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Developing Ideas, Fostering Talent

Back to School is a phrase that to kids means summer is over, but for many adults, it means an opportunity to learn new skills. The same can be said for Erika Orafu, an adult student in the TV production program.

She came to Tulsa Tech with a dream of starting her own production company. Now, before even graduating, she has seen her hard work pay off.

"A documentary I worked on recently premiered at Circle Cinema," Orafu said with pride. "It is called Crown. It's about the discrimination that African American women face in the workplace about their hairstyles. We pushed out information to educate people to get the Crown Act passed in Oklahoma."

Orafu worked with Tulsa Tech's Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Dr. Tamecca Rogers on this project. They also worked together on two other projects since meeting at a workshop.

"Working with Dr. Rogers has been incredible," she said. "We are more than friends. She is like a sister to me."

Orafu added her time in the TV Production program has given her new skills and confidence.

"This program prepared me for when I go to a meeting for my business," she said. "And given me the confidence and skills to sell my product."

But the journey has been difficult for the mother of five and grandparent. The two-year program took a lot of drive, while working full-time and taking care of her family. The first year focuses on the technical operations of lights, cameras and equipment. In comparison, the second year focuses on other areas, including project management.

"My life is hectic, but the network I've built from Tulsa Tech is incredible,” she said. Adding, "I get to come here, perfect my craft, and build up my resumé. I even have two IMDB (Internet Movie Database) credits. I would have never thought I would have one before I came here."

She admits working with students the same age as her children can be challenging. But she added that it keeps her youthful, while the instructors push her to fulfill her potential.

"I cannot thank the instructors enough for believing in me and allowing me to be the best I can be," she said.

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