Jennifer Wynne at Outstanding Senior ceremony
Meet Outstanding Senior Jennifer Wynne
July 13, 2016
Trying Not to Try author with book cover
Book Review – Trying Not to Try
July 20, 2016

Lori Hasty – A Story of Perseverance and Triumph

Lori Hasty and daughter

Overnight, Lori Hasty’s life had come to resemble something from a bad dream. Two thousand eight was a devastating year for the Hasty family. After learning her husband had died in a car accident, Hasty was left widowed with two daugh­ters to care for. In that instant, her life changed completely and no longer felt like her own.

In the years following the accident, Hasty’s goals and dreams took a backseat to mak­ing sure her daughters were cared for, and finishing college was, by far, the last thing on her mind.

Her decision to return to school would not come until years later.

“I worked full time in property manage­ment to support my family,” she said. “But over the years I realized that career was not satisfying or inspiring enough. I want­ed to create a secure financial future for my daughters and myself, and I needed an education to get me there.”

In fall 2011, she decided the time was right to finish her studies. She took a class or two to begin, taking her time as she famil­iarized herself with being a student.

“I paced myself, not wanting to take time away from my daughters,” she said. “I had doubts that I could manage college, work and family by myself in my 40s. But inside my mind I kept hearing, ‘I can do anything I set my mind to; just take baby steps.’”

Hasty pushed forward with the support of her daughters, proudly becoming a first-generation college student and a soon-to-be graduate of CLS’s Administrative Leadership program. She earned recognition as a McNair Scholar along the way, a pres­tigious honor for students who demonstrate strong academic potential.

“I paced myself, not wanting to take time away from my daughters,” she said. “I had doubts that I could manage college, work and family by myself in my 40s. But inside my mind I kept hearing, ‘I can do anything I set my mind to; just take baby steps.’”

McNair Scholars, beneficiaries of a federal program designed to prepare undergradu­ate students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other schol­arly activities, are usually first-genera­tion college students with financial need or members of a group traditionally un­derrepresented in graduate education. As a single mother and the first in her family to pursue higher education, Hasty met each requirement.

“Throughout my life, adapting to unex­pected challenges as a means of survival has been part of my day-to-day existence,” she said. “Now, as I finish the Administra­tive Leadership program with two associate degrees under my belt, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Most of my classes have been online and included a lot of extensive reading and writing, which I enjoyed. The light will come with the completion of my advanced degree and the practical and powerful tools I will receive in this area of study.”

In addition to reading and writing, Hasty enjoyed the breadth of the electives she was able to take during her studies. In particu­lar, she values her experience with Robert Dougherty, her McNair Mentor, and mem­ories of classes with George Henderson, a well-known professor, renowned storytell­er and CLS dean emeritus.

“In [Henderson’s] classes there was organ­ic exchange between individuals of various backgrounds providing me with real-life cultural diversity and intellectual experi­ence,” she said. “In taking his classes, I learned how we as humans are more alike than different.”

In addition to these courses, Hasty also highlighted issues of gender equality during her time at CLS. Her final paper for the program, “Blazing the Trail to Pay Equality,” explored an important issue of gender equality in the United States. She hopes to take her research skill with her in future academic endeavors.

After completing her bachelor’s degree, Hasty plans to pursue a graduate degree in human relations before eventually apply­ing to an administrative leadership doc­toral program. Her perseverance, personal strength and desire to succeed will surely make her family proud.

Mary Wuestewald
Mary Wuestewald specializes in digital and content marketing at OU Outreach. In 2015, she earned a master's degree in Strategic Communication from OU’s College of Journalism and Mass Communication. She currently contributes to Insight magazine, the CLS blog and CLS social media efforts.

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