Stephanie Mandujano personifies the definition of determination. As the first person in her family to attend college, she is blazing the trail for her younger siblings. The Tulsa native recalls a drive to succeed that began at an early age and says she always knew she would continue her education beyond high school. Acceptance letters arrived from The University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, the University of Arkansas and The University of Tulsa. Mandujano’s heart told her that one stood apart from the others.
The Sound of the Golden Hurricane works in coordination with the TU Spirit Squads to form the backbone of student support for our football team and basketball teams. The Sound prides itself on providing a variety of entertainment through the course of the football season.
In the fall of 2017, a group of students from The University of Tulsa’s Engineers Without Borders-USA chapter traveled to the country of Bolivia to conduct site assessments for an upcoming service project. Working with Engineers in Action, a nongovernmental organization formed in Tulsa, five undergraduate students, TU EWB-USA chapter co-adviser Laura Ford, a professional mentor, an Engineers in Action engineer, a translator and a cook embarked on a 10-day adventure that led them to the East Andes mountains of Bolivia, through large cities and small villages such as El Alto, La Paz and Machacamarca.
The email below was sent by Amy Smith, a freshman biochemistry major from St. Louis, to her admission counselor, Teresa Bont, just a few weeks after she arrived on campus this past fall. Amy’s excitement is contagious, don’t you think?
I freaking love TU. The campus is beautiful, and everything is exactly as I hoped it would be. I have made so many new friends here and I love the atmosphere. I really love how big TU feels, but at the same time is small and homey. My classes are great and my professors are all really nice. Since I came in with so many credits, I’m already taking pretty much all science classes, which is great for my major of Biochemistry.
I’ve joined a few clubs on campus, and they are a blast! I go to two-step every Thursday and I have met and danced with so many new people and learned lot’s of new moves. I’ve also gotten involved in the Red Cross club on campus, as well as AED (the pre health professions club) and Student Health Advocates Association (SHAA). All of them are so much fun, and there is always free food 😉
I did not get involved with greek life, but that definitely doesn’t mean that I am excluded from anything. I know at a lot of big schools greek life is necessary to get involved, but at TU that certainly isn’t true. I have plenty of greek friends and I hang out with them all the time, and I still get invited to a lot of the greek events.
Homecoming this past weekend was also so much fun! It’s really cool to become a part of all the TU traditions, and being at the bonfire and going to the game was quite the experience. Also, campus was the most lively that I have seen it. There were so many people and so many festivities that it was impossible to be bored. I love that at TU there is always something to do and someone to hang out with and that you never run into a face that isn’t friendly. I really do feel so much at home here.
The city of Tulsa is beautiful. I love the view of downtown from the library steps, and I even got really lucky that I can see the skyline from my dorm room in Hardesty! So far I’ve tried a bunch of the local restaurants (all amazing by the way), and explored some of the hotspots, such as Cherry Street, Utica Square, and Guthrie Green. I didn’t end up going to the state fair, but I heard a lot about it from people on campus. We went to the center of the universe, watched the fireworks from the driller stadium, and went to the Rose Garden all in the same evening! There is always something to do in Tulsa, and I never get bored.
All in all, TU is such a wonderful place to be, and I could not be happier with my choice to enroll here. I love TU with all my heart and I’m so glad to call this place my home. Hope this is helpful 😊
Camden Schinnerer is a senior Spanish and Biochemistry major from Tulsa, Okla. In his video, he talks about his experience with being accepted by the TU community.
Maria Nadeem is a 2017 TU graduate with degrees in Biochemistry and Psychology. She never expected she would have the ability to make such a big impact on campus or on other students. Watch Nadeem as she tells her TU story.
TU is many different things to many different people. Because of this, it would be hard to select just one hashtag to capture what campus life is all about. Find out for yourself by watching the video below. What will your TU hashtag be?
This past fall, the Student Team Engaging Minorities in STEM (STEM^2) organization hosted the Second Annual STEM Fair at The University of Tulsa. The event was focused on informing high school students of all the wonderful opportunities TU and a career in STEM has to offer. This year, a total of 74 high school students, 32 parents, 52 TU students, and nine community members attended. The event was a tremendous success, receiving a great amount of positive feedback from students, parents, and administration.
Key aspects of the event consisted of a science show, presented by Dr. Iski and Dr. LeBlanc, both Assistant Professors in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Additionally, students experienced a campus tour, various organization/club booths from the university and the Tulsa community, as well as a phenomenal guest speaker, NASA’s first Hispanic female flight director, Ginger Kerrick.
We were honored to have such an admirable guest at this year’s STEM fair. Her life’s journey is a true example of hard work and determination. Coming from a diverse background and being female, the proverbial glass ceiling was always present. Yet, that didn’t stop Kerrick. Initially, aiming to become a professional basketball player, to wanting to become an astronaut, and then to making history, Kerrick’s story kept everyone in the room wanting to hear more. Excitement grew when Kerrick surprised everyone with a phone call from space! Peggy Whitson, an astronaut aboard the International Space Station called Kerrick during her presentation and was delighted to answer a few questions from the students. With her down-to-earth personality, and impassioned speech, Kerrick encouraged others to pursue their dreams. She is now the division chief of the Flight Integration Division at the Johnson Space Center.
Overall, the event was intended to inspire and empower the next generation of STEM majors. With the hard work of all STEM^2 officers and the vision of the organization’s President, Natalie Santa-Pinter, we pulled off another great year at the STEM Fair! We hope to have opened doors to new opportunities for the high school students, leaving them ambitious about pursuing higher education; ultimately making their interests in STEM a reality in their future careers.
The music program is one of my favorite things about TU! There are so many wonderful opportunities to learn music, strengthen your talent, and highlight your hard work! Through the marching band and pep band, I have had the opportunity to travel to two NCAA football bowl games, as well as March Madness for Men’s Basketball.
TU CATHOLIC NEWMAN CENTER
Coming to college, I knew I wanted to continue practicing my faith, but I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to find a place to call home. The St. Philip Neri Catholic Newman Center on TU’s campus allows students to strengthen and practice their faith, and it serves as a great place to meet others.
SIGMA ALPHA IOTA
Sigma Alpha Iota is an International Music Fraternity. Sigma Gamma, TU’s collegiate chapter, is home to many talented women who long to further the development of music throughout the country. We work together to advance music in multiple ways: philanthropy projects, volunteering in local elementary music classrooms, and supporting one another in our musical endeavors.
MORTAR BOARD NATIONAL COLLEGIATE SENIOR HONOR SOCIETY
At TU, I had the opportunity to join Mortar Board, a prestigious honor society focused on highlighting students’ academic achievements, leadership skills, and service projects. The organization allows initiated members to meet to discuss how to further our individual academic performances, but more importantly, how to serve others on our campus and greater Tulsa community.
THE UNIVERSITY OF TULSA THEME HOUSE: CulTUring Campus
Through campus housing, my friends and I were given the opportunity to develop a theme house to enhance the campus community. CulTUring Campus’s mission is to educate ourselves and the campus at large about the diverse cultures around the world. Due to TU’s already diverse campus community, we as a theme house can engage with a variety of students who attend our events throughout the year.
When 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.”
“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.
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.
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.
I 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.
For 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.
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.
In 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!