Month: April 2021 – Page 2

Student Highlight- Jordan Gray

Jordan Gray has been serving as a tutor for the nursing department since January 2020. She states “during my time as a tutor I have enjoyed developing close relationships with the faculty and staff as well as making connections with students. My favorite part about my job is helping students achieve their goals and watching them grow as a student nurse.” Jordan has served in a variety of leadership positions across campus and hopes to continue leading and helping others long after leaving the UCO campus. She is set to graduate in May 2021 and hopes to become an ICU nurse. Tutoring has given her a passion for educating and eventually she hopes to continue her education so she is able to continue to teach new nurses.

Featured Faculty- Steve Smith M.S. Lecturer

Steve is a full-time lecturer in Human Anatomy and has been teaching in various capacities at UCO for over ten years. His Master’s degree is in Biology with a specialization in Human Anatomy. Steve has taught as an assistant for five different human anatomy instructors. He absorbed as much knowledge as possible from each of his mentors (also considered as friends) and tried to incorporate their insight and experience into his concept-based style of teaching. Steve’s instructional methodology is different than his predecessors, in that he employs a “manage by walking around” classroom approach. Steve speaks one-on-one with each student many times during class. Students respond to instruction better when they know an instructor really cares about them and their understanding of the material. The small class sizes at UCO contribute to the efficacy of this approach to teaching.

His ultimate concern while teaching human anatomy is to produce prepared students that are marketable and productive in the medical and funeral service community. Steve is not comfortable sending students to advanced-level medical programs, or funeral homes, without proper exposure to human cadavers and other essential training aids. Students should leave his classroom with an understanding of many Latin terms. Students become proficient with these terms, which aid in locating various structures on human cadavers. Concept-based instruction (instead of rote memorization) helps students construct a thorough understanding of the human body and its component parts.

Steve is the anatomist for the Funeral Service Department, teaching the Introduction to Human Anatomy course required by all funeral service students. He is also an instructor for the W. Roger Webb Forensic Science Institute. He teaches Biological and Forensic Anthropology, specializing in Human Osteology.

Featured Faculty- Dr. Chad King

Dr. Chad King, associate professor of Biology, was recently recognized by the City of Edmond Urban Forestry Commission for his work over the past eight years in research and education about the Cross Timbers forests in Edmond. Edmond Urban Forestry commissioned an educational plaque that is located at E.C. Hafer Park in Edmond, Oklahoma that highlights the research efforts of Dr. King and his students. Dr. King and his students continue to work with the City of Edmond on urban forestry projects and tree preservation of the Cross Timbers ecoregion. Congratulations to Dr. King for this well-deserved honor.

Chad King, Ph.D. is a native of the Great Plains, having been born and raised in Nebraska, living in South Dakota and Missouri before coming to Oklahoma. King earned a B.S. in Biology from Wayne State College, Nebraska; an M.S. in Biology from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion; and a Ph.D. in Forestry from the University of Missouri. King comes from a family of educators including his mom, dad, and sister. His wife, Vicki Jackson, also is an associate professor of biology at UCO.

Featured Faculty- Dr. Weldon Wilson Retires After 29 Years of Service to UCO

Dr. Weldon Wilson, professor, and longtime graduate coordinator is retiring at the end of this semester after 29 years at UCO. Dr. Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1973 and a doctorate in physics in 1980, both from Oklahoma State University. Prior to coming to UCO, Dr. Wilson served on the faculty of the University of Central Florida, as well as working a number of years in energy research for both Occidental Oil and Gas Company and Cities Service Oil Company.
Dr. Wilson’s skills and experience in the energy industry proved most beneficial when he served as coordinator for the department’s senior engineering design capstone experience. Dr. Wilson has also served as assistant chair and was crucial in the initial ABET accreditation of the department’s engineering physics and biomedical engineering programs. He has been a key contributor in nearly every one of the department’s improvement initiatives since his arrival at UCO. His thoughtful analysis and ability to push discussion outside of conventional thought patterns will be sorely missed.
While Dr. Wilson will no longer be with us full-time, he plans to continue teaching as an adjunct, and we will certainly continue to pester him for his valuable input on department initiatives moving forward.

Featured Faculty- Diane Gaston, MS, CCRN-K, RN

During my nursing career experience of over 40 years, I have worked in the hospital setting as a staff nurse, charge nurse, supervisor, manager, critical care educator, and house supervisor. In the academic setting, I have taught various classes and clinical practice at the associate and baccalaureate levels. I am a member of the national and local chapter of American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and a national and local chapter member of Sigma Theta Tau (Honor Society of Nursing).

I am passionate about honoring and being responsible for the students’ future patients. Seeing that the students develop their critical-thinking skills as well as their bedside skills is the highest priority for me so that they can provide the excellent quality of care their future patients deserve.

I have had the privilege of teaching the following courses in my career: Foundations of Nursing (class, lab and clinical), Health Assessment (class and lab), Critical Care Nursing (class and clinical), Introduction to Nursing, Medical-Surgical (class and clinical), and Clinical – Leadership and Community.

I received my Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1977 and my Master of Science in Nursing from Southern Nazarene University in 2010. I was certified as a Critical Care Registered Nurse from 1988-January 2018, and currently, I have the following certifications: Critical Care Registered Nurse – Knowledge (January 2018-present), Advanced Cardiac Life Support Provider (1987-present), and Healthcare Provider BLS (CPR) for the American Heart Association (1977-present).

My areas of expertise include: Critical Care Nursing, Rapid Response Assessment, and Clinical Critical-Thinking Exercises and Hospital Administrative Skills – House Supervisor.

I have had the honor to work in a variety of settings in nursing, including Medical-Surgical Nursing and Post Coronary Care Nursing for 6 years, Critical Care Nursing Experience as a staff nurse, lead nurse, supervisor, nursing manager, clinical nurse educator, and clinical instructor and faculty for over 30 years.

My awards and honors include Deaconess Hospital Servant Leader Council Member, 1998-2007; Deaconess Hospital Exemplary Nurse Program, 2007; Summa Cum Laude, Southern Nazarene University, 2010; and 21st Century Pedagogy Institute New Teacher-Scholar, 2019.

When I have time to reflect, I like to write poetry and have had a poem published in “On the Wings of Poetry”, 2004 by Famous Poets Press.

Alumni Highlight- Stephanie Walker

Stephanie with her poster at the 2020 Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics

Stephanie Walker graduated from UCO in May 2020, with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. She started working on a research project with Dr. Britney Hopkins in the spring of 2019, that morphed into a group project that included Dr. Mike Fulkerson, Dr. Erin Williams, and two fellow undergraduates. Stephanie started the project by learning and teaching basic difference equations to the group. She then moved forward adapting a technique for determining the existence of solutions for even-ordered differential equations to even-ordered difference equations using techniques drawn from functional analysis.  Throughout the 2019-2020 academic year, she refined her work under a student Research, Creative, and Scholarly Activities (RCSA) grant. She has presented her work both regionally and nationally at Oklahoma Research Day, the Joint Mathematics Meetings, and the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics. Stephanie is currently a graduate student and teaching assistant in Mathematics at the University of Kansas.

Stephanie pictured with the four UCO students who attended the 2020 Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics (from left to right: Shannon Yeakley, Ashlynd Heatherington, Stephanie Walker, Amber Young)