GPTC Ambassadors learn leadership

The Great Plains Technology Center Ambassadors Program held their monthly training session on January 25, 2017, from 8:30 AM to 2:50 PM in the Building 100 Auditorium. This month’s training focused on leadership. The training consisted of various speakers and exercises to teach students the value of leadership. Phil Kennedy, owner of Comanche County Lumber Company and board member for Oklahoma CareerTech, was the first speaker of the day. He began with a speech and discussion on leadership. The next speaker was GPTC superintendent, Clarence Fortney. Fortney gave the ambassadors a briefing on the history and facts of the CareerTech System and GPTC. After lunch, the ambassadors learned about professional dress for interviews and the workplace. Fortney and Keith Bridges met with the male ambassadors and Debbie Thompson met with the female ambassadors. Dillard’s provided clothing from their store to demonstrate appropriate dress. Dr. Krystal Brue, Organizational Leadership for Cameron University, discussed what leadership is and showed a leadership video. She also led the ambassadors in a team building exercise. At the conclusion of the training, the ambassadors evaluated their own leadership, followed by a wrap-up of the day.

STEM preparing students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics

CU alumna Michele Hess coordinates a multitude of database and application information at Great Plains Technology Center

Thanks to a multitude of state, regional and national programs and initiatives, the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines are growing in popularity. Cameron University is committed to such initiatives, with approximately 40 percent of CU degree programs falling under the STEM “umbrella.” Cameron graduates who earn degrees in these areas are primed for career success in a wide variety of fields.

Michele Hess earned two CU STEM degrees: an Associate in Applied Science in Information Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems. Hess had first enrolled at CU after high school, taking classes for one semester and then moving on with “life.” Some 20 years later, she was working as a butcher when she decided to finish her long-held dream of getting a college degree. Today, she is the Database/Application Specialist at Great Plains Technology Center.

“As a non-traditional student entering higher education at a later age, Cameron seemed to be the best option available,” Hess says. “I found Cameron’s Computer Information Science degree plan challenging, and combining this degree with an IT degree prepared me to enter an IT career as a professional, ready to meet the challenges of day-to-day operations of large companies with multiple computing needs. At Cameron, I learned the concepts necessary for success, not just solving problems laid out in a textbook or lab exercise. I was prepared to think, troubleshoot, decide and act while solving real-world computing problems.”

Hess says that her Cameron education consisted of more than “book learning.” “I was able to build leadership skills that have prepared me for professional life. As the Team Leader in my capstone project, I learned to manage people, data, and outcomes effectively. More than 35 people worked together to create a finished product that accomplished two goals: it showed our skills and abilities to solve a real-world problem and it demonstrated that we could create a practical, real-world solution that could be implemented and used by business and industry.”

The combined capstone allowed Hess and her fellow students to benefit from the expertise of numerous faculty experts. In addition, it provided the opportunity to develop communication skills necessary for long-term success.

“No project is complete without documentation and written technical support,” Hess says. “This skill seems rare in the IT world, and it makes
all the difference between short-term solutions and long-term success. In my current position, I understand that the skills I learned in the Cameron classroom stretch across the entire STEM spectrum.”

Hess is hard-pressed to single out one faculty member. “The entire Computing and Technology faculty was always supportive. If one professor was unavailable, another stepped up to help. Mr.
(Mike) Estep always had a plan that pointed me in the right direction, which is essential to college success. Mr. (Dave) Smith was always available to answer questions and help me to understand the coursework. Mrs. (Mary) Penick noticed my struggles with her Technical Communication class and was always willing to help me. She would find the most interesting ways to motivate and challenge me.”

Now as an IT professional, Hess says that her job responsibilities span the STEM disciplines. “Computer science is the basis for everything I do. Technology is constantly changing, so I must keep up with it. Database creation and implementation requires a great amount of engineering, and the statistical data I provide to my colleagues is very formula driven, so a solid foundation in mathematics is essential.”

The mathematics element of STEM is one that could easily be the most underestimated, as public opinion holds that all you can do with a degree in mathematics is teach. In fact, mathematics opens the door to a variety of career paths. According to the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), a study by Pay-scale indicates that the top 15 highest-earning college degrees have a common element: mathematics. Not only do many professions and majors (such as engineering, medical degrees, physics, computer science, actuarial science, etc.) require courses in mathematics, but the analytical and problem-solving skills students learn in mathematics can apply to all disciplines.

Written by: Janet Williams, Cameron University
Featured in: Cameron University Magazine Fall/Winter 2016


VEX Robotics February 11th 2017

Will the next National or World VEX Robotics Champion come from Oklahoma? Witness the state championship “live and in person” at Lawton’s Comanche County Fairgrounds on Saturday, February 11th.

Great Plains is a host, competitor and co-sponsor of the exciting challenge. More than 70 teams will journey from across the state to compete in the high school, middle school or elementary school divisions. Admission is free and open to the public at the Great Plains Coliseum, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) will also have a special moon rocks and meteorites display for viewing. Great Plains Pre-Engineering Instructor and event coordinator, Trecia Karinshak said Great Plains is hosting the championship and co-sponsor the championship along with Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, the Lawton Fort Sill Convention and Visitors Bureau and Premier Orthopedics, Wayne A. Johnson, M.D. Karinshak encourages everyone to attend the event especially parents and their children who are interested in math, computer programming and the thrill of competing in STEM education.

Woman Up

Senate President Senator Mike Schulz and Miss Oklahoma 2016 headline Scholarship Luncheon/Fundraiser

Oklahoma Senate President Tempore Mike Schulz will headline a GPTC and GPTC Foundation Scholarship Luncheon/Fundraiser on Wednesday, November 30th, 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at the Worley Center.  This will be Senator Schulz first appearance before business and education leaders in Lawton-Fort Sill. Senator Schulz.  The Altus Republican was elected to the senate in 2006.  He served as majority leader from 2009-2011 and as Majority Floor Leader from 2011 until his recent selection as Senate President.  Schulz has a wheat, cotton and grain sorghum farming operation.  He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University.  Miss Oklahoma 2016, Sarah Klein will provide entertainment for the luncheon.  She is a highly accomplished pianist.  Profits from the luncheon will provide scholarships and emergency grants through the Great Plains Technology Center Foundation.  Table sponsorships begin at $250.  Individual tickets are $50 each and require an RSVP and payment before Monday, November 28th.  Checks should be made payable to the GPTC Foundation (a 501 c 3 organization.  For additional information please contact Glen Boyer at


Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore, Senator Mike Schulz


Miss Oklahoma for 2016, Sara Klein


What career program would you like to see Great Plains offer at its Tillman-Kiowa County campus at Frederick next school year?  The tech center is currently surveying residents and conducting focus groups to help answer that question.  Due to low enrollment the Frederick campus dropped the Executive Administrative program at the end of the 2015 school year.  The new program could either be for high school or adults only or a hybrid program that would accept both secondary and adult students.  Prospective programs that have drawn some interest include Cosmetology/Nail Tech, Informational Technology Desktop Support, Truck Driving, EMT/Firefighter, Biomedical Science, Pre-Engineering and Industrial Maintenance Technician.  If you would like to voice your opinion please visit the Frederick campus Facebook page at or contact Assistant Superintendent Gary Tyler at 580-335-5525 or  Tyler said the new program would likely start next August at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year but that a decision of what to offer would likely be made early in the 2017 calendar year.


GPTC Frederick carpentry students provide facelift to Masonic Lodge at Frederick.


“The renovation is just beautiful” !  That’s how almost everyone who has seen it describes the remodeling effort at the Frederick Masonic Lodge.  GPTC Carpentry students under the direction of instructor Bryan Smith are renovating the Lodge’s Great Hall and kitchen area.  Mr. Smith’s goal is for the students to complete their work before a special ceremony scheduled to take place at the lodge on December 11th.  In the photo: Mr. Smith (in overalls) is pictured with his students and Great Plains superintendent, Clarence Fortney; deputy superintendent, Karen Bailey; and assistant superintendent and Frederick campus director, Gary Tyler, during a recent visit to the Masonic Lodge.

GPTC Student Ambassadors develop leadership skills


Senior Ambassadors

Sixty Great Plains Technology Center students were selected as “Student Ambassadors” for Great Plains Technology Center. The Student Ambassadors, including seven returning Senior Ambassadors will represent the school at public functions and assist with Great Plains Tech Showcase scheduled for December 6, 7, 8 2016.

“The Student Ambassadors is a leadership development program in action”, said Sherrie Bellamy, Student Activities Coordinator. “They will help Great Plains recruit additional high school students by sharing their experiences at the tech center”, Bellamy said. She believes this type of peer to peer communication has a lot of credibility.

“The Ambassadors are an integral part of the Sophomore Showcase as they will share their personal experiences at Great Plains before prospective students get off their buses to start their Showcase. Ambassadors will also escort the visiting sophomores to the two Great Plains programs the guests have pre-selected. Finally, Ambassadors will introduce the instructors of each program. More than 1,400 sophomores will attend the Tech Showcase, according to Joelle Jolly, Director of Student Services.

Ambassadors were selected after an application and interview. Jolly, Bellamy and Teresa Abram, media coordinator have already provided “team building” exercises and in-service on public speaking. Bellamy said the Ambassadors will participate in several leadership development activities in the spring semester including dinner etiquette, social media etiquette, and community service.


Student Built House Now on Sale at $52.00 per square ft.

The date has arrived!  Great Plains beautiful and upgraded Student Built House is now on sale for $79,995.  The approximately 1,550 sq. ft. house will remain on sale through February 15th.  The 3BR/2B house features an open/urban farmhouse design, fireplace, granite countertops, wood laminate flooring, energy efficient windows and HVA and much more.  Real estate contracts are available in the Marketing and Communication Dept., Room 102, Building 100.  For additional information or to arrange a tour please contact Glen Boyer at 580.250.5603. or  Any profits from the house provide scholarships and otherwise benefit Great Plains students.

Features include:

  • 1600 square feet
  • 3 bedroom/2 bath
  • Reclaimed wood fireplace
  • Cedar vaulted front porch
  • Granite countertops
  • Stainless steel appliance package
  • Custom craftsman style cabinets
  • Reclaimed wood bar area
  • Oil rubbed bronze fixtures
  • Large master bedroom
  • Large walk-in closets
  • Low-e vinyl, energy efficient double pain windows
  • Energy efficient heat and air system
  • Ceiling fans
  • Hand-scraped laminate floors
  • Pressure balanced water system


National Manufacturing Day/October 7th

National Manufacturing Day/October 7th. GPTC Salutes the thousands of SW Oklahomans using cutting edge technology at local MFG. Great jobs! Great products! Great people!