Eighty-nine McAlester 8th grade GEAR UP students recently toured Northeastern State University (NSU) in Tahlequah.
Students began the day at the W. Roger Webb Educational Technology Center where they were greeted by Kaylee Switzer, Northeastern State University Representative and alumnae, and Northeastern State University Student Ambassadors, Lexie Billingsley, Mollie Hearn, and Caroline Rowland. Switzer presented students with an overview of NSU.
After the presentation, students were separated into three groups to tour the other buildings on campus with student ambassadors. McAlester students toured the Center for Performing Arts, the College of the Liberal Arts, John Vaughn Library, Haskell Hall, and Gregg Wadley College of Science & Health Professions.
Students continued through campus where they visited the Center for Admissions and Student Enrollment, better known as C.A.S.E. C.A.S.E. offices include most general student services, such as financial aid, careers, and admissions. During the tour, guides answered questions from students and offered advice for future college students.
“Be serious about school now,” said Hearn. “I know it seems like college is forever away since you are a middle school student, but the earlier you start preparing for college, the easier and better.”
Students also had the opportunity to stand in the Circle of Excellence Plaza and Centennial Plaza. The Circle of Excellence Plaza is a dedication to NSU faculty members who have been nominated by students and colleagues for their contributions in teaching, research and service. Each honoree has his/her name on a brick that is installed in the plaza. The Centennial Plaza is a gathering place established on the 100th anniversary of the founding of NSU. A bronze statue of Sequoyah, which stands as a symbol for the strong relationship NSU has had with the Cherokee Nation since the 1800s, is the focal point of the Centennial Plaza.
Lastly, students visited Leoser Hall, part of the campus’ residential complex, where they saw a dorm room. This opportunity gave students a first-hand look at what their future college dorm may look like.
After the campus tours, students ate lunch on campus at the Market Café in the University Center, offering another experience of life as a college student. During lunch, students shared their favorite parts of the tour and campus.
“This was a great university tour,” said Brianna Brassfield, GEAR UP Education Coordinator. “This was the first college tour for many students, and it offered a good insight to what it would be like as a Northeastern State University RiverHawk.”
The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP. Participating schools take two field trips each academic year—one to tour a college or university and one that is cultural/educational in nature. In 2017, Eastern recently received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant and will serve over 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.