Lifelong Learner: Meridian Tech Graduate Also Attends OSU

Jaci Deitrick stands in front of her sorority house at Oklahoma State University. As a student enrolled in both the Meridian Technology Center Health Careers program and OSU, Deitrick has balanced classes on both campuses this year.

Story provided by Meridian Technology Center

In a year when the pandemic didn’t give students a lot of choices about their education, Jaci Deitrick took control over one important academic decision. The Oklahoma State University junior, who was already enrolled in 19 hours, decided to add the Health Careers program at Meridian Tech to her already full schedule.

“It is never too late, and you’re never too old to learn something new and set yourself up for a brighter future,” Deitrick said. “Just because you are enrolled in one institution does not mean that you can’t enroll in another.”

Deitrick will graduate this May from Meridian’s Health Careers program, along with phlebotomy, medication administration technician and clinical medical assistant certifications. She will graduate from OSU in 2022 with a dual degree in agricultural business and psychology.

Deitrick prides herself in being a lifelong learner and has always had a passion for challenging herself. She attributes that drive and a strong support system to her success thus far.

“I never considered a tech school, but there are so many different options that a lot of students don’t know about or take for granted. It’s eye-opening and can set you up for a great future,” Deitrick said.

Upon reviewing an application for medical school, Deitrick knew she would need clinical experience in order to apply and that’s when she turned to Tech.

“I wanted to take my education into my own hands and give myself the best chance that I could,” Deitrick explained. “I knew being a first-generation college student and Native American, statistically the odds were stacked against me to complete college, let alone attend medical school.”

Deitrick is no stranger to a busy schedule. Her long list of achievements includes performing in the National FFA Organization’s talent show, reigning as Miss Muskogee 2019 and earning the Top Ten Freshman award at OSU.

“I thought I had good time management before,” Deitrick said. “But I learned that I had a lot of improving to do. This experience has pushed me out of my comfort zone, and it’s given me a challenge. It opened my eyes to what I was capable of.”

Deitrick was determined to allow her decision to attend college expand her horizon rather than limit herself to one path. The financial responsibility of being a full-time student at two schools could easily become overwhelming, but one of the key factors in Deitrick attending Tech was the scholarships she received. Scholarships and financial aid are available for adult students like Deitrick and are made possible through the Meridian Technology Center Foundation.

After graduating from OSU, Deitrick plans to take a gap year to explore her options and gain more experience in the medical field. “With this year bringing so many changes, I know I’ll be prepared to adapt no matter what the future holds,” she said.