Student Spotlights


McKenna Oathout

McKenna Oathout

UCO senior McKenna Oathout is preparing to finish her last semester as a student in the UCO College of Education and Professional Studies kinesiology - exercise/fitness management program.

McKenna wants to attend graduate school for occupational therapy and is preparing to take the GRE this summer and begin applying to OT programs. 

Active in student organizations, McKenna is a member of UCO's Leaders of Tomorrow, is serving as president of the UCO chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta and is involved with Student Mobilization (STUMO).

McKenna was recently awarded the Kirkpatrick Gold Medal Award as part of the scholarship she received from the UCO Foundation's Presidential Partners program. She has already applied her scholarship toward a physics course she is taking this summer in order to graduate this December!

"I had never applied for a scholarship until this last year. I always thought there were other students who needed it more. But now, I don't have to work as much in my final semester, and I can prepare for grad school."


David Garrett

David Garrett

At 59 years old, David Garrett is entering his senior year with the UCO organizational leadership program. 

David has spent more than four decades in radio broadcasting. In fact, you may recognize his voice from when he did radio play-by-play for UCO Athletics.  

This past year, David experienced some health issues and needed some additional financial assistance. He applied for and was awarded an organizational leadership scholarship through the UCO Foundation. 

This additional assistance is allowing David to complete his senior year with a little less worry about how to finish his degree while being able to provide for his wife and two daughters. He looks forward to being a spring 2020 graduate!

"When I first attended college in the 1980s, I was told I didn't need a degree to work in broadcasting. Now I'm finding that to progress in my career, a degree was necessary. The UCO organizational leadership program was a good fit for me and where I am in life."


Monica Mann

Monica Mann

UCO senior Monica Mann will graduate with a bachelor's degree in elementary education in May 2019. Monica is a nontraditional student who originally came to UCO in 1990 after high school, but who returned to UCO in 2015 after taking time to raise her two children. While working as a child care supervisor in Alaska, she was encouraged to pursue an associate's degree in early childhood education by a family for whom she worked. This inspired her to return to UCO as an elementary education major. At UCO, Monica has been the recipient of several UCO Foundation scholarships, including the Institute of Hope Scholarship.

"Scholarships and tuition assistance help students like me because we have so many more needs outside of school. There are so many who give up because the struggle is hard, and I couldn't have done it without those who supported the scholarship opportunities I received."


Emily Bertrand-Falcon

Emily Bertrand-FalconUCO senior Emily Bertrand-Falcon is pursuing dual degrees in beiomedical science and chemistry-health sciences and will graduate in spring 2020. Emily is interested in attending graduate school for pharmaceutical science. Emily was a traditional student her first two years at UCO, but two years ago, she married her husband, and the two of them live off-campus. Emily now leads more of a non-traditional student lifestyle, striking a balance between home and campus life. Emily is involved with Tri-Beta Honors Society and Biology Club at UCO, and she is a supplemental chemistry instructor to her peers. Because she stays so active on campus, she is grateful for the scholarships she has received. Between her freshman Baccalaureate scholarship and departmental scholarships she received through the UCO Foundation, Emily does not feel pressured to work, although she does work part time. "These scholarships are going to students that need them. It is encouraging for me and other students to know that our hard work does not go unnoticed. It was an honor to know that others thought I was worthy to receive the support."


Freda Hill

Freda HillUCO senior Freda Hill is pursuing a degree in family life education - gerontology. As a nontraditional student, Freda came to UCO after having spent much of her life taking care of her parents and raising her two children. While she always knew she'd return to school, she feels that her life experiences, especially taking care of her parents, shaped her to find her calling, which was to work with senior populations. As the recipient of scholarship assistance through one of the UCO Foundation's unrestricted scholarship funds, Freda is grateful to be able to finish her last semester without having to worry about a financial burden. "Having to work, take care of my kids and balance school and studying, someone like me can really use that extra help. With all the different scholarships out there, it's good to see foundations that see someone like me."



Kimberly Elmendorf

Kimberly ElmendorfUCO senior Kimberly Elmendorf is pursuing dual degrees in forensic science and sociology-human services with a minor in criminal justice. Kimberly plans to pursue a master's degree after graduation and hopes to become a victim services specialist. At UCO, Kimberly is involved with the Peer Health Leaders group and is active in the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority. As a DeShazer and Hamm Endowed Scholarship recipient, Kimberly is grateful to those who donate to scholarships that benefit UCO students. "I just want to say thank you. The DeShazer and Hamm families and anyone else who contribute to scholarships like these are really making a difference and empowering students to go out and make a difference, too."




Billy Washington

Billy WashingtonUCO freshman Billy Washington is pursuing a degree in early childhood education with a minor in dance. At UCO, Billy is already becoming a leader by establishing a student dance club his first year. As a child, Billy said he didn't always have this confidence, but being a college student gives him perseverance. He can't wait to graduate!

Last fall, Billy was in danger of not being able to reenroll for classes, but assistance from one of the UCO Foundation's unrestricted scholarship funds helped him return to UCO for a second semester. "Without that scholarship, I wouldn't be here today," Billy said. "It definitely changed my life. To everyone out there who supports scholarships, keep doing what you are doing! You're helping kids with their dreams!"⠀


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