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Oklahoma State University

Student Spotlight: Senior Omar Ibarra

After leaving the comfort of his hometown, Omar Ibarra came to OSU to pursue his dream of receiving higher education. Four years later, Ibarra is a health education and promotion senior who is

Omar Ibarra

president of the Hispanic Student Association, spoke at the 2017 OSU President’s New Student Convocation and was featured in the New York Times.

Ibarra is from Guymon, Oklahoma, where 70 percent of the population is Hispanic and few people leave to pursue higher education. Ibarra was different. After seeing OSU promoted around the area, he visited the campus and knew he could start his future here.    

“I had a 2.2 GPA at the end of my sophomore year in high school and never thought I would amount to anything, but it is through struggle and perseverance that I have made it as far as I have,” Ibarra says.

After choosing OSU and his major, Ibarra knew he wanted to get involved on campus to meet new people and step out of his shell. Ibarra is now the president of the Hispanic Student Association, which fosters the development of opportunities for Hispanic students at OSU, a member of Mortar Board National Honor Society and an ambassador for the Student Alumni Board. He also served on the steering committee member for Education, Health and Aviation Week. In addition, Ibarra interned for the nonprofit Latino Community Development Agency, which serves the underprivileged, and volunteers regularly in the Stillwater community.

“I came here by myself and didn’t know a soul, but right off the bat I was able to get involved with organizations and make friends,” Ibarra says. “These experiences have made my time here fly by, and I will forever remember the lessons I learned from them.”

In August, Ibarra was also chosen to speak at the university’s New Student Convocation to inspire students with his story.

“I was able to tell about my struggles, but more importantly, I was allowed the opportunity to tell how I overcame them,” Ibarra says. “It was an amazing and humbling experience.”

This year, Ibarra was selected to be featured in a New York Times article about the perseverance of first-generation college students, where he was able to share his story with the world.

“I love every opportunity I get to represent Hispanics in a bright light in higher education; even if I was to only inspire one person through it, I would be immensely happy.”

After graduating in May 2018, Ibarra will pursue his Master of Public Health, with the dream of taking on the corporate world and eventually advocating for health services and resources in communities where they are most needed.

With graduation approaching, Ibarra reflects that the College of Education, Health and Aviation allowed him the opportunity to pursue a major that he is passionate about and offered countless resources and opportunities.

“Working alongside the professors, and with my always helpful advisor Kevin Gerfen, I know what to expect when I graduate,” Ibarra says. “I will be ready to make my college and OSU proud.”

Ibarra sums up his college experience as “empowering.” He has taken advantage of the opportunities within OSU and the College of Education, Health and Aviation and will graduate knowing he left his mark.

Watch Omar Ibarra speak at 2017 President’s New Student Convocation: