Students Stepping Up


It shouldn’t come as a surprise – KSU students are stepping up to the challenge of finishing the spring semester through fully remote instruction. While I appreciate the distances that are keeping us all safe, I miss our students more than I imagined possible. I take both solace and great pride in the various ways KSU students are leaning into the hand they have been dealt. To paraphrase Thomas Paine’s famous quote, these are the times that try our souls.

During this unique time, our students are demonstrating a sincere passion for learning, a willingness to help others, and a determination that is indicative of what it means to be a member of the Owl Nation. Make no mistake, this new skill set will serve our students well when it is their time to take over the mantle of leadership in their various chosen professions. Below is a list of examples of students stepping up at KSU:

  • Hannah Alyssa Adams, a mechatronics major, a peer mentor in the Odyssey program and tutor with the SMART Center, is giving daily advice to students through the Odyssey GroupMe, including keeping them updated on available resources and supporting them with kind words.
  • Grace Takvorian, a psychology major, is a student assistant in Parent and Family Programs, who in addition to her own online classes has been writing a content series for an online digital platform to keep our KSU parents and families informed. The first-year student from Massachusetts recently began a new series on distance learning.
  • Keeley Ringham, a business management major graduating this summer, said that while she loves the classes that utilize video chatting because it provides “a sense of normalcy during this hectic time,” it has made her realize all of the things that she loves about KSU and what makes it so special. “You don't realize how much you love interacting with your classmates, having the ability to sit in class and take notes, or even speaking to professors in person until you can't anymore.”
  • Chris McCall, a marketing major, said that his transition to remote learning has gone well. He has a few live classes taught through the Blackboard platform and he likes that his professors are taping each class, which allows him and his classmates to go back and watch them afterwards.
  • Ziggy Kolker, vice president of student leadership with the Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery, said that the center’s resources have been a valuable part of the transition to remote learning. The sense of community among students in the CYAAR has been maintained even through the transition online, as he and others continue to support each other despite social distancing.
  • Khara Smith-Russell, a student assistant with the Cultural Awareness Resource Center, has been active in helping create and sustain the center’s virtual services and programs, which shifted online using Microsoft Teams. The first-year student has been instrumental in helping other students make the transition.
  • Claudia O’Donnell, an accounting and management major, has been engaged with students in her role as an international peer leader. During the transition, she has been proactive as a bridge between international students and Global Village staff as issues arise for students.
  • Nikki Olsen is a transfer student majoring in nursing who was prepared to take the TEAS nursing entrance exam only to find it canceled. She was extremely proactive in finding resources to study for the TEAS exam as classes moved to remote learning and made a point to share information with her fellow students.
  • Kaan Cubukcu, a political science major, said that while the transition is undeniably difficult, remote learning has given him the flexibility to restructure his days, which helps keep him as stress-free as possible. Interestingly, he also said that some of his friends have started playing online games from their youth like Poptropica and Club Penguin, as a means to stay connected and “hang out" while they practice social distancing.
  • Dasia Jones, a sociology major, is scheduled to graduate next May. She is an SGA Senator for American Minorities and says that her experience with online learning has been “easy sailing” and she is pleased with some of her grades in recent days. She admits that time management is a little tough but says that she is learning quickly to set aside time for studying and self-care.
  • Katherine Mitchell, a mechanical engineering student, said that she has learned that setting a routine for her coursework is vital to her success. Though she said that it is tempting to lounge around in pajamas all day, part of her routine includes dressing as she would for a normal class day to place her in the right mindset. Remote learning has also allowed her more time with her dog, who she walks between her schoolwork.
  • Elisabeth Petit-Bois, a software engineering student, said remote learning has taught her time management and revealed her optimal learning style. In the online environment, she can learn at her own pace, rewind videos she didn't understand at first, search terms and further investigate topics that capture her attention.
  • Curt Byrd, a construction management student, said remote learning has given him the flexibility to spend more time working and gaining valuable industry experience. Normally presented in person in front of a panel of industry experts, Byrd's senior capstone will now be delivered in a remote setting where he will receive the same level of critique and insight from professionals. Though he misses sharing a classroom with his peers, he says the shift to remote learning has been generally seamless.

Pamela Whitten


Written By Whitten