While sitting in her high-school philosophy class in Germany, Luise Schoenknecht couldn’t help but be intrigued despite the language barrier. A few years later, when she had to choose a major at Oklahoma State University, she felt naturally drawn to philosophy. But she couldn’t help but wonder what she would do with that degree. Over three semesters, Schoenknecht changed her major from architecture to philosophy, to psychology, to philosophy again, and then to graphic design, before landing back on philosophy for good.

 William Colby Starr has always had an interest in medicine. Growing up, he was often sick with sinus infections, upper-respiratory infections and other ailments. He and his family relied on antibiotics to cure him. While in a science class his junior year at Lincoln Christian High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he decided to write a research paper on antibiotic resistance. From that moment, Starr was driven to find a solution for that problem.

Junior Sarah Oliver came to OSU knowing exactly what she wanted to do when she arrived in Stillwater. She jumped right into her biochemistry major and never looked back.

“I had some really great teachers in high school, and I got excited about it,” said Oliver, who was recently announced as one of 194 national finalists for the prestigious Truman Scholarship. “During my time here, I have been able to see how it applies to research.”

Amal Yayah’s journey from her hometown of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to OSU began when she was recruited by Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University. “They recruited me to work for them, and one of the requirements for my sponsorship was that I had to study abroad for both my master’s and my Ph.D.” 

It was quite the challenge that Yayah faced, and quite the time commitment. 

“It’s not whether they think we’ve won, it’s whether we think we’ve won.”

This quote, attributed to Secretariat owner Christopher Chenery, has inspired Jordan Richards since his youth. Growing up as a triplet in Flower Mound, Texas, Richards joined the staff of the school newspaper in high school. It was there that he first got involved in photography, editing and graphic design. When it came time to choose a college, Richards followed his older brother to Oklahoma State University.

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