Celebration of Growth in UCO Spring Graduates

by Maiana Wise

On the spring weekend of May 7th, 2021, hundreds of UCO seniors and graduate students celebrated their degree completion together during graduation ceremonies on campus. While all students had accomplished a great feat, only a fraction had the honor of wearing special cords as “STLR Transformation Graduates.” While UCO is proud of all the STLR accomplishments of our graduates, a STLR Transformation Grad must have shown evidence of being completely transformed in one or more of UCO’s core areas, or tenets, and been awarded a STLR Transformation-level credit by a faculty or staff member.

We selected two such graduates to share their stories of how each had experienced STLR at UCO and how it is impacting their future. See their videos linked below! Rachel Albert, B.S. Nursing, received transformation in four tenets – Global & Cultural Competencies; Health & Wellness; Research, Creative & Scholarly Activities; and Service Learning & Civic Engagement. Savannah Anderson, B.A.Ed. History Education (and a minor in Criminal Justice), had her transformations in Global & Cultural Competencies; Leadership; and Research, Creative & Scholarly Activities.

In her reflection, Rachel focused on her participation in a class assignment: The Nursing Life Review project. Through that, she had the opportunity to interview a “smart, fun, spunky, 90-year-old woman” about her life as a child, up into experiences of adulthood. “What I learned is something that I’ll take with me throughout my career, and my life. It’s all stuff we’ve probably heard before – or seen – but I think it’s different when you really get to know someone and they bare their soul to you.” Rachel speaks of the many lessons she’s learned in their time together; messages of change, a bigger picture, and the importance of being involved with those around you. “Life is short and having positivity, building relationships, and being able to change are important concepts.”

For her video, Savannah exemplified stories for each cord she received. For Research, Creative & Scholarly Activities she mentioned various class projects, while her Leadership cord came from involvement in many student organizations such as Leaders of Tomorrow, the Diversity Round Table, and the Native American Student Association. As for her Global & Cultural Competencies cord, she describes multiple experiences that gave her the cord more than once. “What really started me on the journey of learning and earning this cord was my sophomore year when I joined the Native American Student Association, and I met a wonderful group of people who really took me under their wings to help me learn a little bit more about my culture.” Savannah won “Commitment to Diversity” twice for campus leadership awards, as well as earning presidential positions in the Diversity Round Table and the Native American Student Association. “Without the Native American Student Association, I would not have any of these cords, because that was where my journey started and it’s definitely not where my journey’s going to end.”

Watch Rachel’s and Savannah’s interviews below, and visit stlr.uco.edu for more information about STLR and how you can get involved today!



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