Professor’s call about TU’s engineering programs hooked volleyball player - The University of Tulsa
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Professor’s call about TU’s engineering programs hooked volleyball player

When examining her many college options as a prized volleyball recruit, Kayley Cassaday (BS ’23) received an unexpected phone call that took The University of Tulsa to the top of her list.

That call was from a TU professor who detailed the university’s engineering programs for Cassaday, appealing to her pursuit of a prestigious degree that would propel her to lifelong success after her playing days.

“My parents said, ‘No other schools do that. This is something that’s so unique,’” Cassaday said. “I was already saying I liked the school. I liked the size. I liked the volleyball program and the (American Athletic) Conference. So I was like, ‘Why not try it?’”

Fast forward six years, and Cassaday has thrived at TU. She is wrapping up her master’s degree in mechanical engineering after concluding a stellar volleyball career last season as an honorable mention All-American and a two-time academic All-American.

While her volleyball highlights as one of the top outside hitters in school history are too numerous to mention, Cassaday’s work in the classroom was equally noticed. For a capstone mechanical engineering course, she was part of a team of seniors who researched a project for NASA and ultimately were invited to Johnson Space Center in Houston last summer to present the findings.

“We brought our magnetic attachment tool — that’s what our project was — and they tested it, and a real astronaut tested it underwater to simulate the moon gravity,” she said. “It was so cool.”

A native of Overland Park, Kansas, who plans to play professional volleyball overseas after she graduates in May before beginning her engineering career, Cassaday has relished her time at TU.

“I just really appreciate everything the school has done for me — my coaches, my professors, the athletics administration, my teammates, my peers, everyone,” she said. “It’s just been so amazing, and I wouldn’t change anything. I would come back here in a heartbeat.”