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Crystal Garcia

Friday, May 06, 2022

Crystal Garcia, a graduate of Western Oklahoma State College, recently received the Outstanding Student/Graduate Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council.

Garcia was one of 17 Oklahomans honored, along with three businesses and organizations, at the 28th annual Making It Work Day at the Capitol in a virtual ceremony May 6. 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.

Garcia grew up in an environment where bad decisions were commonplace and school was not a priority, but as the mother of two, she realized bad decisions did not affect just her, said Leslie Brown, STARS program director at WOSC, who nominated Garcia for the award.

She completed rehab and then enrolled in a technology center, Brown said. After graduating from a business communication and technology class, Garcia earned a business administration associate degree in WOSC in record time and with a 3.08 GPA and is now enrolled at Southwestern Oklahoma State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in business, Brown said.

In addition, she began a job last summer as a job coach with the STARS program at WOSC.

“She knows the program and the expectations for the students,” Brown said. “She was the best choice for someone to mentor incoming students who are facing some of the same obstacles she has faced.”

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 always privileged to honor those who have chosen a career path that is nontraditional and those individuals or partners who have assisted them in their quest,” said KayTee Niquette, Work Prep and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families coordinator at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. “This year is a transitional year that everyone seems to be working through, so students and others have been doing an exceptional job meeting in person and through a hybrid model.”

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.

“All of us continue to navigate through the continuing pandemic, facing new challenges each and every day,” said Kelly Vinson, OkCTEEC president and director of Project Achieve at Northern Oklahoma College. “Our students have shown tremendous strength and determination navigating through the many challenges they face along the way. It is a great honor to recognize these students, who have excelled and are continuing to reach their goals.”

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 For more information about the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, visit

Last Modified on May 06, 2022
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