Alumni Spotlight


COTC alumni are engaged, committed leaders who are making a difference in their professions and communities. We invite you to read their stories.

Student Spotlight
Portrait of Billi Gross and Matayah Berry at COTC's Coshocton campus.

Billi Gross and Matayah Berry

Nursing Technology

For some, Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) is the beginning of their professional journey. For others, it’s a legacy they carry throughout their lives. For mother and daughter Billi Gross and Matayah Berry, it’s both.

Portrait of Toby Starr.

Toby Starr

Business Management Technology

Toby Starr

As Ohio public affairs manager for Intel Corporation, 2016 COTC graduate Toby Starr has a front-row seat to the exciting changes that are taking place as Licking County settles into its place at the center of the Silicon Heartland.

Building on the skills he honed during his time in COTC’s business management program, Starr quickly launched a trajectory that began with an associate degree, expanded to bachelor’s and master’s degrees and has placed him in a rewarding career in his home state.

Portrait of Jennifer Ellis Brunn standing in downtown Newark.

Jennifer Ellis-Brunn

Business Management Technology

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.

Brandon Fienk sits at a desk with his hand on a mouse in front of a wall of monitors.

Braden Feick

Electrical Transmission and Power Distribution 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.

Portrait of Heather Prince standing outside COTC's Pataskala campus.

Heather Prince, DNP, APRN-CNP

Nursing Technology

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.

Lora Smith stands next to Lydia Smith who is holding her COTC diploma after just walking across the stage at COTC's commencement ceremony in December 2022.

Mother and Daughter Earn Same COTC Degree 20 Years Apart

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.

Sherry Engle stands next to a mannequin in a nursing lab at COTC's Pataskala campus.

COTC Alumna Reflects on Nursing Career

From student to registered nurse to instructor, Sherry Engle shares her passion.

Sherry Engle, of Pataskala, treasures the generous cache of memories she stored up during her nursing years — a career’s worth of interactions that collectively illustrate the “human touch” that she knows is vital to patients’ well-being.

Portrait of Brittany Klinkert and her three children.

COTC Alumna Opens Childcare Center

For Brittany Klinkert, life keeps her on her toes. The Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) alumna is not only a mother of three, but she also recently opened a Newark-based childcare center that brings an additional 20 children into her care.

Jennifer McDonald and Brittany Misner stand next to each other outside local businesses  in downtown Newark.

Jennifer McDonald and Brittany Misner

Alumni Duo Leads Chamber of Commerce

Jennifer McDonald and Brittany Misner may have earned their business management degrees a couple decades apart, but they brought their business acumen to the same table in 2016 and have teamed up since then to propel the Licking County Chamber of Commerce forward.

Julio Valladres' headshot.

Julio Valladares

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.

Two men in police uniforms and one man in a suit stand inside a courtroom of the Licking County Courthouse.

Randy Thorp, Mark Weiner and Nick Shuster

Tragedy Unites COTC Alumni

On May 12, 2017, as the nation’s eyes were drawn to the tragic scene of a shooting at Pine Kirk Care Center in Kirkersville, Ohio, three Central Ohio Technical College alumni played instrumental roles in helping to contain the situation and navigate its aftermath.

Vickie Sant sands in the COTC Knox campus lobby for a portrait.

Vickie Sant

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.

Featured Instructor
Asif Khan stands in front of engineering equipment in a classroom

Asif Khan

Engineering Technology

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.

Woman in lab coat smiling at camera

A Career to Build

COTC radiologic science technology alumna Mara Weber made her own path.

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.

DeLane King standing in front of police cruiser.

DeLane King

Peace Officer Alumnus Makes a Difference in His Community

An interaction with a police officer during his youth made Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) alumnus DeLane King want to make the same kind of difference in his community. King is now a Granville police officer after starting his career with the Hebron Police Department.

Archana Rajendran standing next to ultrasound machine.

Archana Rajendran

A Matter of the Heart: COTC Graduate Becomes Wexner Medical Center Echo Technologist

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.