Marina Metevelis went to work in a factory in Kansas during World War II against her mother’s wishes.
“She didn’t want me working with a bunch of men,” Metevelis recalls. “But my dad told her I wouldn’t be, because all the men were off fighting the war.”
It was only one small step in Metevelis’s career, but one the real-life Rosie the Riveter has recounted to countless enthralled students during her career in education. After working in the Tulsa Public School system, she was hired by Tulsa Community College in 1970. At age 90, the feisty Metevelis is still there.
“I love the diversity of TCC,” she says. “I have contact with all kinds of different people.”
These days Metevelis is director of the TCC Heritage Center, and she shows no inclination to retire.
“I guess I’ll be here forever,” she laughs. “I have 42 years of history to inventory for the heritage center museum, and every time I think about staying home, they tell me, ‘We still need you!”
That sense of belonging is part of what makes a career at a major university so enriching.
“OSU is a great place to work due to the type of folks who are attracted to a land grant university. The environment is very friendly, engaging, and one which is full of energy due to the outstanding and varied students who choose to attend here. OSU President Burns Hargis has a vision for this institution and the focus on ethical leadership is just what is needed in training our future leaders,” says Kent Sampson, director of campus life and associate director of the student union.
And while Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma might get the majority of exposure when it comes to Oklahoma’s colleges, smaller schools offer an abundance of attractive alternatives for potential employees.
“The thing that sets us apart is our size,” says David Hamby, director of public relations at Rogers State University. “We offer a very personal environment for students to work closely with faculty and staff.”
Here are some of the state’s other colleges and universities, with employment figures provided by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce to reflect both full and part-time employees.
Tulsa Community College
“It’s wonderful to get up in the morning and know you’re making a difference in peoples’ lives,” says Tulsa Community College Director of Marketing Communications Susie Brown. “TCC is a great place because it’s embedded in and responsive to its community. We make an investment in peoples’ lives and get to watch them go out and perform on a professional level. They share themselves with the surrounding communities.”
Oklahoma City University
OCU offers its employees the opportunity to be a part of an institution with its pulse on a thriving city that shares its growth with the surrounding community.
“Oklahoma City is becoming a world-class city, and OCU, as well, is expanding outward,” says Kevin Windholz, vice president of enrollment management. “You honestly feel like you’re part of a renaissance here.”
Northeastern State University
The small-town feel and scenic setting of Tahlequah’s campus is a major attraction to employees. With campuses in Broken Arrow and Muskogee, the opportunities at NSU continue to grow.
“This is where I got my undergraduate degree, and it’s just nice to be home,” says Dana Eversole, professor of mass communication. “But number one is my students. It’s wonderful to see them go out after they leave here and be successful.”
The University of Tulsa
The sense of family at TU is a common thread among its employees. Located near downtown Tulsa, TU enjoys a special relationship with the city.
“Being at a smaller school, we get to know the students quite well,” says Earl Johnson, associate vice president for enrollment and student services. “You know their dreams and passions, and to see their opportunities come to fruition is extremely rewarding.”
Oral Roberts University
Another Tulsa school, the Christian university offers employees a small school atmosphere and opportunity for spiritual and professional growth.
“On the heels of the largest freshman class in 10 years, ORU is an exciting place to work. Employees are deeply committed to building leaders who will impact their world,” says Senior Director for University Relations and Communications Jeremy Burton.
University of Science and Arts
The Chickasha university is engrained in the city and the relationship between school and community provides a sense of purpose to employees.
“What people really want to know is that what they do is appreciated,” says Randy Talley, director of media relations. “We have an administration that encourages creativity and are complimentary of the faculty and staff.