It was an early Monday morning September 3rd, 2018, as I was walking to class, I noticed a tall, beautiful, African American women walking a head of me that I had never seen before, (she didn’t look like a student). She began to get away from me, so I picked up my pace and yelled out, “Excuse me!” When she turned around, I introduced myself. In that conversation I found out that this soft-spoken woman was Dr. Jeanetta Sims, a marketing professor in the college of business and the interim dean of the Jackson College of Graduate Studies. As we ended our brief conversation, she then told me to come by and see her if ever I needed any encouragement.
Two days later when I arrived at school, there was a sign on the classroom door letting the students know that class had been canceled for the day. That is when I sent Dr. Sims an email asking if she had anytime to chat with me. She responded with a yes and come on over. As we sat having a “get to know you” conversation before her alarm went off, I learned that she was a very busy woman. I let her know that I had received the Oklahoma County Commissioners Community Service “SHINE” Award for over 156 hours of community service. I told her if she ever needed anything at all that she could call on me. I love to serve and was at her service. Right at that moment she said, “Well, as a matter of fact, I do have something. How would you like to become a research assistant?” I said “sure,” not knowing what it was. All I knew was I had met a very busy lady who I wanted to be of service to in any way that I could. By September 14, 2018 (a week and a half later), I was on student payroll and beginning my research journey as a Transformative Learning Scholar and a Diverse Student Scholar research assistant.
A simple sidewalk conversation has enhanced my student experience as well as my personal life. As a student research assistant, collaborating and being supported by your faculty mentor and fellow DSS research assistants, has been a learning adventure. Research and its community are a world of knowledge, encouragement, and support, one of which I am truly thankful to be a part of.