OU Extended Campus Alumna Thanks College for Setting Her Up for Success

OU Extended Campus Alumna Thanks College for Setting Her Up for Success

Our mission at OU Extended Campus is to provide access to transformational, world-class University of Oklahoma degrees, certifications and programs for a diverse group of learners.

Hearing stories from our students about how our programs have changed their lives for the better encourages us to work harder to provide top-notch degree programs for the students we’re privileged to serve.

We’d like to share with you a letter we recently received from Lori Siemek, who graduated from OU Extended Campus in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Administrative Leadership. We hope it encourages and inspires you as much as it did us.

A Letter from An Extended Campus Alumna

Dear Dean Banz,

My name is Lori Siemek, a 2016 graduate of the college, and I wanted to write this long-overdue “Thank You” to the University of Oklahoma. I had searched for a few years for the right opportunity to complete my bachelor’s degree, but had nearly given up on the idea when my oldest daughter Courtney suggested OU’s program for nontraditional students. Both she and her sister are graduates and had loved OU, but I was a little skeptical. It had been years since I had received my associate degree, and even though I had been working as a software developer for many years, I was still unsure I could be successful at a school of OU’s caliber.

I decided to apply, and once I met my advisor, Jennifer Gatlin, I knew I was in the right place—she was fantastic! She was very welcoming and supportive, from the first day and even until after my graduation. She was always so quick to respond when I needed help, and made me feel important—I will always remember her for that!

If there was one piece of advice that I could pass on to current students, I would tell them how important it is to focus on writing and communication skills.

I chose the Administrative Leadership major, and it turned out to be the perfect balance for my heavy background in technology; I needed ‘people’ skills! And every professor I had helped me master those skills. Even though there were times that I thought that I just can’t write another discussion board post, or another paper again this week, I pushed through and finished. I know now that those activities have become the key to my success.

After my wonderful experience at OU, I wasn’t ready to be finished with school. I wanted to continue on to study Analytics/BI, or Data Science, and needed an online program. OU was my first choice, but unfortunately the master’s program wasn’t completely online, and I didn’t have all the prerequisites. I was accepted at Northwestern University. Again, I was a little afraid I may not be able to handle it, but my success at OU gave me the confidence and determination to take it on.

I have just completed my seventh course, and I’m proud to say with straight A’s so far! And here’s the reason I am writing to tell you about it—much of my success has been because of the writing skills I learned at OU. Every professor I have met at NU has told me that my writing skills are exceptional, and asked where I went to undergrad—I get a chance to brag on Oklahoma! Just this past week, I completed my final project for my Big Data Management & Analytics course. I was nearly in shock when my professor told me that he was quite impressed with my writing and wants to publish my work! I can’t tell you what a thrill and honor that is for me.

If there was one piece of advice that I could pass on to current students, I would tell them how important it is to focus on writing and communication skills. I recently accepted an IT technical lead position with a great organization, and have had the opportunity to speak with recruiters, managers, directors, and VPs. Each of them had the same message; the ability for an employee to be able write properly, whether it’s an email or a technical document, is highly valued. It’s the one skill that sets them apart from everyone else.

So now that I have been telling everyone else about OU’s great program, I thought it was time to tell all of you what a great program you have, and say thank you to everyone that helped my along the way. Not only did you all help me earn a degree, which is a great accomplishment in itself, but it has opened up doors for me in my career and other opportunities in education that I never thought would be possible. Please pass along my gratitude to the professors and staff that helped make my experience possible. If there is ever anything I can do to “give-back” to the college, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Thank you again, for everything.



If you’ve been transformed by your time with OU Extended Campus, please let us know by sending us your news.

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Tami Althoff

Tami Althoff holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She is a reporter with more than 20 years’ experience working for newspapers, including The Oklahoman. She has covered everything from breaking news to local music and art. She loves sports, especially OU football and basketball games, where she often embarrasses her children by yelling too loudly.