What do you do here at OKWU?
My primary role for OKWU is as an I.T. Specialist for the Tulsa campus. I am in charge of the online accounts, email server, log-in server and a few other systems with techno mumbo-jumbo names and descriptions. My secondary role is as an adjunct professor for the associate-level computer and business courses.
What do you like most about working at OKWU?
My favorite aspect of OKWU is the people who work here. There are copiously good, generous, and gracious employees at this university. Working with human beings who also care about other human beings makes for an incredible work environment.
How did you end up here?
I actually went to OKWU as an undergraduate, on the Bartlesville campus. After graduating, I accepted the position in the I.T. department and started on achieving a milestone of mine: earning a Master’s degree.
Where did you originally call home?
I grew up in the small, small metropolis of Quinter, Kansas. It’s a town of about 1,000 residents located in northwest Kansas along I-70.
Where did you go to school and what did you study there?
As previously mentioned, I attended OKWU for my undergraduate studies. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies.
What is your family like?
I have often joked that I almost wish I wasn’t a part of my family so I could talk about them without people thinking I’m biased. My fear is that when I talk about how awesome they are, no one takes it seriously. The reality is I have an absolutely incredible family. My parents—Randy and Denise—are the most genuine, caring people that I have met. They are in a constant state of helping people. I do not mean they are merely nice to people, I mean they are in a continual state of thinking, acting, sacrificing for others, everyone and anyone. Here is an example: I once came home during spring break in college to find three British women living in my room. They were medical students biking across the U.S. to raise money for their research on Alzheimer’s disease. One of them hurt her ankle just outside of Quinter. My dad met them at our local grocery store, and promptly told them they were staying at our place. They stayed over a week and are still in contact with our family today.
I have one brother, Brandon, who is two years my elder. He is just as incredible as my parents. He has this insane, unique ability to connect to people in a way that makes the other person feel like they have been friends for years. It’s instant, and he does it with everyone. It’s hard to describe, but I promise that if someone met Brandon, he or she would understand right away. It’s like he goes “Hey, you’re a person! I am a person too! Look how much we have in common! We’re now best friends!’ And just like that the other person’s defenses are down and he or she feels accepted and involved. This has made him extremely popular everywhere he goes. He is currently teaching junior-high history at a school in Kansas. He loves every minute of it. He was born to interact with kids.
What hobbies, activities, or topics do you most like spending time on?
Anyone who I am close to me knows that I simply love doing. I am constantly looking for new experiences, and am in a perpetual state of learning. If I had to pick a few favorite things then they would be as follows: playing sports (namely basketball and Ultimate Frisbee), hiking trips in the mountains, researching behavioral and neuro sciences, talking theology or politics with my friends, and nerding out over whatever I’m obsessed with that particular moment in my life, from migration patterns of Africanized honey bees all the way to Wilt Chamberlin’s free-throw shooting habits.
What is one interesting fact that many people might not know about you?
I am a national champion at the collegiate level. I actually joined the croquet team at OKWU my freshman year. We went on to win OKWU’s first ever national title in Philadelphia, beating out teams like St. John’s, Davidson, and Navy.
What is the most interesting country you have visited or would like to visit? Why?
I have been to a few countries over the years, but I would really like to visit Iceland. I have seen pictures and am utterly blown away by the landscapes. If I could hike around or backpack through there for a week or so, it would be a dream come true!
If you could go back and meet any one famous historical figure, who would you pick and why?
Outside of the glaringly obvious answer of Jesus, it would be a toss-up between Maximilien Robespierre and William Wilberforce. Robespierre because I am entirely fascinated by the French revolution, and I genuinely want to know what happened to Robespierre—how he went from champion of the people to raging lunatic/psychopath.
The reason behind Wilberforce is because he convinced a whole mass of people to believe and act on something good: the end of slavery. As horrible as it may initially sound, I am less interested in him as moral advocate, and more interested in the actual how of it all. He made an unpopular idea, an idea powerful people were actively fighting against, popular to the point that it changed both the culture of an entire country as well as the course of history for our entire planet. Good ideas are sometimes almost impossible to spread. Our culture is in desperate need of getting good ideas to spread instead of sitting in our comfort, blindly listening and believing anyone on T.V. screen who says things that sound good. We need a Wilberforce.