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Congratulations OSU 2020 Graduates! Division of Institutional Diversity

OSU Diversity Statement

Oklahoma State University is a land-grant institution committed to excellence in diversity and inclusion. We strive to maintain a welcoming and inclusive environment that appreciates and values all members of the University community. We define diversity as engagement in meaningful actions, behaviors, and conversations that reflect a commitment to recognizing, understanding, and respecting the differences among students, faculty, staff, and visitors throughout the OSU system. We do not condone acts, behavior, language, or symbols that represent or reflect intolerance or discrimination. OSU is dedicated to cultivating and enriching the competitive advantages that diversity and inclusion provides all members of the University community. We identify diversity as a quality of life issue, as well as an important economic driver for the prosperity and well-being of the state, nation, and world.
Nancy Randolph Davis embodies the true essence of perseverance and determination. Through her tenacity and faith, she navigated her time at Oklahoma State University in a very intentional way, ultimately creating a legacy that will last for generations to come. Just like you, she used her experiences to shape her resolve to succeed. Class of 2020, draw strength in the fact that the lessons you encountered during your time at Oklahoma State University will position you to have a significant influence in the future. Don’t take your experience lightly. You stand on the shoulders of those that came before you; now, it is your responsibility to become the shoulder for the next generation of the Cowboy Family. Go Pokes!

Division of Institutional Diversity

Office of Multicultural Affairs

Congratulations Class of 2020! Your time at OSU has definitely been an eventful and impactful time for each of you but also a time of discovery and accomplishment. I hope that when you reflect back on your time at OSU, you will remember all the wonderful memories that you created and all the knowledge that you acquired both inside and outside the classroom. You have all proven to be strong, intelligent, and prosperous individuals who will undoubtedly go out into the world with a drive and a passion that will forever shine on your endeavors. It has been a pleasure and privilege to serve you. You are the absolute best part of my position at Oklahoma State University. Thank you for choosing OSU and allowing the Division of Institutional Diversity and the Office of Multicultural Affairs to be a part of your journey. I am so proud of each one of you. You did it! Always know that you can call on me if you need anything. You are forever part of the Cowboy family. Love to you all, Dr. Precious Elmore-Sanders, Ph.D. Associate Vice President for the Division of Institutional Diversity Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs

LGBTQ and Women's Affairs

2020 Graduates, This spring marks an important moment in your life, where you turn a page from your undergraduate career to the next step in your journey. Congratulations for all your hard work! For those of you I have been lucky enough to meet: thank you for letting me be a part of your time here at OSU, and please keep in touch! For those of you that I haven’t had the chance to work with: I hope you were able to find lots of support from the Division of Institutional Diversity! Please know that if you ever need something in the future, don’t hesitate to reach out. Congratulations on all of your accomplishments! With love, Irissa Baxter she/her/hers Coordinator of Women’s and LGBTQ Affairs

LGBTQ Graduate

  • Andy Baker, Oklahoma State Queers and Allies
LGBTQ Graduate: Andy Baker

Asian-American Affairs

Dear students, Congratulations on reaching one of the most significant milestones. You have celebrated the diversity and inclusion with action and dedication. In the process, you have built characters that will endure in the years to come. As envisioned by the 2020 Mr. and Miss Asian Oklahoma State University, Keji Moua, and Sara Karki, your diversity is your strength. Graduation is not an end but a new beginning. I wish you soar and prosper in azure skies of the unlimited possibilities! Sincerely, Joyce Crawford Coordinator of Asian-American Affairs

Asian-American Graduates

  • Fatimah Firdaus, Asian-American Student Association
  • Sara Karki, Asian-American Student Association
  • Truc Ngo, Vietnamese-American Student Association
  • Vanessa Wong, Asian-American Student Association
Asian-American Graduates: 1st Row (L to R):Vanessa Wong and Truc Ngo

African-American Affairs

Dear Class of 2020: I extend my sincere congratulations and best wishes to you on your graduation. Your time is here… You. Did. It! You survived group projects, all-nighters, study sessions, and more. You cultivated new relationships, worked hard (and slacked off sometimes, too), and created a lifetime’s worth of memories. I applaud you for your dedication and commitment to your education. You are our future educators, doctors, artists, lawyers, engineers, accountants, professors, electricians, and more. The future is YOU! As you embark on your post-baccalaureate journey, you are venturing into a unique situation due to the impact of Covid-19 on our communities, remain encouraged and steadfast. While this semester is ending in an untraditional fashion, i.e., postponed commencement ceremonies, know this- I recognize and honor your accomplishments and achievements! I know this letter can never replace the memories of what would have been, but know I see you, graduate! Again, I applaud you. You. Did. It! I am so honored to have worked with you on your journey. The future is YOU! Felicitations, graduates! Go Pokes! Warmest regards, Tika Johnson Coordinator of African-American Affairs

African-American Graduates

  • Rionna Ellis, Afro-Am, RISE, ILP, Afro-Am Homecoming Queen 2016
  • Essences Ewing, Afro-Am
  • Kegan Johnson, Afro-Am, Freshman Action Team: Student Advisor
  • Jayla Martin, Afro-Am, Freshman Action Team
  • Ashley Samuels, Afro-Am
African-American Graduate: Jayla Martin

Hispanic/Latinx Affairs

Graduating seniors, This was not the semester we expected to have and much less as the semester you expected to have as your last… as an Oklahoma State University undergraduate. Pero no se me agüiten! The growth, development, transformation you have gone through these last couple of years has been exciting to witness. It’s been a journey from your first day on campus to this point, it wasn’t an easy one but one filled with many great memories and experiences. Do not let our current state take away from all your hard work and accomplishments, be proud of what you have achieved. I look forward to see what is next for you. Continue working hard towards your goals y échale ganas! Congrats, Rey Marrufo Coordinator of Hispanic/Latinx Affairs

Hispanic/Latinx Graduates

  • Alicia Cortez, HSA member
  • Caroline Gonzalez, HSA member
  • Celeste Rivera, HSA member, HSA VP
  • Darling Arredondo, HSA member
  • David Alatorre, HSA member
  • Deisy De Lorea, HSA member
  • Denise Gonzalez, HSA member
  • Erica Garcia, HSA member, HSA PR
  • Gracie Medellin, HSA member
  • Jennifer Rodriguez, HSA member
  • Jocelyn Flores, HSA member, HSA Secretary, Miss Hispanic Latina 2018
  • Johnny Resendiz, HSA member, Mr. Hispanic Latino 2018
  • Jonathan Uribe, HSA member, HSA Sports Coor.
  • Julissa Soto, HSA member, MMHLOSU Assistant Pageant Director Pagenat
  • Maria Mancera, HSA member, Voto Latino member, Voto Latino VP
  • Maria Nieto, HSA member, Miss Hispanic Latina 2017
  • Marisa Velasquez, HSA member
  • Michelle Fierro, HSA member, Miss Hispanic Latina 2019
  • Nicky Kazerooni, HSA member, Voto Latino member
  • Samuel Alvarado, HSA member, Mr. Hispanic Latino 2017
  • Tabitha Gunnars, HSA member
  • Taylor Lopez, HSA member
  • Marco Vann, Male Initiative
Hispanic/Latinx Graduates: 1st Row (L to R): Maria Mancera, Jocelyn Flores, Michelle Fierro, Samuel Alvarado. 2nd Row (L to R): Erica Garcia, Julissa Soto, Nicky Kazerooni.

Diversity Academic Support/TRIO

Dear 2020 OSU Graduates, Congratulations! We want to take a moment to say, "thank you." Thank you for coming to OSU. Thank you for sharing your lives with us and making OSU a better place. By being involved in Institutional Diversity and across the campus, your campus, you leave a legacy of improved programming for future Cowboys. Again, thank you for sharing your hopes and dreams with us. We are so proud of you. Your future is bright, and we anxiously await all the wonderful things you will do. We think you will be great OSU Alumni. Sincerely, Dr. Jovette Dew, Assistant Vice President of Institutional Diversity, Director of DAS/TRIO

The Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, OK-LSAMP

Dear Seniors, Congratulations! Don’t let these different times overshadow the amazing achievements you have made. Remember this is temporary, you will get to move forward and do amazing things either at graduate school or your first professional employment but for sure in the world. Find different ways to celebrate this great achievement. You have worked hard to get to where you are now. There were many sleepless nights, long study sessions, times where you had to explain why you had to prioritize your academics vs. other parts of your life but know that those sacrifices have made this moment worth-it. May you continue moving forward and enjoy what you have done not only for yourself but as a role model for many of our communities! Felicidades, and all the best! Thanks, Brenda Morales Director of OK-LSAMP

OK-LSAMP Graduates

  • Rainee Deroin*
  • Christy Eslinger
  • Victor Franco*
  • Juan Guerrero
  • Alexandra Lopez Betancourt
  • Teresa Mccarrell
  • Jacee McCoy
  • Ty Montgomery*
  • Erik Perez
  • Aaron Wheeler*
  • * Denotes the graduate was involved in more than one program within the Division of Institutional Diversity.

OK-LSAMP TESTIMONIAL

OK-LSAMP was a champion for my research. Giving me opportunity after opportunity to present my research not only to local venues but also at national conferences. I have made lasting connections in the scientific community that I will continue to take with me from here on out. Not to mention, it meant that I had someone to go talk to if I ever doubted my abilities to see this through. It meant knowing there was financial support each semester where I could concentrate on classes and not have to worry about money. It meant meeting some incredible individuals that I am proud to call my friends. - Christy Eslinger

McNair Scholarship Program

Dear Scholars, On behalf of Nicole and I, we want to wish you the best of luck and say congratulations on reaching this pinnacle moment in your life. It has been a pleasure to work with you throughout your time in the McNair Scholars Program. Your dedication to your studies and your commitment to excellence will propel you forward in life. Each of you has the intrinsic ability to overcome any obstacle, barrier, or limitation that might hinder, derail, or prevent your educational attainment. Remain steadfast and know that you have a support system continually rooting for you from afar. Life may appear unfair at times, but remember YOU are a McNair Scholar! Seek encouragement from the words of Dr. McNair: “Whether or not [I] reach [my] goals in life depends entirely on how well [I] prepare for them and how badly [I] want them.” Scholars, although the end of your collegiate chapter has been altered, we relish in the fact that you have confronted these uncharted times with great optimism, creativity, and enthusiasm. Please note that the McNair Program Staff remains here to continue assisting you as you begin to plan and embark upon a new academic chapter of your life. Stay committed to the process, and always remember to believe in yourself. Congratulations from Dr. Clyde C. Wilson Jr. and Nicole Stevenson, your McNair Program Staff team.

McNair Scholar Graduates

2019-2020 McNair Scholar: 1st Row (L to R): Alexis Stephenson, Chealsea Fernandez, Dylann Lowery*, Yoselyn Mendiola*. 2nd Row (L to R): Allee Lyons, Shakeria Brown, Jaron Holden*, Kaitlyn Potter. 3rd Row (L to R): Rainee DeRoin*, Aaron Wheeler*, Zachary Alegria and Ty Montgomery. Scholars missing from the photo: Kiaralexis Rogers, Leland Palmer, and Victor Franco, Tyler Brown, Omid Darbandi. * Denotes the graduate was involved in more than one program within the Division of Institutional Diversity.

McNair Scholar Testimonials

Many valuable advantages come along with being involved in TRIO. My program in particular the McNair Scholars program has helped me excel academically through the numerous opportunities and resources provided. The McNair Scholars Program requires individuals to obtain a GPA of 3.0 or above therefore, individuals are provided with resources that will help the individual obtain this grade point average. My TRIO program also has provided me with numerous research and travel opportunities that I would not have received otherwise. The TRIO program has helped me tremendously through my undergraduate experience but there are also additional opportunities that will help me in my graduate school ventures as well. Being a McNair Scholar/ TRIO recipient has been an extremely worthwhile experience. The resources and opportunities provided through the TRIO programs are invaluable assets for the underrepresented and/or disadvantaged students under discussion. -Alexis Stephenson
Being a first-generation college student, it was difficult navigating college and what my future after college could look like. Thanks to TRIO and McNair, I was able to get individualized support to help me be successful at Oklahoma State University. They mentored me and poured into me as a student allowing me the opportunity to grow during my years within the programs. Being in the program meant having the chance to be successful. It meant breaking generational trends and using my education to help others within the community. It meant having the opportunity to be competitive for my Master's. -Dylann Lowery
They helped me through the process of graduate school and helped improve my writing skills as a researcher. I'm glad to be apart of the first cohort! So the mentors and I can learn how to better this program for future students, so we all can achieve great things. -Rainee DeRoin

Student Support Services - SSS

Dear Graduates, I want to congratulate the graduating class of 2020. There is no denying the impact of this semester. While all of its' adversity and chaos will not soon be forgotten, your determination throughout it all is something to relish at the moment. You demonstrated great persistence and resilience, and we commend you for your success. To all of our TRIO-SSS students, it has been a pleasure serving you through such a wide and varied array of circumstances these past years and watching you grow as individuals. As you move forward, always remember to enjoy the next chapter of your journey and know you are forever part of our SSS TRIO family. Congrats, Jesus Raygosa Director TRIO-SSS

SSS Graduates

  • Bethanie Cannon
  • Elijah Carrasquillo
  • Omid Darbandi*
  • Abigail Deloera
  • Rainee DeRoin*
  • Mickie Eikenberry
  • Jocelyn Flores
  • Victor Franco*
  • Juan Guerrero
  • Alyssa Juett-Matthews
  • Dylann Lowery*
  • Kahlil Martin-Germaine
  • Yoselyn Mendiola*
  • Katelyn Morley
  • Terry (TJ) Troha
  • Brenden Wedel
  • Garrett Wies
  • Aleah Wigal

SSS Testimonials

SSS was pivotal in my success in acclimating to Oklahoma State after transferring. Going from school at NOC, to OSU was incredibly stressful, but I was lucky to have Justin Morris and the rest of SSS to help guide me. SSS allowed me to have an advisor, who would not only care about my academic successes but also about my personal development. When I had times, where I was struggling in classes, SSS was there to assist me, whether that be by helpful strategies or tutors. Being part of the SSS program meant that I had the same chance of succeeding at OSU, as anyone else did. SSS also meant that I had a support system of not only faculty but of other students who I could connect with. I feel extremely grateful that I was able to be part of the SSS program, and I implore every student to take advantage of the facilities, programs, and help that is provided. -Brenden Wedel
SSS has helped me grow in so many areas of my life, especially becoming a succeful scholar. Because of SSS, I have learned various skills to improve my academics and achieve many different goals. I benefited from SSS through the monthly scheduled meetings with an advisor because they gave me different perspectives to see many situations that arose in my college life. Being part of the program has meant so much to me. My college experience has been radically different because of SSS, a lof my achievement can be traced back to SSS. This program helped me believed that I can achieve great things despite the disadvantages that are in my corner. Its been an honor and privilege being part of a community that not only understands but helps me. I'm such a blessed person to be part of SSS. -Yoselyn Mendiola
I benefited by being a RISE, ILP, and TRiO student. All these programs helped me grow as an individual, and I gained many leadership skills. I had a lot of support from the advisors throughout my time here at OSU! As a participant of these programs, I must acknowledge the fact that these programs meant so much to me during my time at OSU. Everyone genuinely cared about me as an individual and really helped me succeed. I have grown so much throughout these past four years and have had many great opportunities that I would not have had without the help of Student Support Services! -Jocelyn Flores
I had the pleasure of being part of TRIO throughout my five years of striving to graduate from Oklahoma State University with my bachelor’s degree in architecture. During that time, TRIO has helped me in many ways, such as providing personal tutors for myself, monthly workshops, academic, financial, and personal counseling. On top of that, I met incredible individuals, such as Mr. Morris and Mrs. Boyd. Additionally, in receiving help throughout my time with TRIO, it had also impacted my life. Being the first member of my family to graduate from high school and attending a university, I did not know what to expect upon my first day of attending Oklahoma State University. After meeting with Mr. Morris and Mrs. Boyd, I got a sense of relief knowing that I would be okay going down the road to becoming an architect with the help of TRIO. The program has impacted me not only within my academics but also in my life outside of school. -Juan Guerrero

Talent Search

To the Class of 2020, Congratulations Class of 2020! We are very proud of all of your accomplishments thus far. Your dedication and perseverance did not go unnoticed. Your future is going to be full of surprises, ups and downs, accomplishments, failures, happiness and exploration. During the tough days, remember to look at everything you have accomplished to get where you are now. During the triumphs of life, remember to thank yourself for your hard work and dedication in achieving your dreams! Once again, Congratulations Class of 2020 you did it! Respectfully, Julie Swaringim-Griffin and The Talent Search Team Oklahoma State University

The OSU Talent Search Program has the privilege of working with these area high schools:

  • Agra High School
  • Billings High School
  • Blackwell High School
  • Carney High School
  • Cushing High School
  • Guthrie High School
  • Morrison High School
  • Ripley High School

Upward Bound

Dear Graduates, I would like to congratulate you for reaching a milestone in your life. There will be many milestones that you will face throughout your life; but this one is special. Not only because you accomplished a great feat by graduating, but because you did it under extraordinary conditions. An unknown quote that I believe speaks volumes to your accomplishment states “The difference between a stumbling block and a stepping-stone is how you use them.” Truly, you have taken a stumbling block and turned it into a stepping-stone for your future aspirations. You have shown us that our adversity in life is not permanent and we can overcome it. I am proud of your accomplishment and I am proud of you for going against adversity and coming out on top! Congratulations! Sincerely, Dr. Libby Adjei Director Upward Bound

The OSU Upward Bound Program has the privilege of working with these area high schools:

  • Cleveland Hugh School
  • Pahuska High School
  • Pawnee High School
  • Perkins High School
  • Woodland High School

Upward Bound High School Graduate Testimonials

“Upward Bound has made me feel like I could be whatever I wanted to be. It helped with school, and it's helped with life skills. Upward Bound has made a great impact on my life. I've enjoyed so many years with so many people, and it's been an amazing journey. I've met so many influential people because of upward bound and its been a great time." - Upward Bound Participant

“Upward Bound help me understand things better at school. Being a part of the program to me was a place that I could feel safe at. A place that I could make friends at and a place where I felt like everyone was part of my family." -Upward Bound Participant

"By being a member of Upward Bound, I revived a better education throughout my high school experience and also learned a significant amount about the college experience and how I might go about college in the near future. Not only was my education imposed, but Upward Bound helped me develop into a better person overall. I am more outgoing due to the fact that I was exposed to many people, who I initially did not know at first. I created lifelong friendships with the people in UB and I am glad for that. To me, being a part of Upward Bound means that I was not alone. Everyone around me was also first-generation and/or lower income." -Upward Bound Participant

"Upward bound has given me a sense of belonging, helped me keep good grades and learn life skills that school doesn’t teach. Upward bound gives you the opportunity to meet amazing people and make new friends. being part of this program is much bigger than just schoolwork. You get to bond and just have a break from life for a while. we are all family in this program." -Upward Bound Participant

Now that you are an Alumni of one of our programs at Oklahoma State University, know that you will always have a place to call home.

The Student Union South Plaza

Acknowledgements

The Division of Institutional Diversity at Oklahoma State University is grateful and honored to have had the privilege to support each of you in some way along your individual journey. You range from middle school students, to high school students to collegiate graduates. We are thankful for our campus partnerships, and additional support services each of you have had access to or received. This presentation serves as a keepsake for how proud we are for each student accomplishment.

Special thanks to the Diversity Graduation Committee

  • Joyce Crawford
  • Shae Curtis
  • Reymundo Marrufo
  • Nicole Stevenson
  • Dr. Clyde C. Wilson Jr. (Chair)