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Star women: Where are they now?

In case you didn’t know, March is Women’s History Month, which means we get to celebrate all the amazing women who have impacted the world’s history and today’s society. From leaders like Rosa Parks and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to artists like Georgia O'Keeffe and Martina McBride, this one’s for the girls.

We wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate Women’s History Month by bragging on the women in our OCU family and sharing some of their recent accomplishments. Our Star women impact all of us as students, alumni, faculty, staff, donors, community partners, and fans, and they deserve to be celebrated every day because they can do anything.

They have really cool jobs

Angelina Stancampiano feeding a barred owl. Credit: Kelly Bostian/Tulsa World

Angelina Stancampiano (BS Biology ’14) was recently promoted to Senior Naturalist Coordinator for Oklahoma State Parks. In addition to duties at her home park, Sequoyah State Park near Hulbert, she directs the activities at all other nature centers located in the Oklahoma State Park system.

Teresa Green (JD ‘16) has been promoted to deputy general counsel for the Oklahoma Insurance Commission, a key department role as she advocates for the state’s consumers.

Ashleigh Rose (BS Sociology ’07) has been promoted to vice president of resource development for the United Way of Central Oklahoma.

They are artists

Laura Kariuki in the CW's "Black Lightning"

Laura Kariuki (BFA Acting ’20), an OCU pom/competitive dance alumna, is starring in the CW’s “Black Lightning,” a show based on the DC Comics character. She participated in 2020’s “ABC Discovers Talent Showcase” and was also recently cast in the network’s reboot of “The Wonder Years.”

Mass Communications student Sophia Babb and alumna Jo Babb (BA Mass Communications/Broadcasting ’19) of the band The Annie Oakley released a new music video.

They impact the leaders of tomorrow

Assistant orchestra director Abby McBroom (BM Instrumental Education ’18, MM Instrumental Performance ’20) has been selected as a Superstar Teacher for Putnam City Schools.

Dr. Shakenna Williams (MBA Integrated Marketing Communications ‘01) was featured in Babson Thought & Action, the magazine for Babson College, where she received her undergraduate degree and currently serves as the director of global initiatives at the university’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership.

Kelli O'Hara, Florence Birdwell, and Kristin Chenoweth

Beloved professor Florence Birdwell (BA ’45, MA Teaching ’69, HDMA ‘16), who taught Stars like Kristin Chenoweth (BM Musical Theatre ’91, MM ’93, HDHL ’13) and Kelli O’Hara (BM Vocal Performance ‘98, HDHL ‘15), left behind a musical legacy.

They hold respected offices

Janie Simms Hipp (JD ‘84), CEO of the Native American Agriculture Fund, has been nominated to President Biden’s administration as the general counsel for the Office of the Department of Agriculture.

Dr. Kelly Williams (BS Psychology ’08) has been appointed director of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority after serving in the role on an interim basis since August.

Governor Stitt has appointed Jennifer Grigsby (MBA Finance ‘99) to serve as the state’s secretary of economic administration. She will oversee more than 20 state agencies, including the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, Oklahoma Tax Commission, state Auditor and Inspector, and state Treasurer's Office.

They further their education

Ree Morrow (MA Nonprofit Leadership ‘18) was featured in the University of Connecticut’s student publication as the winner of the Hinkle Entrepreneurship Competition.

Patience Williams (BA English ‘17) is teaching English in the Netherlands as one of 2,000 students worldwide to receive a Fulbright Scholarship.

They make headlines

Ashton Gatewood (BA Spanish ‘11, BS Cell and Molecular Biology ’11, BSN ’15), a former Miss Indian OCU, was featured in Oklahoma City Indian Clinic’s “Horizons” magazine as she joins the inaugural class of the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine at Cherokee Nation.

Marissa Gregoire wrestles Wayland Baptist's Caryssa Aguirre

Wrestler and marketing major Marissa Gregoire was featured in The Williamsport Sun-Gazette in Pennsylvania. Her fight against a career-ending injury that happened during her first match is an inspirational story of perseverance.

President Martha Burger (MBA ’92) has been named a recipient of Oil and Gas Investor’s 25 Influential Women in Energy. During her tenure as an executive at Chesapeake, the company grew from less than 100 employees to more than 13,000 and was recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in the U.S. from 2008 until 2013. She was instrumental in creating and sustaining the company’s vibrant, unique and nationally recognized culture.

The Rev. Jennifer Long was featured in a Kingfisher Times & Free Press article about her recent appointment with Kingfisher First UMC.

OCU Law associate professor Maria Kolar was quoted as an expert in an Associated Press story on death row inmates in Oklahoma.

Associate dean Melanie Shelley (BPA Dance ’87 and MLA ’03) and dance chair Jo Rowan showcased OCU’s summer dance program in DANCE magazine.

They help others

Morgan Young (BA Religion ’17) and her church’s Blessings Boxes became a necessity in the Altus community during the beginning months of the pandemic.

Biology student Ashten Vincent is currently featured on the Brain Injury Association of America’s website for her advocacy work. Her personal journey after suffering a brain injury in 2016 led her to pursue a career as a neurologist.

Eryn LeCroy (BM Vocal Performance ’14) joined BroadwayWorld’s Stage Door, a platform connecting artists and fans with virtual shoutouts, classes, masterclasses and more.

Nursing professor Staci Swim (Ph.D. Nursing ‘17) founded the Front Line Nurse organization, which sold “Year of the Nurse” T-shirts last year to benefit the profession.

They challenge the norm

Justine McSwain

Justine McSwain, who is pursuing a master’s in healthcare administration, has a unique athletic career as a female football player.

Professor of English Tracy Floreani has been elected president of MELUS, The Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literature of the U.S. MELUS began in 1973 as a response to the lack of diverse authors represented at conferences and publications of the Modern Language Association.

And they win all the awards

Michelle Millben (BM Music Business Administration ’05) was named one of 14 Most Inspiring Women in VIP Alexandria magazine.

Andrea Bauer (BS Entertainment Business ’07) was awarded as the NextGen Leader of the Year by the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce in Kansas.

Rachel Williams Beavers (BA English ‘95) has been named Teacher of the Year for Corpus Christi, Texas.

Angela Polk (BM Music Theatre ’06, MM Music Theatre ’08) serves as the executive artistic director for Kismet Arts Studio, which received BroadwayWorld’s Best Youth Theatre Camp/After School Program of the Decade award.

Susie Maxwell Berning

Emma Kincade received the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Oustanding Senior Law Student Award.

Four-time PGA major champion Susie Maxwell Berning (BSB Business ’64), the first woman to compete on a golf scholarship at OCU, is set to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. She played on the men’s golf team in the early 1960s and is one of only six women to win the U.S. Women’s Open three or more times.

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