in 2015. Currently, I am a photojournalist for the University of Central Oklahoma.” -KT

Lara Leach, NOC 2012-2014

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I graduated from NOC with an Associate in Arts in Social Science and later from Southwestern Oklahoma State University with a degree in Occupation Therapy Assistant.”

Patrick Norvelle, NOC 2008-2011

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“NOC-Stillwater was an amazing experience because I was able to slowly transition from my career in a factory, to a full-time college student with ease. The staff at NOC-Stillwater have created an environment that promotes high levels of education while also emphasizing individual growth. My experience on campus taught me how to treat each student as an individual, not just a number, which still helps me daily in my teaching career. I earned my Associate of Science in Arts and Sciences at NOC and transferred to Oklahoma State University, where I earned my Bachelor in Science in Secondary Education. Currently I am a 7th and 8th grade English/Language Arts Teacher in Perry, Oklahoma. To this day, I still rave about how the faculty at NOC Stillwater changed my life for the better.”

Carly Woodring, NOC 2014-2016

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“I had a fantastic experience at NOC and wouldn’t ever change my decision to start my college career there. NOC made my transition from high school to college so much easier and gave me a chance to experience the world before choosing what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. I had the chance to study abroad and take diverse classes, which gave me exposure to new areas of life. My freshman Composition I and II classes changed the course of my life as the readings and essays from those courses ultimately opened my eyes to the field of social work. For an assignment regarding what I want to see for America, I wrote about how I want a better future for our children and researched the current child welfare system in Oklahoma. Fast-forward four years to today, and I am a child welfare specialist for the state, changing the future of my children’s lives. I am forever thankful for the courses, the staff, and the instructors at NOC who took the time to invest in me. It was because of the experience I had at NOC that I am where I am today.”

Karrie Ley, NOC 2011-2015

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“Graduating from NOC Nursing was one of the most difficult achievements I’ve obtained. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the stress and anxiety I experienced helped me develop the necessary critical thinking ability that is essential in a life altering situation. It is through this experience that I am able to precept current NOC students, and I feel like I’m helping mold the future of nursing. I’m thankful every day for my degree from Northern Oklahoma College.”

Shelby (Terrel) Sipari, NOC 2010–2012

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“My experience at NOC truly changed my life and future path. In high school, I was very unsure of myself and felt that college was probably out of my reach. I had convinced myself that I wouldn’t even apply until mid-way through my senior year.

My time at NOC was really a turning point in my confidence, and I think it had a lot to do with all the support and resources to succeed that NOC has for its students. The instructors were approachable and encouraged class participation and questions. I often did my schoolwork in the Student Success Center, where tutors were available to help if needed.

NOC also has an excellent Study Abroad program, which was something I had never considered until hearing about it from a few of my teachers who were involved. I went on a one-month study abroad trip in Central America through NOC, which introduced me to the wonder of international travel. I later went on to study for a semester in Spain as part of my bachelor’s studies with OSU and then completed my master’s degree in Finland. I don’t think I would have viewed those ventures as even a remote possibility if it hadn’t been for my introduction to studying abroad with NOC.

The NOC-OSU Gateway Program was the ultimate platform for me to transition from a timid girl to a confident student ready for attending OSU and beyond. My education has provided me with opportunities to pursue a career in the business field, and I use the skills I’ve gained in my current position in which I recruit and match applicants with employment opportunities in business administration. I’m very proud to be a member of NOC alumni!”

Riley Anderson, NOC 2008–2009

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“I grew up in a very small town (Morrison, Oklahoma). Everyone knew everyone and to put it in perspective, I graduated with 30 people in my high school senior class. I was a lifelong Cowboy and knew OSU was my only path for higher education. Early on in my college application process I heard about the NOC-OSU Gateway Program. I learned that they had much smaller class sizes, had more hands-on professors that would keep you accountable, and every credit I would earn there would easily transfer over to OSU. The Gateway Program was my perfect way to get started in college. I established a very personal relationship with nearly every one of my instructors. If you are a student at NOC and you put out the effort to learn and better yourself, I firmly believe you cannot fail.

It is hard to believe, but I attended NOC 10 years ago. Today, I am a sales representative for a furniture manufacturer. NOC taught me the values and fundamentals of life that would help any student going into any field. NOC guided me to not only choose a major, but a career path that I now thrive in. If I could describe the Gateway Program in one word it would be “Encouraging.” Each instructor encourages you to get outside your comfort zone and find yourself as an individual.”

Justin Kyle Dawson, NOC 2012-2016

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“My time at NOC was truly life-changing. Coming from a small school in Oklahoma, attending NOC was a big change, but the faculty made me understand the value and importance of an education. There were many times in my college career at NOC that I wanted to give up, but the faculty helped me with hours of tutoring, resources, and mentorship. This not only helped me throughout the rest of my college career but also today in my daily career. I graduated from NOC with an Associate in Science in General Studies and from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor in Science in Marketing. Today, I am a Closing Coordinator for Oklahoma Closing and Title.”

Derek West, NOC 2011-2012

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“Attending NOC not only provided me with tools to become an effective learner, but also provided me the confidence to continue my education at a 4-year university. After completing my coursework at NOC, I transferred to Oklahoma State University and earned a Bachelor in Science in Biosystems Engineering in 2017. Currently, I am attending North Carolina State University, where I am a graduate research assistant, and working toward a Master of Science in Biological and Agricultural Engineering. Thanks to passionate and dedicated faculty and staff members, I was able to turn my childhood dream of becoming an engineer into reality.”

Julie R. McKee, NOC 2008-2010

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“I was a student that was “going back to college.” My father passed away in 2003, and I couldn’t move forward with school. The summer of 2008, I decided to go back to school, and what better place, than NOC, that was the Gateway to OSU, where my dad graduated with an Agriculture Education degree.

My counselor at NOC is who truly made me excel. I told her my background, and she set me up for success. My end goal was to graduate from Oklahoma State, but I had to start at the bottom, with a 0.93 GPA. NOC staff and professors helped me, and I was able to transfer to OSU in 2010.

 Typing this, it makes me tear up because of the determination I had and all the help I received. I am now holding a Northern Oklahoma College Associate in Arts Degree, and as of 2012, an Oklahoma State University Bachelor in Arts Degree in Liberal Arts. Now, I live in Houston, Texas and work as a licensed medical aesthetician.”

Clayeton Hammock, NOC 2012–2014

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“My time at NOC had a major impact on my future and my career. NOC provided me with the tools, knowledge and relationships to be successful upon graduation. The faculty at NOC is what separates the college from other universities. The staff’s top priority is not to publish research or increase admission counts, rather it is to invest in the futures of the students they teach. During my time at NOC I felt that the faculty genuinely cared about me as a person and about my future, rather than just another face that passed through their classroom.

These close relationships with the faculty provided me with the comfort in the classrooms to ask questions and participate in clubs/groups that I might not have at a different university. That helped me get the most out of my education, ultimately setting me up to be successful in my career by providing me with a base for my knowledge and skills. Five years removed from NOC I am still in contact with multiple instructors. This is a first-hand example of NOC’s commitment to invest in their student’s future, even beyond graduation. I will always be thankful to the faculty at NOC and appreciate their investment in my future.”

Brett William Johnson, NOC 2011-2012

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“My experience at the Stillwater campus of Northern Oklahoma College was transformative because of the environment created in the classrooms. The class sizes were small, which created ample opportunities to engage with instructors. My opportunity to excel was heightened by the attentiveness, accessibility, and love of subject that was shown by a great many of the instructors I learned from while at Northern Oklahoma College. In addition to the strong academic foundation I received in the classroom, I also experienced life outside of the United States for the first time, while visiting Ireland, Wales, and England to study the differences in the food systems of Europe and the U.S.

My transition from being a general education student at NOC to life as a student in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University was seamless. The confidence I had developed in my own academic potential while at Northern served me well throughout my time at Oklahoma State. As a 2014-2015 Niblack Research Scholar, I was provided funding to conduct original research in the discipline of plant pathology. As a Humphrey’s Chair in International Studies Grant recipient, I spent three months studying plant breeding at the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru. In December of 2015, I graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Honors College and was selected to represent my college as the honorary orange gown at graduation.

After graduation I relocated to central Maine to work for the tomato and pepper breeding program at Johnny’s Selected Seeds. After two seasons in Maine, I was extended an opportunity to return to Oklahoma State University and continue conducting research in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, where I am currently a Graduate Research Assistant to Dr. John Damicone. My life’s purpose of helping farmers and gardeners be successful began to take shape at Northern Oklahoma College. I am grateful to the educators at this institution for lighting a fire under me. The success I have had thus far is a testament to their generosity and kindness.”

LaRee C. Oden, NOC 2005-2007

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“I entered NOC as a first generation, disadvantaged/troubled, non-traditional student. I am so very grateful for the opportunities that NOC, the faculty, and the mentors that supported me and believed in me provided. Having mentors and professors that treat you like a human being and can relate to you, as such, is so rare. Without them, I would not have been able to achieve my goals.

After NOC, I went on to OSU to further my education: a Bachelor in Science in Environmental Science and then a Master in Science in Plant and Soil Science. I work for the Department of the Interior as a Soil Conservationist and have been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to pursue a Ph.D. in Natural Resources Science. My goals are to pursue meaningful work, while fostering and utilizing my scientific curiosity.”

Max Whitemyer, NOC 2006-2007, 2009-2010

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“After graduating high school at Edmond North, I was unable to get into Oklahoma State with my current GPA and ACT scores, The NOC Gateway Program gave me the opportunity to chase my college dream. The staff at NOC were encouraging and always willing to go the extra mile for me. During that time, I went abroad to both Spain and Ireland for Spring Break and was exposed to the world outside Oklahoma.

After NOC, I transferred to Oklahoma State where I was lost in what I wanted to do with my life. Having that doubt and not a career to strive for caused me to lose focus on classes, and I ended up failing out of OSU and transferring back to NOC where I met my advisor and instructor in, as she deemed it, “The Last Chance Class”. There was no sugar coating this one, and she made that extremely clear, which is exactly what I needed. She taught me that the key to success in life was defined by how hard I work for it. When I entered this class, I believed that because I was in college, I deserved a college degree. When I finished the class, I learned that a college degree was not something given, but something earned and that the degree would not promise success, but a foundation to build a successful life on.

After that 2nd trip to NOC, I enrolled back at OSU and got into the Entrepreneurship Program which was new to the school at that time. I have always loved to build things and realized that I enjoyed building businesses. I ended up winning the 2011 Oklahoma State Business Plan Competition and Oklahoma State Entrepreneur of the Year 2011.

As of today, I still take the lessons learned at NOC in my daily life. I own a last mile logistics company, MenuRunners LLC, that got HOTTEST Startups in Dallas 2018 and Top 20 Fastest Growing Start Ups in Dallas for 2018. MenuRunners has 152 employees and is expanding quickly across the state of Texas. I also help run one of the largest Commercial Roofing companies in the Midwest, DK Haney Roofings, as Director of Sales and National Accounts.

This all traces back to the foundations that NOC helped me lay.”

Hunter Parker, NOC 2011-2013

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“My experience at NOC was a little more unusual than probably some of the rest. When I began the program, I was part of the LPN to RN Bridge. Therefore, I came in during the beginning of the second year. I went all the way through the second year and fell just a little short on my final grade that spring semester. At the time, I was distraught. I worked so hard to get to that point and I had failed. It was never an option to drop out. I knew I would wait out the year and try again. Looking back now, that was a pivotal point in my career as a student and a future nurse. I came back that following semester and knocked it out of the park. So… to say that NOC impacted my career was sort of an understatement. Of course, NOC taught me all about the nursing side of care, but more importantly, it taught me that my failures did not define me as a nurse, but actually the exact opposite and made me a more rounded human being and healthcare professional. I feel that my experience at NOC prepared me for my future educational endeavors and pushed me to who I am today.”