McAlester High School GEAR UP juniors tour Murray State College


WILBURTON, OK (Dec. 13, 2016) – Fourteen McAlester GEAR UP juniors recently toured Murray State College (MSC) in Tishomingo. Students began the morning by participating in a guided tour. MSC Recruiter Shawn Minzes led students through the beautiful campus. They saw numerous programs MSC offers including the Gunsmithing Technology and Veterinary Technology programs, residence living, dining options, and more.

Students began the tour visiting the Engineering Technology Building to learn about Murray’s specialized Gunsmithing Technology 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 the different classrooms. The two–year program has an 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 numerous customized firearms for themselves. Every student will graduate the program with numerous handmade guns and all the tools they will need to continue on and find gainful employment in the industry. The program is an extremely competitive with over 250 applicants last year. MSC is only able to accept 30 into the program annually.

“This is such a unique program option for students in our region!” said GEAR UP Education Coordinator Rachael Ranallo “This program is extremely hands-on and strays from the typical image of the college classroom. Students are truly working and usually it doesn’t involve a book. They are learning to build and use tools to help them in the future.”

Next students ventured to the Classroom Building which houses numerous general education courses. Minzes allowed students to sit in a college classroom. The McAlester juniors were surprised and relieved to see it was no larger than their high school classrooms. MSC has a 16:1 student/instructor ratio, making it easier for students to get to know their classmates and professors.

Director of Veterinary Technology Laura Sandmann met students in the College Campus Center to introduce Murray’s Vet Tech 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 s students participate in if accepted into the program. They have the opportunity to work with a variety of animals throughout the two-year program. Sandmann showed photos of students working with dogs, cats, elephants, snakes, whales and more! This is also a unique and competitive program with over 70 applicants last year they are only able to accept 24 new students annually. This is a wonderful program for students who want to work with animals for a career.

“The hands-on experience with animals is so important and sets this program apart from others in the area,” said Ranallo.

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. Equipped with furniture needed for the main living area and each bedroom (including a microwave and mini fridge for each resident), students living on campus receive free wifi and cable access. Laundry services are also free for students living on campus.

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.

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 juniors enjoying a tour of Murray State College are: Isaac Briggs, Taryn Good, Raelyn Wisely, Sydney Shelton, Madison Clifton, Ashley Todd, Ryan Warren, Estela Santamaria, Alexes Johnson, Jacoby Riddle, Chase Terry, Cameron Barone, Tristan Chapman and Quianna Hearst.

McAlester juniors Madison Clifton, Ashley Todd and Sydney Shelton proudly display the “I LOVE GEAR UP” sign during the Murray State College tour.

Students stop in the Allied Health Building while waiting on instructors to discuss health programs at Murray State. Students pictured: Taryn Good, Jacoby Riddle, Cameron Barone, Tristan Chapman and Chase Terry.

McAlester students observe the first year classroom while students finish up final projects for the semester. Pictured are: Sydney Shelton, Madison Clifton, Quianna Hearst, Alexes Johnson, Estela Santamaria, Ryan Warren, Isaac Briggs, Ashley Todd, Raelyn Wisely, Taryn Good and McAlester English Teacher Penny Oss.

Students wrap up their tour through the Engineering Building with Gunsmithing students in the Chemicals Room. Pictured are: Madison Clifton, Sydney Shelton, Ryan Warren, Quianna Hearst, MSC student Guy Womack, Raelyn Wisely, Isaac Briggs, Chase Terry, MSC student Michael Williams, Taryn Good, Cameron Barone, Tristan Chapman and Jacoby Riddle.

McAlester GEAR UP juniors were welcomed to the Murray State Campus.

McAlester juniors Ryan Warren, Estela Santamaria, Alexes Johnson, Jacoby Riddle, Chase Terry, Cameron Barone, Tristan Chapman and Quianna Hearst take a break during the recent tour of Murray State College.

Students pose in the College Campus Center after hearing a presentation about the Veterinary Technology Program at MSC. Pictured are: Chase Terry, Jacoby Riddle, Quianna Hearst, Tristan Chapman, Taryn Good, the Director of Vet Tech at MSC – Laura Sandmann, Madison Clifton, Cameron Barone, Sydney Shelton, Raelyn Wisely, Ashley Todd, Isaac Briggs, Ryan Warren and Alexes Johnson.

Students listen as Director of Veterinary Technology Laura Sandmann explains what the Vet Tech program offers to students. Pictured are: McAlester English Teacher Penny Oss, Isaac Briggs, Ryan Warren and Quianna Hearst.

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