Students to Alumni: Where Four Sooners Are Headed After Graduation
As members of the 2019 University of Oklahoma graduating class recently turned their tassels from right to left, they joined the strong OU alumni network found around the globe.
This graduating class, which earned a combined 4,797 bachelor’s degrees, had a long list of successes to celebrate. These included not limited to landing dream jobs to securing competitive fellowships for continuing their educations to 110 students maintaining perfect 4.0 GPAs throughout their undergraduate careers at OU.
Read below to learn more about four of the newest OU alumni, Jenna Davenport, Tony Efoli, Meredith Magee, and Alex Speed, as they talk about their future plans, how their OU experiences impacted them, and more.
Advertising | Tulsa, Oklahoma | Disney Institute
“When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.”
Meredith Magee’s dream was to one day work for Disney. That dream was realized during her junior year when she earned an internship with Disney’s Yellow Shoes, the company’s in-house advertising agency. Now, the advertising graduate is headed back to Orlando, Florida, this time to complete a stint as a client services intern for Disney Institute.
Magee gained valuable skills through various on-campus internships and hands-on learning opportunities, including through Lindsey + Asp, Gaylord College’s student-run advertising and public relations agency, and in marketing and communications student roles first in OU Housing and Food and later in Gaylord. She also landed an outside internship at AMP Agency in New York City.
At OU, Magee found a “family community” from the moment she stepped foot on campus. This community included a couple of senior students who took her under their wings the moment she stepped on campus and made sure she felt welcomed and included. Faculty and staff members also want to help students reach their goals, whether that is suggesting organizations to join to help students prepare or connecting them with an alum that works at the company of interest, Magee said.
“I think some good advice for people who are trying to decide whether this is the right campus for them or not is just look at where you want to be and where you want to work and really work backward from that,” Magee explained. “You can find OU grads pretty much anywhere you want to work, and that's the cool thing … It is a school with a lot of alumni who are very passionate about helping the younger students succeed, and I can say as someone who's leaving, I definitely feel the same way.”
Management Information Technology | Lagos, Nigeria | Deloitte Consulting
Tony Efoli’s journey has taken him all over the world, from his home country of Nigeria to Canada to Oklahoma. His next stop now that he’s an OU alumnus? New York City.
Efoli was a member of the United World College, attending one in Canada before coming to OU. This gave him an instant community with fellow UWC members, and Efoli said students can always find a family on campus, regardless of what organizations they join.
Later, Efoli became involved in other groups on campus like the International Advisory Committee, MIS Student Association, and Delta Sigma Pi, a professional business fraternity. One year, he served as co-events chair for the United World and said helping to organize the group’s annual cultural night was a proud moment for him during his four years at OU.
“OU has really helped me in so many ways,” shared Efoli, who graduated with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in management information technology through an accelerated program. “Just generally speaking, being in a really dynamic community and being able to try a lot of things and get those experiences that will prepare me for the business world specifically gave me a chance to learn a lot of practical skills.”
Efoli secured a job as a business technology analyst at the headquarters for Deloitte Consulting. He said it is a company about which he has heard positive stories in terms of its culture and commitment to social responsibility and giving back to the community.
Another reason Efoli is looking forward to his move to his dream city is because of his interest in dance. Several dancers he follows are based in New York City, and Efoli said he is excited to attend some of their classes and be a fan in person.
International Business and Supply Chain Management | Houston, Texas | ExxonMobil
Early on, Jenna Davenport felt connected to the University of Oklahoma.
From getting to know her admissions counselor, C. Don Bradley, to meeting members of the alumni club at events in her hometown of Houston, Texas, Davenport started to learn about the OU family. Then, she came and toured campus, and that’s when it all clicked for her that OU was the spot she wanted to call home.
During her time at OU, Davenport worked as a tour guide and Diversity Enrichment Programs intern and was involved with a variety of organizations, including President’s Leadership Class, RUF/NEK Lil’ Sis, the Gender and Equality Center as a peer educator, Delta Sigma Pi, the Multicultural Business Program, and the JCPenney Leadership Program. She also studied abroad in Arezzo, Italy, through the Price College of Business’ junior program, and in Quito, Ecuador, via a university exchange program.
Last summer, Davenport, who graduated with a double major in international business and supply chain management, interned at ExxonMobil in her hometown. That led to a return offer to work full-time as a procurement associate.
Davenport described her OU experience as “worthwhile,” both because of the people she met and opportunities she had.
“The experiences I had were fantastic, more than I would have expected coming in,” Davenport explained. “I really feel the value of my degree because the places I’ve worked and the things I’ve gotten to do, I’ve done with people who are going to these top-tier universities as well, but I got to do it for a fraction of the cost. Also, the alumni network is just great and so I’m looking to get involved in Houston when I go back.”
Aerospace Engineering | Austin, Texas | Spirit Aerosystems
As a kid, Alex Speed was always curious about space. He not only loved watching launches and Star Wars but also drawing the space shuttle.
Speed was not originally planning on following this lifelong interest to a career. However, after joining the Boomer Rocket Team his freshman year at OU, Speed fell back in love with his true passion and decided to declare aerospace engineering as his major.
The Boomer Rocket Team is an interdisciplinary group that competes at national competitions and allows members to design, analyze, and launch rockets. Speed served as captain and, in recognition of his involvement, recently received the Gallogly College’s William J. Kennedy Leadership Award, an annual award given to students for exemplary leadership and service to the college.
Now, Speed is headed to Wichita, Kansas, to work in sustainment engineering at Spirit Aerosystems. He said that his time at OU has taught him a lot of lessons, both in and out of the classroom.
“All the building I've done has made me a much better engineer,” Speed shared. “It makes it a lot easier for me to see how a design change will actually impact further down the line in manufacturing processes because I know how things are actually manufactured, and not all engineers get that. In addition, we had strict timelines with the competition teams, and we had to make them. Working within the timelines to get the project done, that dedication and determination that it instills in people is great.”