Emily Tucker to lead Opportunity Orange Scholars
Friday, January 28, 2022
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Emily Tucker has been named the director for Opportunity Orange Scholars, a new postsecondary education program for students with intellectual disability at Oklahoma State University.
Tucker, who was selected following a national search, also will serve as assistant professor of professional practice in the Department of Human Development and Family Science. She will officially begin her appointment in June.
Tucker brings an extensive record of scholarship and engagement with individuals with disability and with their families. She is currently an assistant researcher at the Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities, where her project work focuses on self-determination for people with disability across the life course. She is slated to complete her doctorate in Medical Family Therapy from East Carolina University in May.
Tucker earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Science (2016) and followed with a Master of Science in Human Development and Family Science, specialization in marriage and family therapy, as well as an Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Studies Graduate Certificate (2019), all from OSU.
“I am thrilled to be coming back to Oklahoma State to work with Opportunity Orange Scholars,” Tucker said. “This program has been a long time coming, and it is so exciting to see all of the support from across the university as well as community partners across the state. I truly cannot think of a better job than one where I get to spend my time fostering inclusion and belonging for the next generation of Cowboys.”
Dr. Jennifer Jones and Dr. Kami Gallus lead the Institute for Developmental Disabilities at OSU. While a student, Tucker worked closely with Jones and Gallus on engagement and research work with individuals who have developmental disability and their families. She was a founding member of a universitywide student organization focused on providing inclusive opportunities for adults with intellectual disability and OSU students on the Stillwater campus. Tucker was also a long-term research assistant for numerous projects, including Oklahoma National Core Indicators and Let’s Take a Walk.
“It is a pleasure to welcome Emily back home to the Department of Human Development and Family Science at OSU,” Jones said. “As a previous undergraduate and graduate student, Emily contributed significantly to the success of many research and community-engagement programs that have paved the way for Opportunity Orange Scholars. Since leaving OSU to pursue her doctoral degree, Emily has continued to expand her knowledge and experience.”
Opportunity Orange Scholars is designed for individuals between the ages of 18 and 26 who have intellectual disability and do not meet OSU’s degree-seeking admission criteria. Students admitted into the academic program can pursue a two-year, non-degree Certificate in Career and Community Studies with an additional, non-degree advanced Certificate in Community Living and Engagement. Students will be fully immersed in the OSU experience, as they live and learn on campus.
“Emily’s personal experience as a student on the Stillwater campus and the relationships she has developed with stakeholders will be such an asset to this new academic program,” Gallus said. “Emily knows what it means to be part of the Cowboy Family and will ensure that future scholars and their families are fully welcomed and find a community of belonging at OSU.”
Applications for the first cohort, to begin in August 2022, are now open. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2022.