||CLASS OF 2001
o most high school seniors, the world seems like a pretty big place. But when your graduating class consists of only 56 people, even a school the size of OU can be intimidating. Just ask Chris Hoyle.
I was concerned about being a little, tiny fish in this big pond and that I would just fall through the cracks.
Now, just four years later, the Management Information Systems senior talks excitedly about an upcoming trip his second to Samara, Russia. The people there are extremely giving, which is similar to home. They are much poorer, however, but they are very appreciative of what they have.
How does a young man from Lindsay, Okla., end up in Samara, Russia (home to more than a million people), twice? According to Hoyle, Price College had a big influence.
(Price College) was an eye-opening experience, Hoyle says. I was able to meet lots of international students and people with diverse backgrounds
people from India and Africa. Being around all of those bright students really challenged me and pushed me to excel. It was wonderful.
A sports injury might be responsible for Hoyles small-town transformation. He began his college career playing basketball at Redlands, a junior college in El Reno. During his freshman year, a torn ACL ended his hoop dreams and made him consider changing schools.
I came to OU with zero expectations, Hoyle says. I was interested in technology and talked to an adviser about computer-related careers. I found out that MIS is the business side of technology, but I was totally ignorant as to how big it was or what the opportunities were.
MIS Professor Dan Kemp helped ease the culture shock of not only coming to OU, but also entering the universitys largest degree program. He made the transition to the big university so much easier, Hoyle says. He was so personal and really wanted to get to know his students.
The JCPenney Leadership Program also helped Hoyle find a home at OU. Hoyle, a Leadership Associate, says the program prepared him for environments even more cosmopolitan. The training on how to be a businessman, etiquette dinners, resume-building, how to dress properly and interact at social functions these are things they dont teach you in Lindsay.
Hoyle had a chance to put these skills to work last summer, when he spent 10 weeks in Minneapolis during an internship with American Express. That experience showed me that I can get out of Lindsay and Norman and not only survive, but do well and even enjoy it.
Currently, Hoyle is taking intensive language courses to prepare for his return visit to Russia with Campus Crusade for Christ. He is looking forward to the chance to talk to Russian MIS students and learn their perspective on communications and the global business community.
Hes clearly learning that it really is a small world, after all.