Oklahoma’s Promise scholarships help deserving students achieve the college dream.
The high-achieving, extremely motivated students chosen for the awards have great plans to serve the state, nation and world — and none of them would have been able to attend OSU without Oklahoma’s Promise and the university’s help.
Ridge Howell, who just completed his freshman year, is majoring in English and strategic communications. He plans to attend law school after graduating from OSU and aspires to go into communications law.
As a freshman, Howell was involved with Pencils of Promise, a nonprofit organization that raises funds to build schools in developing countries. “There’s not a more worthy cause,” he says.
Howell, who grew up on a cattle farm near Checotah, Okla., says he was “super active” in FFA. As a high school junior, he was selected as one of 10 Native American FFA members (he’s a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation) to lobby for including FFA in classrooms across the nation. He received a White House Champion of Change award in Washington, D.C.
He was named a National Coca-Cola Scholar, which came with a $20,000 scholarship, and received several scholarships from civic groups. As an Oklahoma’s Promise student, he also received the Cowboy Covenant Scholarship for an extra $1,000 per year.
“This is one of the biggest reasons I will be leaving college debt-free,” Howell says. “I am blessed beyond measure.”
Annie Jo Gilbert knows what she wants to do as a career because she’s been doing it for years.
Gilbert, from Choctaw, Okla., is studying animal science and livestock merchandising at OSU, which fit right in with growing up on a cattle ranch. She will be a junior this fall.
Gilbert showed cattle for 12 years, starting at age 6, and served as a state officer with the Oklahoma FFA in her senior year of high school.
She says her experiences with the daily work of a cattle operation give her an advantage.
“Students who haven’t had the opportunity don’t know that work ethic,” she says. “I’ve had to break ice, feed calves and put out hay every day. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Oklahoma’s Promise was the piece that made her education possible.
Josh Midgley was ready for the challenges of college. He was at the top of his high school class in Poteau, Okla., and felt he was not getting the academic stimulation he needed.
The Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship assured this sophomore a chance at an education at the type of major university he wanted. He chose OSU because he felt wanted here.
“There are so many resources here,” he says. “You have to find them and choose them, but they are here.”
Midgley plans to major in psychology and later study for a master’s degree in occupational therapy.
“In my family, I am the first to go to college,” he says.
Outside the classroom, he is a professional improvisational guitarist and practices the martial art of Muay Thai.
For more information on eligibility and requirements for Oklahoma’s Promise, Cowboy Covenant and other scholarship opportunities, visit admissions.okstate.edu/paying-college.
Eighth-, ninth- or 10th-grade Oklahoma students may apply for Oklahoma’s Promise if their parents make $50,000 a year or less.
Oklahoma’s Promise students can also apply for a Cowboy Covenant scholarship for an additional $1,000 a year. Students may also be eligible for other waivers and scholarships.