Day 2 of our trip started with us going to the OPSA Conference. The conference presentations we attended were held in an art gallery, which provided an impressive backdrop for the speakers. The gallery, named the Fred Jones Art Museum, is something we will be able to explore fully later in the conference.
There were a total of 7 speakers at the two panels we attended, and the speakers included undergraduate students, graduate students, and professors.
Research topics included:
- Ideas on reforming the Oklahoma Education Lottery
- Creating and implementing an Uninsured Motorist Bill
- Quality of Life issues in Oklahoma City
- A cost-benefit analysis of the Affordable Care Act
- A demographic look at healthcare in Oklahoma
The information provided was interesting for the most part, but it was also beneficial for us to learn the process of research and see how it unfolds at a professional conference. One of the intriguing aspects of this process was seeing undergraduates and graduate students present. This provided the opportunity to learn from others’ examples, but also as a kind of measuring stick to evaluate our own capabilities.
We were privileged to be invited by the University of Oklahoma College of Law for an in-depth tour of their law school. The tour included lunch, an actual tour of the Law School, a meeting with Dean Harroz, and even the ability to sit in on a law class by Professor Richter. We were blessed by the hospitality of both the Dean and the Admission Counselor, Trudy Sickles.
After enjoying fajitas with prospective students and current law students, we toured the College of Law, enjoying the many works of law-related art in the building, including a bust of Abraham Lincoln…
…and To Kill a Mockingbird…
We explored the Donald E. Pray Law Library, which housed a plethora of state and federal court rulings.
The next interesting stop was the Dick Bell Courtroom.
The courtroom not only serves as a learning tool for students but also as a host to regional mock trial competitions and actual live courtroom proceedings. As a group that brings in our own live trials (thank you Justice Tom Gray and the Texas Tenth Court of Appeals), this was particularly interesting.
Following the tour, we sat in on a civil and courtroom procedures class taught by Professor Liesa Richter. After hearing so much about the Socratic method being taught at law school it was an intriguing experience to finally be in a classroom where it was used.
Although considered tough, Professor Richter is considered by many of the students to be one of the best professors at the University of Oklahoma. Since she spoke with such passion and enthusiasm it was easy to understand their consensus.
In reflecting on our day at OU, both for the conference and the law school, we feel blessed to have this opportunity. Professor Keith Gaddie, the OPSA Conference Chair, was wonderfully welcoming, and we were greatly impressed by how well we were treated by the OU College of Law.
Stopping briefly for a Starbucks, we quickly moved to downtown Oklahoma City for the most free-wheeling event of the day: the Segway Tour! Segway is the best way to experience the full downtown environment. Since almost everyone, besides Constance, knew how to use a Segway and liked the experience, it was sure to be an enjoyable evening.
Our start was perhaps a bit slower than we thought, as Jessica seemed a bit shaky on the Segway and struggled to keep her balance while also taking pictures, but she soon got the hang of it and enjoyed it.
The breadth of sites we were able to see was incredible. We explored Bricktown; the OKC Riverwalk;
OKC Thunder stadium; OKC RedHawks stadium, which features a statue of native Oklahomans such as Mickey Mantle…
…and Johnny Bench…
…the Land Run sculptures, which portrays the “Sooners” rushing to find land…
…the 1995 Federal Building Memorial, architecture by I. M. Pei, the Myriad Gardens…
…and so much more. The Segway tour provided ourselves with a new appreciation for Oklahoma City.
Highlights included the Centennial Land Run Monument at sun set, and—the one that stood out the most—the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial. It was awe-inspiring to stand where such a dramatic and catastrophic event took place.
We left the memorial to finish up the tour at the Skirvin hotel, said to be haunted by the ghost of a hotel maid that killed herself after having an affair with Skirvin himself.
Thanks to Charlotte Crowder and “Sure Beats Walking” for setting up a great tour by Segway.
As tradition on LEAP Center trips, we drove back to Norman in search of a new and exciting meal. Jackpot was struck in the finding of a tiny, hole-in-the-wall place called “The Greek House”. Family owned, the menu consisted of four items and we all chose the Gyro Plate…
We proceeded to dig into a mountain of sliced lamb and french fries, stuffing ourselves with authentic Greek food.
In summary, we had terrific experiences from sunup to sundown, and we are looking forward to setting the bar even higher tomorrow.