Butler Tech grad returns from college to offer thanks

Ali Kalberer
Ali Kalberer says she found her herself — and her career path — at Butler Tech.

Kalberer was attending a private high school, but began to feel that her journey was meant to be different than she originally planned — and different than that of her family. Her grandmother, mother and sisters all attended that same private school.

“This was a big decision for me to change to a career tech school,” she said.

Kalberer said the choice to switch from a prestigious private school to Butler Tech came with some push-back. “I was told I was too smart, and I needed to stay in private school, but what happened amazed not only me, but others, too,” she said.

Kalberer is referring to two major accomplishments.

First, because she studied Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Biomedical Science at the Butler Tech Bioscience Center, the course work put her ahead as a college freshman. According to credit hours, she is actually considered a sophomore in her first year at The Ohio State University.

“By coming to Butler Tech, I took a lot of free classes through Sinclair [Community College], so I came to Ohio State already with more than 20 credit hours,” she said.

Because of that, she was able to get into priority housing at Ohio State, rather than the typical freshman residence hall. “That was kind of nice,” she laughed.

Her second accomplishment, she credits to Butler Tech, is the job she was able to secure. At just 18-years-old, Kalberer is a Hemotology Research Assistant at the James Wexner Research Hospital, in Columbus. She was chosen out of more than 50 candidates for the position.

“A lot of the reason I was chosen they told me is because of Project Lead the Way and being part of a cancer research team,” she said. “They didn’t expect me to know anything about cancer as a senior, and I knew a ton coming from Butler Tech.”

And now, her college course work is a lot easier, she says, than other freshman, because she already has a medical foundation. “I came in already knowing medical terminology which is huge,” she noted.

Kalberer’s ultimate career goal at this point is to become an anesthesiology assistant, a job with a median salary of about $100,000 per year. Kalberer chose this career path because of a personal experience that wasn’t so pleasant.

“One time I was put under morphine, and I got really sick from it, so I started thinking about the science of giving medicine,” she said. “Funny that I was really sick but at the same time thinking, this is kind of cool!”

Aside from the academics that have launched Kalberer into success at OSU, she says she couldn’t have done it without the support and caring nature of the teachers at Butler Tech.

“I think I hugged every teacher here, today!” she said. “They are so caring here, some of the greatest humans you’ll ever meet.”

Kalberer has a lot of respect for Dr. Abbie Cook, the principal of the Butler Tech Bioscience Center.

“Dr. Cook I can talk to on both a professional level and personal level which says a lot about her and the school, it’s like a community here,” she said. “I know I have help here, resources and references, it’s someplace I can come back to.”

Kalberer says she also enjoyed visiting with the students at the Bioscience Center.

“Everyone knows everyone, it’s such a great environment that you can thrive in!” she said.

And thriving Kalberer says was the key to her personal success and also taught her something important about learning and growing as a person.

“If you can thrive, that gives you the right attitude, and if you have the right attitude, you can achieve whatever you want in academics and your career goals,” she said.