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Ashanti Littlejohn (Bethlehem AVTS ’13, Temple University ’17)
Major: Biology / GPA: 3.52
Internships, College Activities, Scholarships: Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (S.M.D.E.P.) Scholar at Rutgers University NewJersey Medical School, Volunteer Patient Advocate at St. Luke’s Hospital, Temple University Undergraduate Research Program, Second VP of Temple Black Student Union, Elmer Roe Deaver Scholar, Jules J. Sheldon Scholar, Intramural Volleyball District Champion, Bridges Foundation Scholarship Winner.
Skills/High School Activities: PDC ’11, Health Knowledge Bowl Team Member (Districts’12, States ’12, Districts ’13), National Technical Honors Society, NAACP ACT-SO medalist
Ashanti Littlejohn became interested in health care at a young age, but it was during her trade rotations at BAVTS in the Health Careers classroom that she realized how much she enjoyed the clinical component of the field. For Ashanti, career and technical education provided “an absolutely different environment than a regular classroom.” While she entered Freedom High School with the dream of a medical career, she believes that Bethlehem was“one of my huge motivations to continue on my path to become a doctor.” SkillsUSA Council was another important part of Ashanti’s path. She was introduced to the organization through her participation in our Professional Development Conference, which she credits with making her “more of a go-getter” and someone who knows how to capitalize on opportunities. When she returned from the conference, she found out about the District Championship Health Knowledge Bowl contest and decided to build a team of her Health Careers classmates. Ashanti recalls, “I used to be the type of person who came up with ideas and never went through with them, so making this happen was a turning point for me. It was awesome—we won districts and went on tocompete at states. And my team always had my back.” Ashanti chose Temple University with the hope of continuing on to their medical school and selected biology as her major because of how closely it aligns with the required medical school preparation. Her first year was a challenge, buther three years of clinical experience in high school instilled in her a strong work ethic and led her to pursue a research position at Temple University Hospital. “I do research on blood transfusions and evaluating doctors’ practices during the procedures. I never considered research, but it has been so interesting. I learn a lot. I’m excited to see where the research goes.” Ashanti also made another great stride toward medical school when she was selected to become one ofthe 2014 New Jersey Medical School’s SMDEP scholars. In this highly competitive six-week program, Ashanti had “the opportunity to learn more about health disparities, the medical school application process, and the inner workings of the human body via cadaver dissections.” She also gained a support network of fellow aspiring physicians who will encourage one another along their journeys to becoming doctors.
Matt Harman, Jr. (UBCTS ’14, Penn College of Technology ‘18)
Major: Manufacturing Engineering
Skills Involvement: Automated Manufacturing Technology Competitor (Districts ‘12, ‘13, ‘14; States ‘14, National Silver Medal Winner ‘14), Elmer Gates Enterprise Award Winner, PPL Scholarship Recipient
Matt became interested in working with his hands through his dad growing up in Sellersville. “My dad raised me to be a jack-of-all-trades,” Matt explains, which fueled his curiosity about how things worked. After a middle school summer program at UBCTS, Matt knew it was the right place for him. During his trade rotations, he gave CNC machining a try and it blew him away–he instantly fell in love with the field. “Machining was more intricate [than other trades], with an endless variety of things to make. Saying you are a machinist is such a vague statement because you can really do and be anything, from nuclear to manufacturing, from key chains to Boeing-757 parts.” Matt became involved with SkillsUSA during his first year at Upper Bucks, competing at the District Competition after only being on the mill for about two weeks. Matt returned to compete both junior and senior year and his Automated Manufacturing team took home the gold medal at the Pennsylvania State Competition and the silver medal nationwide, earningan almost perfect score in the National Competition. “SkillsUSA exposes you to other students that are serious about what they’re doing. You’re competing against other kids that have a higher level of knowledge and can challenge you. It is exciting to meet people with same ambitious attitude that I have,” Matt explained. Matt is currently Plant Manager at Lehman Precision LCC. After Matt completes his bachelor’s degree at Pennsylvania College of Technology, he has dreams of working in the defense and aerospace fields.
Janell McCaroll (LCTI ‘09, Drexel ‘14)
Major: Chemical Engineering
Skills Involvement: Related Technical Math (Districts ‘08 and ‘09, States ‘08 and ‘09, Nationals ‘08), PDC ‘07, Ambassador Training ‘08, LCT I Ambassador and Council Treasurer ‘08-09
Jobs and Internships:Quality Engineer at Bimbo Bakeries, General Manager at Anheuser-Busch, Process Engineer at Air Products, Full-Time Quality Engineer at Crown Cork & Seal Co.
During Janell McCaroll’s freshman year of high school, she was disappointed that her classes were not nearly as rigorous as she had expected. She had dreams of becoming an engineer and did not feel she was receiving adequate preparation. “My high school was not willing to let me take college classes, but LCTI encouraged it,” Janell recalls. In fact, while enrolled in Lehigh Career and Technical Institute’s Emerging Engineers program, Janell took classes at LCCC and Penn State LC, eventually transferring 25 credits to Drexel University, where she was accepted to their prestigious engineering school. When it came time for Drexel, Janell says, “Between LCTI and Emerging Engineers, I had a much better idea than my peers of what engineering required.” Janell believes her leadership training through SkillsUSA primed her for success in the professional world, which she entered far more quickly than the average college student. Janell’s Pre-Engineering instructor nominated her to compete in the Related Technical Math competition at the District Championships. She went beyond all expectations, winning gold at districts and states and competing at the national level. She was selected to become an Ambassador and was elected Treasurer of the Council student body. Through Drexel’s renowned co-op program, Janell took her first job as a Process Engineer at Bimbo Bakeries at the age of 19. During her second co-op cycle, she interviewed for eight positions and received offers at all eight companies. “I wish I could figure out what I did because if I could write that book and sell it I could probably retire early,” Janell says. She currently holds a full-time position in manufacturing, the field that Janell most connected with during her co-ops.