Melea Barrick Top 5 Senior at Spears Business School at OSU
STILLWATER, Okla. - Melea Barrick, a Chickasaw citizen from Waurika, Oklahoma, was recently named one of the Top 5 Seniors at the Spears Business School at Oklahoma State University. Ms. Barrick received the honor during the OSU Spears School of Business 65th annual Honors and Awards Banquet.
Ms. Barrick was a student ambassador at the Center for Sovereign Nations as a junior. She began her service at the Center in summer 2017.
“Working at the Center has allowed me to learn about different Native American cultures and traditions,” Ms. Barrick said. “Being in a hub full of students who are all citizens of different tribal nations allowed me to absorb all of the things happening with different tribes.”
Attending Oklahoma State, Ms. Barrick said, was a family tradition.
“My parents, grandfather and uncles all attended OSU,” she said. “Orange to the bone since I was old enough to say ‘Go Pokes!’”
She earned her degree in accounting and management, and plans to continue her education with a Masters in Accounting. Her career plans include doing auditing work for a public accounting firm.
“The knowledge I have gained through this program has been invaluable to me by providing internship opportunities and participation in the Sports Management Club,” Ms. Barrick said.
Ms. Barrick has served as vice president, then president, of the Sports Management Club. The experience, she said, allowed her to make lasting connections and gain valuable leadership experience.
In summer 2016, she served as an accounting and finance intern for the Frisco RoughRiders, a double-A minor league affiliate for Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers. In spring 2018, she completed an audit internship in Houston at the accounting firm Deloitte. This June, she will begin an audit internship with Ernst & Young in Oklahoma City.
Being part of the Center for Sovereign Nations during her college career allowed Ms. Barrick to form a connection to her Chickasaw heritage that she did not have before.
“I grew up not really knowing much about my Chickasaw background,” she said. “I lived right on the Oklahoma/Texas border, so I was removed from tribal events happening closer to the capital. When I started working at the Center, I had instant connections with several other Chickasaw students. The experience helped me realized how well-respected the Chickasaw Nation is and strengthened my pride as a citizen.”
Ms. Barrick said her involvement led her to research her Chickasaw roots and stay involved in things happening in the Chickasaw Nation.
Her experience at the Center paints a picture of its purpose. Launched in 2015, the Center partners with Oklahoma State administration, faculty and staff, and the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations. The Center’s mission is to promote understanding, respect and exercise of tribal sovereignty, and promote American Indian student success and graduation. It also seeks to increase and improve partnerships between the college and federally-recognized tribal nations in Oklahoma. Beyond that, the Center provides a familiar, nurturing space for students to study, collaborate, relax and receive assistance with many of the challenges and opportunities presented in college.
“The friendships I were was the best part about working in the Center,” Ms. Barrick said. “It is a fun and relatable group of people and I am blessed to the chance to work with them,” Ms. Barrick said. “It was eye-opening to witness how a close group of people could have very different, even conflicting, perspectives and opinions on a topic, but still be good friends and treat each other respectfully. The Center is a place where everyone is heard. We know the things that others hold dear because we listen. We may not always feel the same way, but we respect those differences and know that they are what make us each unique.”
Learn more about the OSU Center for Sovereign Nations sovnationcenter.okstate.edu/.