Student Embraces Style

CREATIVE OUTLET: Emanuel Perry stands at his styling station at Tulsa Tech, where he is currently enrolled in the school’s cosmetology program. Perry has worked as an accountant but is planning to make a career change that will give him an outlet for his creativity.

Each year, the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education recognizes students who have chosen to study specific programs that are based on the their interests and abilities rather than on traditional gender roles, with the aptly named Breaking Traditions Award. Nominees for the award contribute by creating more awareness and support of all non-traditional students and programs.

Non-traditional training and employment is defined by occupations and careers where individuals from one gender comprise less than 25 percent of the total number of individuals employed in a particular field.

Emanuel Perry, an adult student currently enrolled in Tulsa Tech’s cosmetology program, is under consideration for one of this year’s awards. His initial decision to study cosmetology wasn’t determined by his gender, but it was built on his desire to have a new career that provided more opportunities for his creative talents.

Perry had already earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Northeastern State University and was working as an accountant, but a company layoff presented him with a unique opportunity to start a new career, something he had already begun to think about.

“I had several good jobs in accounting,” Perry explains. “But as time went on, I found myself becoming somewhat bored. The business of accounting is pretty much black and white, and I was seeking something that would allow me to be much more creative.”

Corine Triplett, a cosmetology instructor at Tulsa Tech, thinks her student has both the foundation and natural talent to be successful in the industry.

“Emanuel is not only becoming a great stylist,” Triplett says. “He’s very team oriented, always helping others and an encouraging leader to everyone in our class.”

In addition to his regular studies, Perry has been heavily involved in his student leadership organization, working on community service projects with the American Cancer Society, the Gateway Foundation, Locks of Love and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

“I think student leadership organizations build character,” says Perry. “They provide students with new experiences and allow them a chance to interact with people they may not otherwise get to.”

The Tulsa native admits that his decision to study cosmetology was a little difficult at first, and he spent some time considering the gender stereotype often associated with the profession.

“There is often a stereotype for male stylists,” he says. “Unfortunately, it probably keeps a lot of great artists away from the industry.”

Regardless of individuals’ age or gender, Perry is quick to recommend that everyone follow their vision and the path best suited to their individual abilities.
“I certainly hope students will investigate non-traditional careers in an effort to reach their full potential,” Perry says. “Everyone should take advantage of whatever training they need to fulfill their individual dream.”

If you’re currently looking for exciting classes for high school and adult students, quality business and industry training, or a different style of career, Tulsa Tech invites you to visit today. For more information, call 918-828-5000, or visit online at

Updated 04-24-2014

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