The Virginia Tech School of Education hosted its first-ever Career and Technical Education (CTE) Experience Day. Thirty-one high school students from ten schools in Virginia participated: Brentsville District High School, Burton Center for Arts and Technology, Carroll County High School, Craig County High School, Floyd County High School, Franklin County High School, Orange County High School, Pulaski County Career and Technical Education Center, Tunstall High School, and Woodgrove High School.

The VT CTE Experience Day was sponsored by the Iota Chapter of Omicron Tau Theta (OTT) honor society and the VT School of Education. Natalie Ferand, OTT chapter advisor and assistant professor of CTE, CTE program leader, Joseph Mukuni, and OTT Iota chapter president, Tabitha Young, hosted the event.  Kristin Gehsmann, Director of the VT School of Education, welcomed the students and shared, “Career and Technical Education teachers are in critical need in Virginia and across the country.  They are central to preparing the workforce of tomorrow.” Numerous other faculty from across campus supported the event including Tracey Rutherford and Hannah Scherer from Agriculture, Leadership, and Community Engagement (ALCE), as well as Bradley Bowen and Nancy Bradley from the School of Education.  The VT School of Education recently launched a new undergraduate major in Career and Technical Education, in addition to their already successful graduate programs in CTE.

Dr. Kristin Gehsmann, Director of the School of Education, welcomes students to the 2022 CTE Experience day event
Dr. Kristin Gehsmann welcomes students to the CTE Experience Day 2022 event
Some of our excited participants in the CTE Experience Day 2022 event!

After gathering in the Squires Student Center, students heard from the Assistant Dean for Student Recruitment and Career Development in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Meghan Jester, about admissions and financial aid.  Current CTE students shared about the program and being a Hokie. The group dined at D2 and went on a campus “GooseChase” to learn about Virginia Tech’s traditions and history. Finally, students were paired up with a faculty mentors in their areas of interest for small group conversations. These faculty mentors will follow up with each student in the year to come. Joseph Mukuni shared, “I hope that in the future, CTE directors will partner with Virginia Tech to promote Career and Technical Education as an excellent career choice.”

Ms. Young, a PhD student concentrating in CTE shared, “It is very exciting to have students interested in CTE and provide them with the opportunity to explore the VT CTE program.  I hope that the CTE Experience Day will be a new tradition that is carried on for many years to come.” Natalie Ferand, Assistant Professor of CTE and the incoming CTE program leader, remarked on the success of the first-ever program of its kind, “The launch of the undergraduate programs in teacher licensure is very exciting for so many people. This process has been in the works for a long time. It was fantastic to see students from across the state ready to join the Hokie nation as future CTE educators!” 

The next CTE Experience Day is scheduled for April 5, 2023.  For additional information about the CTE programs at VT, please contact Natalie Ferand (nferand@vt.edu).

Written by Staff Writer

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