Native Americans Sought as OU Students

By Zotigh, Dennis W. | THE JOURNAL RECORD, March 15, 1995 | Go to article overview
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Native Americans Sought as OU Students


Multicultural awareness in the 1990s has opened new doors for American Indians and other minorities.

Industry and business continue to focus on the recruitment of minorities, and in turn, colleges and universities see the need to actively recruit minorities. To help accomplish this, the University of Oklahoma hired two American Indians as full-time recruiters in 1993.

Robert Whitebird of the Quapaw and Eastern Shawnee tribes and Jon Ringlero of the Kiowa and Pima tribes combine cultural sensitivity with campus-life experiences in their recruiting practices. They incorporate traditional and nontraditional strategies.

"I actively recruit Indian students in their social settings such as powwows, youth conferences and tribal career days," said Whitebird, coordinator for special programs for Prospective Student Services.

"I then log in their names in my computer, and the qualified prospective students are sent an information packet."

Recruitment practices are enhanced by the possibility of future career and placement opportunities at OU.

"The majority of our funding comes from private corporations," said Ringlero, recruiter and counselor for the Minority Engineering Program. "In addition to funding, they provide internships and scholarships."

The College of Engineering has taken a strong lead at OU in aggressively seeking minority students. About 500 minority students are enrolled in engineering.

"Retention and hard work are two aspects that I stress to my students," said Wayne Steen, a Cherokee Indian and director of Minority Student Engineering.

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