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Lindsey Helton
Dr. Lindsey Helton

When I began college at Oklahoma State University, I didn't take school seriously.  I finally realized that without setting goals and making them a priority, I would never achieve them. 


So I decided to make the change.  I declared my major for my bachelor's degree-- Animal Science (Biotechnology option), with the ultimate goal of applying to veterinary school.  It was during this time that I discovered the Choctaw Nation Higher Education & Grant Program, which provided financial assistance for college.  This program helped defray the cost of my education so I could focus on my goals.


In May 2007 I graduated with my bachelor's degree, and submitted my veterinary school application that summer.  I knew I didn't have the strongest application; although I had worked as a volunteer in a veterinary clinic, I didn't have many hours of experience at the time I had to submit my application, and my grades first two years of undergrad weren't very competitive for a doctorate program.  I didn't get accepted to veterinary school that year, but I didn't let that derail me and become discouraged-in fact, I used it as fuel to work harder.  I enrolled in extra upper-level classes and continued to press on. 


Finally, all my hard work paid off, and I was accepted into veterinary school at my top choice-OSU! 


Veterinary school began, and it was a tough curriculum.  I had reached my goal of being accepted, however, it was only the beginning of a long, hard and rigorous four year journey and a LOT of school loan debt.  During my second year, I met Tracy Gilbert, a Choctaw Nation career counselor, who told me about the Choctaw Career Development Program.  Tracy told me about the opportunities and resources I had available through this program, facilitated my enrollment, and made the whole process very simple for me.  She knew how busy I was with school, and made the experience as easy as possible. Tracy was very helpful throughout the entire process; she was accessible, flexible with my schedule, knowledgeable, friendly, and extremely prompt in responding and processing paperwork.  It was pleasure to have her and the other career counselors helping me along the way.  The Choctaw Nation Career Development Program not only helped to alleviate my school loan burden through scholarships, but also assisted with my national and state licensing exam costs.  They provided resources to set students up for success.  I graduated veterinary school in May 2012, and accepted employment at Southside Animal Hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana.  


Thank You, Choctaw Nation! 


Dr. Lindsay Helton, DVM




Be a debt-free college grad

5/31/2012 4:01 PM ET


By The Dough Roller, U.S. News & World Report

Many students rack up major loan debt, hoping that future jobs will pay well enough that they can pay it back. Why take the risk?


Student loans have been in the news lately. The current brouhaha comes as interest on student loans is about to double. That sounds a bit more ominous than it really is. The rate will go from 3.4% to 6.8% -- still quite low by historical standards. But if you are sporting $200,000 in school loans, any interest rate hike hurts.


The response to this "crisis" is typical for an election year. President Barack Obama first called for a moratorium on rate increases. Mitt Romney was quick to second that idea. Apparently, a lot of college students and recent graduates vote, so the "chicken in every pot" form of government is in full swing. We'll worry about personal responsibility in a non-election year.


If you've already racked up student loans and don't have the income to pay them off, you're in a tough spot. Student debt guaranteed by the federal government is not dischargeable in bankruptcy, making the situation even harder for many. And that says nothing of the debt many have incurred with student credit cards. But if you have yet to start college or are in school now, it's not too late. There are many things you can do to avoid problems with paying off school loans.Read more.




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Sept 2012                    

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Learning Styles and Your Career Field

by Gena Fowler M.Ed., M.A., NBCT, gCDF

Career Counselor, Choctaw Nation Career Development


The learning styles theory has long been debated in our system as far back as 1940. There are theorists who dismiss the notion of learning styles, altogether, while others tend to tweak the learning style's concept in order to lay claim to a "slightly new" perspective. Whichever model you study, the core of learning styles is basically the same. All individuals perceive and process information in a certain way.  What might work best for one person may be a total disaster for another. I have never been a true fan of teaching solely to each individual's style of learning; because once we go into the workforce, we will not be afforded the luxury of having everything individualized. Also, most people possess more than one learning style strength. I believe that whatever is being taught should be introduced in as many ways as possible (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, tactile) in order to play to all the strengths and benefit the weaknesses. I also consider that our environment plays a big role in learning and working (individual, group, inside, outside, etc...)  

Most of us go through life giving little thought to how we learn or work.   I have had many students throughout the years who expressed themselves in different ways. "I hate sitting in class and listening to the teacher go on and on," or "I hate the book work, but I love going into the lab and working."   There are others who say, "I have no trouble understanding something if I can hear it, but I just don't understand it when I read it."  


Although there are many categories within the learning styles spectrum, it is important to recognize those few things that work best for you as a student and/or employee.  I will not attempt to give a list of all the areas that learning styles covers. I will however let you in on a secret of mine. When I am alone and need to learn something that requires reading, I read aloud. When I was younger, I had to wait until I was by myself because I was reprimanded for reading aloud from both teachers and family members. Hearing the words has always made it easier for me to absorb the material that I am studying. Therefore, visual and auditory together are two of my strongest points. I also do my best work when I am alone. I love to be with a group of people, but my focus is never as sharp due to the noise level.

"So, what does learning styles have to do with a career?" you ask. The answer is, "PLENTY!"   Whether you realize it or not, most of us use our strongest learning styles in our everyday lives. In order to become aware of our individual style of learning, we need to focus our attention to our strengths, but also to our areas of weakness; because we do not want to play to our weakness when choosing a career path.


A few things to think about:

If your weakness is book work and the classroom setting, why would you choose a career path that is classroom centered?


If you are someone who loves to interact with people and does best in a group situation, why would you want to go in a career that would put you in a solitude environment?


If you work best with your hands or learn quickly when shown how to do something, look for a career that is predominately kinesthetic (hands-on) type work?

Education comes in many forms (college, technical, on the job training). Do not short change yourself or your future by going with what you think is expected. Find out what works best for you and forge ahead. Talk to your career counselor for assistance in planning your future. Once you decide on a field, find someone to job shadow under for a few days before you go to the expense of an education. There are many free learning style inventories to choose from on the internet. A good one to start with is with through VARK.  

Industry Highlight


Travel & Transportation Sector Sees Job Growth


Serious shortage of skilled auto mechanics looming--USA Todayfeatured an article and video on our nation's coming shortage of auto mechanics. Interest in auto repair appears to have declined and educators just can't find students like they used to. "We're finding we're going to run short of technicians in the very near future," says Rich Orbain, manager for General Motors' Service Technical College. "It's already getting very difficult to get young people interested in this as a career." Read more...


Large Employment Growth Predicted For Truck Driving-- According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, truck driving is at number thirteen in their list of the careers with the largest growth expectations. The BLS statistics put growth at 13%, which effectively equals 233,000 new truck driving jobs. These are ten year figures, so the actual annual growth rate is around 23,300.

Over 5% of the truck driving workforce is either moving on or retiring each year, so those number of new drivers each year suddenly explodes. With a workforce of 1.8 million drivers, the number of drivers required to replace those leaving the industry is approximately 90,000 - per year. That represents 100,000 new truck drivers needed each year until 2018!


Realistically, each state needs around 2,000 new truck drivers each year. That's still a lot of drivers that need to be trained, licensed, and given experience. The Occupational Outlook Handbook offers information job outlook, wages, and much more. 

--If you are interested in career in either of these occupations, the Choctaw Nation Career Development program may be able to assist you.  Complete the online application today and get your new career started!
Career Advice


How to Give Job-Winning Answers at Interviews


Human Resources personnel, professional recruiters and various other career experts all agree: one of the best ways to prepare yourself for a job interview is to anticipate questions, develop your answers, and practice, practice, practice.


There are plenty of websites that offer lists of popular job interview questions, and knowing the types of questions to expect can be very useful. But knowing how to answer those questions can mean the difference between getting the job and getting the "reject letter."




First, know these important facts:

1. There is no way to predict every question you will be asked during a job interview. In other words, expect unexpected questions--they'll come up no matter how much preparation you do. Read more.

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