Spotlight on a Graduate: Erika Brown

Erika Brown began her educational journey after high school at Cameron University as a Graphic Design/Business major, but being a single mother with 2 kids to support on her own, Brown needed “something steady”. She wanted a career she could be proud of. “I want to set a good example for my kids and be able to provide for them since it’s just me.” Brown appreciated the opportunities that a medical assisting program like the one at Platt College could offer.  Additionally she had the go ahead from her mother who attended the pharmacy tech program at Platt many years ago and said that Brown would “love it because the staff is awesome and the instructors really care.”

We interviewed Erika about her time at Platt and the experiences she had in this Spotlight on a Graduate:

What makes Platt College special?Erika-Brown---MA-edit

EB: The instructors make it special.  The instructors and staff care and take extra time to help you succeed. Ms. Angie Gibbs and Miss Nadine Balser-Ayers are my favorite instructors because they pushed me even when I didn’t think I could do it.

What have you learned that made a difference to you?

EB: I learned a better understanding of how an office works and how to treat patients.  I learned that you can’t judge a book by its cover.  You never know what someone might be going through so you need to have compassion.

Tell us about a great experience you had at Platt?

EB: Miss Angie took a group of us to Willow Rehab Center to do injections and there was this patient, she was an older lady. She couldn’t speak and was scared because she wasn’t used to having a lot of people around her.  I was the one who had to calm her down, so that she could get her injection. I was able to do that and she was even happy afterwards. It was a great moment because I was able to talk to her and make her feel less scared.

What has been your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?

EB: My greatest challenge was overcoming the fear of failing.  I had to learn to believe in myself and when I did, I shocked myself with A’s and B’s instead of failing!

What do you plan to do after graduation?

EB: I had planned to go right into the LPN program, but I decided to go to work in an office first and get some more experience and then go into the LPN program at Platt next year.

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

EB: I see myself graduated from the Practical Nursing program at Platt College, working at an OB/GYN office or Family Practice. I would also like to work as a floater nurse and try different specialties.

What advice would you give incoming students?

EB: Don’t Quit! We all have our struggles and doubts, but just keep going. The first 3 months is the hardest, but when you get to the end, you will be so proud and there are people there to help you along the way.  There are so many opportunities I have now! I am so glad that I made the choice to come to Platt and become a Medical Assistant.

Since completing the Medical Assisting/Phlebotomy program, Brown has gone on to take her certification tests and is now a Registered Medical Assistant and Registered Phlebotomist. She was offered a position at East Lawton Neighborhood Family Clinic, where she did her clinicals. “I am extremely blessed to have a job and work at a place I love and be able to support my family as well.”

If you’re interested in becoming a Medical Assistant or getting started on your career training in any of the programs we offer at Platt College click here to fill out the contact us form and request information.

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator/Blog Editor – Platt College

Tips for a Healthy and Happy Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is one of the most celebrated holidays of the year and rightfully so.  We’re celebrating the birth of, not only our nation, but the birth of democracy itself.  And how do we choose to celebrate? With fireworks, family, sunshine and barbecues, of course!

But the holiday can also come with a few potential hazards if you’re not careful. Not to worry; we’ve got some helpful tips to make this Fourth a happy and healthy one!

Bring some earplugs

And no, they’re not to tune out your annoying cousin Larry.  Fireworks can produce a sound output that is in the 150 to 175 decibel range. The World Health Organization recommends that adults not be exposed to more than 140 decibels of peak sound pressure and for children, the recommendation is 120 decibels. Ear protection is recommended for decibels above 85.  So be sure to grab a pair of earplugs before you head out to enjoy the fireworks.

Apply Sunscreen

To keep your skin from matching the red, in the red, white, and blue of the American flag, you’ll want to apply sunscreen.  According to the American Academy of Dermatology it takes approximately 15 minutes for your skin to absorb the sunscreen and protect you. So you’ll want to put it on before you’re out in the sun. You’ll want to use something with an SPF of 30 or higher, that is water resistant and provides broad-spectrum coverage. Reapply every couple of hours to prevent sunburn. Follow the American Academy of Dermatology’s tips on How to apply sunscreen and you should be covered.

Stay Hydrated

Being outside in the sun for a picnic or barbeque cookout can make you more susceptible to dehydration and other health risks. Keeping a bottle of water nearby will help to keep you cool and hydrated throughout the day’s festivities. Plus alternating each alcoholic beverage (if you are of age) with a bottle of water, will help to stave off alcohol-induced dehydration.

Practice Safe Barbecuing

So you’re the one who’s manning or woman-ing the grill; then it’s up to you to make sure that you’re practicing safe barbecuing. This means that you’re designating different plates for the raw and cooked meat, you’re marinating food in the refrigerator and not out on the counter, you’re cooking the food thoroughly, you’re not leaving the food out in the sun for more than 2 hours (one if temperatures are really extreme), and you’re following the manufacturer’s instructions for safely operating your grill.

Follow these tips and you’re sure to have a happy and healthy Fourth of July!

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator/Blog Editor – Platt College

The Advantages for Chefs Who Go to Culinary School

Recently I was walking through a market in my Platt College uniform. A woman stopped and asking me an interesting question. “What are the differences between Chefs that went to a culinary arts college and those that worked their way up in the kitchen?”

Chefs that attended and graduated from a school have a few advantages over a chef that work their way to the top of a kitchen.

Culinary Art graduates are well-rounded

Culinary programs have evolved since I went to school. Instead of concentrating on Classical European techniques, students are exposed to international cuisines. Making them much more employable as food trends emerge.

To the contrary a chef that work their way up typically only learns from the kitchens or other chefs that mentored them. This limits their marketability as a chef to other kitchens, creating a glass ceiling effect.

Culinary grads learn more than cooking

Sure culinary students go to school to learn cooking. However, going to school teaches them discipline. The expectations of chefs typically is regimented.  From uniform standards, having recipes written, and upholding integrity of the position as “Chef”; many culinary graduates appreciate the strict discipline after a few months.

Culinary degrees becoming essential for many positions

Many companies are requiring a degree in culinary arts even for entry level positions. Reason being employers recognize a person’s dedication to the industry. An individual that endures culinary school has invested into the food service occupation.

Networking beyond the city limits

Most chefs that worked their way to the top in a kitchen never network beyond the city limits. They become stagnant and complacent within their own restaurant.

Culinary students typically become friends with many instructors and fellow students. Having a pulse on the trends and places that maybe hiring. This is a huge advantage. As with social media, it is crucial to network and staying current.

Career Services is your friend

When you choose to go to Culinary school you give yourself the advantage of having a dedicated Career Services team to assist you in, not only finding employment opportunities that are right for you, but in creating a professional resume, making contacts and networking in your career field, job interview coaching, and communication development.

As you can see there are many advantages to earning a Culinary Degree.  If you are interested in the Culinary Arts Program at Platt College or any of our other culinary programs, such as Pastry Arts, or Hospitality & Restaurant Management you can contact us here.

Written by: Gerald Egger, Culinary Arts Chef Instructor – Platt College Tulsa

A Closer Look at the Farm-to-Table Movement

The Farm-to-Table Movement has become increasing popular within the culinary community.  It has been one of the biggest trends to hit the industry in a while, but what exactly is Farm-to-Table Cuisine?

Farm-to-Table Cuisine is a phrase that has been thrown around, talked about in chef interviews, and added to the chicest of menus, but is it really something new?

“The idea of Farm-to-Table is not a new ideology or method of thinking about cooking.” Says Director of Education and Pastry Arts Director, Chef Gene Leiterman of Platt College Moore, OK. “After all, up until a few generations ago, we were much more connected to our food source.  Our milk, meat, and vegetables were sourced from our local dairy, butcher, and market, which in turn, came from the local farmers in the region we lived in.” For centuries all food was farm to table. People either grew their own foods or bought them from a nearby farmer. All food that was put on the table was literally farm to table and nothing in between.

It wasn’t until more people began moving away from rural areas and into the cities that many local food sources disappeared. The building of interstate highway systems and improvements in shipping techniques, such as refrigerated transportation, made it easier to bring in food from further away.  Food was no longer harvested from the farm and served within a day or so. The longer the time between harvesting and actually eating, the more quality was lost.

The Farm-to-Table movement was formed by a desire to bring quality ingredients back to the table.

“The movement to reconnect to our food origins in the purest sense has become a way of life and a new restaurant model under many fashionable names and concepts. And if the local “Whole Foods” has done anything, it has brought food culture into the consciousness of popular culture.” Says Chef Leiterman.

The Traits of Farm-to-Table Cuisine

The recent popularity of the farm-to-table concept has the phrase popping up in restaurants everywhere, but how can we know that we are actually getting authentic farm to table cuisine? Here are some traits to look for:

Regional, Seasonal, and Clean

Most of the ingredients you will find in farm-to-table cuisine are regional, seasonal, and clean.  These concepts are actually very simple. First of all you want the ingredients to come from nearby. Ideally the chef would be able to tell you exactly what farm the ingredients came from, but in the very least he or she should be able to say that they were purchased from a local farmer’s market or co-op.  Next, you’ll want make sure everything being served is in season. You wouldn’t find fresh peach cobbler in Michigan in January, just like you wouldn’t find cranberry sauce in Texas in July. Lastly you want your food to be clean and fresh. The concept of clean eating is similar to that of farm-to-table. Basically you want to see that your food is in the most natural form possible and minimally processed.  If you were to tour the kitchen of the restaurant you would want to see produce in its original state, not row upon row of canned food.

Heirloom and Heritage

Many ingredients in Farm-to-Table Cuisine are heirloom and heritage produce and meat.  Heirloom is a designation for produce that hasn’t been crossbred with any other varieties for several generations and hasn’t been genetically modified.  Heritage essentially means the same thing, but for meats. The terms are often used interchangeably.  These types of foods are not hybridized and because of that they are hardier and bursting with flavor. When a farmer takes the time to save the seeds and produce heirloom foods generation after generation, he or she is preserving a flavor and particular piece of history within that food.

“Whether you know it as Farm-to-Table, local or regional cuisine, or clean food and to some extent sustainable and organic – the notion is very simple: know where your food comes from and be thoughtful and deliberate about the way you use it to harness the purest expression of its value.” Adds Chef Leiterman.

To learn more about Farm-to-Table cuisine or the Culinary Arts Program at Platt College click here and fill out the Request Info Form.

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator – Platt College

To Be Your Student

Graduating from a traditional, four-year college, I didn’t have the privilege or experience of learning from the skilled professionals at Arizona Automotive Institute, Platt College, and South Texas Vocational Technical Institute. While I was able to learn many of the same important life lessons you instill upon our students – professionalism, sacrifice, service, leadership, respect and discipline. I cannot help but wonder how great it would have been to be one of your students.

  • To work side-by-side with a master welder bending molten metal
  • To learn medical ethics and patient care from nurses who have experienced the joy of life and sadness of death throughout their career as part of their calling, credo & DNA
  • To sweat under the hood of a tractor trailer or automobile with someone who could tear an engine apart and rebuild it in their sleep
  • To trace the veins of a patient with a Medical Assisting Instructor on route to a perfect stick
  • To replicate a sterile operating environment ensuring the field and formation exceeded the expectation of a seasoned Surgical Technologist
  • To roll egg whites delicately, flip a crepe perfectly, or flambé a dessert elegantly as my chef instructor stood watching with admiration, pride and nervousness
  • To properly learn dosage calculations, effectively administer air management techniques and recite recent revisions to medical record coding
  • To be on the roof of a commercial building identifying faults in an air conditioning unit with an instructor who knew the problem before we took our first step up the ladder
  • To take impressions and fabricate crowns, as a Dental Assisting Instructor stood by as a mentor & cheerleader
  • To mimic the graceful motions of a Professional Massage Therapist as they outlined a flawless Swedish technique
  • To sit completely awestruck in a class where a general education or CAS instructor was able to effectively connect theory to reality, and reality to my career aspirations

While my list of missed educational opportunities is long, as the President & CEO of Ancora Education, I have had made up for it through my many interactions with each of you – our esteemed faculty.

As we close out National Teacher Appreciation Week, I know I am a better person for working with, and learning from, each of you. As a company, we stand in complete admiration of your contribution and commitment to student success. You are the reason our educational model works. You are the reason our students work. Their experience, in your presence, creates life-long opportunity, tangible change, and a better future.

Sincerely,

Michael J. Zawisky

President & CEO

5 Reasons to Celebrate Your Instructors during Teacher Appreciation Week

When you really add up all the time we spend in school, from kindergarten to high school graduation and even on to higher education for a lot of us, it’s evident how important a role teachers really play in our lives. Without teachers, we would have no doctors, nurses, or presidents. We would have no mechanics, engineers, or welders. We wouldn’t even know how to read this very article.

With all things considered, we should show our appreciation for our teachers every day, but since this week happens to be when, we as a nation, observe Teacher Appreciation Week, here are five reasons to celebrate your instructors:

  1. Their Inspiration –

Your instructors possess an immeasurable amount of knowledge and understanding of their field, and they have chosen to share their passion and knowledge with you, as their students.

  1. Their Dedication –

As instructors they have chosen to dedicate their lives to helping their students have a successful future. They give of themselves, day-in and day-out to help you along your educational journey.

  1. Their Support –

When you’re having a hard time understanding a concept or struggling with preparing for a test, your instructors are there to offer you their support. They want to see you succeed and will go out of their way to make sure you have the support you need.

  1. Their Willingness to Challenge You –

Your instructors are there when you’re struggling, but in the same way that they will support you, they are also willing to challenge you.  It is through these challenges that you learn to grow, both as a student and as a person.

  1. For Believing in You –

Even when you might not have believed in yourself, your instructors believed in you.  Because they believed that you could succeed, you believed that you would succeed.

Share your reasons to celebrate your instructors in the comments!

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator – Ancora Education

The Importance of Reading Food Labels

Have you ever noticed the “cage-free” label on a carton of eggs and wondered about the meaning behind such a label? Students in the nursing nutrition class at Platt College OKC North were asked this question by nutrition expert, Jessica Cox at Natural Grocers and the answers may not have been exactly what you think.

While most people are taught to look at calories and fat on food labels, Jessica introduced them to some more important items to look for on the food label. “Most nutrition classes focus too much on numbers and not enough on quality,” said Ms. Cox. Jessica mentioned important information about clever marketing terms that really don’t mean much about the food, but make you believe it must be better.

The first one Jessica mentioned was, “All Natural”.  It’s a clever marketing term that has nothing to do with how the animal was raised. Natural on a food package means minimally processed, which is a loose definition in itself.

Why should you care how an animal was raised? Because you don’t just eat the animal product, you also eat what the animal ate. For example, consider the class of food additives known as growth promoters. There are four common growth promoters used to fatten animals up.   This gets them to market faster and allows more production of meat and milk. The four common growth promoters our students learned about are:

  • Antibiotics
  • Asthma Medication
  • Growth Hormones
  • Arsenic based growth promoters

Antibiotics are put into the animal feed and water in order to make the animal grow faster. 70% of all antibiotics sold in the USA go to agriculture.  This practice has created an abundance of antibiotic resistant bacteria. There is currently research going on around the country linking bacteria from meat in the grocery store to antibiotic resistant bacteria found in infections of patients in hospitals. Cox recommended getting clean sources of meat, raised without growth promoters like antibiotics, for better immunity and overall health.

If you are looking to improve your health by reading food labels, I recommend beginning with the ingredients part of the label and focusing less on the numbers. Here are some key bullet points to help you choose wisely according to the list of ingredients:

  • It should be short – the fewer ingredients the better
  • Sugar should be at the bottom of the list, if there at all
  • If you can’t pronounce it or if it looks like some weird chemical, it probably is, skip it.
  • Purchase USDA organic and Non-GMO verified whenever possible
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners

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Dr. April Morford has been an adjunct instructor at Platt OKC North for the past six years. She loves educating the students on “real nutrition”, so that they can enhance their lives, their family’s lives and their patient’s lives through healthy eating.

Natural Grocers can be found all across the country and are a great resource for nutritional information. They have learning kitchens in every store because they believe that knowledge is power. They staff nutritional health coaches for you to have free health sessions and classes to learn more. They take pride in purchasing the cleanest products possible, which makes finding healthy products much easier. Find a store near you at www.naturalgrocers.com.

Our students were talking about this class trip for weeks. Natural Grocers and Jessica Cox gave them a gift of a free Vitamin Bible and delicious Grass-Fed yogurt. It was truly a wonderful, eye-opening experience for everyone.

Written by: Dr. April Morford, Instructor – Platt College OKC North