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Recent Graduate Audrey McKinney Receives Automotive Technology Program’s “Student Excellence” Award from IntelliTec College – a Technical School in Colorado Springs
Meet Audrey: an energetic, driven and extraordinarily positive person.
Her hard working, glass is half-full attitude earned her a degree as an Automotive Technician, and ultimately, the Student Excellence Award in her program at IntelliTec College – a technical trades school in Colorado Springs.
She wanted a career in a field with a dynamic industry where “change and opportunity could take me anywhere I wanted to go. Automotive Technology fit everything that I wanted in a career,” explained McKinney.
McKinney Advises, “the first and last step to everything is action.”
McKinney recognizes a journey is really only one step at a time. Education goals can appear mountainous if viewed as a whole, but when broken down into small segments, suddenly the mountain becomes a series of hills.
“Visualize what it will feel like to have that career, that home, that money, etc. that you desire, then take action,” she advises. “I took action without fear of repercussions. I remained positive and told myself that I can do anything I wanted.”
“As a student, I am powerful. I stay focused.”
“I found making and meeting short term goals were much more attainable and dramatically less overwhelming than trying to think 3 – 4 terms ahead,” shared McKinney. “That way I could dedicate myself to that particular task and reward myself when the six-week term ended.”
Like many of us, McKinney faced a number of setbacks in her journey toward IntelliTec College. She attempted community college several times, had two children at a young age, and as a single mom felt like a failure.
“I was honestly a depressed mess,” explained McKinney. “I get stressed and feel overwhelmed just like anyone else, but I was determined to do something for myself that no one could take from me. I knew education was the key to my future,” claims McKinney.
Audrey offers some solid advice to students who might be walking a similar path to her own, possibly questioning whether college is just one more thing at which they’ll fail.
“Even Einstein had to start from the bottom, fall, and pick himself up,” she says with a smile.
- Be kind to yourself and keep telling yourself that you ARE capable.
- Every single person does thing differently. Your particular “different’ isn’t necessarily wrong… it might even be better than what others are doing!
- Enjoy the environment. Soak things in as much as you can.
- Be open to learning.
- Stay positive – your outlook will determine your success.
- Jump in fearlessly – even if you’re scared, at least try.
- Always doing your personal best regardless of whatever is thrown at you.
- If you want it badly enough, make it happen.
Why an Automotive Technology Degree from IntelliTec College?
McKinney hit a few brick employment walls before she became angry; seriously angry.
“I’d just learned I was rejected for yet another job [ironically, delivering uniforms to an auto repair shop] when an IntelliTec College commercial came on the television. I watched, smirked, and then said to myself, ‘Audrey, you are going to enroll. You are going to get your Associates Degree in Automotive Technology.’ So when someone asks me ‘Why IntelliTec?” I have a very clear answer,” shares McKinney.
“Once I was exposed to that automotive world, I knew it was a fit for me. I just loved watching the mechanics work on the vehicles. They [mechanics] working on the vehicles always showed such prideful expressions upon their faces,” said McKinney.
IntelliTec Teachers and Advisors Guided McKinney Along the Way
Encouraging teachers and staff such as Angee Brascom, Academic General Education Instructor, and Donald Chapman, Career Services Advisor, provided the support McKinney needed to jump right in to her career.
“Audrey’s a dynamo,” said Chatman. “Not only was she the only female graduate in the automotive program in her cohort, she is the most impressive student I’ve ever worked with at IntelliTec.”
How She Managed Childcare Costs While Going to School
Even with academic and career advice, Audrey needed financial assistance to manage daycare costs. She discovered a program called Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) where a full time student who has never used government resources can receive financial assistance for childcare. “It paid most of my childcare bill for 12 months! Once enrolled in CCCAP, I had to pay only $120 of a usual $800+/- child care bill,” exclaimed McKinney.
Single Mother of Two and Self-Employed in New York
After graduation, McKinney relocated to New York for two reasons: so her 5 year-old and 3 year-old daughters could be closer to their dad and to start her own business.
“NY has a TON of people; a TON of people who own vehicles. I can’t imagine running out of clients. Plus, I needed to be in a well, if not overly, populated location,” she explained. “Thanks to the automotive and career services departments, I felt comfortable and confident to work independently,” she added.
She works solo, and her client base is strictly word-of-mouth. “So far, I’ve done a variety of things such as oil changes, diagnostics, tie rods, steering related issues, sensor diagnostics and repair, power steering, ac/heating diagnostic and repair, and the list sort of goes on. I really enjoy the diagnostic side of the industry,” said McKinney.
For some, starting a new career without the safety net of an established business for support can be a little daunting.”I wanted to be my own boss, and IntelliTec has gave me the knowledge and skills necessary to do so.” She added “Opportunity to grow is everywhere and unlimited. One must have the personal drive and fortitude to go out and realize their success. You have to want it, and want it badly.”
McKinney has a credo, or a statement of beliefs that defines her every action and it is simply, “Live, work and play with integrity. Follow through. Be honest and sincere. Be GOOD. When you live life this way (in every venue) well, then life brings back exactly what you put in.”
Sounds like a lot of positive karma going McKinney’s way.
About IntelliTec College in Colorado Springs
IntelliTec’s Automotive Technician training program is an Associate of Occupational Studies Degree that is designed to be completed in 18 months. Train hands-on using Snap-on tools and diagnostics, and design and assemble high performance engines. Be prepared to sit for automotive certification exams including ASE and Snap-on.
IntelliTec College in Colorado Springs offers hands-on career training in Automotive Technician, Biomedical Equipment Technician, Computer Network Systems Technician, Personal Trainer, Medical Assistant, and Refrigeration & HVAC Technician, with associate degree (occupational) programs. Request more information at www.IntelliTec.edu or call 719-373-1690.