People. Passion. Purpose. Graduate students embody college's mission
Thursday, November 4, 2021
Media Contact: Rachel Eng | Marketing and Communications Manager | 405-744-8320 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Current and former graduate students across the College of Education and Human Sciences are leading in exceptional ways and making significant and meaningful impacts within their programs, professions and communities through research, teaching and service.
Lt. Col. Omar Hamilton
2015 Aviation and Space Education Ed.D.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Omar Hamilton took his career to the next level with his degree. Stationed at Joint Base Langley- Eustis in Virginia, Hamilton works in the Headquarters Air Combat Command as chief of the Current Operations Branch, leading efforts to provide troops and airplanes throughout the world. As leader of the crisis response team, he also oversees aid delivery during natural disasters.
“My career has taken me all over the world flying with the E-3 Sentry, Airborne Warning and Control System. I’ve led airmen in every capacity on and off the jet, and serving as commander was one of the highlights of my career.”
2016 Reading and Literacy M.S.
Hanna Al-Jiborui is an elementary school teacher and reading specialist in Tulsa. She serves as the board president for Poetic Justice, a nonprofit organization that offers writing and arts programs for individuals incarcerated in women’s prisons and jails. Since its formation in 2014, the program has welcomed more than 3,500 participants and 500 volunteers.
“My work with Poetic Justice is humbling and always reminds me to have gratitude. Being a part of this organization has forever changed my perspective on others and their lived experiences. I have always believed the power of writing is life-saving, and my work with Poetic Justice has further affirmed that belief.”
2016 Counseling M.S.
As a high school science teacher, Brett Stout saw students struggling with complex issues and decided to pursue his master’s degree so he could provide them with the appropriate resources to heal. As a two-time OSU graduate, Stout is making a difference as a school counselor for Kellyville (Oklahoma) Public Schools.
“Becoming a school counselor has equipped me to support my students, and amongst mental health professions, it gives a lot of time flexibility to meet students’ needs.”
Dr. Don Raleigh
2017 School Administration Ed.D.
Dr. Don Raleigh has used his degree to lead education conversations across the state while investing in teachers, staff and students during his 13-year tenure as superintendent of Pryor Public Schools. He now serves as senior associate dean for academic affairs for Liberty University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. While pursuing his doctorate, Raleigh was an early participant of TeleED, a collaborative teleconference program for Oklahoma school administrators. Originally designed as an opportunity for superintendents of large school districts to share resources and insight with colleagues in smaller, rural districts, TeleED has become vital as school administrators develop collaborative solutions for distance learning.
“I’ve been blessed to be in a position to hopefully make some change and to have an impact on kids in our community. I came to OSU wanting to continue to excel as a leader and to grow my own personal craft, so I could support the Pryor School District.”
Human Development and Family Science Ph.D. student
Carly Dunn was recently recognized as a Women for OSU Scholar in honor of her commitment to helping others through compassion, work ethic and dedication to philanthropic efforts. Her research focuses on addressing health inequities and the social determinants of health for underserved and marginalized communities. As part of the Center for Family Resilience and Center for Public Life staff, she works extensively on mental health, substance use and equity-based projects and initiatives. Additionally, she works closely with rural Native American and Alaskan Native communities across Oklahoma, Kansas and Alaska to address behavioral health prevention and intervention needs.
“I work within this vein of research and advocacy in order to address the systemic and systematic barriers which drive health inequities. By addressing the social determinants of health, we are able to equip communities with the tools and resources needed to improve health and quality of life.”
Interior Design M.S. student
Audrey Firth is committed to creating designs that help people feel happy, healthy, safe and better in the space around them. Her master’s thesis focuses on spacecraft design, a passion she discovered after hearing a NASA guest speaker in one of her classes. The beginning stages of her research involve using virtual reality headsets to test how people feel in the environment and altering her designs and sketches accordingly.
“Interior design is not just decorating. It’s designing things in a way that work for people so they can live and do what they need to in that space.”
Nutritional Sciences Ph.D. student
Bryant Keirns is using financial support from an American Society for Nutrition Foundation award to identify early cardiovascular disease risk factors in groups that appear to be at higher risk for long-term cardiovascular disease. Another of Keirns’ research interests is studying how gut health influences overall health and cardiovascular disease risk. His goal is to one day combine these two interests to perform clinical research and teach in a university setting.
“Our hope is that my dissertation research will help resolve controversy over whether individuals with metabolically healthy obesity are at risk for cardiovascular disease or not. We are also trying to identify risk factors that may reveal cardiovascular disease risk sooner in those with normal-weight obesity.”
Health and Human Performance Ph.D. student
Stephanie Sontag received the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Foundation Women’s Scholarship for her research on muscle physiology. Specifically, she studies muscle fiber composition, motor unit behavior and resistance training. One of her projects includes isolating a hand muscle and investigating how its motor units adapt in response to resistance training. Ultimately, she wants to use what she learns at OSU to encourage other women to pursue strength and conditioning careers.
“It’s important for women to know there are women in the field making a difference. There are not many female strength and conditioning professors, and I want to change that.”
Counseling M.S. student
Stephanie Zackery is combining her passion for mental health with her desire to empower more underrepresented students to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professions. Her thesis research studies how effective mentorship can improve the experience and retention of racial minority STEM students by boosting their self-confidence.
“Counseling allows me to use the theories and concepts I learn in my classes to help people in a direct way. I have always been interested in people and how their minds work, and now I can use that in a career that makes a difference.”