Madeline McClaran is a political science senior minoring in religion and sociology – but she’s doing much more than that.

McClaran represents both the university and specifically the College of Arts and Sciences as this year’s Oklahoma State University Spirit Rider.

After getting involved with OSU Rodeo early on, she was selected for this honor following last year’s rider, Elise Wade.

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Zachary Kensinger of Enid, Oklahoma, really pushed himself to get involved on campus from day one. He started with the Arts and Sciences Freshman Forum, which is now called Freshman Student Council, before joining a plethora of other organizations.

“I have actually learned that I do better academically being busy,” Kensinger said. “I think a lot of people actually learn that because if you have a lot of free time, you probably aren't doing anything productive.”

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Sarah Winburn of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, earned a prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship, which is awarded to 1,000 of the most brilliant minority students across America each year. The Gates Foundation-funded program covers all expenses, from tuition to room and board. Winburn utilized the scholarship to attend New York University, choosing to return to the city where she was born and raised, before tragedy brought her back to Oklahoma.

Her brother, Jerry, was a year older than Winburn. He had been a student at Oklahoma State University for two short weeks before a fatal car accident. The proud member of the U.S. Army died at 19.

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Josie Akosa grew up more than 6,000 miles from Oklahoma State University in the West African nation of Ghana. Her father—a civil engineer—and her mother—the head of the equivalent of a community college—pushed their five children to aim high, which is how Akosa wound up in OSU’s Department of Statistics as a Ph.D. candidate.

“My dad always said, ‘I know I can give you money to do whatever you want, but I would rather invest in your education,’” said Akosa, who graduated Dec. 14. “I think he has done that pretty well.”

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Shanley Wells-Rau, a non-traditional student in the Oklahoma State University master of fine arts poetry program, applied to graduate school after a 20-year corporate career.

“This is the degree I have always wanted,” she said. “When I was younger, I could not figure out a pathway to poetry. It did not fit with a viable career plan.” 

Wells-Rau has always been a poet, and writing has been an integral part of her life.

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It was a cool, quiet day across Paris on July 15, 2018, as Ana Solis sat on the edge of her seat staring at the TV. The whole city was silent even with the windows open. Then, France scored the final goal to win the 2018 World Cup. The city erupted.

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Noah Mennenga is excited to watch the Michael and Anne Greenwood School of Music continue to grow larger and even stronger than it already is in the near future. The trumpet performance senior will graduate in May after a wonderful experience at Oklahoma State University. And as he continues his musical career, he looks forward to telling members of the next generation to consider OSU.

Mennenga spoke Saturday morning at the groundbreaking for the new Greenwood School of Music building, which will house a variety of music laboratories, classrooms, rehearsal spaces and teaching studios equipped with the latest technology for high-level studio production, offering a premier teaching and learning experience.

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Josh Cox followed in his father’s footsteps in choosing Oklahoma State University, and it was his mother’s example that led to his choice of major and future career.

Cox is from Saginaw, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth. His mother, Angela, is a primary-school intervention specialist there, focusing mainly on children with dyslexia. She has also taught fifth grade, specializing in mathematics and science.

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