HS College Prep Program Mentor Interviews

HS College Prep Program Mentor Interviews

Many students think college is out of reach because of the cost. But good grades are like money in the bank. The better your grades, the more scholarships and grants you can receive to help you pay for college. Here are some YPNG Mentors who worked hard in high school, got good grades and received scholarships and grants that allowed them to go to college.


Electrical Engineer

Mentor – Tia Edwards

Tia is an Electrical Engineer and Project Engineer. Tia is a graduate of Booker T. Washington and the Tulsa Tech STEM Academy. She paid for college from Oklahoma’s Promise Scholarship Program and grants. She has her MBA from OSU as well so she could pursue her dream and move into management. Tia gives back to the community and is a member of the Women’s Society of Engineers.


Brandon Oldham is a Program Associate at the George Kaiser Family Foundation. He grew up in North Tulsa, graduated from Central High School and is the first member of his family to graduate from college. Brandon attended OU where he earned a BA in Public Relations and a Master’s in Education. Brandon is a good example of someone who worked hard in high school and built a record of achievement that gave him the opportunity go to a good college which opened the door to a rewarding career.


George Lee grew up in a low-income neighborhood where few people graduated from high school and almost no one went to college. But George overcame his situation and recently graduated from the University of Oklahoma with dual Masters Degrees in Human Resources and Education. George succeeded because early in his life he saw that education offered a way out of the economic situation faced by the people in his community. The record of achievement he built in high school was the currency that let him get the scholarships and grants he needed to pay for his education and the choice of several highly regarded universities to attend. By taking responsibility for himself early in his life and setting high goals, he has opened doors to many opportunities and has a bright future as he starts his career.


Dr. Andronica Handie is recognized as one of America’s top foot and ankle surgeons and is the inventor of several innovative medical devices used in orthopedic surgery. He was able to get a good education and go on and build a successful medical practice despite growing up in a large family in an impoverished part of rural Arkansas. Good grades in high school and college allowed him to get scholarships that funded most of the cost of his education. His life is a testament to how educational achievement will let you pursue your own dreams.


Suzanne Dodson is a pipeline engineer who talks about choices she made that allowed her to get her engineering degree without running up student loans. Consider there are more opportunities for scholarships in engineering than most other college majors and engineering students can also get well paying internships during the summer like Suzanne did. Once you graduate, engineers have the highest starting salaries of any undergraduate degree as well some of the highest projected lifetime earnings. Suzanne also shares 8 life lessons she has learned that will help you navigate your own career path.


Dr. Robert Zoellner has become one of the most successful optometrists in the United States. He grew up in a large family without a lot of financial resources. He paid for his college education by using a combination of student loans and Pell Grants and part time jobs during college. A Pell Grant is money the government provides for students based on financial need. Unlike a student loan, Pell Grants do not have to be repaid. Last year about a third of all college students received some form of a Pell Grant.