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March 2016

Study Abroad: A Must For TU Students

11141176_376747125868672_5977134164079015840_nToday’s blog is from Matthew Baldwin, a junior Chemical Engineering & German major from Tulsa, Okla.

Studying  abroad has been my best TU experience! That is not to say that being here on campus and meeting all the great people at TU is not worth it, as well. I love this university and all of the great people I have met in my time here; however, going abroad was one of the best, if not the best, experience in my entire life.  TU is a great school for anyone wanting to study abroad, and I was fortunate enough to go my entire sophomore year, I left Tulsa on September 1, 2014, and did not return until August 8, 2015. I have to say much of the time absolutely flew by.

Cathedral in Freiburg, Germany

I studied at the Universities in Freiburg and Siegen, and both cities now feel like a home away from home for me.  While my studies were by no means easy as I was working on both of my majors while abroad, there was still plenty of time to get out, explore, and meet people, which is a must, not just for students of language, but for all of those going abroad.  Nothing helps you grow more as  a person than the exposure to so many different cultures and ideas.

I am often asked why it is that I am a double major, not just here in the states, but in Germany, as well.  The answer to that comes from my love of the German language.  That was not always true, though. I, like many people, started learning a foreign language in high school and never saw myself continuing to learn it to fluency. That was up until I got to TU and took my first German courses with Dr. Udwin and Dr. Tingey. I found myself excited to continue to learn German. So naturally, the next step was to go abroad.

Alps in Switzerland

My engineering degree was a factor in this decision, as time abroad would mean I couldn’t work an internship one summer, as well as potentially losing time for graduation. However, what I realized was that going abroad gave me something unique to put on a resume as well as another avenue of work to pursue. Suddenly I could become fluent in a second language and use that here in the U.S or go and work abroad in Germany. This idea of how my language major and engineering major could work together was too good to pass up, and what better way to get fluent than to go to the native country for a year.

Dreisam River in Freiburg, Germany

I was able to see and learn so much about a language and culture I had only ever experienced in a classroom, not to mention that the rate that I improved went through the roof once I arrived in Germany.  That alone was enough to make it worthwhile, but what I really was able to experience was what I experienced here at Tulsa…meeting all new people from around the world who shared experiences and made memories with me. Some of my favorite times come from late in my stay abroad when I would meet someone new, and they would have to ask where I was from because my German and accent were good enough to not be recognized as an American immediately.

For language majors, going abroad is an absolute must; however, I would also say it is a must for every student that attends TU.  I have found that going abroad has only enhanced the great education that I have had at Tulsa.  The Center for Global Education will work with anyone to help you study abroad, and no one should ever think that they can’t. TU makes it so easy to go that you would be silly not to try.

STEM Outreach Through TU Students

Natalie 2Today’s blog post comes to us from Natalie Santa-Pinter, a junior Biochemistry major on a Pre-Med track from Choctaw, Okla.

Early in my college career, I began volunteering as a Reading Partner at Kendall-Whittier Elementary, a predominantly Hispanic school very near TU. I would walk or ride my bike to a small prefab each week and conduct a lesson with a child struggling in phonetics, reading or writing. This became a very humbling and rewarding experience, which propelled me into other forms of community service.

I recently found out that the number of 5th graders at Kendall-Whittier scoring “satisfactory” or “above” on the Science OCCT (Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test) dropped from 84% to 24% from the years 2011 to 2015. With all the advancements in technology, education, and access to both, I wondered how this could be possible.

I always knew there are many mental and societal boundaries placed around minorities in pursuing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)-related studies and in attaining professional careers in these categories. However, the statistic still shocked me. It made me wonder, “How can I introduce individuals to opportunities and passions related to STEM that they may not normally have the chance to experience?”

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STEM2 officers and high school representative.

It was not long before I and a former student, Caleb Lareau, founded a TU student organization called STEM2 (Student Team Engaging Minorities in STEM). The vision of STEM2 was simple: to promote not just an interest, but an advancement, of young women and minorities in each of the growing STEM fields. How did we do this? We reached out to current students performing STEM outreach and began snowballing ideas. Pretty soon, we decided on a list of activities we could do, such as visit schools to talk about STEM, perform science demos for kids and hold on-campus events to stimulate the minds and growth of all generations.

Our largest event was last December on TU’s campus. The goal for the first-ever TU STEM Fair was to target high school students from underserved Tulsa neighborhoods and provide them and their families a day full of demonstrations, speakers, and knowledge from local organizations and students. The organization of the fair required quite a bit of planning. STEM

The organization of the fair required quite a bit of planning. STEM2 members worked hard garnering free T-shirts, admission waivers and donations for the event; ordering food, rooms, and supplies for the sessions; advertising to local high schools; and recruiting volunteers and organizations to interact with the attendees. I reached out to an inspiring mechanical engineer from the Eglin Air Force Base in Florida whom I had met at a conference last fall, and she graciously agreed to be our keynote speaker for the event.

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STEM2 members with Virginia Swindell, the keynote speaker for the day.

We hosted the fair in Keplinger Hall, and over 100 high school students, family members, and TU students and faculty showed! TU’s own Professor McCoy performed a variety of exciting physics demonstrations. Local and TU student organizations such as Engineers Without Borders, OU School of Community Medicine, National Society of Black Engineers, and TU NASA (just to name a few) occupied booths downstairs and talked about the vast array of opportunities in STEM. We provided people with tours of the University, free lunch, and a student and admission panel. Our keynote speaker, Mrs. Virginia Swindel, gave a motivational and engaging talk about the prevalence of STEM in our world and how anyone could attain a career in this field.

The entire event was a success, and afterwards, many attendees expressed how excited they were to now pursue studies in STEM. A few hoped we would host the fair every year! One comment was, “The event was excellent and I hope to attend it next year if it is held again. It exceeded my expectations in every way.”

Contributing to the expansion of the next generation of STEM professionals is a truly rewarding experience. Nothing compares to the satisfaction felt when providing someone an opportunity they previously thought was impossible, or nonexistent. As members strive to make a difference in as many lives as possible through STEM2, they learn about the value of education, action, and community.

Top 5 Reasons To Go Home On Spring Break

IMG_5118Today’s blog comes to us from Katie S., a junior Communication major from Des Moines, Iowa.

It’s Spring Break at the University of Tulsa, which means I could go to a beach or take a road trip with friends to somewhere exotic; but instead, I am taking one of my few opportunities during the year to go home to Des Moines, Iowa. It’s at least ten degrees colder than Tulsa on any given day, making it a less than ideal Spring Break destination, but once you leave for college, you’ll find there are a lot of reasons to enjoy going home. Here are my top five

IMG_6936 (1)1. Home is where the pets are. – Though I have made many strong, lasting friendships at The University of Tulsa, no one will ever be as loyal or loving as my dog. Each time I come home, she is so overcome with excitement that her whole body wags, rather than just her tail, and she leans on me demanding attention for hours. Pet deprivation is one of the most difficult things about living on-campus, so I soak up all the quality time with my furry friends that I can while I am home for breaks.

2. Food made with love. – No matter how good Chick-fil-a is (and I can confirm that it is very good) there will come a time when you miss meals from home. For me, it is my parent’s spaghetti that I miss most, and it’s the first meal I ask for when I get back. Not to mention the fact that by some mysterious magic, the fridge at home is always full! It is a welcome break for my stomach and wallet to stop eating out and enjoy some home cooking.

3. Enjoying all the local spots I miss. – However, if I do decide to eat out, I get to choose from all of the restaurants that I can’t visit while I’m at school – B-Bops, Centro, Zombie Burger, and more. If I bring someone home with me, I love to go to my favorite places in town and show off the local cuisine. This extends beyond just restaurants, as all of my favorite shops get a visit while I am home.

IMG_26494. You get treated like a celebrity. – Your neighbors, your friends’ moms, your parents’ co-workers…they are all so excited to see you and find out how everything is going. They ask you all kinds of questions about your life at college and make you feel very important for picking a major and waking up by yourself and all of the other little things that you accomplish on a daily basis.

Not only will the adults in your life be excited to see you, but also the reunion with your close friends from high school is a relief, because often these are friends that know you better than anyone. They have seen you through your various life phases (and braces) and they still love you anyway, and can’t wait to see you.

5. The ability to drive. – My freshman year, I didn’t have a car on campus, and while that was never a problem, I relished the opportunities I got at home to drive around my favorite place, blasting the radio and chauffeuring my friends and family. At college, you get a lot of freedom and independence, but it doesn’t match the feeling of being behind the wheel for the first time in a long time with a full tank of gas, especially when you are home and feel confident in your ability to drive around and not get lost.

College is great. It is exciting and hectic and challenging and fun. But sometimes, this means that you need a break to catch your breath. Home is a great place to get some rest and relaxation and see the people that mean the most to you.


TU’s Catholic Newman Center: Home Away From Home

Alyssa 3Today’s blog comes to us from Alyssa J., a senior Communication and Sociology major from St. Louis, Mo.

Walking onto The University of Tulsa’s campus for the first time, I was blown away. The architecture, the southern charm, the overall friendly feeling – it exceeded my expectations. But it wasn’t until I walked through the doors of the St. Philip Neri Catholic Newman Center that I knew TU was the right choice for me.
Many campuses across the nation have Catholic Newman Centers. Some, more than others, have a dominant role in on-campus ministries. Because TU is a small, private university, I didn’t know what to expect walking into the Newman Center. I sure wasn’t expecting a large student population or high involvement. But, my expectations were high, especially after being so impressed by the school and campus itself. And my expectations were met!

Inside the chapel at St. Philip Neri
Inside the chapel at St. Philip Neri

Since then, the TU Catholic Newman Center has become a second home for me. If I need a place to study, hang out, or have fun, Newman is the perfect place. I can actively live out my faith life while being a typical busy college student. Newman is always filled with smiling faces. Mass is offered every day but Saturday, and approximately 200 students attend Mass each weekend.

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John Leyendecker, FOCUS, Faith and Food Event – “Would Pope Francis smoke with you?”

Aside from Mass, there are a lot of other things going on at Newman. Catechesis classes, basically the “4-1-1” on Catholicism, are offered on a variety of topics. Adoration, as well as praise and worship sessions, are very popular. We are also blessed to have FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) missionaries on our campus that offer bible studies and provide one-on-one opportunity to grow in our faith while in college. We bring in local and national speakers a few times a year for Faith & Food events. Students participate in intramural teams and also attend Thursday Fun Days which are organized by our Peer Ministry team. From Valentine’s Day dinners to the White Elephant Christmas gift exchange, there are always events happening to encourage friendship, fun, and fellowship.
One of the biggest blessings the Catholic students have on campus is Fr. Kerry. He is perfect for a college campus. Fr. Kerry knows exactly how to relate to students and makes everyone feel welcome. I was a transfer student so it was harder for me to fit in at first. I didn’t have an orientation group like most incoming freshman have. Fr. Kerry and the other students around Newman made me feel comfortable right away.

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Newman Center Halloween Party and Dance

Currently, I serve as a Peer Minister, which is the student leadership team at the Newman Center. Eight student leaders plan events and activities for the Newman community, but we are also resources for students. Students that need someone to talk to, have questions about Catholicism, or are interested in playing a bigger role are encouraged to talk to one of us.

If you’re looking for a place to pursue your faith and form genuine friendships while receiving an outstanding education, TU is the right fit for you. The TU Catholic Newman Center has made my college experience an even better one, and for that, I am extremely grateful.

Springfest is coming!

Haley AndersonToday’s blog comes to us from Haley A., a junior communications and psychology major from Sand Springs, OK.

Every year, TU students anxiously await one of our largest campus events—Springfest. Springfest generally takes place in the weeks between Spring Break and Finals as a nice end of the year celebration for students. Every year the week has a fun theme, a great concert, free food, and tons of crazy activities.

Student Association organizes and sponsors Springfest, along with other campus events. My freshman year I served as an Associate Director for the event, and this year I was lucky enough to be chosen as the Springfest Executive Director. Two years ago when I served as a committee member, our theme was “Blast from the Past.”

snowmanEach day was filled with activities that fit a specific time period: Medieval Monday, Western Wednesday, etc. During Frozen Friday, I dressed up as a giant snowman and walked around to take photos with students. We also had a huge inflatable snow globe on Chapman Commons that students could climb inside for pictures. Some of our other fun activities that year included a 90’s themed “Throwback Thursday” carnival with tons of fun games and a slime machine. On Medieval Monday we served turkey legs and set up a huge lava pit and inflatable jousting game. On “Tie Dye Tuesday” every student was given a free shirt to dye. These are just a few of the awesome activities we planned for the week. On the following Tuesday, we hosted our annual Springfest concert featuring Panic! At the Disco. As a committee member, I was fortunate enough to actually meet the artists and hang out backstage before and after the concert. It was an amazing experience, and I knew that I would have to do it again if I got the chance.

group photoFast forward to the end of sophomore year. The Student Association Executive Director applications went out, and I came up with a proposal for the 2016 Springfest Theme. After presenting my ideas to the Executive team, I was given the position and couldn’t have been happier. Now after an entire year of planning the day is almost here. I have an amazing committee who has been working incredibly hard all year to help me bring the theme to life. In less than two weeks we will reveal our theme and the activities for the week to the student body, and in just three short weeks it will finally be here. Springfest is set to take campus by storm on the last week of March.

The following week on Tuesday, April 5th, we will host our annual concert that will be featuring Misterwives, the Mowglis, and our opener Knox Hamilton. This concert is free to students, but is open to the public for just $15 general admission tickets. If you live near the Tulsa area and would like to join us for the concert and get a taste of Springfest yourself, just visit to order tickets.

Be sure to check out my next post for a Springfest follow-up with pictures and commentary about our event!


Abby 1Today’s blog is from Abby C., a sophomore mechanical engineering student from St.Louis, Mo.

College is this weird transition from teenager to full-fledged adult where in addition to having to keep yourself alive without the help of mom or dad, you have to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life…which can be a daunting thought. However, I have found that the faculty here are supportive and actually get to know their students personally. When people ask why I love The University of Tulsa, I never hesitate to say because of the endless opportunities and support offered here. My experiences with the faculty, advisors and staff have shown their genuine desire for their students to succeed and grow as individuals.

Abby 2This past summer my advisor emailed me about an on-campus job opportunity working in the McElroy Prototyping Lab in the mechanical engineering building, ensuring the safe and proper use of lab equipment. In this lab, students can use a variety of manufacturing equipment such as a drill press, a lathe, a mill, a horizontal band saw and a plasma cutter, and the only thing they need is safety glasses! The lab technicians are there to assist students in gathering hands-on experience in a manufacturing-like lab. For example, I manufactured the steel TU medallion to the right with the plasma cutter!

Abby 4While working in the lab, I noticed a group of my peers working on a frame for a car. Being the inquisitive engineer that I am, I asked what they were working on, and they told me they were constructing a Baja car. Baja? I had never heard of Baja except for the popular Mexican food chain Baja Jacks. I inquired what Baja was, and they informed me that Baja SAE is an intercollegiate design competition run by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in which teams of students from different universities design, build and race small off-road cars which meet many design specifications. I was so intrigued by this competition that I asked if I could join the team. The team was eager to have a female underclassman and because I am 5’2, light, and have small shoulders, I am also being considered as a driver in the race, so for once, not a short girl problem!

Abby CarI am thrilled to possibly be driving in the competition as I seek adventure! I have assisted the Baja team in grinding and welding the frame of the car together and we are currently working on mounting the engine and transmission. I love being able to apply the things I learn in the classroom to real-world projects. This year, the Baja team is traveling to Tennessee Tech to compete, and they have invited me to join. Working in the lab, I continue adding to my expanding knowledge of engineering with hands-on experiences and am able to assist others to increase their knowledge, as well.

So, what I love about The University of Tulsa is the countless amount of experience you can gain and clubs you can get involved in at any point in college. And if there is a club you want to start, the Student Association will provide funding once you obtain a charter. The University of Tulsa allows you to explore all of your interests and discover some you didn’t even know you had!

Bob Dylan Archive moving to TU’s Helmerich Center for American Research

2015-02-08 sp-tubkbThe Bob Dylan Archive has been acquired by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and The University of Tulsa and will be permanently housed in Tulsa, under the stewardship of TU’s Helmerich Center for American Research, for subsequent public exhibition in the city’s burgeoning Brady Arts District, it was jointly announced Wednesday by GKFF Executive Director Ken Levit and TU President Steadman Upham. Comprised of more than 6,000 items spanning nearly 60 years of Bob Dylan’s unique artistry, singular career and worldwide cultural significance, the archive includes decades of never-before-seen  handwritten manuscripts, notebooks and correspondence; films, videos, photographs and artwork; memorabilia and ephemera; personal documents and effects; unreleased studio and concert recordings; musical instruments and many other items.

The alliance of GKFF and TU was chosen by Dylan’s representatives over other suitors vying for this historic collection, and both entities view the archive as an important acquisition for Tulsa in many ways. As Levit explained, “Bob Dylan is a national treasure whose work continues to enrich the lives of millions the world over, and we are proud to be bringing such an important, comprehensive and culturally significant archive to Tulsa. Our combined philanthropic and academic approach made a strong case for assuring Mr. Dylan and his representatives that Tulsa would provide the ideal environment to care for and exhibit this collection, and the result is a boon for Tulsa that will soon attract Bob Dylan fans and scholars to our city from around the world.”

“The University of Tulsa is pleased to collaborate with the George Kaiser Family Foundation in assuming the role of steward for this invaluable collection. Because of the level of scholarship available through the university and its partners, TU is the perfect keeper of the Bob Dylan Archive,” said TU President Steadman Upham. “Dylanology is a growing aspect of social science and humanities research, and Tulsa will soon become the international epicenter for the academic pursuit of all things Dylan.”

Bob Dylan said, “I’m glad that my archives, which have been collected all these years, have finally found a home and are to be included with the works of Woody Guthrie and especially alongside all the valuable artifacts from the Native American Nations. To me it makes a lot of sense and it’s a great honor.”

Nearly 1,000 items from the Bob Dylan Archive have already been brought to the Hardesty Archival Center inside the university’s Helmerich Center for American Research – which is affiliated with Tulsa’s prestigious Gilcrease Museum – where they are being digitized and preserved by a digital curation team for eventual public exhibition and academic access. The process of physically acquiring the complete archive will span two years, as the individual components are gathered from their numerous locations, inventoried and carefully shipped to Tulsa.

The acquisition of the Bob Dylan Archive was facilitated by Glenn Horowitz Bookseller of New York City, one of the world’s foremost authorities and dealers of literary, historical and art-related rare books, autographs and manuscripts.   

Representatives from GKFF and TU will soon begin the process of selecting a curator and additional staff, forming an advisory committee for the Bob Dylan Archive, and will announce initial plans for public exhibition and academic access to the collection later this year. Ultimately, a permanent exhibit space for the archive will be designated near the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa’s Brady Arts District, which houses a museum dedicated to American folksinger and Oklahoma native Woody Guthrie. Guthrie was one of Dylan’s most significant early influences, even inspiring one of Dylan’s first tracks, Song to Woody on his 1962 self-titled album.

The Bob Dylan Archive is a comprehensive anthology that encompasses thousands of historic items that exemplify the evolution of masterpieces that today are woven into the annals of American music, such as:

  • A notebook from 1974 containing Dylan’s handwritten lyrics to songs that were eventually recorded for the artist’s biggest-selling album, Blood On The Tracks, including Tangled Up In Blue, Simple Twist Of Fate and Idiot Wind.
  • Sketches, writings and edits from Tarantula, Dylan’s 1965 groundbreaking collection of experimental poetry.
  • Dylan lyrics and chord progressions for unrecorded songs, circa 1970.
  • Handwritten notes from Dylan and director Howard Alk, detailing editing notes and shot selects from the films Eat The Document (1971) and Renaldo And Clara (1978).
  • Dylan’s 1962 signed contract with Witmark Music, his first music publisher.
  • Dylan’s 1966 wallet containing numerous inserts, including paper with Johnny Cash’s address and phone number, as well as a business card from Otis Redding.
  • Complete, never-released Dylan concert films from Toronto’s Massey Hall in 1980 and New York’s Supper Club from 1993.
  • Dylan’s earliest music recordings from 1959.
  • The leather jacket worn by Dylan onstage at The Newport Folk Festival in 1965, the year he “went electric.”
  • The surviving harp from inside the piano on which Dylan composed Like A Rolling Stone.
  • Lyrics to Chimes Of Freedom, handwritten by Dylan in 1964 on hotel stationary, complete with annotations and additional verses.
  • In-progress and final lyrics to all songs from Dylan’s latter-day masterpiece Time Out Of Mind, handwritten and annotated by the artist.