Thirty-two Frink-Chambers eighth grade GEAR UP students recently toured Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SOSU) in Durant.
Students began the day at the Glen D. Johnson Student Union where they were greeted by Admissions Counselor and High School Recruiter Kourtney Kaufman and Transfer Student Recruiter Charles Jackson. Students separated into two groups to tour the student union and other buildings on campus with Kaufman and Jackson each leading a group. Located in the student union, students visited the Student Health Services and Counseling Center, cafeteria, and wellness center. The Glen D. Johnson Student Union serves as the hub of student activities.
Next, students visited the Paul Laird [football] Field, theater department, and the Bloomer Sullivan Arena, where former National Basketball Association (NBA) player, Dennis Rodman, has a jersey hanging on display. Rodman played for SOSU from 1983 to 1986. While in the theater department, students toured backstage and saw where sets were developed. Students learned that six select members of the theater department perform Hamlet at public schools and other venues in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas at no cost to the school or venue.
Students toured Shearer Hall and Suites, one of three housing options on the campus. Students saw a four-bedroom suite furnished with kitchen appliances and furniture.
Students also toured the Henry G. Bennett Memorial Library and classroom buildings, including the oldest building on campus Morrison Hall, Science Building, Math Building, Fine Arts Building, and Russell Building, which is home to the Johnson Massey School of Business. Throughout the tour, guides provided tidbits of information about each building and an insight to what it is like being a SOSU student. Jackson and Hughes discussed a variety of opportunities on campus, including financial aid and scholarships, internships, clubs and organizations, and Greek life.
“It is the end of your eighth grade year,” said Jackson. “My best advice to give you is that high school begins next year, so work hard on your grades in ninth grade. Colleges look at your transcript for all four high school years.”
After the campus tours, students sat in the wellness center to listen to SOSU alumnus and former SOSU football wide receiver, Kaymon Farmer, speak about his experience as a college student and college football player.
“No matter what you do in life, make sure you participate in the community and bring it value,” said Farmer.
Farmer is an active member in the SOSU and Durant communities. As a player, he was a member of the Allstate Good Works Team, one of college football’s most prestigious off-the-field honors where a select group of student athletes are recognized for their dedication to volunteerism and the positive impact they have made off the field.
Lastly, students were asked which careers they wanted to pursue, and then Kaufman discussed the paths students could take through high school to get to college. Kaufman then presented students with an overview of SOSU, which included a discussion on the top five majors SOSU offers: aviation, biology, education, business and safety.
To end the day, students ate lunch at Dairy Queen. During lunch, students shared their favorite parts of the tour and campus.
“This was the first university tour for most students,” said Brianna Brassfield, GEAR UP Education Coordinator. “The tour offered a great detail of what it would be like as a college student at Southeastern, which could be a great fit for some of these students.”
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 received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant and is serving over 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.