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Tulsa Tech Helps Student Build Foundation for Success

Julie Orellana receives her award at BPA National Leadership Conference.

Brick by brick, computer by computer, Tulsa Tech trains students for success in the workplace. For Julie Orellana, that time on campus was short. Orellana spent just one school year in the Mobile App Development program, but the program had a huge impact.

“When I was a junior in high school, I mentioned my interest to my parents in computers and programming,” Orellana said. “My mom pushed me to take the class to get a feel for how programming worked.”

From a young age, Orellana said she had a passion for programming. Something she shared with her mother who, majored in computer programming in college.

“When I was a kid, I was introduced to Scratch,” Orellana recalled with a smile. “It is a program for kids to create animated greeting cards.”

However, as she got older, her mother pushed her to explore more of the world of computers. An online search lead her to Tulsa Tech and the Mobile App program. Now a sophomore at OSU-IT in Okmulgee, Orellana says her time at Tulsa Tech made an enormous difference.

“I liked the class, I enjoyed it. That made me realize I enjoyed programming,” Orellana said with a grin. “Now that I am in college, I realize how much Tulsa Tech really helped me. The class laid a foundation for me. As a freshman, I was not lost because I had learned so much at Tulsa Tech.”

More than just a foundation, Orellana credits Tulsa Tech for helping her grow as a leader. She was part of Business Professionals of America (BPA), a Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) she joined through Tulsa Tech, which helped her earn a scholarship.

“Earning two awards at the BPA conference last year gave my application some extra weight,” Orellana said. “I won the best in show for the virtual conference and third place for Mobile App.”

This fall, Orellana won the Milliman Opportunity Scholarship for a second straight year. She was one of 17 recipients from colleges and universities worldwide who have demonstrated academic excellence and plan to pursue a career in actuarial science or related fields.

Currently, Orellana is completing an associate’s degree in applied science, and from there, go into software development or cybersecurity.

The Information Technology career field is growing at a rapid pace. By the end of the decade, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the IT career field will add more than half a million jobs across the country. These in-demand jobs are high paying too, with a median of nearly $90,000 a year.

For Orellana, the difference Tulsa Tech made is in the foundation it built for her as she works down her career path.

“If you go into something you are interested in, you can learn if that career is for you and something you want to spend the rest of your life doing,” Orellana said with a smile. “You not only learn skills, but you lay a foundation to build upon.”

The passion for student success is evident to the students.

“They love what they do, and you can tell they enjoy it,” Orellana said. “Seeing their passion makes you want to do better, and it makes learning fun.”