by Logan Cook, staff writer

MAY 2022 — Gregarious. Affable. Forbearing. These three words were used by Ms. Kaitlyn Long, Bio-Med Science Academy’s 10th grade history teacher, to describe her colleague, Miss Britany Hickey. Hickey is the 10th grade CTE Multimedia and Image Management teacher. She joined the sophomore team at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, along with Long and two other teachers.

Hickey poses with her two dogs, left to right, Gus and Grady. Gus is a labrador retriever and Grady is a golden doodle. Hickey’s favorite way to spend time with her dogs is to take them on walks. Photo provided by Britany Hickey.

Hickey attended the Trumbull Career and Technical Center (TCTC) for her final two years of high school. According to its website, TCTC allows students to gain experience and credentials in a field via Career Technical Education (CTE) classes. Hickey was a student in TCTC’s Interactive Multimedia program. Hickey was drawn to the hands-on nature of TCTC.

“I always thought I wanted to do sports broadcasting; that was my dream job growing up,” Hickey said. “In high school, I got to take a tour of TCTC, and going into the classrooms and seeing the state-of-the-art brand new broadcast studio there, where students could actually use it, that was a big draw.”

After graduating from TCTC, Hickey joined Baker Bednar Snyder & Associates Inc., an architecture firm in Howland, Ohio, as its marketing representative.

Through TCTC’s Interactive Multimedia program, Hickey was able to gain her Adobe certification and create a 20-page portfolio of her work, which she said was essential in getting the job at Baker Bednar Snyder.

“Leaving high school, I was able to show, for example, Baker Bednar Snyder, when I was applying that I don’t have a college degree, but I am qualified. Here’s my 20-page portfolio and my Adobe certification,” she said.

While working at Baker Bednar Snyder, Hickey attended Youngstown State University (YSU), and worked on the staff of The Jambar. The Jambar is the independent student newspaper of YSU.

“When I started at The Jambar, I would take videos for the paper. When I started at Baker Bednar Snyder, I changed to designer of [The Jambar],” Hickey recalled. “So I designed what you saw when it was sent to the printer. I took all of the stories and did the layout of the paper and sent it to the printer, got all that stuff ready to go.”

Hickey graduated from YSU with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies and a minor in journalism in December 2020.

“I really like working with people, like being hands on. It allowed me to take what I love to do in terms of the content, and gave me that experience that wasn’t necessarily working in the nine to five office, and just make a difference.”

Miss Britany Hickey

Soon after graduating, Hickey applied for the CTE Multimedia and Image Management teaching position at Bio-Med.  

“I never thought about being a teacher. It was never something that I wanted to go to school for anything like that. I saw the position open up and I thought about it for a week or two,” Hickey said. “I was like, ‘I’m not really qualified to be a teacher, because I didn’t go to school for that.’ Then I learned about the CTE license in Ohio that allows me to use my work experience to get me in the door.”

Teachers in Ohio can teach under an Alternative Teaching License (AEL) if they have prior field experience. A teacher with an AEL is required to take certification courses, typically through a local college. Hickey’s field experience allowed her to teach her CTE Multimedia and Image Management course under the license.

Hickey was drawn to Bio-Med’s hands-on nature, alternative teaching style, and being able to make a difference in a student’s life.

“I realized that it was a really good fit for me. I really like working with people, like being hands on. It allowed me to take what I love to do in terms of the content, and gave me that experience that wasn’t necessarily working in the nine to five office, and just make a difference,” she said. “This was a different kind of making a difference. I get to change someone’s life, hopefully, or inspire someone to be creative or try new things.”

Hickey’s CTE Multimedia and Image Management class is a part of Bio-Med’s CTE program, which is integrated into every student’s curriculum. Having been a CTE student, Hickey said the transition from student to teacher was smooth.  

“It gave me that experience to base it off of, as opposed to if I came in here and was like, ‘Okay, now you’re teaching this new thing.’ I have been a student in the CTE field, and now I teach it. So, it helps me make you guys understand why you’re taking it. I can truthfully explain to you how [it] can be beneficial,” Hickey said.

“Bio-Med helped make the transition smooth. Bio-Med and CTE mesh really well together…. If you look at CTE learning, it’s very hands-on and project based, the same as Bio-Med,” Hickey said. “But you still have to find that balance of teaching, CTE versus Bio-med, and integrating the whole well-rounded experience. I just really think they fit well together.”

Despite the easy transition, Hickey’s position didn’t come without its challenges.

Hickey poses at a Cleveland Browns game versus the Indianapolis Colts. Cleveland won with a score of 32-23. Hickey is a lifelong fan of Cleveland sports, and enjoys collecting memorabilia of Cleveland’s sports teams. Photo provided by Britany Hickey.

“It is different being at Bio-Med teaching CTE because a lot of times, if you’re teaching CTE, it’s at a career center where students are coming there and picking a program. Now, I have to figure out an approach of ‘how I can teach students who couldn’t care less about Multimedia.’ They’re here for the engineering, or the STEM. How can I teach them and make them be passionate about this work?” Hickey asked. “So, now I’m teaching self skills, of how to market yourself as a small business owner to take pictures for social media to edit your photos. That’s the approach I’ve learned throughout the year, trying to teach something that everyone can apply.”

Hickey is looking forward to her second year of teaching and using the experience she gained to improve her teaching style. “I’m really excited to build upon the feedback that [students have] given me… [and] the feedback that I’ve given myself on these projects. Going forward next year, [I’ll be] just kind of changing, changing some things, making it more of an authentic learning experience.”

Outside of school, Hickey enjoys attending Cleveland Browns games, skiing, traveling, eating pizza, and spending time with friends and family, including her twin, Jasmine.

“I’m one minute older than [Jasmine]; she doesn’t let me hold that against her much though,” said Hickey.

Hickey enjoys collecting memorabilia of Cleveland sports teams, mainly the Browns and Guardians.

“I have a box of everything I’ve ever collected from brands, games and Guardians games, like all my memorabilia. I have a chair from Municipal Stadium that my dad gave me. I have a Pete Rose bat. My most prized possession is an Indians [now the Guardians] hat that I got passed down from my grandpa,” Hickey said. “I’m excited for the upcoming Browns season, and it starts right around the time Bio-Med starts too.”

Hickey plans to stay both a Browns fan and a Bio-Med teacher for years to come. “I love teaching, I am so passionate about what I’m doing. It makes everyday exciting. The kids just add to that, I love every single day here,” she said.

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