Meet real role models working in various industries who have found success through alternative pathways after high school — and what they like about what they do!

  • Debra Carpentier

    Project Coordinator and Senior Draftsman

    As a child, Debra Carpentier loved to build houses with any kind of toy she could find. Today, she uses computer-aided design (CAD) and other skills to help architects with the drawings for building construction and remodel projects.

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  • Sergio Correa

    Director of Technical Support

    Sergio Correa's interest in cars was sparked while helping his father work on vehicles. As an adult, he completed the Automotive Collision Repair program at Salina Area Technical College to start his career. That background helped him get to his current position. 

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  • Gwendelrae Hicks

    Owner and Mortician

    When Harriet Tubman led escaped slaves to freedom, she followed the North Star to guide their way through the dark. Likewise, when I’m working with families who are grieving, they need someone with compassion and professionalism to guide them through that tough time. That’s why we chose to name our...

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  • Trevor Tolman - Cemetery Technician

    Trevor Tolman

    Cemetery Technician

    After graduating from high school in 2020, I went straight to work in the fast food industry. I had been at my job several months when I began to think about what other options I might have. I knew I wanted to work outdoors, but I didn’t know where to go from there. Thankfully, I’m a participant in...

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  • Stetson Shook - Owner, Stetson Cattle Company

    Stetson Shook

    Owner, Stetson Cattle Company

    I’ve never wanted to be anything other than a farmer. For me, farming is a lifestyle, not a job. 

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  • Seth Nelson

    Seth Nelson

    Heavy Equipment Mechanic

    Seth Nelson wanted a steady, well-paying job that he enjoyed. He attended Salina Area Technical College to start his career journey. 

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  • Kristin Mallon, Welder

    Kristin Mallon


    When I was younger, I wanted to be a NASCAR driver or a bull rider — I was intrigued by the adrenaline rush! But when I got to high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do as an adult. I attended an alternative school where I could work at my own pace, so I rushed through and tried to get out as...

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  • Joe Vyzourek

    Joe Vyzourek

    Owner, KYVZ Radio

    I was given a small radio when I was 4 years old, and I wore it out from constant use. I was fascinated to hear stations hundreds or even thousands of miles away. In March of my second-grade year, we had three blizzards back to back. The electricity was out, but the guys on the local radio station...

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  • Martine Chery-Hilaire

    Martine Chery-Hilaire

    Owner and Executive Chef, Chez Matou Catering

    I’ve been cooking since I was 14 years old, but I never thought of it as a career path. When I moved to the United States in 2003, I started using my cooking skills to make and sell paté kòde, or Haitian meat pies. Quite frankly, it was the easiest way I could make money while I waited to improve...

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  • Dylan Tweedy

    Dylan Tweedy

    Owner, Kensington Lockers

    Sometimes the career finds you. At least that’s how I came to be the owner of a meat locker. It was a huge leap of faith, but when the opportunity presented itself, I knew I had to give it a shot.

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