The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

February 9, 2014

Tools for the trade: Autry open house spotlights programs

ENID, Okla. — In Traci Gosney’s dental assistant classroom at Autry Technology Center, students become acquainted with a toothy guy named Dexter.

Whether learning head and neck anatomy, tooth identification and dental terminology, or practicing with X-rays, impressions and suctions, Dexter is all smiles about being their dummy.

Now, Dexter’s not a real person. But he is a name for the two mannequin heads filled with real human teeth that students are more than welcome to poke around in.

“All these are nice things to show them that dental’s not so bad,” said Gosney, who teaches around 20 students a year and took the course herself.

The heads are just some of the tools students work with as they begin testing the waters for a professional career in the Enid area, which visitors learned Sunday afternoon at Autry’s career-training program open house.

All of Autry’s courses are tuition-free to district high school students, who also receive free transportation from their home high schools. Courses also are online, short-term and free. Adults pay tuition, but recent high school graduates may apply for 100 percent scholarships.

High school students attend either morning (8:15-10:45 a.m.) or afternoon (12:30-3:15 p.m.) sessions. Adults may attend half a day or all day. Gosney’s course, which attracts adults, as well as junior and senior high school students, also is being opened to sophomores.

Autry’s open house included tours of the facility and demonstrations of its wide variety of courses, including construction, EMS, firefighting, iPad tips and tricks, welding and cake decorating.

During the open house, a crepe table was set up in the center’s in-house kitchen (hot dogs and cake were down the hall). A volunteer firefighter helped kids suit up in the heavy firefighter’s outfit, helmet and all. Visitors made their own magazine covers to take home in the design classroom. A table was set up for the practical nursing program where visitors could have blood drawn with a needle prick to test blood sugar levels.

Seventeen-year-old Saul Deras got a finger prick, but the nurse initially had trouble drawing blood.

“You’re not a bleeder,” she said with a laugh.

Deras, who’s had summer jobs as a welder’s assistant, was visiting to look at welding or mechanics courses.

Andrea Winter, R.N., teaches health careers, one of Autry’s full-time programs, which is offered to both high-schoolers and adults as morning and afternoon classes.

Winter’s course provides an overview of careers in the health care industry. While exploring the various career paths through theory, lab skills and clinical observations, high school students also earn class credit.

Many of her students stay and find jobs in the Enid area.

“It’s so strange because my kids go into so many fields. ... I go out and see them all the time at the doctor’s office, and they’re all, ‘I remember you shooting Nerf guns at me,’” Winter said from her desk.

Winter teaches needed basic skills and techniques such as properly drawing blood or administering chest compressions.

Current student Korbin Ingraham was more than able to demonstrate the latter technique on a CPR mannequin.

“I chose this class because I wanted to be an EMT, surgeon or a first-responder,” said Ingraham, a junior at Waukomis High School.

“You need to go to medical school,” Winter told him from across the room.

“I know, every time I tell my mom, she says, ‘Go to med school, do it while you’re young,’” Ingraham replied.

Autry students in Jon Jones’ drafting and design course prepare to enter architectural, mechanical, pipe and civil drafting fields. They learn 3-D drafting techniques with so-called ‘3-D printers,’ or rapid-prototype plastic printers.

“These students in his program are educated and are wanting to get more educated (once they graduate),” marketing director Mandy Mayberry said.

Of the state’s 29 career technology schools, Autry has ranked No. 1 in full-time enrollment for the past three complete school years, Mayberry said.

More than 770 adult and high school students attended classes in 2012-13 at Autry, according to its annual report.

The school also was No. 1 in enrollment for its adult career development program this past year.

Autry is one of Oklahoma’s five original vocational tech schools, Mayberry said, and it still is located in its original building at 1201 W. Willow.

For more information about Autry Technology Center and its course offerings, visit or call 242-2750.

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