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Southeastern, Choctaw Nation continue to expand co-op for students

May 5, 2021

Co-op participants include Chelsea McCoy, Kate Popowski, Shaya Claxton, and Sam Cox.

Also participating in the co-op were  Blakelyn Daniel, Cassie Bisson, and  Adelina Duty.


DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) are continuing to expand a collaborative effort to assist students.

The CNO IT Operations Department and Southeastern have worked together since 2019 to develop a cooperative program at the Choctaw Nation Headquarters. This co-op is a highly-competitive program for outstanding Southeastern students to gain educational and career experience by working for the Choctaw Nation.

Students are recommended by faculty, staff, and administrators, in addition to meeting application criteria established by the Southeastern Career Management Center and the Choctaw Nation IT Department.

Participating students receive paid on-the-job training and special projects, while discovering possible career paths, exploring potential future employment with CNO, and building a professional network of contacts.

In turn, the co-op benefits the Choctaw Nation by harnessing the fresh perspectives and creative ideas that individuals in the region offer, by providing an opportunity to grow with skilled and dedicated partners, and by creating a sustainable talent pipeline to hire exceptional students.

The first Southeastern student accepted into the program was Cassie Bisson of Durant who worked with the Tribal Research Department in Fall 2019.

In Spring 2020, two more students were selected for the co-op: Blakelyn Daniel (Atoka) in Tribal Research and Adelina Duty (Blanchard) in IT Operations.

Duty, an accounting major, has since joined the CNO as a fulltime employee as a project administrator in the IT Services Department.

“I’m an accounting major who didn’t know what I wanted to do, so this opportunity came at the perfect time,’’ Duty said. “The Career Management Center did an excellent job helping me feel more comfortable through the process, and helped me put together my resume and cover letter. I learned so much about being a business professional, communicating better, creating procedures and processes, and doing all sorts of meetings and presentations. On top of all that knowledge, I found a work team that pushed me to be my best and became like a family to me. The co-op program gave me experiences I would have never had and helped showed me how much I love working for the Choctaw Nation.”

Following an evaluation of the co-op, the decision was made to allow students to earn academic credit by their participation in the program. Four more students were accepted into the co-op in January 2021: Sam Cox (Summerfield) in Network Engineering, Chelsea McCoy (Durant) in Tribal Services (Business Analysis), Shaya Claxton (Durant) in IT Service Management, and Kate Popowski (Savoy, Texas), in Project Management.

Southeastern and the CNO are also working together to expand the curriculum to multiple divisions.

To learn more about this opportunity for Southeastern students and how to apply, contact the SE Career Management Center at Careers@se.edu, call 580-924-2270.