Ulster BOCES means different things to different people. For Emily Laubach it was a place to turn her passion for making people feel beautiful into a flourishing career.
Emily, who graduated from Highland High School in 2014, says the two years she spent at Ulster BOCES put her on the fast track to becoming a young entrepreneur. Today, Emily is now a professional makeup artist, a licensed cosmetologist, and the owner-operator of Emily Elle Makeup. She even recently ended up in second place of thousands of entries in an international contest for makeup artists.
A deep love of cosmetics and a passion for all of the things that makeup can do are some of the first tell-tale signs of a budding makeup artist. Emily's interest in the world of beauty was established early on at the age of 12.
"I knew back then that I didn't want to be behind a desk," she recalls. She says she knew firsthand about what an asset Ulster BOCES is for area students because her two brothers enrolled and graduated from Career & Technical Center programs, and both are working in related fields.
Emily's oldest brother William went through the Ulster BOCES Computer Networking program and he's now a senior system network administrator at Zumtobel Lighting in Highland. Her other brother, Matthew, graduated from the Criminal Justice program at the Career & Technical Center and is now employed as a corrections officer.
She said after a presentation at her school by the Ulster BOCES staff about the available programs at the Career & Technical Center, enrolling was a natural move. "I knew I wanted to do something in the beauty industry, so why would I not want to [enroll in the Cosmetology program]?" says Emily. She added that her parents were supportive of her decision to follow a career and technical path instead of a college-bound one. "They knew I was passionate about it, so they were all for it."
Once in the classroom, Emily was eager to get started with the hands-on learning lessons, as well as the industry-related academics. "With cosmo, there is such a science behind what you do," says Emily, explaining that cosmetology is the study of hygiene and sanitation, microorganisms, and the human body, especially the skin, nails, hair, and scalp. "There is the mixing of different chemicals for hair color. I never thought there were so many different chemicals that people could be allergic to."
Currently, during one of the busiest times of her work calendar year—wedding season—Emily is often doing makeup consultations five days a week, and frequently has weddings on the weekend. She credits her instruction at Ulster BOCES with providing her with the professional acumen that she uses to successfully run her company. It was not just about hair and makeup. She says the math she learned is an integral part of her business—crunching numbers to account for the products she uses during a session to justify the amount she charges for her services.
As a now-seasoned professional in the field, Emily advises high school students who are interested in cosmetology to find out more about the program. "Hey, you know what? You might say this isn't me, but you're under your parents' roof. Why not try it out?"
While it might not be right for everyone, Emily did, however, love the field and went on to further invest in her future by enrolling in the Face Stockholm School to enhance her knowledge base.
In addition to being a young entrepreneur, Emily attained quite the coup when she came in second place out of thousands of entries in the recent L'Oreal Paris' international makeup artist competition, "The Brush Contest." Although she didn't take the number one spot, she says the experience was an incredible one.
"First of all, Ulster BOCES for sure gave me the confidence to put myself out there in the first place. It's scary putting a video on the Internet that anyone and everyone can see, but Ulster BOCES surely helped me find the confidence in myself that I needed for not only that contest, but for my whole career," she says.