Melanie Stefanowicz Director’s Message – July, 2020


I don’t know about you, but I am ready to get this academic year started!

Over the past few weeks, while the team at Orange Technical College (OTC) have engaged in the planning process for reopening during the pandemic, I have taken some time to reflect on my own college experience. Reminiscing about the stress of the admissions and registration process, preparing to move across the country to a new city I had never visited previously, managing classes and a full-time job…

Over time, when I was tasked with choosing a major, I was clueless. I mean, how do you choose a course of study when you have no idea what career you would enjoy, what type of work you would like to spend the rest of your life doing?

So I chose a major I truly enjoyed. One that benefits me in my work today, but is by no means a requirement of the job description.

I majored in acting.

The problem is, I am a terrible actress. And it likely goes without saying, entertainment is certainly not an “essential” career pathway by current standards.

Back then, I simply did not know about opportunities like those we offer at OTC, much less the variety of viable career pathways that would lead to high-skill, high-wage careers. According to my parents, a traditional four-year college was my only option. So off I went.

Today, when I visit classrooms like our Mechatronics lab at the OTC – Mid Florida Campus, I wonder what my career trajectory would have been if I had taken a different path. What if I completed the Mechatronics program, would I have stacked my credentials to advance my career in manufacturing? Would I have leveraged those skills in a degree program to eventually become a mechanical engineer? Could I have launched rockets for SpaceX? Imagine the potential that springs from these opportunities.

Don’t get me wrong. I am proud of my academic accomplishments and my degree. I was the first person in my family to graduate from college. That experience and the diploma, however, came at a great expense, and one that I had to finance with student loans.

My story exemplifies why the work we do at OTC and OCPS is so important. There truly is more than one way to a great career and one that builds the bank account rather than breaks the bank.

So, August 10 is right around the corner and OTC is ready to welcome our new and returning students to our campuses. Let us help you find your #EssentialPotential.

Stay safe and healthy,

Have a great CTE Day!


One Reply to “Melanie Stefanowicz Director’s Message – July, 2020”

  1. The Avalon lakes tech center needs attention to its exterior paint and landscape. The building looks abandoned. Also adding an entryway behind the building will help with congestion and safety of kids crossing the street. The area gets congested with angry drivers it is not safe. Thank you 😀 #potential

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