This semester, three new professors have joined the engineering department at Oklahoma Christian University. Two of them will teach electrical engineering and one will teach mechanical.
Jeremy Poole is a first-time teacher returning to Oklahoma from Oregon. He is the first Oklahoma Christian undergraduate to teach electrical engineering.
After several successful years in the industry, he decided it was time for a change.
“I realized I really do have a desire to teach college students and help them prepare for a career,” Poole said. “It will be really fulfilling to see students grow, achieve and learn how to go out into the industry.”
In addition to Oklahoma Christian being his alma mater, the university’s values drew him in.
“When I interviewed, they told me there’s three aspects to the job: teaching, ministry and helping the school grow and thrive,” Poole said. “The ministry aspect appealed to me. I want to make a difference and feel good about what I did at the end of the day.”
Poole shared his experience as a faculty member thus far.
“I’ve been impressed with the collaborative nature of being a faculty member. There’s a lot of competition in the corporate world, but here, I see a lot more of wanting people to succeed,” Poole said. “A lot of other professors, especially ones that have been established for a while, have been helping me learn how to teach in an academic environment.”
Poole gave a message to his students.
“Electrical engineering is a hard degree. Perseverance will reap very good rewards, keep your endvision in mind,” Poole said. “Everybody here at the school is here to help you because we want to see you succeed.”
Bradley Copeland, another Oklahoma Christian alumnus, returned to teach mechanical engineering. Copeland has prior experience teaching high school students.
“College moves way faster, obviously, than high school teaching. I’ve had to change my approach, and I’m still working through all that, but I’m really enjoying it,” Copeland said. “I’m enjoying getting to know the students, and it seems like they’re enjoying getting to know me as well.”
Copeland shared his expectations for his time at Oklahoma Christian.
“I’m excited to learn for the next couple of years and get my head around all the different things I’ve got to do and hopefully, grow as a teacher, as a believer and everything in between,” Copeland said.
Copeland’s message for his students echoed a theme of emphasizing their success both on campus and beyond.
“I want them to go out into the world and have a great impact, both as engineers and Christians,” Copeland said. “I’m here for them, I want them to succeed.”
The second teacher joining the electrical engineering team is Andrea Ashely. This semester she is fulfilling a long-held desire to teach.
“I’ve wanted to teach for a while,” Ashley said. “I was in the industry for about five years, but I found I wanted to help the future generation instead.”
Ashley shared why she chose Oklahoma Christian as the university to pursue her goal.
“It’s nice to be in an environment that allows you to talk about God openly and help students with their faith journey,” Ashley said. “Also, our concern is about teaching students, not so much of research effort, which is what a lot of other big schools focus on.”
Ashley gave a message of perseverance for the other women in STEM.
“You will get noticed and recognized for the work ethic you have, whether you are male or female. However, I do think there’s a lack of women in the engineering field,” Ashley said. “We should try to get students who want to be engineers but are afraid to because of their gender. One of my goals here is to help encourage the young women in the field.”