1. You have a long history with NSU, and particularly with former NSU President Don Betz through Model UN and other projects. Tell us about that.
I received the NSU President’s Leadership Class scholarship in 1986. I enjoyed policy research, so I joined the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature and Model UN. Our MUN team traveled to conferences in Montreal, New York City, Washington, D.C., and I got to go to Moscow for the International MUN Conference.
2. You’re also an attorney. What made you decide to move from practicing the law to working at NSU?
I practiced employment law for six years in Dallas, but I missed the nonprofit world, as it was more personally and professionally fulfilling. I took a huge pay cut and started overseeing programs for older adults in Dallas, and after four years, my current job opened up. It was an amazing full-circle moment when I was hired by NSU to raise money for the scholarships that helped me!
3. You’ve been involved with the American Association of University Women, too. Explain the importance of promoting education for young women.
Women in Oklahoma on average make only 76% of what men make in the same jobs. We have the largest pay gap of any of our contiguous neighbors. With a longer lifespan, this can adversely impact Social Security calculations and even quality of life. It’s important for all women to know what their skills are worth and negotiate accordingly. AAUW offers a free online course on this at salary.aauw.org.
4. Explain your current role at NSU and how it’s evolved.
When President Steve Turner came on board in 2012, we began meeting with colleges to document their needs. We hired a consultant and came up with over $20 million in needs that donors supported. Nearly five years later, we have raised over $25.6 million for the Preserve Our Past, ENSUre Our Future Campaign, with support from the Cherokee Nation to preserve Seminary Hall and from many other donors to create new scholarships and support faculty.
5. What future programs do you envision, and how can alums get involved?
The first step is to join the NSU Alumni Association (www.nsualumni.com). Then attend an event, such as the Green Link Dinner this spring, to help guide students interested in your field, or Homecoming activities next Oct. 2-3. Consider a gift to an area meaningful to you. Contact me at email@example.com, and we will find a way for you to help.
– Kim Poindexter