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Finding his Passion in a Course Catalog

Soft-spoken but confident, that is what will strike you first talking to Tijay Vargas. The Union High School and Tulsa Tech graduate is now in his first year of Pharmacy school.

His determination is not what will surprise you the most, it is how he wound up in Pharmacy school. Vargas moved to Oklahoma in high school and took a unique path top picking his Tulsa Tech course.

"I put my finger on a program in the Tulsa Tech book and picked Pharmacy Technician," Vargas said with a grin. "At the time, it was something to do and an extracurricular to get out of school early."

Vargas's choice turned into a lifelong career path after a few months in the classroom with Kari Gibson, Pharmacy Technician instructor.

"Tulsa Tech helped me get excited about school," Vargas said with a smile. "When I started at Tech, I wanted something to get me out of the classroom."

The year-long high school or nine-month adult program gives students the skills to work in a pharmacy. Students learn to fill prescriptions and maintain inventory controls. The need for pharmacy workers is critical to public health. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts this field will grow four percent over the next decade.

Vargas made the bus ride to Tulsa Tech’s Owasso Campus each day but said it was among the best parts of high school.

"I would think ‘finally’ we are out of the school, now time to do something fun," Vargas said. "I got excited about the pharmacy coursework, and that is what drove me through college."

He also says Tulsa Tech taught him the skills he needed to go further in his educational career. Skills like relationship building, good study habits, and a desire to continue learning well into adulthood. These professional skills translate to the workforce and prepare students for life.

Before his first day of Pharmacy school, Vargas wrote, "I would definitely not be here if it wasn't for Kari Gibson! She was the amazing soul who introduced me into the world of Pharmacy! She has been such an instrumental tool in my life, as far as encouragement and support."

Vargas says his time at Tulsa Tech gave him more than skills. It helped him develop life-long connections with classmates and instructors.

"I would say your Tulsa Tech instructor is not only there for your career training," Vargas said. "They become a life coach, a friend and a mentor that is there for the rest of your life."

As he pursues his doctorate of pharmacy degree, he has this advice for those considering Tulsa Tech.

"Choose a program that interests you," Vargas said. "I knew I wanted to get into the medical field, so pharmacy tech opened the doors into the medical field for me. Don't miss out on the opportunity in front of you with Tulsa Tech."