Katie Bullard, a sophomore from Wister, Okla., was selected by Connors State College administration to attend the 2014 Nigh Scholarship Academy in Oklahoma City. Conducted Feb. 7-11, 2014, the purpose of this scholarship academy was to allow each of the two and four year higher educational institutions, both public and private, to select and honor one student each year as a Nigh Scholar. Each student is nominated by the institutional president and receives a one-time $1,000 scholarship.
In 1999, former Governor George Nigh and his wife Donna, along with the state legislature, founded the academy. The academy is an intense mixture of personal development sessions on expanding personal skills and understanding of leadership. The academy provides all program and personal expenses. The scholarships are provided to the scholars at the conclusion of the five-day academy.
Each student was very specifically chosen based on their involvement and acts of leadership on their respective campuses.
“I wanted to choose someone who shows exceptional work ethic in their involvements here at Connors,” said President Tim Faltyn.
Though it was a difficult decision, Faltyn is very proud to have had an outstanding pool of individuals to select from.
“It was a true honor to be chosen to represent Connors at such a prestigious event. It’s a pretty big deal to be chosen out of a couple thousand students,” said Bullard. “I can’t thank the administration enough for this opportunity.”
The program is directed by Carl and Glo Reherman. Together, they have directed for 14 years under the guidance of the former governor.
This year’s academy had a spectacular lineup of events. In the first few days, scholars engaged in joint discussions of past and present American politics. George and Donna Nigh gave welcomes and a presentation about their history in office and significant accomplishments they achieved. They also attended an Oklahoma City Thunder basketball game with their scholars who were recognized during the second quarter.
The fourth day, scholars toured the 50-story Devon Energy Tower, which was completed in 2012 and is currently the tallest skyscraper in Oklahoma. Scholars learned about the company and all it offers to its employees.
“I’ve never really thought about Devon as a career choice, but after learning about the company, I’ve been inspired to maybe apply for an internship there. I never would’ve thought about it if I hadn’t attended the Nigh Academy,” said Bullard.
Lunch for the day was provided by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, while Chancellor Glen Johnson served as a speaker. To conclude the day, scholars received clearance from Tinker Air Force Base to tour a Boeing E-3 Sentry airplane.
On the final day, scholars reported bright and early to the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club to dine with the Oklahoma City Fortune Club. After breakfast, scholars headed to the Capitol to meet with their respective representatives and senators. For the final event, the scholars met with the Oklahoma City Rotary Club and listened to Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker. An Oklahoma City native, Welker’s foundation helps provide new sports facilities to OKC-area schools.
With 31 scholars in attendance, networking was the biggest part of the academy.
“I got to personally know a student from every college in Oklahoma. It was one of the best and most fun ways to network,” said Bullard.
The academy was designed to enable scholars to network with not only students like themselves, but also successful Oklahoma industry leaders.
Bullard is an agricultural communications major who will graduate in May. She is an active member on the beef show team. Bullard is involved in the President’s Leadership Class, Phi Theta Kappa, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, Aggie Club, and has served as an Agriculture Ambassador. She recently was accepted at the University of Arkansas where she plans to continue her degree in agricultural communications.