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Tulsa Sooner Stories: Deborah Laurin-Phelan

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Tulsa Sooner Stories

Deborah Laurin-Phelan, Ph.D.

"The small OU-Tulsa campus created a place where relationships with both faculty and administrative staff made the difference."  — Deborah Laurin-Phelan, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Eastern Michigan University

What do you do now and how does it relate to your OU degree?

I accepted a position, Assistant Professor at Eastern Michigan University in the Department of Early Childhood Education. My work is a perfect fit for my Ph.D in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum-specialty in Early Childhood Education. I am also Chair of Pikler/USA research, a nonprofit organization advancing the well-being of children based on the work of Dr. Emmi Pikler. 

Share an experience you had at OU-Tulsa that has helped you with your career.

There were numerous experiences that have helped me with my career. First, the opportunity to conduct a study in Tulsa where access to a large sample of infants and toddlers in group care was available and the support of Dr. Diane Horm to conduct my research. Second, the opportunities to access grant and scholarship funding for professional development and training that advanced my knowledge of infants and toddlers beyond the scope of coursework. Third, Post graduation collaboration with former professors and colleagues on publications and conference presentations. 

What were some of your favorite moments as a Tulsa Sooner?

As a GRA I enjoyed the daily contact with staff and colleagues and involvement with projects in the ECEI. The day-to-day experiences of working in a research institute provided experiences and opportunities not possible had I not been employed on campus. 

Tell us about some of your favorite classes at OU-Tulsa. 

The thrill of learning through readings, presentations, and discussions with fellow doctoral students and professors was a highlight of my time at OU. A few memorable classes include Theoretical Issues in Research: A critical look at pedagogy, Infant and Toddler Development, and because the learning curve was steep and the faculty outstanding both Quantitative and Qualitative Research. 

What are some of the best things about your job?
Certainly, the opportunity to access grants and research awards that allow me to advance my writing and research projects. EMU's diversity and being a part of the ECE students path of personal development in the ECE program. It is fulfilling to share their learning moments about young children.

What would you tell someone thinking about going to OU-Tulsa? 

The accessibility of Professors, their commitment to your success in the program, and the small OU-Tulsa campus created a place where relationships with both faculty and administrative staff made the difference. There is opportunity to connect with other disciplines and to become involved with many service groups.   As an international student, Tulsa was an affordable city to live in during my doctoral journey.

What made your time at OU-Tulsa meaningful?

For me it was the friendliness of the staff and helpfulness of the administrative employees, access to resources on campus, an outstanding library and library faculty, and the remarkable accessibility of the ILAC faculty. Especially worth mentioning was the support I received in pursuit of professional training and through grant and scholarship opportunities made available to students.