May 2, 2003

RSU Students Prepare For May 10th Commencement

Graduates to include 56 bachelor's degree candidates

Several honors students will be among 56 bachelor's degree candidates at the 91st Commencement ceremony at Rogers State University on Saturday, May 10

The ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. at the Claremore Expo Center.

The university expects to confer degrees to more than 285 students, including 56 bachelor's degree candidates, from its three campuses and RSU Online. This will be the second year that RSU has graduated bachelor degree candidates since it was accredited as a four-year university in August 2000. RSU has more than 650 students enrolled in bachelor degree programs during this semester.

Rep. Jari Askins of Duncan will address the graduates during the commencement ceremony. Askins serves as the state house's deputy majority floor leader and is now in her fourth term representing District 50.

RSU's second class of graduating seniors includes seven students who are expected to graduate with honors. Summa cum laude honors represent a cumulative grade point average of 4.0, magna cum laude between a 3.9 and 3.99, and cum laude between 3.8 to 3.89.

Bachelor's degree candidates earning graduate honors are:

Cara Beasley

Being married and holding down a full-time job as a web application developer for The Frontline Group in Tulsa, Cara Beasley was finding it difficult to find the time to pursue a bachelor's degree.

"After I earned my associate's degree from TCC, I knew that I wanted to go on and get a four-year degree, but it was tough balancing working full-time and being married," she said. "I remembered hearing about the RSU Online program, so I decided that I would try out a three-hour course to see if it would work for me."

That one course eventually led her to earn a bachelor of science in business information technology with a specialty in software development and multimedia. All but four of her classes were taken via RSU Online, she said.

"I really liked the online classes because they were convenient and allowed me to complete my studies on my own time," she said. She enjoyed the interaction with other online students via threaded discussion boards, chat rooms and other electronic methods.

Beasley, who will graduate cum laude, said she would like to find a position where she could apply her software and multimedia skills, but also interact with clients on a face-to-face level. She also is considering pursuing an additional degree in a different field in order to broaden her background.

A 1993 graduate of Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Beasley and her husband Len live in Owasso. She is the daughter of Randy and Victoria Snider of Tahlequah.

Jerri Dennis

Jerri Dennis, who will be graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor of science in social science with an emphasis in psychology and sociology, plans to attend graduate school at the University of Oklahoma or the University of Tulsa.

Dennis and her husband, Chris Dennis, who is an Oklahoma state trooper, live in Pryor. She is a graduate of Clayton High School in Clayton, Okla. She is the daughter of Jerry and Dawn Buchanan of Clayton.

She completed a field placement at Sterling House of Claremore, where she worked with elderly patients. The field placement is a requirement to receive a B.S. in social science at RSU.

While at RSU, Dennis received several academic scholarships and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Psi Chi and the Psychology Club. She also worked at the RSU Bookstore while going to school.

Debra Enix

Returning to college was a way for Debra Enix to gain the knowledge and skills for a new career and "set an example" for her five children.

Enix, who will graduate magna cum laude with a bachelor of science in business information technology, is known as a "non-traditional" student in higher education parlance. In other words, she is an adult who decided to return to college.

"My children were getting older so I thought it was time for me to go back to school and embark on a new career," she said. "I thought I would lead by example."

Enix hopes to obtain a position as a computer network manager at an area company or organization. She already received an associate in science in computer science and gained extensive computer networking experience as an employee in RSU's computing services department. In addition, she completed an internship in the computer network department at the City of Claremore.

At RSU, she received the Aldridge Scholarship in Business Information Technology and several other academic scholarships. Originally from California, she and her husband, Paul Enix, who works for the City of Tulsa, and their family live outside of Claremore.

Raina Foote

Raina Foote, who will graduate cum laude, will receive a bachelor of science in social science with an emphasis in psychology and sociology. She plans to pursue a master of education in school counseling at Northeastern State University in Broken Arrow in preparation for becoming an elementary or secondary school guidance counselor.

While completing her bachelor's degree, Foote received valuable experience working with students as an assistant in the financial aid office at RSU. "Attending school and working at RSU worked out perfectly," she said. "And the bachelor's degree in social science fit well with my career aspirations."

Her husband, T.J. Foote, is pursuing RSU's new bachelor of science in business administration.

She graduated from Washita Heights High School in Corn, Okla. She is the daughter of Philip and Cherilee Stoltzfus of Inola.

At RSU, she received a Rising Junior Scholarship. She was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Psi Chi and the Psychology Club.

Karla Freeman

Karla Freeman of Tulsa, who will graduate magna cum laude, has a strong connection to RSU's Claremore campus. Her father attended the Oklahoma Military Academy, which was the university's predecessor institution.

And when it came time to choose where to complete her bachelor's degree, RSU was a natural choice.

"My advisor at TCC told me about the (bachelor's degree in) applied technology program at RSU, and I found that I could transfer my credits to RSU easily and earn my bachelor's degree faster," she said. "Plus I was familiar with the campus from my father. So, it was a natural fit for me."

She noted the university's small class size was a definite advantage for completing her studies, and felt that her professors took a genuine interest in their students' progress, she said.

A 1981 graduate of Nathan Hale High School in Tulsa, Freeman completed associate's degrees in industrial engineering and manufacturing engineering technology from TCC while she worked full-time as a FedEx courier. After 14 years with the company, she left her job there in 2000 to concentrate on her studies full-time.

She mixed classes from RSU Online with traditional classes in order to facilitate her scheduling needs.

"The RSU Online classes were challenging and required discipline to complete the coursework, but as the mother of a one-year-old, I found the online classes to be convenient and accessible," she said.

As part of her studies, Freeman served an internship with the T.R. Wilson Company, a Tulsa construction firm, where she received first-hand experience working in a self-employed environment.

Stacy Lee

When it came to choosing a university, Stacy Lee wanted a small school where she could get individual attention.

"I really like the small student-to-teacher ratio at RSU, and I felt that the university and the instructors really had a lot to offer," she said.

Lee finished in December her bachelor of science in social science with an option in psychology and sociology, which she completed with magna cum laude honors.

She earned an associate's degree in liberal arts from RSU in 2000. While at RSU, she was a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society and the Psychology Club. She was a four-year recipient of the William P. Willis Scholarship through the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, a four-year recipient of an undergraduate scholarship through the Cherokee Nation and a Rising Junior scholarship from RSU.

She plans on attending graduate school in Tulsa this fall.

A 1998 graduate of Copan High School, she and her husband Daniel live in Dewey. She is the daughter of J.L. Glenn, who lives overseas, and Peggy Glenn of Bartlesville.

Georgette Maker

After earning associate's degrees in agriculture and horse and ranch management, Georgette Maker of Hominy knew a bachelor's degree would help develop the leadership and management skills she felt she needed.

Immediately after she earned her associate's degrees in May 2001, she began pursuing a bachelor's degree at a major state university. However, dissatisfied with her experience after one semester there, she took a few months off to evaluate her plans.

"After that semester off, I decided to go back to RSU because I knew it would be a better fit for me and I could develop my management and leadership skills here," she said. "I knew that I could really use this time to update my computer and technical skills as well."

She entered RSU's unique bachelor of technology in applied technology program, which is specifically designed for students with associate's degrees to seamlessly earn a bachelor's degree. To specialize her studies, she also pursued a minor in biology and completed an internship with the Rogers County Conservation District. She also was a member of RSU's Biology Club.

Maker, who will graduate magna cum laude, said she would like to enter a master's program in environmental science in order to pursue a career in conservation education.

She is a 1980 graduate of Galeton (Penn.) High School. Married to David "Tony" Maker, they have eight children ranging from ages eight to 23 with four children still in the Hominy Public Schools.

In addition to bachelor's degrees, RSU will award associate's degrees to students in a wide variety of fields.

Anthony Nissen, who will graduate summa cum laude, will receive an associate in arts in liberal arts. After graduation, he plans to stay at RSU to pursue a bachelor of arts in liberal arts, before applying to law school at either OU or TU.

The son of Barbara and Scott Nissen of Bartlesville, he graduated from Bartlesville High School.

Anthony completed most of his classes at the RSU campus in Bartlesville. He moved to the Claremore campus to live in the new student apartment complex, and plans to live there while working on his bachelor's degree. One of the reasons he chose RSU is because the university is one of the few in the state to offer both associate and bachelor's degrees.

Rachel Moody, who will graduate cum laude, became familiar with RSU when she was concurrently enrolled at the university while still a home-schooled student in 2001. Upon enrolling as a full-time student at RSU, she entered the associate of applied science in agriculture.

"I was raised in the country on a farm, and I've always been interested in working in that arena," she said.

She said she had a strong affiliation with RSU because several family members also attended the university over the years.

She was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and received academic merit scholarships while attending RSU.

After graduation, she plans to work toward a bachelor's degree in liberal arts from RSU. Once she earns her bachelor's degree, she intends to seek employment with the U.S. Department of Agriculture or perhaps pursue a veterinary degree.

She is the daughter of Orville and Joni Moody of Bartlesville.