The University of Tulsa will honor its 2022-23 Jess Chouteau Outstanding Seniors and Top Ten Freshmen during Homecoming week, October 27-30. Ten Seniors and Ten Freshmen are selected each year by a panel of judges from the Alumni Association for their exceptional achievement in academics and community engagement.
This year’s Outstanding Seniors are Natalie Barton of Edmond, OK; Megan Herrington of Overland Park, KS; Ha Huynh of Broken Arrow, OK; Neha Khalid of Omaha, NE; Matt Mangan of Hot Springs, AR; Danita Mathew of Garland, TX; Erica McAlester of Tulsa, OK; Reema Moussa of Wichita, KS; Emma Opoku of St. Louis, MO; and Asa Scott of Springfield, MO.
This year’s Top Ten Freshmen are Vishwasri Aleti of St. Louis, MO; Anna Blair of Prairie Village, KS; Danielle Burns of Canyon, TX; Maddie Fulk of Springfield, MO; Owen Gilstrap of Tulsa, OK; Abby Heidemann of Springfield, MO; Megan Hernadi of The Woodlands, TX; Emma Robbins of Rogers, AR; Steven Stagg of Tulsa, OK; and Rachel Ward of Prosper, TX.
Jess Chouteau Outstanding Seniors
Natalie Barton, an Exercise and Sports Science major from Edmond, Oklahoma, is a member and leader of several campus organizations including Chi Omega-Epsilon Gamma Chapter, the TU Spirit Squad, Phi Eta Sigma, Exercise and Sports Science Club, MEDx, KLIFE, Future Alumni Council, as well as a member of the Presidential Leaders Fellowship.
“I am not the same person that I was three years ago, and I give TU credit for my growth. Within organizations I’ve been a part of, I’ve learned more about my leadership style and skills. Learning to work with people with all different interests and backgrounds is helping to prepare me for graduate school with a focus on occupational therapy. Moreover, my educational and internship opportunities have allowed me to grow as a professional who wants to work with children with disabilities someday.”
Megan Herrington, a Chemical Engineering major from Overland Park, Kansas, is involved in several campus organizations including Peer Mentors, University Ambassadors, Undergraduate Research, Kappa Alpha Theta, Tau Beta Pi – Engineering Honor Society, Society of Women in Physics, Sigma Pi Sigma – Physics Honor Society, and American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
“My time at TU has taught me the value of details – in molecular interactions, relationships, and leadership endeavors – and the miraculous impact they have when we scale them up or take them out into the world to inspire young leaders and empower them to find their voice. With that in mind, I plan to pursue a career as a professor after getting my PhD; I am energized by the idea of synthesizing my interest in teaching and my passion for research. As a faculty member at a research institution, I will be doing work that contributes to global engineering issues while also acting as a steward for women in science.”
Ha Huynh, a biology major from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, has been involved and held leadership roles in several campus organizations including MEDx, Student Association, Asian American Student Association, Society of Women Minorities in Medicine, Alpha Epsilon Delta, Future Alumni Council, as well as serving as a Peer Mentor and University Ambassador.
“As I have just finished my last year as Peer Mentor, I realize how many people I have had the opportunity of mentoring. I was a camp counselor and mentor in a TU pre-health camp for highschoolers interested in medicine, where we exposed the future in medicine and future at our campus as a pre-medical student. I have helped create a community for first-generation and minority students, like myself, and mentored them through the process using my experiences. I have seen the positive change and legacy that I will be leaving and those who are inspired by what I have been able to accomplish.”
Neha Khalid, biochemistry major from Omaha, Nebraska, served the university in several organizations taking leadership roles in the American Red Cross Club, Society for Women Minorities in Medicine, Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, TEDx UTulsa, Honors Student Association, Muslim Student Association, Mentors and Protegees Program, and Future Alumni Council.
“Every single opportunity that I have pursued whether it is as small as volunteering at Hillcrest or as big as presenting at the TU Research Colloquium, has happened because of the amazing support of TU. This university has supported me both academically and socially on my journey to be a physician. But most importantly, because of all of these amazing opportunities and unwavering support from the faculty, I feel that I can not only become a physician but thrive as one.”
Matt Mangan is a biochemistry major from Hot Spring, Arkansas, and has held leadership roles in several organizations on campus including Global Health Brigades TU, Kappa Alpha Order Mu Chapter, Future Alumni Council, Student Association, and University Ambassadors.
“When freshman year kicked off, I never had time to acknowledge those limitations that kept me back before. Life at TU was too full of exhilarating possibilities. There was no task that couldn’t be completed, no heights that couldn’t be reached, and I could be anything I wanted to be. I keep that youthful zeal close to my heart to this day; it’s what laid the foundation for me to truly make the most of my experience here at this school. I can say for certain that I’ve left absolutely everything on the field during these four years, and now… I know what’s possible. I know what I’m capable of and I can’t wait to show it to the world.”
Danita Mathew, a Biochemistry major from Garland, Texas, is a member and leader of various campus organizations including Peer Health Educators, The Society of Women Minorities in Medicine, Peer Mentors, Future Alumni Council, TEDxUTulsa, and American Red Cross.
“The opportunities provided to me at TU helped me realize that public health was my passion, allowing me to transcend beyond the walls of the university to serve the community. I realize how much the opportunities at TU have grown my scientific abilities, leadership skills, and global perspectives. I want to use the skills I’ve built within my TU experience to continue growing as a leader in healthcare as a future physician, and contribute to further research in the field of public health. Ultimately, I want to use these experiences to give back, and connect with future students through mentorship as an alumna to show them that they, too, can change the world.”
Erica McAlester, a Sociology major from Tulsa, Oklahoma is a member and leader in a number of extracurricular organizations, including Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Association of Black Collegians and LINC.
“My experience at The University of Tulsa has undoubtedly prepared me for the future that is before me. My TU experience has developed a belief within me that the children and students of today are essential to our development as a nation. I believe TU has provided a solid foundation for me to begin this work as I plan to pursue a master’s degree while working after graduation. The experience of The University of Tulsa has and will continue to help me achieve my future aspirations as I remember that no matter where I go or how arduous the journey becomes, there is always someone rooting for your success.”
Reema Moussa is a Biology major from Wichita, Kansas. She is actively involved in Peer Mentors, Global Brigades, Student Association, University Ambassadors, Society of Women in Healthcare, Alpha Epsilon Delta Honor Society, Reformed University Fellowship, and Tulsa Orthodox College Fellowship.
“Being involved in Peer Mentors has taught me how to bring people together, Global Brigades has opened my eyes to the ways that other people experience the world, being involved in research has taught me how to problem solve and work in a team, and being in SA has given me the courage to speak up, and to voice my opinion. All of these lessons will be critical to my future goals as a physician, and as a person. I have learned how to open up to others, and how to be a good friend to others. I feel so supported and loved by the community at TU, and I know that this support system will continue to be a crucial factor as I embark on the next steps of my journey towards becoming a physician.”
Emma Opoku, a Biology major from St. Louis, Missouri is involved in many extracurricular activities at TU, including, The Women of Color Collective, Society of Women Minorities in Medicine, Leadership Incorporated, Global Brigades, Lacrosse Club, MedX, National Society of Black Engineers, Association of Black Collegians and is also a Peer Health Educator for the community organization Take Control Initiative.
“TU is where I realized my future aspirations. I came to TU intending to become a doctor. My experience at TU has taught me the value of genuine passion in the activities I choose to be a part of. After graduation, I will be applying to medical school. With the wisdom and guidance from student success couches, career advisors, mentors, and faculty, I am confidently pursuing my dream to be a gynecologic endocrinologist. I aim to provide thorough patient education and be an advocate for survivors of interpersonal violence. I will carry the lessons I have learned in and out of the classroom at TU through the next steps of my endeavors.”
Asa Scott, a Political Science and Chemistry major from Springfield, Missouri, is a leader and member of Peer Mentors, University Ambassadors, Student Association, Future Alumni Council, Lambda Chi Alpha, TU Club Tennis, Peer Tutoring, American Chemical Society Student Affiliates, and TU Mock Trial.
“The University of Tulsa has put me in a position to pursue the career I desire in law & public service by empowering me to follow my academic passions and leadership goals. After graduation I will be attending law school. I then expect to work in the public sector, first public defense, then moving into eventually representing the public on key matters including environmental law and medical policy. I look to finally be a legislator to advocate for these matters. My career aspirations come from my appreciation and passion for public service. Public service is of the utmost importance to me, and TU has well prepared me for both the first and the best work in that career.”
Top Ten Freshmen
Vishwasri Aleti is a psychology major from St. Louis, Missouri. She is involved with the Speech and Debate team, South Asian Student Association, Women in Business, TU Red Cross, Peer Mentor, University Ambassador Club and Reading Partners volunteer.
“To mark my stamp on TU means to exemplify Tulsa spirit on and off our campus. Not only have I taken part in numerous organizations, but I have also created opportunities for myself to grow as a leader and individual. I have made it a goal to not only show my involvement at the University of Tulsa, but also bring my passion for being involved outside of the college grounds. I am invested in my experience at TU and aiding in creating an environment to help others experience the same.”
Anna Blair is a Biology major from Prairie Village, Kansas. She is involved in the Women’s Club Volleyball team, WomENS (Society of Women in Engineering and Natural Science), Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity, Giving the Basics, and CASA.
“I was chosen to be the Treasurer for the Women’s Club Volleyball Team. Due to my hard work, we were approved for the maximum amount of money available to a campus organization. It was at this point that I dug deep and truly dedicated myself to this organization. Now that we were known by other schools, we wanted to put a stamp on the Tulsa campus. That August, I was just a player on the team, but by May I had cemented myself as a leader on the team. Even after I graduate from college, I know that The University of Tulsa volleyball team will be a staple in the TU community and a formidable opponent in the region.”
Danielle Burns is a major of Chemical Engineering from Canyon, Texas. She is involved in Angel Tree Ministry, Snack Pak 4 Kids, TU Softball team, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), The National Society of Leadership and Success, Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, and the Baptist College Ministry.
“Athletics has always been a key part of my life and with the platform I have as a college athlete I hoped to leave a mark of strength and perseverance. I strived to take each challenge that came in my first softball season gracefully and with the will it took to see it through. The mark that I hoped to leave of strength, perseverance, leadership, and expression also left a mark on me. I hope I can continue to impact these various aspects of college life as much as they touch me and do my best to be an example for other young athletes that your path in life does not have to revolve around your career in athletics but can include everything that means something to you.”
Maddie Fulk is an Exercise and Sports Science Pre-Medical and Applied Mathematics (Biomathematics Option) double major from Springfield, Missouri. She is involved in biomechanics research at the Oxley College of Health Sciences, Biomedical Engineering Society, Future Alumni Council, Global Brigades, Early Careers in Community Medicine, Kappa Alpha Theta, The Sound of the Golden Hurricane (Basketball Pep Band), TU Wind Ensemble, University Ambassadors, Phi Eta Sigma, and volunteers at the Discovery Lab.
“When I arrived at The University of Tulsa last fall, I knew that I wanted to leave this campus better than I found it. Throughout my time here thus far, I believe that I have gotten off on a tremendous start via my leadership efforts in various campus organizations. I feel that I have already left my stamp through my involvement in spearheading the new TU Biomedical Engineering Society. Through this organization, I hope the university’s biomedical engineering minor will increase in enrollment and students who are not engineering majors will look into this growing interdisciplinary field, as I have myself.”
Owen Gilstrap is a Psychology major from Jenks, Oklahoma. He is involved in many extracurricular activities, including TU Chamber Choir, TU Psychology Club, AED, MedX and Lambda Chi Alpha.
“As soon as I was accepted into TU, I immediately got to work in solidifying myself as a leader. I found this first through something I didn’t quite expect, joining a social fraternity. I chose the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, and quickly found a group of guys that would guide me in becoming the person I strove to be. I further involved myself by running for executive leadership, in which I ended up becoming the scholarship chairman. And while I was grateful for the opportunity my brothers provided me, fraternity life is only a small part of the Tulsa community. I challenged myself socially in finding new friends, experiences, and interests while also benefiting my newfound community.”
Abby Heidemann is an Energy Management and Finance major from Springfield, Missouri. She is involved with many extracurricular activities at TU, including the TU Honors Program, Honors Student Association, Study Abroad Program, TU Leadership Program, Tulsa Energy Management Student Association, Students for Sustainability, Women in Business, Club Tennis, Chi Omega, and Force For Good.
“I attended a number of leadership academies during high school, and I knew that upon entering college I wanted to apply what I had learned and seek out leadership roles at TU. Philanthropy and community service work have always been passions of mine. My involvement on campus has given me the opportunity to combine my leadership skills with my passion for serving others. Overall, I put my stamp on TU last year through my campus involvement, leadership initiative, and passion for my major.”
Megan Hernadi is a Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics major from The Woodlands, Texas. She is actively involved in Kappa Kappa Gamma, the Advanced Materials Design Group, the Mechanical Engineering Department, the Reformed University Fellowship organization, and is an aspiring musician as a guitarist.
“After my first year in college, I proved to myself that I had the ability to put myself out in front of people and find a means to pursue what I loved. High school was a safe place where I had friends since kindergarten and had a tight knit plan for what classes I was taking. College was entirely different. I came nine hours away from home where I knew no one and built a new community from the ground up. Every relationship was built off of genuine connection and not just close proximity.”
Emma Robbins is an Exercise and Sports Science major from Rogers, Arkansas. She is involved with many extracurricular activities, including Chi Omega sorority, TU Pom Squad, Force For Good, Student Association, Presbyterian Leaders and Scholars Program, Exercise and Sport Science Club, and Panhellenic Council. She also serves as the Basketball and Volleyball Equipment Manager.
“My first game as a member of the Pom Squad was like a dream – interacting with alumni, students and fans, participating in game day traditions and doing what I love: dancing for an audience. Attending The University of Tulsa allowed me to achieve a goal I had worked towards since age 5- dancing for a Division I dance team. Representing TU as a student athlete is my greatest achievement from my freshman year.”
Steven Stagg, a Biochemistry major from Tulsa, Oklahoma, is on the pre-med track academically and is involved in a number of extracurricular activities, including serving as an orientation host, recruitment chair of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, secretary of the TU Barbell Club, volunteer at Hardesty Family Adaptive sports Complex, and a member of Early Careers in Community Medicine Program, American Chemical Society, Medical Exploration Club, and Newman Center.
“I came to TU expecting and almost content with spending the next four years of my life simply grinding to maintain my provisional acceptance into med-school; however, by my second week on campus I found myself involved in organizations – particularly a fraternity that encouraged me to stay focused in school while placing an emphasis on the relationship-building aspect of college that I feel is often overlooked. With the guidance of mentors who live lives I hope to emulate one day, I left my mark on campus through academic mentorship and everyday friendly interactions.”
Rachel Ward, an Exercise and Sports Science major from Prosper, Texas, is a member of a number of student organizations, including Student Association, Chi Omega, TU Student Life Offices, Tulsa Afghan Cultural Exchange Program, Force For Good, and Tulsa Dance Marathon.
“When I first arrived on campus at the beginning of August, I was lost amongst a vast sea of students. By the end of the year, I was pursuing involvement within every organization I could. By participating in multiple organizations, I will continue to impact our university by cross-programing within these clubs and obtaining various skills to become the best student leader I can be, thus fostering creative ideas to aid in further developing the future of our student body.”