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Valdeara Hunter Wallberg

Friday, May 06, 2022

Valdeara Hunter Wallberg, a graduate of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, recently received the Outstanding Non-Traditional Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council.

Wallberg 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.

Wallberg, a single mother of four children, entered the Allie Jobs program at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College after completing her GED with the Jay Literacy Program, said Robin Shambaugh, Allie Jobs coordinator, who nominated Wallberg for the award.

Wallberg decided on a career as a certified nurse aide, and while she was waiting for the course to start, she took extra online classes so she could better understand elderly people, Shambaugh said. Wallberg has graduated from Northeastern Technology Center in Afton with her CNA certificate.

In addition, while participating in the Allied Jobs program, she wrote a book, “Journey to Elemental Island.”

“She has overcome so many obstacles during the pandemic, between meeting her children’s needs, paying bills, attending class and meeting deadlines between this program and her children’s school,” Shambaugh said. “She always comes to class with a smile on her face while complimenting others.”

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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