Turner's Passion for Autos Leads to Success
Owensboro, KY (02/04/2020) — Michaela Turner cannot recall a time in her life that did not include working on cars. Turner and her twin sister are the youngest of six girls. Her father, a mechanic, was always under the hood of a vehicle in their garage in an attempt to escape the household chaos. Spending time with her father was always one of her favorite things to do, so her love of automobiles evolved naturally. Turner took Automotive courses each year as part of Henderson County High School's Career and Technical Education. These courses solidified her interest in automobiles as a career, so after high school graduation, she enrolled at Owensboro Community & Technical College (OCTC) in the Automotive Technology program.
Turner began the program in August 2018. She said since she waited until the last minute to enroll, spots were only available in the night program. Although night classes were not originally her first preference, Turner said the experience is one she would not trade. She said, "The size of the class at night is much smaller than the daytime group. We've all been together through the whole program, so I've gotten to know my classmates better. This has helped us work together more effectively since we know what to expect from each other." Turner said the night option has also allowed her to work during the day.
Turner's educational journey has not been without struggle. Up until this semester, she did not have a driver's license to travel to school from Henderson. She moved in with her cousin for a year to get a ride to class each day. Because she was at the mercy of her cousin's schedule, she often arrived on campus hours before class began. She noted, "I would come in and ask the faculty if they needed help with anything - things like filing, organizing tools, and answering the phones. This led to a Federal Work-study position on campus with the program, which has been an amazing opportunity for me to learn even more."
Turner said in addition to office work, she has been able to help out in the shop with the first-year students. She said the faculty take an "all hands-on deck" approach and welcome the collaboration. Turner stated, "The instructors are very hands-on. We get to work together. They really try to get to know the students and develop a relationship with them. They want to make sure you've mastered competencies so that you can be successful in your career." She complemented her instructors' willingness to revise their teaching strategies to ensure students understand the content.
Turner also discussed what it is like to be a female in a male-dominated field. She said there were only one or two females in the program in high school and only two in OCTC's night program when she started. Now Turner is the only female in her class. She noted, "Being around a bunch of males who are stronger than you and have the ability to take things apart quicker than you can be very intimidating. I had to get that out of my mind. I am very organized and detail-oriented, so I use those strengths to help me get the job done and do it correctly. It's great for quality assurance purposes!"
Turner was the recipient of the Kentucky Corn Growers Scholarship this year. She is on track to graduate with her Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Automotive Technology this May. After graduation, she plans to move to Morgantown, where she has family, to seek employment at an automotive repair shop that will allow her the opportunity to work on a variety of different vehicles. She has no regrets about her decision to pursue her education at OCTC. She said, "OCTC has definitely made an impact on my life. The instructors treat me more like a co-worker than a student and they genuinely care about my personal well-being. They are always available to help, and I know that they will be checking on me long after I'm gone."
For more information about the Automotive Technology program please contact Fred Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org. A complete list of scholarship options are available in the Financial Aid office.
Owensboro Community & Technical College is one of the sixteen community and technical colleges that make up the Kentucky Community & Technical College System. OCTC serves the KY counties of Daviess, Hancock, Ohio and McLean. OCTC has three campuses in Daviess County and a Center and Annex in Hancock County. OCTC strives to serve the communities in the service area by providing associate degree education for transfer, state of the art technical education for students focusing on entering the workforce, customized business and industry solutions through the Workforce Solutions division, and adult education and business and industry testing through the SkillTrain unit.
The Kentucky Community and Technical College System is the Commonwealth's largest postsecondary institution with 16 colleges and more than 70 campuses. We also are Kentucky's largest provider of workforce training and online education. Through partnerships with business and industry, we align our programs to meet the needs of local employers. We help students fulfill their dreams of creating a better life through programs that lead directly to jobs or help them transfer to one of our four-year partners.
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