Following our spring break and trying to get back in the swing of things, our Pre-Law Society meeting allowed us the opportunity to hear from our peers. As part of the normal business, this meant our President, Heather Noman, having minutes approved and funds moved, but we quickly moved to the main topics.
Heather & Kaylea King took the stage, and told us what they know, what they wish they knew, and other tidbits about applying to law school.
For Kaylea, the timeline was stressful for her. She was a junior when she realized she wanted to go into law. She took the Mock LSAT to get her bearings, and then was selected for the Pre-Law Society Prep Course. With some improvement under her belt, she took the LSAT in August of last year, and was able to get a good score. Armed with that score, she applied and was accepted to several schools.
For Heather, the worst part was the actual LSAT. After not being happy with her performance the first time, she took it again. She had technical difficulties, and that added to her stress, and she also regretted taking an LSAT Prep course during the semester. She recommended taking the prep course and doing the bulk of the studying over the summer and taking the LSAT in August.
Both encouraged students to sign up for an LSAT account as soon as possible, if they haven’t already.
Heather spread a broad net, applying to many schools as she awaits her score. Kaylea applied to nine, using the 3-3-3 strategy: apply to 3 reach schools, 3 schools at which you are competitive, and 3 safety schools. Ultimately, she chose the University of Washington Law School in Saint Louis, MO, which is ranked 16th in the country. Kaylea got a good feel from the school, they are ranked highly, and the people were nice.
For freshmen, Kaylea and Heather recommended not getting too intense in terms of studying. Crossword puzzles, sudoku, other logic-related games and, of course, reading can be helpful.
For juniors, the time is more urgent, and having a rigorous self-study plan or formal LSAT Prep course is essential.
In terms of personal statements, Kaylea suggested being honest and genuine, and letting the school get a sense of the real you. In terms of letters of recommendation, Heather suggested getting a professor, one you have a great relationship with. Taking courses in which the professor can evaluate you across numerous assignments and diverse types of assignments and getting to know the professor outside of class are key in getting a good letter.
After providing these excellent tips, Heather moved on to some upcoming events and our next meeting. With this hearty welcome back from Spring Break, we adjourned the meeting.
On Saturday, the LEAP ambassadors and volunteers were able to participate in the Wynne Home’s annual Easter Celebration! The event is filled with many games and crafts, such as sand art, face painting, painting magnets, an egg toss, sack races, and more. The event had the added fun of a visit from the Easter Bunny!
Our day started early at 8:30 a.m., when we met with Wynne Home staff Sarah Faulkner, Angela Robinson, and Peyton Conley to assist them with preparations. We hid 1,800 eggs…
….set up the prize tables, the sack race, ring tosses, sidewalk chalk, selfie station, and crafts.
Shortly before the scheduled kickoff, we got an influx of volunteers from the Center for Community Engagement: Sara Burchett, Taylor Morrison, and Bram Sebio-Brundage…
…as well as some of our friends, Isabel Behm and Jocelyn Vazquez.
The Easter bunny made his surprise appearance around 11 a.m. ready to take pictures and even dance with a few ambassadors and volunteers.
The selfie station is always a hit…
…as was the face-painting station.
Everyone was a bit skeptical of the sack races at first, but after a demonstration/ completion between Center of Community Engagement volunteers and LEAP Ambassadors, the lines began forming! The adults might have even enjoyed the sack races more than the children.
After numerous activities, it was finally time for the Easter egg hunt. And when we “opened the gates,” the kids almost ran over us!
After the initial flurry, however, things calmed down and almost all the kids ended up with a bucketful of eggs.
Of course, the crafts table stayed busy, and…
…people also could just relax on the grounds.
Around 12:45 p.m., families were leaving, and kids were getting their last-minute face paint or coloring page. The kids were tired, worn out from their busy morning!
While we were cleaning, the ambassadors and volunteers decided to start smashing the eggs on each other’s heads with the extra ones. Needless to say, there was a lot of confetti tracked into our cars.
The ambassadors and the volunteers would like to thank the Wynne Home for having us help with this event again and we look forward to doing this again next year!
Capitalizing on the hard work of Professor Kurt Smith with the Political Science department, the LEAP Ambassadors and Jocelyn Vazquez recently enjoyed a short but informative lunch with Judge Jamie Rene Roman and Dr. Kurt Smith, learning about law, politics, and life.
Judge Roman served as a Judge in California after being appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has also worked for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). Although Judge Roman acquired his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of Law, he continued his education after law school at Boston University to obtain his L.L.M, allowing him to specialize in International Banking law!
Upon entering the room, Judge Roman began his greetings and empowered us with his experience as a young attorney working. As we talked about our career goals and what would be next after we graduated from SHSU, Judge Roman, Dr. Kurt Smith and the LEAP members began to unravel the packaged deli sandwiches catered by Aramark for our small group lunch.
Stressing the importance of education and a great work ethic in law school, Judge Roman advised us on what to look out for once we begin our careers and what to expect in law school.
His advice for not only law school, but the LSAT gaged us to have a deeper understanding of the importance of what steps are needed to go to the law schools that we want.
Judge Roman discussed the hardships that he faced in his career as he witnessed the dynamic yet bitter truth about family law and shared with us how busy every day would be with the incoming cases. He shared his insights regarding any questions we had, some of which related to the BAR exam for California and how it compared to the Texas Bar exam.
We also asked Judge Roman questions relating to the difference in court structures in California and in Texas. Judge Roman explained how he got a good grounding in the law by rotating, spending two years as a judge in one type of court, two years in another, and four years in another. This gave him the kind of all-around foundation that we one day hope to achieve.
On behalf of the LEAP Ambassadors , a big thank you to Judge Roman for taking the time to speak with us and and offer advice, and another thank you to Dr. Smith for setting up such a meeting. And Thank you for visiting SHSU!
As I entered the Sam Houston Memorial Museum Walker Education Center, I was greeted by warm and friendly smiles from the staff and both the former director Mac Woodward, his wife Leanne Woodward, and current director Derek Birdsall. This was no ordinary day over at the Walker Education Center, for artist, Lee Jamison, was exhibiting a select paintings in the gallery, reflecting his work on East Texas.
Lee Jamison, of course, was also there greeting and thanking EVERYONE individually for coming. He was featuring paintings from Huntsville, one of Sam Houston’s Woodland Home itself, and others from across the region.
The room was matched the title of the exhibit, as all the paintings expertly captured the essence of East Texas. Jamison even commented how he had brought more paintings than the room could fit!
The three paintings that stood out the most to me were (1) Roots of Texas (2) His first painting (3) Old Main.
The Roots of Texas is a painting of a tree, its roots, and the trench near it. It was significant since it told the story behind how our beautiful state got its name. It originated from the word Tejas which Caddo Indians used to describe friends. I thought it was amazing that he included his very first painting in this exhibit but also that it was placed next to the Roots of Texas one.
I believe it to be because they are both origin stories, one of how Texas got its name and the other of how Jamison’s art career began. There is nothing better to show that than his very first painting, which is different than the rest of his works. It definitely stands out.
This other art piece just takes your breath away and leaves you admiring its beauty. It is a perfectly beautiful painting of Sam Houston State University’s famous Old Main Building. You can really see and adore the architecture and how majestic Old Main was. This was one painting that everyone stopped to look at and engage in conversation with those around them exchanging their stories and memories of this building. Even that of the night that broke everyone’s spirit as they saw this building burst into flames.
When the clock struck 6:30 p.m., the crowd went over to the next room and took their seats, and waited to hear from Jamison. The opening speech was the quickest history lessons I had ever heard about Mexico and Texas. It was given by none other than Caroline Crimm.
I learned that back then, one of the conditions needed to become a Mexican Citizen was to convert to Catholicism. This was particularly interesting since the LEAP Center is volunteering for a U.S. Citizenship Prep Course.
Crimm’s history lesson led very well into what Jamison would discuss since in her crash course she discussed what happened in East Texas over the course of centuries. Hence, Jamison’s book title and the exhibit’s name Ode to East Texas.
He went in depth about the evolution and stories behind a couple of his paintings, some of which were exhibited, while others were not.
The stories behind each of his paintings really resonated with me since there was a meaningful significance behind all of them, which I found inspiring. When discussing origin stories, for example, he discussed his time at Lon Morris College, where he not only learned to refine his artistic skills, but also met his wife, Melinda!
After his speech, many people re-entered the gallery room to see the exhibit one last time before the museum closed. Jamison even stayed longer to sign copies of his book “Ode to East Texas,” which was on sale at the museum store.
The Jamison exhibit will be displayed at the Walker Education Center until May 28, 2022. Be sure to check it out if you have not already!
For our first full day in D.C., we made sure we bundled up before we braved the chilly weather. After a typical quick breakfast, we laid out a plan of action for the day and set off on foot. Our first location was within a reasonable walking distance inside the National Mall, and we could see our destination from a distance. As we neared, we could see the details of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, which was adorned with Corinthian columns and several reliefs.
We were grateful that there was no great line to enter the museum but we were shocked at the number of people also exploring their way through history. A grand foyer and a posed elephant welcomed us as we entered the building. As a group, we gathered and quickly discussed the best use of our time and the order in which we should meander through the exhibits. We soon were enthralled by specimens, fossils, and skeletons that left no room for downtime. The exhibits were displayed by date, species type, and even dramatic scenes.
Yvette and I split off from the rest of the group and started our journey through time. We were also blown away at the sizes of some of the displays.
A few towered over us…
… while others were the size of a hummingbird’s femur. Yvette and I especially enjoyed the lab on the first floor of the museum which had cameras and screens set up to allow visitors to watch scientists work on the fossils. We were mesmerized by the work the scientists were conducting on the specimens.
Interestingly, we also saw a first edition of John James Audubon’s “Birds in America,” which was beautiful, and bigger than any book we’ve ever seen!
The crown jewel of the museum was, naturally, the Hope Diamond. It was mined in India in the 17th century and changed hands several times over the last few centuries. It was eventually purchased by famed jeweler Harry Winston who donated it in 1958. It is one of the most famous parts of the museum. It gets its blue hue from trace amounts of the element boron in the stone. We learned that a diamond’s size and clarity are good indicators of its worth. The Hope Diamond is a prime example of the size factor, weighing in at 45.52 carats and costing upwards of $350 million. We could have easily spent the entire day inside the Museum of Natural History alone, but we pulled ourselves away from the many fascinating and—in the case of the Hope Diamond, dazzling displays and headed toward the exit.
Smithsonian National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
As we left the museum we spied portions of sculptures peeping over the tops of shrubbery across the street and decided to investigate further. Imagine our delight when we realized that they were works by artists we know and love! We had recently seen one of Robert Indiana’s “LOVE” while we were in Oklahoma, and this time we found ourselves looking at his sculpture, “AMOR.” A true pop artist, Indiana uses modern materials such as aluminum and bright, contrasting colors in his works.
As we roamed the rest of this sculpture garden, some among us were introduced to other pop artists like Claes Oldenburg and Roy Lichtenstein…
…for the first time. We paused briefly at a striking work by Roxy Paine, whom Professor Yawn acknowledged as being one of his favorite artists. Paine is recognized for his giant metallic tree installations that combine the natural world and man-made elements.
Personally, Joel Shapiro’s sculpture Untitled, 1989 was my favorite. Shapiro is well-known for his minimalist sculptures consisting of fixed rectangular elements that evoke a sense of movement.
And, of course, we also got to see a couple of Calders…
…with so much to see here, it’s no wonder that we fell in love with D.C. as we rambled across the city.
But it was the Smithsonian that we witnessed the largest collection of American Artists, some we had previously seen and others we had not. We were exposed to such varied styles of works from artists that we were familiar with, that we found ourselves eagerly moving from painting to painting in the hopes of seeing something new from artists that we had become used to.
Unlike other museums we had previously been to, we were able to see more of Thomas Moran’s and Albert Bierstadt’s works. Their breathtaking landscapes scenes consist of the country’s natural beauty, with luminosity provided by the artists.
Morgan, who typically prefers a Moran or Bierstadt painting over other artworks, today favored a piece by Sargent; the “Corner of a Church on San Stae.” We all noted that this work was much different than anything we had seen by him up until this point. We had only seen his portraits!
Interestingly, we saw an early Jackson Pollock, and the influence his mentor, Thomas Hart Benton, had on him was obvious.
And this became more clear when we saw an entire wall dedicated to Benton!
Up on the second floor, we were able to see the Presidential Portrait Gallery. In this wing was included at least one portrait of every U.S. president, starting with President Washington, proceeding all the way up to President Trump.
Upon entering we were immediately confronted with the famed George Washington Portrait done by Gilbert Stuart.
This portrait is deeply symbolic. It depicts our first president, but it also includes several other details regarding the birth of our nation. In the background of the painting through a window, there can be seen a rainbow emerging from dark storm clouds, suggesting that America was emerging bright and new from a dark and stormy era. Washington’s right arm gestures toward a quill pen and parchment on his desk while his left arm rests on the hilt of his sword, suggesting that our newly-formed democracy was ready to assume its governance role but that it would still defend itself if the need arose. The law and philosophy books under his desk portray Washington as an enlightened leader in addition to his being a man of action. This is the famous portrait that we see on our dollar bill.
Prior to this museum, we’d stopped briefly at Ford’s Theater, where President Lincoln was assassinated. Seeing his presidential portrait and then a face casting made before and after his death, resonated with us.
Although most presidential paintings were traditional and sort of regal, former President John F. Kennedy apparently asked Elaine de Kooning to do something unique when he commissioned his official portrait. The portrait is semi-abstract with hundreds of strokes of greens and blues coming together to show Kennedy sitting casually on the canvas looking back at the viewer.
As the sun began to set, we rushed in order to see as much of the museum as we could. While most of what we saw were paintings, we did encounter a few sculptures including a James Surls piece!
Such a rich art experience on our first full day in our nation’s capital gave us the opportunity to encounter new artists but also to deepen our knowledge of the artists that we were already familiar with.
In leaving the Museum, we realized we weren’t too far from the White House, which prompted us to make a detour before going to eat.
Dinner at Oyamel
To cap off a long and rewarding day on the National Mall, we stopped in at Oyamel, a wonderful Mexican restaurant not far from our hotel. All the food was good, but we especially like the appetizers, which ranged from Brussel sprouts…
…to queso fundido…
The entrees were equally as good. We had a mix of food, with the shrimp and the tacos being the best of what we tried.
We didn’t know it at the time, but this turned out to be the best food we would have on our trip.
On Sunday, March 27, 2022, countless citizens and veterans from Huntsville, Walker County, and the State came together to honor and dedicate the H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans Memorial Museum’s Vietnam Wall Memorial.
Tara Burnett, Executive Director of the HEARTS Museum, began the ceremony by thanking everyone who played a role in establishing this great asset in our community. With a beautiful and (literally) monumental new background, speakers addressed the crowd. The colors were presented and placed along the wall, and a choir led us in the national anthem.
This Memorial, originally designed by Maya Lin for the DC Mall area in the nation’s capital, is an 80 percent scale model of what Americans now simply know as “The Wall.” It contains the names of all 58,000+ Americans who lost their lives while enlisted in the military during the Vietnam War, and it has found a home at the HEARTS Veterans Museum.
Ernest Bailes, our TX House member from district 18, expressed his admiration for Walker County and the Veterans who call it home.
As representatives of the City, Mayor Andy Brauninger and Joe Rodriguez read a proclamation that declared March 27, 2022, as H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans Museum Vietnam Memorial Day. Mayor Brauninger expressed his gratitude for the H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans Museum and their work to honor the veterans in the City.
Walker County Judge, Danny Pierce, read a declaration from the Commissioners Court thanking the museum for honoring those that served in the War.
Congressman Kevin Brady first addressed the men and women who served in the Vietnam War by thanking them for their service. He then read a prepared commendation highlighting the importance of the H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans Museum and the work they’ve done for the community. Perhaps most notably, Congressman Brady stated that in all his time in office he has never met a county or city that honors and loves its Veterans more than Walker County.
Tara Burnett thanked the donors and partners responsible for the Wall with plaques to show the Museum’s appreciation. To conclude the ceremony, “Taps” was played following a 21-gun salute.
It was a beautiful, memorable, and moving ceremony, and on behalf of the LEAP Center, many thanks to the H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans Museum for honoring those who preserve our freedoms.
With snow having had fallen the night before, the grounds of the Carnegie Museum of Art were covered in a white blanket. But this did not deter us, as we made our way to the entrance and noticed a few memorable outdoor sculptures, such as George Rickey and Henry Moore.
We were greeted in the gallery by a staircase with a beautiful, grand, and colorful Sol LeWitt art piece along the wall. The highly pigmented colors set the tone for the rest of the museum.
As we made our way through the “Working Thought” exhibit, Millicent, a docent, pointed out a few central art pieces to us. Millicent educated us on how all the art pieces in this exhibit came together by expressing the social inequities of labor and the economy, both past and present, between the museum, Andrew Carnegie, and Pittsburgh.
The first of the four was The Band Played the Night of the Johnstown an intricate art piece carved out of basswood by Aaron Spangler. Following was the Space in Between, made out of decommissioned patrol uniforms that were embroidered to tell the stories of immigrants and labor, by Margarita Cabrera and The Triumph of Labor by Andrea Bowers. The Triumph of Labor was a play on Walter Crane’s art piece since it was made from cardboard boxes and black marker to tie together labor movements and protests.
The next room we were led into, was filled with statement art pieces. Greek gods and goddesses overlooked the main chamber where people could congregate. However, we became quickly distracted by a single statue that did not fit the mold. It was much larger, was a bit blobby without defining features, and had enormous hands, which were holding a cell phone. The contrast between classic and modern was unsettling, and a little too close to the truth.
Morgan discovered a new favorite artist: Gustave Doré, a nineteenth French printmaker and artist…
…while also seeing some of her old favorites, such as Thomas Moran and Albert Bierstadt.
Our favorite section of the gallery would most likely be their regular exhibit with all the artists we are familiar with such as Claude Monet, Pissarro, and more.
On show was a famous waterlily painting by Monet of his flower garden in his home in Giverny. Monet is one of my favorite impressionists and his water lilies are one of his most famous collections even though they were made later in his artistic career.
Professor Yawn commented that this might have been the most expensive exhibit in the gallery, because of all the notable names such as Pissarro, Monet, Van Gogh, and Renoir amongst others. These famous impressionists were revolutionary, since they painted landscapes and people as they saw them. They also changed the way art could be made through different variations of colors and how exposure to light affects them.
Erin had a chance to see her favorite artist, “her girl,” as she calls Georgia Okeeffe.
We got to see a different type of Piet Mondrian painting…
…having previously only been familiar with his geometric paintings.
We also saw a Pollock, which Professor Yawn likes, but we haven’t warmed to his work.
And echoing back to the night before, we saw a Warhol…
…and taking us back to Austin, we saw an Ellsworth Kelly.
We also had a chance to see an artist we have trouble remembering: Edward Hopper. Professor Yawn tells us he is famous, and he tries to explain some of the distinctive features of his work (green and blue tints; a theme of loneliness), but it has not yet sunk in.
On behalf of the LEAP Ambassadors, we would like to thank Millicent for the “tour.” This was our first time at the Carnegie Museum of Art, and we enjoyed our time visiting.
Cathedral of Learning and Pittsburgh Glass Center
As we drove through the frosty, white-covered Pittsburgh, it was impossible to miss the beautiful Cathedral of Learning. We braved the slight flurries of snow and made our way along the path to the Cathedral entrance, we got an even better view of the intricate details of the skyscraper. The height of the cathedral was amazing!
Not being able to pass the inside entrance was indeed a teaser as we looked inside from the door. To our right in the distance is colorful stain glass. We were fortunate enough to at least catch a glimpse of the enormously high ceilings. Although we got only to see a tiny part of the Cathedral of Learning, we enjoyed seeing the bit we saw.
While we didn’t get to see the Cathedral as fully as we would have liked, we did have another quick stop, but this time at Pittsburgh’s very own blowing glass center.
We encountered a small exhibit through the Pittsburgh Glass Center that incorporated different, fascinating glass-blowing techniques! One has applied a tryptic method, and others used the finest techniques to create thin glass that interconnects.
In addition to seeing a small glass gallery, we had the opportunity to attend a glass blowing workshop. Our glasssmith, Sam, left us mind blown at how he managed to go from what looked like a small bowl to a flat glass cheese plate! Each of us grew a great appreciation for glassblowers.
Each detailed step used to create glass artwork is very intricate and later leads to the breathtaking final product.
We were able to finish off our snowy day in Pittsburgh, by driving to a local theatre, which had commission a mural by Richard Haas.
Haas is of particular interest to us because he has done 15 murals in Huntsville. We’ve all seen his Fort Worth piece, but for the Ambassadors, this was the first we’ve seen of his outside of Texas.
As the art of Pennsylvania flowed into our hearts, our last stop may be considered the best work of art we saw: Fallingwater, by Frank Lloyd Wright. This piece of architecture is not solely a home but a piece of art within the breathtaking natural surroundings. As we walked through the snow alongside a natural spring water stream, we were eager to see the notable home. As we approached, we heard the rushing water, and the closer we got, the more it was like a gift that couldn’t yet be opened. Then, at last, we were in complete amazement to see the light reflecting off the snow shining on the crystal-clear waterfall that flowed out of the home.
Frank Lloyd Wright was a renowned American architect who created Fallingwater for the Kauffman’s, a wealthy family with the largest department store in Pittsburgh. Edgar Kauffman wanted a home for his family that would act as a a getaway from the hustle and bustle of life. Kauffman selected the family’s favorite picnic spot, and it turned out to be not a bad “summer home.”
Wright achieved not only the vision of Kauffman, but also of what he thought would best reflect the nature. He planned for every rock and tree, how they were placed and how they grew. Through this knowledge and talent, he constructed a home that incorporated every bit of nature, creating an organic composition. Wright used a technique called compression and release, by which the narrow hallways lead to grand, open spaces.
Walking to the hidden entrance, you could see how Wright incorporates cantilevers from the outside into each room. With the primary goal of creating a space of comfort and gathering, he emphasized that the heart of a room is the fireplace. There would be Japanese-style seats around the fire closer to the ground and nature. Wright incorporated other parts of the furniture that were created to open out to have a larger seating space or more oversized buffet table.
Each room had exciting features, including the outside rocks being exposed inside the house. We were amazed by the interior and exterior design of the house, but we also encountered notable artwork from Picasso, Diego Rivera, and Tiffany glass!
Any homeowner might notice the lack of gutters on Falling Water. The circular edges of the roof allow for water to cascade from the roof, through drains in the balcony and into the river below.
The concept of falling water was incorporated within every part of the home. Specifically, the rolling sound of the water can be heard upon entering the family room, at the main house. At the third level, what would have been servant lodging, the water is almost impossible to hear. The staircases leading up to the top of the home replicated the cascading water movement. The design of the water flowing out of the home is seamless and left each one of us in shock of its beauty of connectedness. Wright created a house of unity and tranquility, and with that, the LEAP Ambassadors were beyond grateful to have been in the heart of Falling Water.
Dinner at Tsunami
We stopped for dinner at Tsunami, a ramen restaurant, after being on the road for nearly four hours. Nestled in downtown Frederick, MD, Tsunami was next to well-lit buildings with a nice view of their central shopping area.
We went over the menu after being seated by their polite staff to see what piqued our interest. We had shrimp and scallop pot stickers, spring rolls, and spinach and goat cheese dumplings to start.
Which were, of course, delightful. Our supper had everything from miso to chicken ramen, although one outlier order fried chicken–at a Japanese restaurant!
We still had room for dessert after finishing our meal! We had a croissant pudding and a crepe cake for dessert.
Our desserts weren’t our only treats: Victoria shared with us about law school, the LSAT, and just life away from home, a trove of information for us as spiring law-school students. It was a pleasant dinner, and we very much enjoy hearing and taking in advice from someone who has walked in our shoes.
After dinner we headed back to the car. Since the car was parked a few houses down, we were able to walk through part of downtown Frederick by the and admire the structure of the colonial buildings. As the night got colder, and everyone was so eager to get to Washington DC, we once again set our sights towards D.C.!
Our first morning in Oklahoma began with an early start as we made our way toward Norman, Oklahoma. University of Oklahoma College of Law is located just a mile away from the main campus. As we got closer to the University it was clear what buildings were OU, as they were architecturally cohesive–and they were helpfully labeled.
As we walked toward the school of Law Building–admiring all the fall colors and weather–we were greeted by Dean Kathleen Guzman, and the Director of Technology of Innovation, Kevin Brice. After we introduced ourselves and explained that we are SHSU students touring for the first time, Dean Guzman introduced herself and explained that she walked the campus every Friday morning, talking to the students, asking how things were going, and seeing if there were any concerns. And we thought, what a nice place to be!
We then met one of our tour guides, Maddie Farris, the Associate Director of Admissions, who welcomed us and introduced us to Grayson, a 2L and mentor at the school. As we ventured further into the Law School we asked Grayson questions about her experiences at OU, which she happily answered!
The first room we saw was the library. We learned OU Law is the only law school that is an Apple distinguished Campus. The school’s emphasis on technology is apparent when you look around the computer lab, equipped with dual monitors, VR stimulators and other technological advances. Study rooms can be found almost at every turn in the school. Grayson showed us her favorite places to study and prepare for class as we made our way to the reading room.
The reading room spanning the width of the building was lined with tables and was flooded with natural light from the massive windows on either side. This was my favorite room in the library, and we all found it to be a very photogenic spot.
As we wrapped up the tour, we thanked Maddie and Grayson for their help…
…and spent the rest of the time admiring OU’s beautiful campus, which included similarly beautiful buildings, rooms, and some fun and surprising art–including works by Allen Hauser, Jesus Moroles, and James Surls.
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Speaking of art, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art definitely caught our eyes. This museum contains art and artifacts from the sixteenth century to the present. The Fred Jones Museum also acts as a comparison to the museum we visited the night before and similarly contains art from all over the world.
As we were making our way to the museum, we began to spot pieces from our favorite artists: Jesus Moroles….
…and James Surls.
As graduates of SHSU and Texans, we were happy to see how well known these two are outside of Texas.
In the museum, we saw more work by James Surls, most impressive of which was the stand-alone flower shape that can be viewed from all angles.
We expanded our knowledge as learn more about different types of cultures and artists. For instance, Saara and I saw a Monet art piece for the very first time, and we began to recognize his style of impressionism.
I was able to recall who Georgia O’Keeffe was based on her style and motifs, and found that I prefer her work.
O’Keeffe began by painting her family, then expanded to flowers, landscapes, and bones. This is what makes her unique from other artists, her flowers are usually big with vivid colors, but her favorite theme is, interestingly enough, cow skulls.
Saara’s favorite piece was the painting that hung in the model of the Jones’ house which was a Vincent Van Gogh work entitled Portrait of Alexander Reid.
We recognized it as a Van Gogh, based on his style, right away. We also learned more about the different types of impressionism and post-impressionism,. including pointillism.
Learning more about art found on Oklahoma University’s campus was a true insight to what the University holds as values.
Driving through the great college town of Norman, Oklahoma we ate at what might, at first glance, be a dive Mediterranean restaurant: the Greek House. But behind the small storefront and limited menu were massive portions and a world of flavor! As you walk in, it is impossible to miss the four rotating skewers of gyro meat that we later learned is used in almost every meal.
The hummus and chip appetizer tasted organic and fresh. The contrast of the warm, fried pita bread’s crunchy texture to the cool and tart hummus dip, enticed us even further to try more food. Morgan even commented that this was her favorite hummus that she has had. Each bite was authentic and flavorful.
The main entrees were overflowing with gyro meat, and our appetite grew much more. Everyone except for myself ordered sandwiches packed with gyro meat, spices, tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce. I, on the other hand, ordered the gyro plate, which consisted of the same ingredients as the sandwich but had a much larger portion. The gyro plate also came with French fries and a salad to complement the dish.
The table grew increasingly quieter as we began getting full of all the delicious food. The LEAP members absolutely loved it, and it served as vital fuel for our wonderful day of tours and museums ahead of us.