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. It’s how you handle it that can help you grow as a student.
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.
Dr. Jessica Manry
Student Success Coach
I joined TU in August 2020 and graduated with my Ph.D. in English Literature from the University at Albany, SUNY in October 2020. I bring to TU a passion for lifelong learning, extensive experience working with diverse student populations, and a deep commitment to equitable, inclusive, and accessible education. I am moved by the collaborative opportunity that Student Success initiatives provide students from all walks of life. Growing up, I did not receive encouragement to attend college largely due to low family income. I was able to find scholarships to fund my education but, like many first-generation students, I frequently wondered if I belonged at a university and did not know how to advocate for myself by asking questions or seeking help. While I often marvel at the path education has made possible for me, I also know that I would have found tremendous value in the mentorship provided by student success coaching. As a Success Coach, I hope to both encourage students on their own educational journeys and empower them to overcome obstacles they may face along the way.
Prior to joining TU, I taught university courses in literature, writing, and first-year experience in New York and Oklahoma. I have also worked as a community organizer and academic advisor. I was born and raised in Tulsa and am happy to be back to watch the community grow.
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.