How to vote as a college student

 Evan Kennemer

Features Assistant

As the November elections draw near, many college students are thinking about where and how to vote. 

Many people, especially college students neglect voting or even registering to vote, because they just don’t know how to go about it.

According to, 18 to 29 year olds have the lowest percentage of voters turning up to the polls with only approximately 45 percent of registered voters voting in the 2016 presidential election.

Each older age group (30-44, 45-64 and 65+) had around 60 to 70 percent of their registered voters vote in the 2016 presidential elections. 

While 18 to 29 year olds had the lowest percentage of active voters in the last presidential election, they are the only age group that has shown an increase in percentage of voters since 2012, while the others have steadily decreased.

According to, the 2000 Bush v. Gore election was decided by a tight popular vote. 

After having the votes in Florida recounted, Bush won by .009 percent (537 votes) of the votes cast. 

The outcome of the Bush v. Gore election shows how every vote is important to an election’s final decision.

In today’s age, registering to vote and gathering more information about elections has never been easier. 

Voter registration paperwork is sent to each American citizen upon turning 18. 

Many people don’t fill out this paperwork upon receiving it, neglecting to register until a major election is right around the corner, such as the presidential election on Nov. 3.

To those who have yet to register in their state of permanent residence, don’t worry because there is still time to register. 

To register online, go to the state’s voter registration page.

For example, is the website for Oklahoma residents and is the website for Texas residents. 

Some states offer the option of completing the entire registration process online. Oklahoma is not one of those states.

For the states that do not provide the entire process online, citizens must follow the prompts on the website in order to fill out the form, print it off and mail it to the listed address.

While the state may not provide online registration, third-party sites such as provide guidance to voting in this way. 

The deadline to have registration paperwork mailed off or submitted in person is rapidly approaching with the deadline being October 5 in Texas and October 9 in Oklahoma.

After registering to vote, it’s helpful to know when and how to vote. Many college students don’t vote because they go to school outside of their home state or they are several hours from their hometown and assume they can’t make it to their polling precinct and back to school in time for class. 

But, that just isn’t the case.

College students are able to request absentee ballots through their state of permanent residence in a process similar to registering online. 

They can go online and find the state’s election board site for information how to qualify to be able to apply for an absentee ballot online or via mail-in.

Some states do not offer online registration and won’t have the absentee ballot available to fulfill completely online either, therefore one must fill it out, print it off and mail it back to the election board in order for them to process it and grant the voter an absentee ballot.

For those that live close enough to their polling location, which can be found on your voting registration card, show up to vote on Nov. 3

National Hispanic Heritage Month

 Courtesy Photo / The Bison

 Jacob Usry 

Features Assistant

This month (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15) The United States is observing Latin heritage month. 

There are many influential, Latin individuals who are being celebrated this month for what they have achieved both for their culture and for United States of America. 

Oklahoma Baptist is fortunate enough to have a large population of international students from Latin cultures all around the world.

“The culture here is really different from Mexico,” said junior graphic design major and Mexico resident Rosa Escalante. 

“The food in Mexico for example, tastes a lot more natural than American food. Like the coke is even safer because it’s made with real sugar and not fake stuff.”

Escalante said before her aunt came to the U.S., no one in her family had been here.

“There were nearly 60 million Latinos in the United States in 2017,” according to an article published on Pew Research Center’s website, “Accounting for approximately 18% of the total U.S. population. In 1980, with a population of 14.8 million, Hispanics made up just 6.5% of the total U.S. population.”

According to the same article, between 2000 and 2016 almost 30 million Hispanics have moved to the United States.

Courtesy Photo / The Bison
Rosa Escalante is part of OBU’s Swimming and Diving team.

“When I first got here it was difficult to understand everyone,” said Escalante. 

“Especially if someone has an accent… when I first came here, I didn’t understand anything. Even when my coach talked I just kind of nodded my head and acted like I understood, then copied what everyone else did…in Mexico we begin learning English in middle school…but it was still super hard to understand when I got here and people had different accents.”

According to The United states Census Bureau, as of 2019, Hispanics are the nation’s largest minority.

“If you come here to study or play a sport you will definitely feel homesick at first,” said Escalante. “What really helped me is having other people that spoke Spanish around, which allowed me to express myself better than if I was talking in English…if you are coming to study in the U.S. I would suggest looking for places with a large international student population, because it may help you transition better.” 

OBU plans on doing their part, when it comes to celebrating this month for their international or domestic Latino population.

On Sept. 29, Dr. Swadley and Dr. Wilbur will be meeting with any student that either is from a Spanish speaking country, from a family of primarily Spanish speakers or that has strong Latin descent. 

There are also multiple ways to celebrate and contribute to this month if individuals are not from Hispanic descent. 

The first way to support this month would be to donate to a local non-profit such as United We Dream.

According to ET Mas (a popular entertainment publication for Latin Americans) (a popular entertainment publication for Latin Americans) “Self-described as the largest immigrant youth-led community in the country, United We Dream’s mission is to empower undocumented immigrants. 

Through campaigns at the local, state, and federal level, the group fights for justice and dignity for immigrants and all people.”

There are also ways to support the month without having to donate. 

One of these ways could be watching the famous documentary, Latino Americans, which is streaming on PBS.

“PBS’s landmark six-hour 2013 documentary, Latino Americans, is an exhaustive look at the history and experiences of Latinos. Giving both a historical overview of Latinos in the U.S. from the 16th century to present day, the documentary series includes interviews with the likes of Rita Moreno, Gloria Estefan, and Dolores Huerta.”

Chadwick Boseman coworkers and fans pay tribute to the late actor

Courtesy Photos/The Bison
Chadwick Boseman, the actor that played the role of king T’Challa in Black Panther, passed away August 28, 2020 of colon cancer.

Peyton King

Features Editor

From playing the role of the historic Jackie Robinson to the fictional character of King T’Challa in Marvel’s “Black Panther,” American actor Chadwick Boseman was an on-screen hero in the eyes of Black Americans today.

August 28, 2020, Boseman passed away from colon cancer at the age of 43. Boseman’s publicist Nicki Fioravante told The Associated Press the actor died at his home in the Los Angeles area with his wife and family by his side.

But in spite of his sudden passing, there is reason to believe Boseman’s face and legacy will live on forever through the big screen.

As soon as the news of the actor’s death hit social media, celebrities and fans alike released an outpouring of tribute posts.

Boseman’s co-stars in the Marvel film “Black Panther” have spoken out in light of the situation.

 Actress Letitia Wright addressed her on-screen big brother in a six-minute Instagram post captioned: 

 “For my brother.”

“An angel on earth departed. A soul so beautiful. When you walked into a room, there was calm. You always moved with grace and ease. Every time I saw you; the world would be a better place,” Wright said.

Wright isn’t the only “Black Panther” actor to pay tribute to Boseman, though. Actor Michael B. Jordan, who played the role of antagonist Erik “Killmonger” Stevens, also made an Instagram post.

“Everything you’ve given the world … the legends and heroes that you’ve shown us we are … will live on forever. But the thing that hurts the most is that I now understand how much of a legend and hero you are,” Jordan said. 

“Through it all, you never lost sight of what you loved most. You cared about your family, your friends, your craft, your spirit. You cared about the kids, the community, our culture and humanity. You cared about me. You are my big brother, but I never fully got a chance to tell you, or to truly give you your flowers while you were here.”

Boseman’s coworkers and fellow stars aren’t the only ones who have been addressing the actor and his family. 

Fans of Boseman’s work have also been speaking out with praises of the actor’s position in the movie universe and humanitarian works.

Writer Lisa Respers France of CNN made a tribute piece to the late actor on August 29, 2020.

“The public was unaware that Boseman was displaying some heroism of his own as he had been diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2016,” France said. 

“[He] still chose to continue the physically demanding role in not only ‘Black Panther,’ but also playing the role in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and ‘Avengers: Endgame.’ In doing so he left us with a legacy that extends beyond the big screen.”

 On top of taking on the challenging kingly role of T’Challa whilst battling cancer, Boseman also did charity work for cancer patients through St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our friend Chadwick Boseman. Two years ago, Chadwick visited the St. Jude campus and brought with him not only toys for our patients but also joy, courage and inspiration,” St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital said in a tweet.

A video from a 2018 interview of Boseman breaking down whilst discussing the impact “Black Panther” had on two young boys with cancer has resurfaced in light of his passing.

“There are two little kids, Ian and Taylor, who recently passed from cancer. And throughout our filming, I was communicating with them, knowing that they were both terminal,” Boseman said. 

“And what they said to me, and their parents [also] said, they’re trying to hold on until this movie comes. And to a certain degree, you hear them say that, and you’re like ‘wow.’”

 Marvel Studios also came out with a video to shine light on the career of Boseman. To watch, go to

OBU’s University Scholars Weekend and Be A Bison Day

bison day_courtesy okbu.png

Courtesy Photo / OBU

Dozens of students visited OBU’s campus for Be a Bison Day, University Scholars’ Weekend or both last Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Josiah Jones

News Editor

Prospective students flooded OBU’s cam- pus this weekend for two admissions-related events: Be A Bison Day and University Scholars Weekend.

Be A Bison Day occurs several times per semester and is an opportunity for prospective students to see what attending OBU would be like. Last weekend’s Be A Bison Day was Friday, Feb 14.

According to OBU’s website, “Bison Day is designed for students to see what the next four years could look like by experiencing a typical day in the life. Join us for this event to learn more about what OBU can offer you!”

According to OBU’s website, there are three more Bison Days this spring. They will be Monday Mar 9, 2020, Wednesday Mar 11, and Friday Mar. 13.

The University Scholars Weekend surrounds OBU’s University Scholarship Program. The program allows high-achieving students a chance to win one of six full-tuition scholarships to OBU.

The weekend ends with the Annual Scholarship Recognition Ceremony, where the six winners of the scholarship are announced, and all prospective student who have accepted scholar- ships are recognized.

“The University Scholarship is a full-tuition scholarship opportunity for students on Bison Hill!” assistant director of admissions Kalyn Fullbright said.

“To qualify, students must have a 32 ACT and a 3.75 GPA. In order to apply, accepted students must submit a letter of recommendation, resume, and an essay focused on one of three given prompts.”

Candidates are evaluated by OBU professors across many fields of study. These professors then choose which candidates move on to the next phase.

“Upon receiving the students’ documents, our team distributes them to select professors on campus for review,” Fullbright said.

“Once reviewed, we determine which students will qualify to move forward in the process.”

Once students make it to the next round, they must come to OBU to be interviewed by faculty.

“The final step in the process is an interview with OBU faculty and staff,” Fullbright said. “Each candidate sits with a panel of three judges for a 20-25 minute interview.”

The interviews are formal and scored.

Though the faculty members interviewing candidates do the scoring, they are not the ones to make the final decision about who will win the six available scholarships.

Admissions leadership compare data from across the candidate selection process.

“At the end of this process, Admissions leadership evaluates the scores from a variety of different areas including interview scores, essay scores, test scores, and more.” Fullbright said.

The University Scholars Weekend consisted of three parts: the University Scholars Banquet, the students’ interviews, and the Annual Scholarship Recognition Ceremony on Saturday, when the six winners of the University Scholarship are announced.

“University Scholars weekend is when students actually come to campus and interview!” Fullbright said.

[…] this is one of several components that determine[d] the winner(s) of the scholarship.”

With both events happening at once, OBU’s admissions team was busy. There was much
crossover between Be A Bison Day and the University Scholars Weekend participants.

“This weekend, we host[ed Be A] Bison Day, University Scholars Banquet, and finally our Annual Scholarship Recognition Ceremony.” Fullbright said. “Some students [were] on campus for all three events!”

The Annual Scholar- ship Recognition Ceremony also recognizes all other prospective students who have accepted scholarships from OBU. According to OBU’s website, 99 percent of undergraduate students at OBU receive some amount of financial aid.

Current students were encouraged to greet the prospective students, with the hope of connecting with them and increasing their chances of coming to OBU.

“The only thing that is exclusive is the University Scholars Banquet (and their interviews)!” Fullbright said.











The Candidates: Ball and Pumphrey are committed to service

By Jacob Factor, Features Editor   (Courtesy photo/Jonny Ball)

“We care about the student body. Jonny and I have the commitment to service. We’re not afraid to be that persistent professional voice and ask the tough questions.”

Jonny Ball is a junior biology major. He grew up on a Christian campground in Anadarko, Okla. His background, he said, gave him his reason for running for student body president.

“Every year was about the people that came to camp and about serving them,” he said.

“[The camp] kind of instilled in me life is about other people.”

Ball said his platform reflects this mindset. Community, communication and credibility are his three main focuses.

For community, Ball said he wants to help people realize their own goals and dreams and help them start clubs and organizations based on what they love to do.

He also said he wants to give student-athletes a voice in the rest of the OBU community.

“It’s hard sometimes to bridge the gap between student athletes and students who aren’t athletes.”

To remedy this, Ball said he wants to partner with SAAC and give them a spot in SGA and increase attendance at sporting events.

“If you want to be involved in a student athlete’s life, it’s important to support them.”

The next area of focus in Ball’s platform is communication which is all about transparency.

“SGA serves as a conduit for communication between administration and student.”

Ball said he wants to add student body president office hours so students can go to his office, which is on the second floor of the GC, and talk with him about what’s going on.

“There’s a lot more going on with topics than what we see sometimes, so it’s easy to get frustrated,” he said.

“Anything that we want to make happen, we’re going to be transparent about it, and if it doesn’t happen, we want to be transparent about why it didn’t happen.”

Ball said for the last area of focus, credibility, he wants his reputation to speak for itself.

He and his vice president running mate, junior Josh Pumphrey, have worked in CAB, Res Life, the Success Center and SGA, so Ball said he and Pumphrey are equipped with the leadership abilities needed to be student body president.

The Candidates: Myers and Floyd want students to leave a legacy

By Jacob Factor, Features Editor   (Courtesy photo/Clayton Myers)

“Clay and I view OBU very similarly; we love OBU to death, but we constantly see other students not have that same love for OBU that we do, and we want to change that.”

Clayton Myers is a sophomore family and community service and political science major. Both he and his vice president running mate, sophomore Nathan Floyd, said one of the most important parts of their platform is leaving a legacy.

“We are not talking about Nathan and I leaving a legacy for ourselves, but each person getting to leave their own legacy here at this school.”

Myers said this will happen with events that involve the whole OBU student community, not just a few.

Myers wants to help form new organizations that make minority groups feel like they belong, as well as make student athletes a part of the non-athletic OBU community.

“Every single student, whether they’re an athlete, an international student, a part of an underrepresented minority, matters,” Floyd said.

Myers also said he wants to bring about ways for students to directly talk to administration.

“We want to set up a forum that is a face-to-face meeting of students and [administration] so that we as students can ask the tough questions directly and avoid getting a tip-toe answer.”

Another part of their platform is reviving the Harvest Court’s importance and prestige. Floyd said it would bring excitement for students and alumni during homecoming.

While most of their ideas are for the student community, Myers said he and Floyd have thought of ways that SGA itself can improve.

Their plan for that is to have student organizations represented in SGA by a senator who acts as a voice for that organization.

“This is not just a, “talk to this senator when you need money,” but a real relationship and friendship that will allow for students to voice their opinions easier,” Myers said.

“We don’t want SGA to just be there when people need us, we want SGA to be there as a friend.”

Myers and Floyd are the only sophomores on the ballot for student body president and vice president, and Myers said this can help them accomplish their goals.

“This change is the change of culture at OBU that we realize will take more than just one term, and more than just two terms, but a continuation of active participants changing the culture for the better,” he said.

“We have the most time here on this campus to do that.”

International student athletes face different challenges, stressors than other students

By Zoya Timoshenko, Contributing Writer

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According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), there are 17,000 international student-athletes competing in NCAA schools alone.

Oklahoma Baptist University hosts around 73 international student-athletes, and roughly 40 different countries are represented on OBU’s 2,093-student campus.

Naturally, one might think international students bring an exciting flair to the American culture and its universities.

Specifically, international students do bring cultural diversity to college campuses.

“I think international students help others in the student body to gain a broader perspective of the world,” said Joy Carl, the director of international student services at OBU.

“Each international student has a unique perspective and individual passions. It’s through getting to know individual international students personally that other students at OBU will most benefit from the cultural diversity on our campus.”

Christina Roach, the international admissions counselor for OBU, said she believes international student-athletes not only contribute to cultural diversity but also exemplify hard work and determination.

Roach said she can personally attest to this sentiment after witnessing how international athletes must juggle a multitude of responsibilities and new experiences.

“They have the same demands that any other athlete has in terms of class time, study time, practice time, traveling and competing,” she said. “The big difference is that they must adjust to a different culture all while being a student and an athlete.”

That hard work and determination can be seen as they begin the arduous bureaucratic journey associated with traveling to the United States.

Obtaining a student visa for the United States is complicated and requires diligence and responsibility, but the visa is just one component, however. Students must also complete paperwork for the NCAA, update their medical records and obtain school records—no easy chain of events to complete.

The Process to the United States: Recruiting

The process to compete and study abroad in the United States begins one of three ways. One option is to be recruited by a visiting coach, who might visit a foreign country specifically to see an athlete perform.

They either visit for a specific athlete or go to show-cases where many athletes gather to compete for their future.

Another way to increase visibility with the coaches is to use a managing company, who then videos the athlete perform and publicizes the video on a coach-accessible platform.

Once a coach shows interest in the athlete, he or she then reaches out to the potential student and thus begins the application process.

The final option involves athletes pursuing the coaches for that initial meeting; many students simply contact coaches directly and send them videos and relevant information.

OBU graduate and former swimmer Nicolas Brun, who is from France, said he took matters into his own hands when he decided he wanted to study and compete in the United States.

Initially, his eligibility for the NCAA was complicated by his age and a missing science course from his high school curriculum.

“That’s why I emailed every NAIA and NGCAA school in order to get a swimming scholarship,” he said.

The NAIA and NGCAA had different requirements which made Brun eligible to compete with them with his current age and high school curriculum.

Either way, once a coach shows interest in the athlete, the athlete must then begin the admission process, and that process begins with determining NCAA eligibility.

Academic Requirements and Test Scores

First, the student is required to get his or her official high school transcripts.

Steve Fluke, associate athletic director for compliance with NCAA at OBU, said getting high school transcripts can be difficult—a sentiment that is shared by student-athletes as well.

“Unlike in the United States, a school does not hold the transcripts,” said Abdoulaye Bah, a junior soccer player from France. “There is one organization that holds all the records for every student from elementary school until their graduation.”

Bah said that once he received those transcripts, he then had to send them to a company in New York City to convert the grading to American standards.

This process not only takes time but also costs around $300. Some countries also require additional proof of graduation via a leaving certificate. A leaving certificate is a transcript with exit exam scores of the graduate.

In addition to the transcripts, prospective students must also take the ACT or the SAT.

If they do not speak English, they are required to take a test called Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), which determines the level of English proficiency. The results determine if the student is prepared to participate in classes or if he or she will need participation in an English program.

If the English scores qualify these students to join college classes, they must show they have taken the minimum required courses in high school—a step which illustrates a commiserate level of primary education.

Specifically, students must have completed a required curriculum in their area of study in order to compete.

Sherine Van der Westhuizen, a South African track and field runner, said the many curriculum mandates can be daunting. She said she knew she wanted to pursue a career in accounting and study in the United States, so she chose classes pertaining to her area of study in South Africa.

However, the NCAA also requires high school students to have some history credits, which Van der Westhuizen did not have because she chose to study accounting instead. Because she lacked the academic requirements, she could only compete in division two universities.

These kinds of issues become common in the “clearing” process for international students, she said. These are not the only academic standards for division two universities in the NCAA, Fluke said.

These requirements are mandatory for any athlete, international or domestic.

However, international athletes face a more daunting process because their grading systems often differ from the American grading systems.

Hence, the requirements below must be converted from their grading system to the American grading system.

“[Students] must earn 16 core credits from their high school,” he said. “They must earn at least a 2.2 grade point average and, depending on their grade point average, it will determine what their score of their ACT or SAT test score must be. This is a sliding scale that the NCAA Eligibility Center uses.”

If the athlete does not meet the immediate required academic standards, he or she can redshirt on the red-shirt academic standards for a year.

Unfortunately, these are just some of the requirements established for one division; each one has different academic and demographic standards that must be navigated.

For example, division one and two sports only allow student-athletes one year of grace period before their eligibility expires to compete collegiately.

Some sports also require the athletes to be under 21 years of age.

Athletes who do not meet amateur status cannot compete for a NCAA university.

Finally, athletes must prove amateurism status to compete in division one and two, Fluke said.

According to the NCAA, the amateur status is affected by an athlete signing with an agent, receiving cash or benefits for their athletic ability, or signing and playing with professional teams or athletes.

According to the NCAA website, “membership established the process to bring about national uniformity and fairness.”

Student Visas and Immigration Laws

While the student is gathering necessary records for admission into the NCAA and his or her school of choice, athletes must also apply for their student visas.

Basically, this means United States Immigration gives that student their blessing to study in America.

The student must first receive an I20 form from the school they are planning to attend. At OBU, Joy Carl issues the I20 to eligible students, which enables students to be considered for a student visa; it is also necessary for students because it allows them to travel around the United States once they are here.

Once they receive their I20 in their country, they must take it to an American consulate to apply for their student visas.

Once the student is approved, they are ready to travel to the United States, but the average wait time for a visa is around 120 days.

The United States does not have a restriction on the number of visas granted yearly, but the process is still tedious and difficult.

In 2016, the United States Immigration Services handed out 482,033 visas.

Arriving in the United States

When international students land in the airport, the first person they often meet is Carl, OBU’s primary designated school official (PDSO).

Carl said she just joined the staff here, and she enjoys that component of her job tremendously.

“My favorite part of being the director of international student services is definitely the opportunity to build relationships with students from all over the world and to encourage and support them as they pursue their passions,” she said.

She said she is diligent about tracking logistics like making sure students have their documents up to date, have their I20 for travelling, have rides to and from air-ports and other needs of this sort. Carl is also in charge of OBU’s host family program.

Host Families

The host family program provides international students with families during the years they are studying abroad, and they can help athletes feel at home—especially during school breaks. Kateryna Shkot, a tennis player from Ukraine, raved about her host family.

“My host family in America impacted me a lot. My host mom is very nice and kind. I can always ask her for any help and she is always open to help me. Since my family is so far away from me, she understands how hard it can be for me. Therefore, she does the best she can do to make me feel less lonely in America. She wants me to know I can always rely on her.”

Jonathan Martinez, a soccer player from Colombia, said he has also benefited from having a host family.

“My family helped me to learn English, supported me with school and treated me like their own son,” he said.

Understanding the Struggle

While there are many resources for international students during their time here, it can be difficult to balance academic responsibilities, financial needs and culture shock.

Shimoya Currie, a senior track athlete from Jamaica, testifies of her struggle in being in the United States and far from home.

“It is hard to be an international if you are poor,” she said. “The hardest part about it all is knowing that your parents want to help so bad, but they can’t because it’s really hard in your country. That’s heartbreaking.”

During her time at OBU, Currie has been a good student and successful athlete while working a job and sometimes even two jobs.

“The hardest part about going to school, doing track, and working is keeping sane, literally,” she said.

“Because at times the pressure to succeed at all is very overwhelming. It’s hard to work a five-and-a-half-hour shift standing all night, then leaving work to stay up until one or two in the morning trying to get your paper done or study for an exam,” Currie said.

“It’s tough. And then you have to wake early for classes or finish what you couldn’t do the last night.

“Then go to class and you’re falling asleep because you’re so exhausted, then go to practice and give it your all. It’s hard mentally, on the body and emotionally.”

Currie talked about the struggle of her college life and how she still managed to stay positive.

“The hardest part is watching everyone else going on breaks and having fun, enjoying their college days and I am just a passerby looking onwards to the things that could be different if I didn’t have to work a lot or think about how I am going to eat or pay my bills,” she said.

“I often wonder when it’s going to be my time to enjoy life even if briefly. I still don’t know how I do it. How I wake up each morning with the motivation to finish.

“But I have a lot of people that love me and that pray for me and that’s how I get by. I find comfort in the fact that just like a storm has to run its course, it too will pass before I can see the rainbow, so I am grateful,” Currie said.


Carl said there are employment options for international students, but they can be limited because student visas only permit on-campus jobs.

Unfortunately, there are only so many jobs available on campus, and international students must also compete with full-time residents for employment.

Even if employment is secured, it may then be harder to balance a job with school and a sport while still trying to perfect the language.

Luckily, that adjustment period can be smoothed greatly by invested campus faculty and a sense of community with other international students.

“The international welcoming committee did a marvel-ous job when I first came,” said Katie Reyes, a senior softball player from Canada. “I first came to Shawnee and we had a meeting with all the international students, which honestly forced me into making friends right away,” she said.

“However, they are now my international family and am glad I got to meet them on the first day I arrived. I felt more welcomed and less nervous because I knew others were going through the same thing I was.”

International students complete pages of paperwork, commute for long hours when traveling, endure homesickness, study for hours in a second language and spend long days getting accustomed to a new culture. From the start, their journey is a challenging one. . . a challenge that can be mitigated by greater support.

What to do with Resumes: Industry Professionals explain best resume techniques

By Jacob Factor, Features Editor


College students often worry about what job they’re going to get after they graduate.

Even now, for some, internships are just as worrisome.

The first thing employers usually ask for from applicants is a resume, and this alone can cause anxiety.

What do you put in a resume? How is it supposed to look? How do you make your resume stand out from other applicants?

The first thing to figure out is what exactly a resume is.

According to JobScan, an online tool that helps job seekers optimize their resumes, a resume is “a concise compilation of your educational and professional experience, as well as the skills that make you desirable for the workforce.”

A resume is the first thing employers see of applicants, and according to JobScan, it’s instrumental in the application process.

“A well-organized, relevant resume will set you up to get an interview, while a poor resume will get completely lost in the sea of applicants,” JobScan’s website advises.

Dr. Daryl Green, assistant professor of business and the Dickinson Chair of Business at OBU, said the most common mistake he sees people make in their resumes is not following the rule of relevance.

“Employers are reviewing a resumé to see how the applicant’s skills match up with the position,” Green said.

A resume that includes that summer in high school you were a lifeguard or your part-time job waiting tables isn’t going to make a big impact (unless you’re applying for a similar position).

Ambra Benjamin, a recruiting manager for Facebook, attests to this fact in her LinkedIn article “Eight Things Recruiters Look for in a Resume at First Glance,” saying, “I do not care that you worked at Burger King in 1988. I mean, good for you, but no; not relevant.”

Following the rule of relevance, Benjamin said this will lead to a smaller, more concise resume.

“Unless you are a tenured college professor noble laureate with multiple published works, you do not need an 8+ page resume.”

JobScan’s website suggests that on average, employers only spend about six seconds on each resume, adding to the fact that concision is extremely important.

Benjamin said it takes her less than a minute to determine if an applicant is worthy of being considered.

It might seem a bit scary to know that you have a minute to prove to an employer that you are worthy of the job; making sure you have everything you need in your resume while also keeping it as to-the-point as possible.

It’s important to know exactly what is vital to put on a resume.

Green said resumes should have contact information, work experience (that, like mentioned before, is relevant to the position), education and skills, stressing the importance of contact information.

“You want to be reached. If you apply on a job, can the employer reach you in 24 hours?”

For the skills section of a resume, JobScan suggests avoiding “Soft skills,” ones that are intangible such as “hard-working, people-oriented, detailed,” and stick with quantifiable skills.

As for what not to include in resumes,  other than irrelevant experience, it’s a bit subjective.

Green said he likes seeing personal objectives on his students’ resumes, but both Benjamin and JobScan suggest objectives are outdated.

JobScan has another option instead of an objective statement: the executive summary.

“While an objective statement explains what you hope to accomplish, a summary statement explains who you are and what you have already accomplished,” their website offers.

JobScan and Green both posit references are optional, JobScan’s opinion to the point of not including them at all in a resume.

“Potential employers will ask you for your references later on in the interview process if they see fit,” their website states.

“Of course, if references are asked for within the application process, provide them – just not on your resume.”

OBU also offers resume resources for students.

Anyone can access Optimal Resume Career and Talent Suite, a career management platform that partners with OBU.

Optimal Resume Career and Talent Suite has samples of professional resumes, cover letters, websites, portfolios and video tutorials.

Native American Heritage Month: Students Share Their Stories

Jacob Factor, Chief Photographer 

(originally published November 1, 2017)

Native Americans have a very prominent part in Oklahoma History. It was originally called Indian Territory, and its name now is two words from the Choctaw language put together: “okla” and “humma,” meaning red people.

Native Americans are proud of their heritage, and Native American Heritage Month is a good way for them to share it with others.

Senior communications major Rachel Buckner is of the Muscogee (Creek) and Cherokee tribes. She grew up in Florida, a place where she said she and her family were the only Native Americans.

“When I was younger, I actually wasn’t proud to be Native American,” she said. “We were the only Native Americans for miles. I wanted to be like everybody else–to fit in more because I felt like I stuck out like sore thumb. So I didn’t really get involved in our heritage.”

Buckner said she felt this way until her seventh grade year, when she received her Cherokee name, Mouse, from her grandmother.

Now, Buckner said, she tries to stay involved in the Cherokee Tribe whenever she can.

“Last year I ran for the Miss Cherokee Pageant,” Buckner said. “Where you’re a role model for other Cherokee women and girls and build a platform on how important you think it is for American Indians to be in education.”

Buckner said now she isn’t ashamed of her heritage.

“I’m proud to be Cherokee, proud to be part of a tribe with Wilma Mankiller and Chief Bill John Baker.”

Wilma Mankiller was the first woman to be elected as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. She served for ten years from 1985 to 1995 and spent her time in office working to improve the Cherokee Nation’s healthcare and education systems.

“Knowing that I have the blood of great chiefs and great war women, that encourages me every day. I do have the potential to do better than what I’m doing,” Buckner said.

Buckner’s ancestry is important to her, she said, and they inspire her to keep going.

“Our ancestors are proud of where we are because we did survive,” she

said. “They didn’t think they were going to survive after being removed. If they could see us now they’d be so proud.”

As a last message for people who don’t know much about Native Americans, Buckner said. “There are all sorts of different tribes, and they all act differently.”

“We’re all Native American, but we’re not all the same.”

Sierra Davis, sophomore biology major, is another Native American student, and she is of the Choctaw, Otoe and Kickapoo tribes. She said she and her family are very involved in their tribal traditions.

“My family goes to powwows a lot,” Davis said. “My dad gourd dances in the Choctaw style, so all his regalia is Choctaw.”

Davis said she doesn’t know how do dance in the traditional style, but she still participates.

“I can just throw on a shawl and get behind and support and dance in that way. We do that, my mom, grandma and I,” Davis said.

She said she loves having three generations of her family dancing together.

“Anything Native American is based around your family.”

Davis said her family also follows tradition in their funeral practices.

“Whenever someone on our Otoe side passes away we go through the traditional Otoe way of mourning,” she said. “We go up to Red Rock [the Otoe capital], and we stay at the Otoe Agency.”

Davis said that it’s a three-day mourning process.

“The first night is specifically all of the family grieving. It’s so intense and everyone is so emotionally attached to what’s going on. It’s really important for all of the family to be there, so everyone comes up and we all stay there together, because it’s a family process.”

Davis said that the family in mourning isn’t allowed to cook their meals during this time, so another family will be there to provide food.

“[The second night] is the night for all the friends and people of the community to come. We sing traditional songs in Otoe language. We sing to ease ourselves and to ease the spirit of the person who’s passed. Then we tell stories of their life. It’s something to lift us all up, to remind us of the per- son and celebrate their life,” she said.

Davis said that the third day, in the morning, is the funeral.

“Someone will talk and then everyone except the family will go by and say their goodbyes. Then the family goes and says their goodbyes,” she said.

Davis said that after a person leaves the casket, they’re not allowed to say the person’s name or even cry.

“It’s very important that you don’t do any of those things because the belief is that if you show that you’re still hurting after you say your final goodbye, or if you say their name, then they think that you need them, so they stay,” she said.

“You don’t want them to stay; you want them to go on and be at peace. Your can’t say their name at the gravesite for six months because it’s thought that they’ll come back, that you’re important to them and if they think that you need them it will prohibit them from being at peace.”

She said that this whole process is done at the Otoe Agency.

“We never leave it,” she said.

Along with the three-day mourning, Davis said that there is another Otoe practice that her family follows.

Before an Otoe person dies they find a trusted friend and ask them to be their “Indian Friend.”

“We’re asking them, ‘Will you be the one that never leaves my side until I’m buried?’” she said.

“The Indian Friend has a special chair next to the coffin that they sit in

so they can watch over them. They’re there to provide comfort to the spirit so they’re never alone until [the fu- neral] is over.”

“I think that’s one of the most beau- tiful things about it. I’ve seen enough people go through this and to see the care that they display; the delicacy is so amazing,” she said.

As a final goodbye to the deceased person’s spirit, Davis said that the kids will walk across the gravesite.

“We place a board over the hole and the kids walk on it,” she said.

“Then we take them away from the site immediately and tell them not to look. The reason for this is, kids are the next generation, and it symbolizes us going on,” she said.

“We’re moving forward from that point, which is why they can’t look back, because to look back is to stay in the past.”

Davis said she understands that to some who are unfamiliar with Native beliefs, they might seem unchristian.

“I once got told by a teacher that I couldn’t hold my native beliefs and still be a Christian,” she said.

“He said there wasn’t a line where they connected and some of the things I believed in were completely unrelated and couldn’t coexist with a Christian worldview.”

Davis said she has been a Christian since she was nine years old, and that the beliefs that she holds don’t contradict the Bible.

“We believe that people have souls. All of the things we do at funerals are to take care of someone’s soul in their final time,” she said.

“There are examples from the Bible where Jesus would go and deal with demon possession. People act like it doesn’t happen now. We [Native Americans] still very much know demons exist and handle that as a part of life. Knowing demons exist means giving human souls more care than a lot of people give it.”

Bison Hill spotlight: Public relations professor appreciated by students

Robyn Kuylen, Contributing Writer

     For the past eight years, OBU has had the privilege of an alumni as part of the adjunct staff; Ann McNellis graduated from OBU in the year 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in public relations.

     Throughout her time here, her students have loved being a part of her classes, and she is a favorite teacher for many communication and non-communication majors.
“I have been an adjunct professor since 2010, so I am in my eighth-year teaching,” she said.

     “The advisor I had when I was at OBU, Anne Hammond, asked me if I would be interested in teaching a class.  I tried it and loved it.  They haven’t gotten rid of me yet!” McNellis said.

     At OBU, she teaches English Composition both the first and second semester, as well as Contemporary Public Relations, Advertising, Public Relations Writing, and Public Relations Case Studies.

“The English classes are fun to teach because freshman always have interesting ideas and are excited about starting their college career,” she said.

“I [also] love teaching the communication classes.  It is a field that I always enjoyed working in, so getting to share my knowledge and enjoyment of the field is great,” McNellis said.  “I also really like giving real life scenarios as assignments and see what the students come up with. They are usually very creative and well done.”

Students share the impact Ann Mcnellis had in their public relations and advertising classes.

Kaylyn Medcalf is a 2016 graduate, currently working in Shawnee as a Communications Specialist.

 “What I really enjoyed about her classes is that she always had a ‘real life’ experience or example to go with the subject on hand; meaning, the classes were not just reading out of a textbook and memorizing definitions,” Medcalf said.

“For example, in one of her PR classes we would watch commercials and talk about what was being used to portray specific emotions and appeals,” Medcalf said.

“We did that almost every day of the semester… and still to this day; I can remember almost all the different aspects to those commercials and how advertisement affects Americans.”

Jordan Fraser is a 2016 graduate currently working toward a Masters of Public Administration and a teacher’s assistant at the University of Oklahoma.

“I enjoyed two parts [the] most,” Fraser said.

“First, learning to write press releases. It’s simpler than I was expecting, and it’s practical. Second, planning a hypothetical PR campaign. We started from the big-picture level and worked down to the smallest details. It was an effective teaching exercise,” Fraser said.

Fraser also praises the basic character and personality of McNellis.

“Professor McNellis is a personable, extroverted teacher. Her classes focus on business and nonprofit communication practices. She has a project-oriented style,” Fraser said.

McNellis has a way of incorporating real life scenarios to her students that have impacted their lives.

“Her class will impact me in a lot of ways, but the main way is making sure I know what I am doing in the work force with things related to PR,” a current communication studies senior Meagan Hill said.

“And I will be able to write the best press release out there.”

Hill said she is excited to begin her career and she is happy to know she is learning everything McNellis has to offer about Public Relations before she gets into the ‘real world.’

“Her classes were very practical,” a recent graduate and managing director of three newspapers, Lia Hillman said.

“Even working for newspapers, I’ve used a lot of the skills I learned from Mrs. McNellis’ PR, writing and advertising classes,”  she said.

McNellis is also a full-time mother of three kids (ages 12, 9, and five) and has been married to her husband for sixteen years.

“Trying to do the best job possible at being a professor, but also being a wife and mom is definitely the most challenging thing I do,” McNellis said.

“We have a really busy life keeping up with our kids and personal activities, so the work / life balance can be hard,” she said.

“I always work on my classes when my kids are at school Monday, Wednesday and Friday.”

Balancing both can really be tough but McNellis has proven her capabilities and won the Seven Who Care Faculty Award last spring.

“Professor McNellis was one of my favorite professors while at OBU,” Hillman said.

“She always had a smile on her face and truly cared about her students, which is why she was one of the recipients of the Seven Who Care,”

All the knowledge gained from McNellis has changed the life of these students.

They all shared the same sentiments about McNellis preparing them for the ‘real world,’ gaining ‘real life’ experiences ahead of time and realizing how practical this information was when dealing with public relations.

This is a teacher who has really made a difference at OBU and will continue to do so for the years to come. Check out her spring classes in Banner.