McAlester GEAR UP juniors tour Murray State College


WILBURTON, OK (Nov. 18, 2016) – Thirty–nine McAlester GEAR UP students recently toured Murray State College (MSC) in Tishomingo. Students began the morning by participating in a guided tour. MSC student ambassador Chelby Andrews and College Recruiter Shawn Minzes led juniors throughout the beautiful campus. They saw numerous programs MSC offers including the Gunsmithing program, Veterinary Technology, residence living, dining options, and more.

Students traveled to the Engineering Technology Building to learn about Murray’s Gunsmithing Program, one of only four NRA–approved affiliated schools across the country. MSC students Michael Williams and Guy Womack took time to show students what each year of the program offers and what they different classrooms look like. It is a two–year program with the option to apply for a third year where students make a hunting rifle and learn pistol making. Throughout the three–year program, students will have designed five customized firearms for themselves. This program is an extremely competitive with over 250 applicants last year alone. MSC only accepts 30 into the program annually.

The Director of Veterinary Technology Laura Sandmann met students in the College Campus Center to introduce the Vet Tech program. She explained the numerous animal and business partners they work with in the program. MSC Vet Tech program is responsible for the general care of community–sheltered animals. Students were surprised to learn about activities and educational trips in which they get to participate if accepted into the program. They have the opportunity to work with a variety of animals throughout the two–year program. Mrs. Sandmann showed photos of the students working with dogs, cats, elephants, snakes, whales and more.

Next stop on the tour was to get a glimpse of the Aggie Suites. The suites are set up similar to apartments with four bedrooms and two bathrooms. They come with the furniture needed for the main living area and each bedroom (including a microwave and mini fridge for each resident). Floors are a stained concrete which is a popular design while also making clean up simple.

The last stop before lunch was to visit the Classroom Building which houses numerous general education courses. The recruiter gave students an opportunity to sit in a college classroom. They were surprised and relieved to see it was no larger than their high school classrooms. MSC has a 16:1 student/instructor ratio. This makes it easier for students to get to know their classmates and professors.

To gain the full college experience, the McAlester students ate on campus in the Dining Hall and enjoyed lunch with MSC students. After lunch, students took group photos in the center of campus where an old Haskell Lucas Hall dormitory had once stood. The old entrance still remains with new seating areas and fountains for design.

“Students were very impressed to see first–hand what Murray State has to offer. There are some very unique programs a short distance from home.” said GEAR UP Education Coordinator Rachael Ranallo.

The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP. Participating schools take two field trips each academic year—one to tour a college or university and one that is cultural/educational in nature.

McAlester GEAR UP students gather for a group photo around a fountain where the old Haskell Lucas Hall dormitory once stood. Picture are: Front Row: Kaila Sherwood, Nancy Stahmer, Colton McEachern, Kristian Ethridge, Justin Madden, Nichole Finch, Bianca Pharr, Jaylynne Pierce and Brentleigh Rousey. Second Row: Daryn Hance, Emma Alexander, Sydney Tarron, ReAnn Wall, Sydney Lowe, Andrea Lawrence, Brendon Ruyle, MaKayla Hurley, Destiny Hilton, Samantha Nabours, Martin DeLaGarza, Nic Graham, Max Luethje, Juan Jaimes and Miguel Medrano–Piedra. Third Row: Alyssa Carrell, Ashlyn Gentry, Matt Rattan, Harley Martin, Thomas Delcid, Nate Alexander, Lindsey Old, Corbin Morris, Brayden McKelvey and Greyson Rolan. Back Row: Jasmine Ellis, Jake Rattan, Cheyenne Hearst, Dakota Smead and John Engelsen.

McAlester juniors Andrea Lawrence, MaKayla Hurley and Destiny Hilton pose for a picture in the College Campus Corner.

McAlester students stop in the commons area of one of the Aggie Suites before looking at the bedrooms. Pictured are Sydney Lowe, MaKayla Hurley, Destiny Hilton, ReAnn Wall, Cheyenne Hearst, Jake Rattan, Brendon Ruyle, Daryn Hance, Emma Alexander and Matt Rattan.

McAlester juniors Corbin Morris and Matt Rattan show love for GEAR UP while waiting in the Aggie Suites.

McAlester students sit in a college classroom. Left row, front to back: Greyson Rolan, Max Luethje, John Engelsen, Dakota Smead. Right row, front to back: Martin DeLaGarza, Jasmine Ellis, Nick Graham, Miguel Medrano–Peidra and Juan Jaimes.

Fine Arts Instructor Susan Yeager shows students a sculpting studio at Murray State College. Students are Jake Rattan, Cheyenne Hearst, Thomas Delcid, MaKayla Hurley, Brayden McKelvey, Destiny Hilton, Andrea Lawrence, Harley Martin, Nate Alexander, ReAnn Wall, Matt Rattan, Corbin Morris, Brendon Ruyle, Emma Alexander and Daryn Hance.

McAlester students wait for the tour to begin in the College Campus Corner. Students pictured are Brentleigh Rousey, Bianca Pharr, Jaylynne Pierce, Martin DeLaGarza, Alyssa Carrell, Ashlyn Gentry, Nic Graham, Juan Jaimes.

Second–year Gunsmithing student Michael Williams shows students a custom hunting rifle made in the third year of the program. Students pictured are Brendon Ruyle, Jake Rattan, Destiny Hilton, Nate Alexander and ReAnn Wall.

Gunsmithing students Michael Williams and Guy Womack show students the various dips that can be added to the gun designs. Students pictured are Jake Rattan, Brendon Ruyle and Andrea Lawrence.

Students visit the second year classroom where Gunsmithing students are putting the custom guns together and carving out each unique gun stock. Students pictured are Sydney Tarron, Jaylynne Pierce, Brentleigh Rousey, Alyssa Carrell, Ashlyn Gentry, John Engelsen, Miguel Medrano–Piedra, Martin DeLaGarza, GEAR UP Education Coordinator Rachael Ranallo, Max Luethje, Greyson Rolan, Nancy Stahmer, Justin Madden, Nichole Finch and MSC Recruiter Shawn Minzes.

Second year Gunsmithing students and tour guides Guy Womack and Michael Williams show love for GEAR UP.

McAlester juniors tour the first–year Gunsmithing classroom where MSC students create the design the gun barrels from raw materials. Students pictured are Sydney Tarron, Kristian Ethridge, Lindsey Old, Bianca Pharr, Jaylynne Pierce, Brentleigh Rousey, Ashlyn Gentry and Alyssa Carrell.

McAlester students pose in the College Campus Center while waiting on the next program tour. Students are Daryn Hance, Emma Alexander, ReAnn Wall, Sydney Lowe, Jake Rattan, Harley Martin, Corbin Morris, MaKayla Hurley, Nate Alexander, Colton McEachern, Brayden McKelvey, Thomas Delcid, Matt Rattan, Brendon Ruyle, Cheyenne Hearst, Destiny Hilton and Andrea Lawrence.

McAlester junior Jake Rattan asks Vet Technology Director Laura Sandmann a question about the program at Murray State College.

Veterinary Technology Program Director Laura Sandmann poses with McAlester High School Students. Students pictured are Front Row: Ashlyn Gentry and Nancy Stahmer. Middle Row: Alyssa Carrell, Martin DeLaGarza, Nic Graham, Max Luethje, Greyson Rolan and Juan Jaimes. Back Row – Kristian Ethridge, Miguel Medrano–Piedra, Samantha Nabours, Dakota Smead, John Engelsen, Lindsey Old and Kaila Sherwood.

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