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Oklahoma City - An OSU Degree in OKC.

OK-LEAD students visit OSU-OKC for Education and Career Day

OSU-OKC's Alyson Smotherman discusses college programs with students from OK-LEAD.

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy brought young Oklahomans from OK-LEAD to Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City this week to learn about educational and career opportunities.

The forum held at OSU-OKC was for foster youth to gain more information about the career, educational and college journey as part of their Education and Career Day. 

The OK-LEAD students toured campus, visited the Hub restaurant area for lunch, and received presentations from OSU-OKC’s director of recruitment, Alyson Smotherman, as well as from Ariel Moore of OSU-OKC’s Center for Social Innovation, and presenters from MetroTech. 

Smotherman discussed the many positives found at OSU-OKC, from campus life and clubs to affordability and scholarship options. Smotherman also pointed out many of OSU-OKC’s programs, including nursing, fire and radiologic technology, have a strong job demand for their graduates. 

Moore discussed how the Center for Social Innovation was founded to help people who need a second chance. Many have experienced homelessness, trauma, abuse, addiction and other challenges. The program is designed to give hope to individuals seeking to overcome a wide array of barriers to success in higher education.

Learning about different ways to access education is part of the mission of OK-LEAD, said Joe Dorman, who is the Chief Executive Officer for the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy. 

As part of the OK-LEAD program, the OICA team works with select young Oklahomans to visit museums, businesses, schools and other community locations to learn about important topics and to interact with each other. After hearing from educational institutions and career institutes today, the group planned to end their day with a celebration for the group’s graduating seniors at Dave & Busters.

OICA is celebrating 40 years in 2023.  The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) was launched in 1983 by a group of citizens as the result of a lawsuit and an investigative report that showed cruelty and abuse that was experienced by children in the state’s custody. OICA was established to help protect Oklahoma’s children by creating a strong advocacy network for the needs of children and youth in Oklahoma, particularly those in the state’s care and those growing up amid poverty, violence, abuse and neglect, disparities, or other situations that put their lives and future at risk.

Dorman writes a column on the OICA website, and most recently explored the beginnings of the OICA as part of the organization’s 40th anniversary. 

On Thursday, April 27 in Oklahoma City, and on Friday, April 28 in Catoosa, OICA will host two luncheons which will bring together some of those who were a part of the early lawsuit and the journalists who covered the story in 1982.

For more information about OICA, visit