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2018 Global Graduate: Ryan Starkweather

International Business and Language and Chinese Studies double major from Tulsa, Oklahoma

Why did you pick TU?
Growing up in Tulsa and living near campus, I heard a lot about TU and learned of its reputation as a fantastic university. They also offered an extremely generous scholarship, which allowed me to attend college without financial burden.

How are you involved on campus or in the community?
I am a Global Scholar and Assistant to the Director of Global Scholars as well as a work study student at True Blue Neighbors.

What scholarships and awards have you earned?
The University of Tulsa’s 2017-2018 Outstanding Student in Chinese Studies, graduating Cum Laude, Project Pengyou Leadership Fellow, Tulsa Global Alliance Honorary Member 16-17

International Experiences while at TU:
Berlin, Germany & Budapest, Hungary – Global Scholars Sustainability and Urban Development course, Summer 2016
Nanjing, China – CIEE Nanjing Intensive Language and Culture Program, Fall 2016
Prague, Czech Republic – TU International Business course, May Extension 2018
Seoul, South Korea – Internship in Seoul with the Department of State, Summer 2018

What are you most thankful for about your international experience while at TU? How do you feel that experience has or will impact your future?
The University of Tulsa allowed me to discover my interest in international topics and led me to what I hope to pursue as a career in foreign affairs. The International Business and Language, Chinese Studies, and Global Scholars programs have all contributed to my global perspective and appreciation for cross-cultural communication. Through these programs, TU refined my knowledge and interests to more fully appreciate the world.

The Global Scholars program introduced me to a holistic global perspective, connecting my four years at TU to challenges the world faces. Through its courses, programs, and both Dr. Foley and Dr. Collins, I have made connections that reach beyond my hometown of Tulsa that would have never been possible without their guidance. Framing issues my generation will face such as sustainability, population growth, and conflict as problems that extend through national borders changed the way I think about contributing to solutions to these challenges and inspired me to pursue a career in foreign affairs.

My degrees in International Business and Chinese Studies allowed me to study abroad in Nanjing, China in an intensive language and culture program. In China, I gained first hand exposure to China while immersing myself in the language and culture. I continued my learning when I came back to TU through my Chinese Studies courses and with the guidance of Dr. Zhang. The program and classes grant students a unique opportunity to engage with peers from China and learn about their perspectives and culture through building personal connections.

Taking courses in International Business exposed me to the nuances of interacting with a culture other than my own. Cross-cultural communication is increasingly important as the world becomes more connected through widespread technology and faster transportation. Dr. Troilo and the International Business program helped me gain an understanding of how those from other countries view issues and inspired my passion for building bridges between people and cultures.

Ultimately, the University of Tulsa granted me the experience and education needed to be selected for a highly competitive internship with the U.S. Department of State. In Washington, D.C. I met few people from Oklahoma and realized how rare it is for someone from my home state to have an interest in foreign affairs strong enough to pursue it as a career. If I had not studied at the University of Tulsa, my perspective would never have been pushed beyond the borders of my home state or country. The University and professors like Dr. Foley, Dr. Collins, Dr. Zhang, and Dr. Troilo and many others connect students like myself to passions beyond their perspectives. I am grateful for a University so dedicated to exposing its students to worlds outside their own, and for supporting myself and others in ways we never imagined.

What are your plans for after graduation?
This summer, I will continue my internship with the Department of State in Seoul. I am also a finalist for the Pickering Fellowship and if selected will attend graduate school for foreign policy. Ultimately, my goal is to join the foreign service and represent America abroad.