Director of Student Success Coaches
I have my Bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University and my Master’s degree in Counseling and Student Development from Kansas State University. I moved to Tulsa after graduate school and was a Residence Director for Housing and Dining Services here at TU in 2009. In 2012, I made the move over to Student Affairs and was the Director of Student Activities and the advisor of Student Association. In Fall 2019, with the start of the Student Success Center, I made the professional move to be a part of a team to help each TU student transition to college successfully.
I choose to be a Student Success Coach because of the positive impact I can have on a student’s time at TU. The biggest draw for me was the one-on-one relationship building with each student. Diving deep to find out the strengths, weaknesses, and goals of each student and helping them navigate their time at TU using those traits. During my time in college, I can specifically remember the people in my corner. The people I knew I could go to at any point, with any question, and would get the support and direction I desperately needed at the time. I believe that you can have multiple people in your corner but at TU I want to be one of them that can help challenge and support you to the end!
One challenge I faced in college was the thought that “college was easy”. During my first semester in college, I had a less rigorous course load and ended the semester with a 4.0. That next semester I didn’t think I needed to try as hard even though my course load was more rigorous. I ended the semester with a not so desirable GPA. At the start of my sophomore year, I made a decision that I needed support and resources outside of myself. I sought out people I knew that could support me through whatever areas I needed to succeed. I sought out tutoring, changed the hours I worked to be better for study hours, and ensured that my friends knew what my priorities were. I believe that everyone can have success after a shortfall during their time in college. Its how you handle it that can help you grow as a student.
Director of New Student Programs and Student Success Coach
I have been a part of the TU family for 15 years and have an MA in Counseling. My previous experience as a counselor and experiential learning retreat facilitator has shaped my passion to empower students to have transformative experiences.
I love helping students navigate the transition to college, and love helping develop confident, compassionate student leaders.
One of the biggest challenges I faced in college was transferring to a new college where I didn’t know anyone. It was a difficult transition that made a lasting impact on my daily motivation to advocate for students.
Assistant Director of New Student Programs and Student Success Coach
After graduating from the University of Alabama (Roll Tide) with a Bachelor’s degree in Education, I worked with students and young professionals in Kansas City and Amarillo in a couple of different communities of faith. I studied the theology of hospitality at Phillips Theological Seminary here in Tulsa, which became instrumental in the training and development I facilitated in the service industry and is now deeply informative in my work with students here at TU.
I am a part of Student Success at TU because education is a form of liberation. The college experience can be a transformative process that can help us become the best versions of ourselves. The interactions with other students, with other disciplines, with other cultures, with faculty members, and with the world of knowledge that’s so readily available changes us and transforms us.
I’ll be honest: I got lucky in college. I was one of 18000 students at a huge state institution where I knew almost no one. College was hard. The reading, writing, and test-taking wasn’t, but the whole transition into college, and into adulthood, was rough. I got lucky that at just the right moments I ran into caring, committed people – a few of them were other students, a couple of them were faculty members and campus professionals. Over the first few semesters, these people helped me stay in college when I almost dropped out, twice. They helped me find a pivot point into my passions and drive in studying education. It changed my life. I went from academic probation to straight A’s. I went from complaining about classes to leading in the classroom. And much of what I learned and discovered in those moments is still integral in who I am and what I do today.
I got lucky I ran into those folks. So, now I work in Student Success to make sure every student has that same opportunity. I train student leaders, network with campus professionals, and coach students so that everyone who comes to TU has their own opportunity for a life-changing experience.
Student Success Coach
I have a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism/Communications from Langston University, MHR-Master of Human Relations-Counseling from the University of Oklahoma and am currently working on my Master of Education in Social Studies.
I discovered later in life that I have a strong desire to help others. I worked as an academic advisor which allowed me to help students but moving into the role of a student success coach has enabled me to work beyond the academic issues and help students in a broader capacity. I have had some unique experiences in my life, and I have come to see those experiences not as hardships but as training so that I can help students overcome various obstacles.
My family dealt with some very serious emotional and financial issues while I was attending college. I was not sure how to ask for help or that I even needed help, I felt like I had to deal with all my issues independently because I believed was being an adult. I was sitting in the financial aid office preparing to submit an appeal for financial aid because it was my second time on academic probation, when the administrative assistant, pulled me to the side and asked if she could talk to me briefly. It was within this conversation that she offered me some advice and gave me information about resources on campus that could help me, however, the most important message she provided to me was that it was ok to need help. By accessing the available resources and support, I was able to learn how to positively cope with the challenges I faced, and it resulted in the successful completion of my degree.
Student Success Coach
I graduated from the University of Tulsa with both my bachelors in Elementary Education and my Masters in School Counseling. I am currently in my 4th year of my Ph.D. in Educational Leadership.
My why for being a Student Success Coach is that I believe that every student can be successful!
When I transferred to The University of Tulsa in the spring semester, I remember feeling lost and alone. I struggled to make friends. This was a difficult place for me because up until then, I always had an abundance of friends. About two weeks after classes started, an RA in Lottie Jane introduced me to her friend circle. Eventually, I became a part of this friend group and the rest of my time at TU is something I will cherish for a lifetime! It was the kindness of an RA that helped me find my space here at TU and I’m proud to have the opportunity to pay that kindness forward by helping other students make the TU community their own!
Dr. Cathy Kennemer
Student Success Coach
I am a native of Derma, Mississippi. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Clothing, Textiles and Merchandising, and my Master’s of Agribusiness Management from Mississippi State University. I then earned a Ph.D. in Human Environmental Sciences: Apparel Merchandising from Oklahoma State University. Prior to working as a Student Success Coach at TU, I worked as both a professional Academic Advisor and a tenured Associate Professor of Business at two Tulsa-area 4-year universities.
I believe that all students attend college with different experiences and expectations and deserve to have a professional “in their corner” to help each student grow and develop.
As a sophomore at Mississippi State, I applied for a scholarship that required a recommendation from a faculty member outside of my major. I remember asking my Business Communication professor because I sat on the front row of a large auditorium class and earned a solid A in her course. Going to her office to ask for the recommendation I felt very confident that she would write a glowing recommendation because I always attended class and was such a good student. I remember her kindly saying to me, “I’m sorry, I recognize you from the front row and know that you made an A in my class; but I don’t know you. I don’t know enough about you to write a scholarship recommendation.” My pride was hurt temporarily, but I quickly understood her message. From that semester forward I made a point to get to know each of my professors and allow them to know me as a student. Because I took a different approach I found the most wonderful mentor who encouraged and helped me apply for both of my graduate programs.
Associate Student Success Coach & Event Coordinator
I did not have the “typical” college experience. I began college at 17, and after two years made the difficult but necessary decision to return home to Tulsa. I received my Associate’s in Liberal Arts from TCC but still had the desire to complete my bachelor’s. I accepted a full-time position at TU in 2013 and began taking classes a year later. In December 2018, I graduated Cum Laude with my BA in Women’s and Gender Studies and a minor in Music. I was awarded the Charlotte Cathey Stewart Award for Outstanding Achievement in Women’s and Gender Studies in May 2019.
College is so different than anything our students have experienced up to this point, and they will inevitably need guidance in at least one area of their life. I love being part of a team that cares about the whole student enough to ask tough questions and challenge our students to develop and grow in their studies, as contributing members of the TU community, and as individuals. It is a gift to have the chance to assist a student in navigating their college experience, and discovering what success looks like for them.
As I mentioned, I did not have a traditional 4-year college experience. I was unprepared for the rigor and work required to thrive in college. I excelled in my first two semesters with a similar effort as I had applied in high school, but as you can imagine, that was not a sustainable output if I wanted to succeed. I became overwhelmed by a number of factors that ultimately led to my decision to take a break from school. When I started taking classes again, I knew I would not make the same mistake. I’m proud of my personal college journey and am thankful for those mistakes that ultimately led me to TU because I now have the ability to speak from experience when I talk to students about resiliency, the importance of good study habits, and asking for help.
I graduated from West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas with a bachelor’s degree in Geology. After working in that field for two years, my husband and I moved to Tulsa and started our family. I was a stay-at-home mom for 22 years before coming to work for TU.
I strongly believe that EVERY student has the potential to be successful. It might take some self-reflection, learning positive self-talk, or obtaining the right resources to accomplish goals. I believe in every student and firmly believe that they can do great things.
My first year away from home gave me much freedom. And with that newfound freedom, I made several poor choices resulting in academic probation. I was ashamed, embarrassed, and disappointed in myself. It didn’t help that I was in a major that my parents insisted. When I returned to college I stumbled upon a class that excited and challenged me. I changed my major and found a mentor. I met with professors, joined a study group, and ended my college experience on the President’s Honor Roll and the Dean’s List.