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Oklahoma State University

Senior of Significance Emily Ray Thrives at Oklahoma State

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Emily Ray is a small town girl from Texas. Oklahoma State was never on her radar as a potential university to attend until a friend from her hometown of Pilot Point invited her up for a visit.

 “She begged me to come visit her my senior year. When I did, I fell in love with campus, the traditions, the people and Stillwater,” Ray said. “After that first weekend I spent in Stillwater, I knew I wanted to be a Cowboy!”

Ray hasn’t been disappointed since that first trip to Orange country.

 “I just really love all of OSU. One thing that really influenced my decision to come to OSU was the way campus just felt like home. Being from a small town, I loved how campus had that small town feel but was still a Big 12 university,” Ray explained. “I always thought I would go to college in Texas but none of the other schools I visited felt like OSU. Oklahoma State had the traditions I was looking for in a university and the kind of genuinely nice people I wanted to surround myself with.”

Ray’s high scholastic achievement earned her the OSU non-residential scholarship, the Alumni Association's Brighter Orange Scholarship for her freshman year and continuing education scholarships from the College of Education including the Doyle Parrack Endowed Scholarship and John and Caroline Linehan Endowed Scholarship.

 “All of these scholarships I have received throughout the years have definitely helped with expenses. My parents had saved toward a college fund my whole life and I have worked every year in college and during the summers to help pay for everything, but these scholarships have made our financial situation easier, and for that I am so very grateful for all of the financial support I've been given,” Ray said.

Ray’s campus involvement has contributed to her scholarship awards and recognition as one of just 44 OSU Seniors of Significance. She was also selected as one of the College of Education’s Top 10 Seniors for 2015.

 “I knew when I came to college that I would get out of it what I put into it. Because of that, I got involved in several organizations on campus. I was a part of Freshmen Representative Council my freshman year. Throughout my time at college I have put most of my energy into Education Student Council, Kappa Kappa Iota (organization for future teachers), and the College of Education Student Ambassadors program,” she said. “I chose to put most of my time into these COE organizations because I knew that being a teacher and education will be the rest of my life so making connections and learning from these groups would be the most worthwhile to my future.” 

Ray also studied abroad during her sophomore year expanding her OSU experience.

 “The greatest experience OSU has given me was the opportunity to study abroad my sophomore year in Graz, Austria, for the spring semester. The time I spent in Europe from February to July changed my life more than any other experience I've had. I was pushed to limits I didn't know existed, and I grew more in those five months than any other time in my life. I grew in my independence; it truly changed me,” Ray said.

The people Ray has encountered during her time at OSU have also impacted her life.

 “Willard (Hall) has truly become my home over the last few years and I have been fortunate enough to work with, learn from and know several faculty and staff members,” Ray said. “Leslie Evans, my advisor, has been with me pretty much from the beginning. She has helped me through the stressful classes and student teaching semester and she has celebrated with me from little victories to awards I have received. She is the best; I wouldn’t be sane today without her!”

Ray also credits several faculty members for her continued commitment to her chosen profession.

 “During my junior and senior year, I have been taught by Dr. Shanedra Nowell (assistant professor in secondary social studies education). Dr. Nowell has furthered my love for social studies and I have learned how to be a great social studies teacher from her.

 “I had my own little (School of Teaching and Curriculum Leadership) family with Dr. Pam Brown, Kim Lewer and Lisa Baker. I was so blessed to have worked in the office in 2014 and have people who cared about me.”