From a young age, Jennifer Ellis-Brunn understood the importance of hard work and the value of education. “I was working in banking while in high school, and I wanted to continue gaining career experience while getting the education I needed to advance,” she explained. COTC’s flexible class schedules allowed her to work full time and also attend classes, resulting in her Associate of Applied Business in Business Management Technology.
As an energy delivery system operator associate for American Electric Power (AEP), Braden Feick is one of many “hands on deck” when a power outage sweeps through the area. Thanks to his extensive training at COTC — which dovetailed into an immersive internship in his field of study — Feick has been able to launch a fulfilling career that transitioned seamlessly from his education experience.
As a transplant to the Buckeye State from Colorado Springs, Heather Prince used to drive past the Pataskala campus of COTC and wonder what went on there. Prince was in her 30s at the time and, as it happened, seeking a new career direction. Turns out, she wouldn’t have to look far — COTC had exactly what she needed.
“I would pass [COTC’s Pataskala campus] all the time going home, and I was like, ‘Let me just go online and see what that’s all about,’” recalled Prince, who had worked in medical billing but never with patients.
In 2002, an expectant Lora Smith crossed the stage to receive an associate degree in surgical technology at Central Ohio Technical College (COTC). These days the associate professor sits amongst the college’s faculty watching “her kids” in the surgical technology program graduate. But in December 2022, this phrase took on a literal meaning as Lydia Fink, the daughter Smith carried 20 years ago at her own graduation, crossed the stage to receive the very same degree as her mother.
A trip to Newark in 1981 with the El Salvador National Baseball Team was 19-year-old Julio Valladares’ first experience in the place he would later call home.
While his native country was in the midst of a civil war, Valladares felt a sense of peace and welcome in the home of his host family, who gladly opened their doors to him six months later when he decided to move to the United States.
Little did Vickie Sant know, when she began working for Mount Vernon’s First-Knox National Bank in 1976, that in January 2019 she would retire as the bank’s first female president. In fact, her experience at First-Knox was her first exposure to accounting — the field in which she would later earn her degree from COTC.
Asif Khan’s list of achievements in academia is second to none. With three degrees to his name — a bachelor’s in information technology from AL-Khair University, Pakistan; an associate degree in electrical engineering technology from COTC; and a master’s in engineering and technology from Ohio University — and eight years of teaching at COTC, Khan has reason to be proud.
Mara Weber began a traditional four-year degree at The Ohio State University at Newark but realized it wasn’t the right path for her. She wanted to get a degree quicker allowing her to get into the healthcare setting and begin making a difference. Being at Ohio State Newark, the co-located campus of Central Ohio Technical College (COTC), gave her an advantage.
Archana Rajendran of Westerville believes she wouldn’t be where she is today without the hands-on training and personal attention she received from the professors at Central Ohio Technical College (COTC). Rajendran participated in a recent photo shoot celebrating the fact that her alma mater was ranked number one in Ohio and number 19 in the nation by PayScale in its 2016-17 College Salary Report ranking the best community and career colleges by salary potential. “I had an echocardiogram done to me once, and it looked interesting.
The president and chief executive officer at the Licking County Chamber of Commerce knows the value of a Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) education from both sides of the table. Jennifer McDonald is a COTC graduate. She received a business management technology degree in 1990. Now, as president of the chamber, McDonald is in charge of trying to attract new business and industry to Licking County, and she knows that COTC is a huge part of that. “Workforce is the number one question posed by a company looking to locate into our area,” said McDonald.