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From left: OSU Foundation President Blaire Atkinson, OSU Alumni Association President Ann Caine, OSU Provost Jeanette Mendez and OSU President Kayse Shrum at the International Women's Day panel on Tuesday.

OSU Alumni Association hosts International Women's Day panel

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Media Contact: Jordan Bishop | Editor, Department of Brand Management | 405-744-7193 |

The Oklahoma State University Alumni Association and the Student Network hosted a panel Tuesday in Click Hall at the ConocoPhillips Alumni Center to celebrate International Women's Day, which was March 8.

For the first time in OSU history, women lead the university, alumni association and foundation. OSU President Kayse Shrum, OSU Provost Jeanette Mendez, OSU Alumni Association President Ann Caine and OSU Foundation President Blaire Atkinson were the speakers on the panel. 

Each speaker gave insight into their leadership path, pride for OSU and their role at the university. While each set out to pursue a different career, they discovered innovative leadership skills that led them to OSU. 

“Oklahoma State, compared to any other university, is more of a family than a job,” Dr. Mendez said. “Something about this community is so special and has amplified everything I'm interested in. I'm passionate about getting to work with all the students every single day.”

Dr. Caine discussed what building pride at the Alumni Association looks like in her first year as president. 

“I really try to be a servant-leader,” she said. “And that's what we're going for here at the association for everyone we bring to work in our building. We want them to serve. It's not about us. It's about serving OSU and serving our alumni. I'm very passionate about that.”

The speakers also had the chance to share their wisdom about the professional world and the current landscape of women in leadership roles. 

“Be really comfortable with who you are, and don't try to be anything different than that,” Dr. Shrum said. 

“When we're true to ourselves, that's when we're able to lead people. People want to connect with somebody who's authentic. That's a real struggle that any woman in leadership has.”

Atkinson defined what success looks like for her as a leader.

“A life of significance is trying to serve others,” she said. “If you make it about yourself, it's gonna be hard to be fulfilled. But if you're really leaning into others and helping make an impact in the world around you, that's a success.”

The panel allowed students, staff, friends and family of OSU to learn about these topics from the perspective of women serving their university. 

"The International Women's Day Panel was a unique opportunity to hear about our OSU women leaders' career challenges and lessons learned from the professional world,” said Mary Erdmann, executive director of the Student Network. “Their insight and personal stories shed light on how students and current professionals can find success and overcome obstacles in their field."

The Student Network is the largest student organization at OSU. It aims to create leadership and networking opportunities, including fostering leadership among young women in Stillwater. International Women's Day allowed the organization to further its mission. 

“Joining the Alumni Association as a student has provided me with endless opportunities to develop my professional skills and network with alumni,” Erdmann said. “Besides countless career-oriented experiences, the Student Network has allowed me to work alongside students across campus.”

To learn more about the Alumni Association and the Student Network, visit

Story By: Haley Simpson |

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