Each semester, one exemplary student is chosen to lead the CLS processional in the college convocation and the university commencement ceremonies. The CLS Banner Carrier is a decades-long tradition that signifies great academic achievement and formally recognizes student accomplishments. This year, Tiffany Roberts served as the Banner Carrier for the Winter 2015 ceremonies held in December. Tiffany, a 4.0 GPA student, was chosen because of her incredible example of what hard work can accomplish in academics.
Tiffany began her studies at CLS with two children, Aiden (17) and Emma (7), who are the center of her universe. She knew that earning her degree would help her advance in her field and provide her with opportunities that would benefit her family. Thanks to her program at CLS, and her own drive and determination, Tiffany was able to complete her goal while working full-time for the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.
Was there a specific event or person that made you decide to apply for admission to CLS?
I met a girl at the Rose State graduation ceremony who was my age, had children and was also graduating with her associate degree. She told me she had done a lot of research on bachelor’s degree programs and CLS was the most cost effective and convenient. I checked it out the next day and enrolled right away.
Is there anyone who was instrumental in your success?
My husband was definitely the motivation and support who allowed me to achieve my goals. He encouraged me to enroll and lifted me up when I was so overwhelmed with work, kids and school that I thought I couldn’t possibly finish.
He also took over most of the household chores so I could work on school assignments in the evenings. My children were a big help as well, pitching in with housework when I was busy studying. Many friends and family members helped out in different ways throughout my college career. I had many professors who were instrumental in my growth and progress. I am so very grateful to everyone who supported me and helped me along the way.
What surprised you most about your time with CLS?
I was surprised at how social bonds are still created through online interactions. There were a lot of discussion boards that allowed everyone to converse back and forth. I really got to know a lot of people over the years between the students and professors.
What did you find most interesting during your studies?
I found the interdisciplinary nature of my studies to be the most interesting. As I wrote my Study in Depth paper, I saw that almost every piece of my paper contained aspects of several different disciplines. That changed the way I think about everything and has opened up so many possibilities for me.
Did you have a favorite instructor?
I had so many wonderful professors, but if I had to pick a favorite it would be Steven Gullberg. He worked with me on my prospectus and my Study in Depth. He really instilled a confidence in my writing that I never had before. He taught me so much about the process, encouraging me and building me up the entire time.
I dreaded writing that paper my entire college career. When the time came, Professor Gullberg made the process seem so simple. Suddenly, this daunting task was realistically attainable.
How has what you learned benefitted you so far?
There are so many benefits, I don’t even know where to begin! First of all, I am much more well-versed in current events, historical facts and so many other subjects than I was before college. I have also learned that I can accomplish anything if I want it enough. Now I look at things from a different perspective than before. Instead of putting a goal aside because it seems impossible, I figure out how to make it work. I feel like I can learn to do anything now.
How do you see finishing your degree benefitting you in the near future?
Just having a degree qualifies me for jobs and promotions at my current employer that I could not have applied for before I graduated.
If you could offer some advice to your younger self, what would you tell her?
Go to college right out of high school. It is much easier than trying to learn algebra all over again while taking care of a small child!
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My children will always be my greatest achievement in general. Academically, my greatest achievement was maintaining a perfect 4.0 throughout my college career. There were many late nights when I was physically and emotionally drained—studying for a test, sometimes caring for a sick child at the same time or whatever else came up, with the thought that I had to get up early for work in the morning lurking in the back of my mind. Somehow I always fought my way through the task at hand, despite those obstacles, and I’m very proud of that.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Do you have any specific goals or aspirations?
I did my criminal justice internship at the Oklahoma County Juvenile Detention Center and loved every minute of it. In five years, I hope to be in a position where I am making a significant difference in peoples’ lives. I really hope that includes working with juvenile delinquents and their families
Note: The College of Liberal Studies was renamed the College of Professional and Continuing Studies in 2017.