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September 2016

My Take on TU: Music in Tulsa

tali-4Today’s blog comes to us from Tali Harris, a sophomore Computer Science & Mathematics major from Owasso, Okla.

Growing up near Tulsa, I never really thought of it as a hip college town. But as I’ve gotten older and Tulsa has evolved, I have realized I could not be more incorrect. Tulsa is a thriving city with plenty of opportunities, increasing community involvement, and, most importantly, extensive entertainment.

My absolute favorite aspect of Tulsa is the live music scene. I have been able to see some of my favorite artists in the past few years thanks to Tulsa’s developing music culture. Even though I have a particular taste, I have been exposed to several different genres of music.

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We saw Young the Giant at Cain’s Ballroom!

One of the best parts of a concert is the venue. Tulsa has several different venues that bring in a diverse array of artists.

The Vanguard is one of Tulsa’s more intimate venues. Many local Tulsa groups play here. I fulfilled my middle school dream of seeing NeverShoutNever when they came this past summer. It is located in the heart of the Brady Arts District, and is near coffee shops, brunch spots, and Guthrie Green.

Cain’s Ballroom is one of the most iconic Tulsa music scene symbols. It is just down the street from The Vanguard, and it brings in the most artists I like. I have seen artists like The Head and the Heart,  Young the Giant, The Lumineers, and Ben Folds. Cain’s often hosts bluegrass festivals, country nights, and other popular bands.

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I saw Brad Paisley at the BOK Center. Country isn’t my genre of choice, but he put on a great show!

From Taylor Swift to Ed Sheeran, from Justin Bieber to Mumford and Sons, the BOK is centered downtown and brings in the most popular names. It was here I attended my very first concert (Imagine Dragons), won tickets from a radio show (The Black Keys), and experienced my first ever country concert (Brad Paisley). Artists who play here appeal to the largest majority, and trending music stars frequent this venue.

In addition to the multiple venues Tulsa has to offer for live music, one of Tulsa’s most valuable musical events is the music festival Center of the Universe. It is a fairly new music festival, but it is quickly gaining momentum. Three years ago, it featured Young the Giant, Foster the People, Capital Cities, and other local artists. Two years ago, Panic! At the Disco was the headliner. The festival did not return this past summer in order to give the planners ample time to prepare, but I am ecstatic for them to release the lineup for summer 2017. This festival brings in an audience from across the nation and attracts multiple bands.

Despite the flourishing venues for live music in Tulsa, much of the entertainment comes locally. At each First Friday Art Crawl, there is free live music on Guthrie Green downtown. This event has brought in the Tulsa Symphony, a steel drum band, and other local talent for entertainment.

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My friends and I went to see Knox Hamilton in Tulsa!

Growing up near Tulsa, I never thought of it as a strong presence on the music scene. After hanging out downtown on the weekends, my opinion has completely changed. Tulsa has so much to offer musically, even to a pretentious music lover like myself.

My Take on TU: Students Revive Minority Engineering Clubs

minorityeclubs-300x207When mechanical engineering major Alyssa Hernandez arrived at TU in the fall of 2014, she looked for a way to connect with fellow students who were studying engineering, but TU’s Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) had fallen inactive. With the help of a small group of determined students, she started from scratch. Hernandez and another TU student attended the National Institute for Leadership Advancement (NILA) at Facebook headquarters, networking with employers and learning how to further the SHPE mission.

“The SHPE organization is more than just empowering Hispanics to overcome the obstacles of higher education, but to diversify the workforce and create more of an inclusive community,” she said.

SHPE members brought their new ideas back to Tulsa, facilitating social events and career and study sessions. They attended national and regional conferences, volunteered alongside regional chapters at a Habitat for Humanity site and homeless shelter and helped host two Noche de Ciencias events where students from low-income areas participate in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities.

During the past two years, Hernandez said the chapter has grown from six to 15 members. Thanks to SHPE networking opportunities, she has received her first engineering internship and inspired other minority groups to become more active.

“SHPE has been extremely helpful in mentoring our young organization,” said Donovan Adesoro, a petroleum engineering junior and president of the National Society for Black Engineers. “We owe a large part of our success to them.”

09-09-15-ens-job-fair-110“They allow us to network with industry professionals who work at Fortune 500 companies,” he said. “Unfortunately, these job fairs will be one of the few in their lifetime when they interview with employees who all look like them.”

While making lifelong friends and preparing for a career, Adesoro said giving back to the community is his favorite part of NSBE. After graduating from a high school where 80 percent of the students received free/reduced-price lunches, he understands the importance of college preparation. NSBE eventually hopes to establish a junior member program that pairs high school students with a TU faculty member for summer research.

“I can relate to a lot of the local high school students who aren’t sure what an engineer even does or the difficulties of paying for a college education,” he said. “The “NSBE Jr. program will enable us to overcome that.”

TU’s newest engineering club is the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, reinstated in March 2016. It regularly collaborates with AISES junior programs and Native American clubs.

“I have seen first-hand that Native American children are not reaching their full potential because of cultural norms or a lack of funding,” said group president and mechanical engineering student Amanda Hooper. “I do not want to sit idly by as my people struggle.”

Although each club will strive to achieve its own goals in the 2016-17 academic year, they plan to partner for activities that promote inclusion within all engineering and science industries.

My Take on TU: Orientation

IMG_2649Today’s My Take on TU is written by Katie Snyder, a senior Communication major from Des Moines, IA. Katie serves as an Orientation Leader for StartTU.

Human beings typically don’t like change, yet there are times in our life when we have to give up the familiar for a new opportunity. Coming to college is one of those times. The University of Tulsa has a week of Orientation at the start of the new school year in order to help ease this transition. Whether you are originally from Tulsa, moving from out-of-state, or even coming from another country, this week is for you.

Orientation is a time to learn the campus, meet your classmates, and form the bonds you’ll need to get you through freshman year. I work as an Orientation Leader, guiding a group of students through this week to make adjusting to campus as easy as possible. In that spirit, here are my top three tips for getting the most out of New Student Orientation:

img_3078PLAY ALONG
In every Orientation Group, there is at least one student who thinks they are too cool to play games or discuss serious topics. Don’t be that student. The best way to have fun and make friends during this week is to be open to activities that you normally wouldn’t try and conversations that you wouldn’t normally have. You might even be surprised by the things you enjoy or learn from the most.

REMEMBER THAT EVERYONE IS IN THE SAME BOAT
It’s easy to forget during orientation week that you aren’t the only one going through a big change. You may look around and see people laughing and talking to each other and fool yourself into thinking that they aren’t feeling scared and insecure like you. That is not the case. Some will handle this change better than others, but no one is completely immune to the uneasiness that comes with meeting new people and getting used to a new place. So do your best to reach out to others this week and don’t think you are alone! Start a conversation with a stranger, invite others into your activity, ask to join someone else’s – you will start to feel like you belong here more quickly than you realize.

img_3097YOUR ORIENTATION LEADERS ARE A RESOURCE, USE THEM!
As Orientation Leaders, our whole job is to help you. There are a few more specific requirements, but that one is first and foremost. Take advantage of this! Upperclassmen can help you figure out the best professors to take, how to get involved on campus, what there is to do in Tulsa, and much more. Through our time at TU, we have learned all kinds of tips and tricks that can make your life easier, and we would love to share. Additionally, your Orientation Leaders are some of the best informed people on campus about the services available to students – as are your RAs – so if you need something, ask them about it. This doesn’t just go for during the week of Orientation, but throughout your time as a TU student!

TU Named a Top 100 University by U.S. News & World Report

post-usnews-2017The University of Tulsa once again celebrates its distinction among American research universities in the 2017 U.S. News & World Report rankings released Tuesday.

TU is No. 86 among national universities, according to the publication, which evaluates doctoral degree-granting institutions based on several key factors including peer assessment, high school counselor assessment and class sizes.

For 14 years, TU has been a Top 100 research university and remains the highest ranked college in the state. The University of Tulsa is home to more nationally competitive scholars than all other Oklahoma colleges combined and is the highest ranked for global collaboration in the state with international students making up about a quarter of the student body.

“With an average ACT score of 30, The University of Tulsa just welcomed its most academically talented group of freshmen to campus this fall. It’s also a diverse group of students: About 50 percent are from Oklahoma, 38 percent from other states and 12 percent from other countries; and 20 percent of our new students this fall are multicultural,” said university President Steadman Upham. “We are proud of all that our students, alumni and faculty have accomplished and anticipate even greater things as they continue to receive prestigious scholarships, internships and accolades that stoke the fires of excellence and success.”

TU works closely with students to develop financial aid packages that make it possible to earn a degree from a top 100 private university without struggling with a monetary burden after graduation. The university’s most recent outcome report showed that 64 percent of undergraduates went straight to work after commencement, 25 percent went to graduate school and 5 percent were taking time off, leaving only 6 percent seeking employment.

In its 2017 report, U.S. News examined 220 national universities, a classification developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. TU remains committed to small class sizes, as just 3 percent of classes contain 50 or more students; only six top 100 doctoral universities reported a lower percentage in this category.

News coverage of state rankings may be found at The Oklahoman. Full ranking information is at U.S. News.

Getting Involved Through Student Association

12419346_10153366775285800_4784771197976051427_oToday’s blog post is from Gabby Gunnerson, a sophomore Finance major from Overland Park, Kan.

When I came to TU as a freshman, I knew that I wanted to get involved on campus, especially in ways I wasn’t able to during my time in high school since sports dominated my life. During orientation, I was introduced to Student Association and thought it sounded interesting. When the applications  for the Cabinet side of SA came out, I figured I might as well apply because it couldn’t hurt to put myself out there. I was pleasantly surprised when I got an email telling me I was invited to interview and even more excited when I was told that I was to be one of the Associate Directors of Athletics. I had no idea what was in store for me, but I couldn’t wait to get started.

12186744_10203809328792757_6201760222147812386_oI soon learned that I was a part of a committee that promoted varsity athletics on campus. We were in charge of having tailgates for football games and doing giveaways for all sorts of different athletic events to get students excited about going to the games. One of my favorite giveaways we did was for both men’s and women’s soccer. We gave away a really cool scarf and we actually ran out of them because so many people wanted them.

But being on SA isn’t all giving away free t-shirts and Chick-Fil-A. I was also able to help with other events around campus such as Homecoming in the fall and our annual Springfest event in the spring. It gave me the opportunity to meet a large number of students here at TU that I probably wouldn’t have been able to meet otherwise. It’s so gratifying to hear about how the student body enjoys the different events we put on and great to hear their feedback on how we can improve things in the future.

I also learned that the Student Association has a lot larger impact on campus than most students even realize. The Senate side of SA allocates money to every single student organization on campus so they can put on their own events.

12898193_10153373110730800_7523495495923024623_oI loved being on Student Association so much during my freshman year that I applied to be an Executive Director my sophomore year and was fortunate enough to become the ED of Student Awareness. Now, I’m able to plan events that I think will help the student body be more aware of what is going on in the world around them. I have a wonderful committee full of ADs who are passionate and willing to help out the amazing students here at TU.

Being a part of student association is definitely one of my favorite things about The University of Tulsa and has most definitely impacted my life for the better by allowing me to grow as a leader and individual.

A Typically Untypical Day on Campus

IMG_0618Today’s Admission Blog Post comes from Brittany James, a senior Mechanical Engineering major from Lee’s Summit, Mo.

People always ask me, “What’s a typical day at TU look like?” And, at least for me, the only thing I can say about typical days is that I don’t have them. Sure, I have things that I do every day, like drink my morning coffee and go to my scheduled classes, but beyond that I throw in random meetings, impromptu trips to the gym and last minute lunch or dinner plans with friends. To illustrate what I mean, here is a snapshot of my September 12, 2016, a typically untypical day in my life.

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This morning I had my first alarm set for 8:30am and a second one set for 9am. I like that first alarm because it lets me know that it’s almost time to wake up but I also get to enjoy the exciting realization that I still have time to sleep. I threw in a few extra snoozes because, well, it’s Monday, and finally forced myself out of bed. In my typical zombie state, I got ready for the day and headed over to the student union. I always purchase a white chocolate frozen mocha with no whip from Einstein’s. This is where the routineness ends and the typical “idk what this day will bring” begins.

I sat down in a booth and jammed to some music while catching up on my emails and to-do list for the different organizations I’m involved in. I had friends filter in and out of the union and join me at my table. Today, Student Association was handing out wristbands with the names of 9/11 victims to honor the sacrifices they made. One of my friends came around and handed me a wristband to wear, which I thought was a pretty legit, yet unexpected, addition to my day.

kzmygklf_v69etqvmi2vyrssky-afc4lg_m_7wlbfsmI then headed over to Keplinger Hall to quickly talk to the freshman Chemical Engineering class about Tau Beta Pi, which is the engineering honor society here on campus. I hopped back to the union afterwards and grabbed Chick-fil-a for lunch. I have a lot of dining dollars, so I try to buy lunch for random people whenever I can. Today, I surprised the professor in front of me with a free sandwich and fries. He said he’d be sure to pass the kind act along in the near future, which I’d never had anyone tell me before. It was pretty cool to see how such a simple act can go such a long way.

After lunch, one of my friends asked me to edit her short story for grammar since Spanish is her first language. I was very surprised to find I was included in the story. By the end, fictional me had been killed off and the real me was cracking up. I suppose it could be said that one typical element of my days is that they are never boring and always full of surprises just like this one.

I headed off to my 2pm class. My favorite professor teaches this class, so even though it’s longer than a normal Monday class, I always enjoy it. After class, I had some free time, so I decided it would be a good idea to start my homework. Sometimes my engineering homework can take one hour and other times EACH problem can take up to an hour. This is another reason why my days are always a surprise. Thankfully, I was able to get my entire assignment for engineering economics finished in this one homework session.

164323679878140378_700x390For dinner, I went to Kappa Kappa Gamma’s “Kappasta.” It’s $5 for all you can eat pasta and the BEST cookies ever. Plus, the money all goes to support their philanthropy. It’s a great break because 1.) the food is delicious;  2.) the money goes to a great cause; and 3.) I get to see a lot of people I don’t interact with on a normal day-to-day basis. After dinner, I prepared for the New Member meetings I run for my sorority. It’s my job to help our newest members get acquainted with our chapter values, history, members and just college life in general. While it is definitely a lot of work, I really enjoy it and always have a lot of fun. I wrapped up the evening going to two meetings and finally talked myself into going to the gym. I thankfully survived my workout, despite my personal doubts, by watching Bones on Netflix. I came back to the house, hung out with my sisters for a while, and wrapped up some loose ends for the day. After all that was finished, I was finally able to crawl back into bed.

One of the great things about attending TU is that every day is refreshingly different. There are different things I do, different people I see, and different surprises that make life special. However, just as I often begin my days in the same way, I also always end them all in the same way. Before I go to bed each night, I record five things about that day that I am thankful for. It really puts the day in perspective for me. Paul Coelho once said, “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It’s lethal.” While I’m not adventuring through the Amazon on a day-to-day basis, I do like to approach each day as an adventure and value the experiences that come with it.

Following My Passion for Music…as a Communication Major

odssey picToday’s blog post is written by Erin Jones, a junior Communication and Spanish major from Bemidji, Minn.

Music has always played a very important role in my life.  At a young age, I started playing piano, and not long after, I picked up the harp.  During fifth-grade band, something within me decided that trumpet was a good idea, but my band teacher knew that I was meant to play the French horn. On top of that, singing has also been a passion of mine.  I often find myself with a tune in my head and many times, my friends let me know when I’m singing softly and I don’t realize it! Okay, so maybe not as softly as I think.

I participated in band and choir all throughout high school, and coming to TU as a wee little freshman in 2014, I thought I would take a break from music. That was my biggest mistake of freshman year.  I quit the one thing that I enjoyed most for no good reason.  After speaking to my friends who were members of TU’s outstanding music school and the various ensembles here at TU, I realized that I wanted to share their experiences; I wanted to play music again.  Not because I had to, but because I wanted to…because I longed to.

kathleen and erinIn 2015, I joined the Sound of the Golden Hurricane Marching Band as a sophomore.  Yes, it was weird to be a Communication and Spanish major in a group largely composed of music majors, but that didn’t make a difference in this group.  In the Sound, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a music major or a nursing major, whether you play clarinet or baritone.  This outstanding group of musicians knows when to be serious. They know when to have fun, and most importantly, they know how to make people feel at home.  Music brings people together, and that’s exactly what the Sound does.  In the Sound, we are a family.  Every family is unique, and our 100+ members come from all different majors, backgrounds, and cities across the U.S.

As a freshman, get involved with the activities that make you happy, the ones that bring out the best in you, and the ones that fulfill your happiness.  I know I am glad that I did!

Mellophones Sound 2016The Sound is my home. The University of Tulsa is my home. Welcome home, TU students. Welcome home.

TU Named A Top School By Princeton Review

HERO-mcfarlin-fall-campus-flowersThe University of Tulsa is featured in the Princeton Review’s 2017 edition of its flagship college guide, The Best 381 Colleges. The publication highlights the nation’s top institutions for undergraduate education based on a survey of 143,000 students who were asked to rate their schools on campus experiences and other topics.

Prin_9781101920060_cvr_all_r1.inddThe Princeton Review guide includes detailed college profiles with ratings for several categories including institutions with the happiest students, best financial aid, top career services and most LGBTQ-friendly communities. The publication is used widely by college applicants and parents during the college decision process.

“TU offers access to transformative, hands-on academic opportunities that equip students for emerging careers in engineering, health sciences, social sciences and business,” said Earl Johnson, vice president for enrollment and student services. “We’re pleased to once again appear in the Princeton Review guide, which reaffirms our commitment to a superior educational experience.”

TU is regularly included in the college guide among other Princeton Review distinctions such as a top law school, leading computer gaming school, green campus, university that “pays you back” and outstanding institution of higher learning.

A full list of school profiles appears at https://www.princetonreview.com/college-rankings/best-colleges.