The University of Tulsa’s graduating class of 2020 didn’t walk across the stage, but the formality hasn’t stopped them from walking into exciting new careers and opportunities. Three of these graduates took time from their busy schedules to reflect on how TU impacted their lives.
Maureen Haynes will start a PhD program in biomedical sciences at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in downtown Chicago. She was awarded full funding for the degree as a Driskill Graduate Fellow. Haynes will work closely with the program’s faculty and fellows on vital research, including discovering new ways to diagnose rare pediatric genetic diseases, running clinical trials for drug treatments for COVID-19 and developing better solutions to drug resistant infections.
Haynes credits TU for helping her reach this point through research with faculty. As a double major in sociology and biology, she participated in three major research projects at TU, working closely with faculty to develop not only technical skills but also vital life skills she says will benefit her moving forward.
“I’ll never forget the care and access that I was afforded by faculty and administration at TU,” Haynes said. “TU does an excellent job of making sure that students are able to have personalized access to the people that will launch their growth and expand their horizons, and I’ve spent countless hours in professors’ offices, talking about everything from class material to current events and the state of the world.”
After graduating with a triple major in computer simulation and gaming, graphic design, and applied mathematics, Courtney Spivey plans on studying for a master’s degree in game programming at the University of Abertay in Scotland. Then, after completing the prestigious one-year program, she hopes to find a job pursuing her passion.
Spivey says she found her footing in the TU computer science and gaming simulation major, which helped put her on a path to where she is at today. In addition to her professors and advisers mentoring her along the way, she is thankful for the small size of the university, which provided a close-knit community of lasting friendships.
Spivey will always remember her adventures as TU, from “chugging a Monster Energy drink the morning after an all-nighter of studying,” which unfortunately did not have the effects she had envisioned, to “the times I spent with my roommate, Kimberly, hyping each other up to go to social gatherings on Friday nights only to both tap out thirty minutes before each event.” She will not forget joining clubs that “taught what diversity, empowerment and equity look like,” and how all of her TU memories involve being surrounded by friends that felt more like family.
Junyu He plans on pursuing higher education in the United States. He earned a degree in psychology from TU and has been admitted by several graduate schools to continue studying criminology.
Of TU, He said, “TU has equipped me with professional and proficient knowledge that is constantly required to achieve my academic goals, including how to become a critical and independent thinker. Critical thinking is pivotal to assure your research findings are valid and reliable in the future, while independent thinking is the groundwork that supports creativity. TU has modified my fixed mindset to one of growth, which allows me to enjoy the process that facilitates personal ability without concerning too much about possible failure.”
Looking back, he has fond memories of TU, including life as an international student and his first homecoming experience. He says there were too many great moments to focus on only one because every shared connection with friends and dedicated professors will not be forgotten.