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The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

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Adventure into the Summer with an Independent Study!

Elyanne Kenney
Bea Bourland examines a 3D printer as she tries to decide which Independent Study course to enroll in.

Every year in the month of May, USAO offers a special set of classes for students called independent studies, which are worth five credit hours. Students may only enroll in one of the studies.

For the 2024 year, there are nine different projects that will be offered. These courses range in a variety of different topics, from psychology to a trip to Europe. Students are not required to take a specific Independent Study; however, some apply to their degree better than others.

Dr. Misty Steele, associate professor of psychology, is offering an online Independent Study this year. Her project (IS 3125 01) is titled: “Lifelong Learning Towards a Meaningful Productive Life.” Students enrolled in this project will learn how to build a foundation for a productive life.

“The aim is for students to have the time and space to focus on figuring out what they value and desire most for their life to be, and then assess their own skillsets necessary to maintain healthy relationships, personal well-being, goal achievement and understanding the basis of self-actualization through motivation and lifelong learning,” Steele said.

Independent Studies allows students to study different topics that they would not normally study, and it allows professors to teach subjects outside of their discipline if they choose to.

Dr. Brenda Brown, dean of IDS and Humanities, will travel abroad with students in her course (IS 3125 02). The class will explore Germany, Switzerland, and Italy for ten days, where there will be an “emphasis on the cultural, social, and historical development” according to the course description. Students will learn to be international explorers.

Dr. J.C. Casey, professor of communication, and David Duncan, instructor of digital media technology, will create a video in their course (IS 3125 03) to tell the story of the summer’s Independent Study courses. “Curious Minds Revisited” will train the students in video storytelling, videography, editing, drone photography, and other production duties.

Dr. Thompson, assistant professor of English, will host his first Independent Study (IS 3125 04) in which students will explore creative writing through print, media, and locations. Students will be encouraged throughout the creative process according to the course description.

Professor of speech-language pathology, Dr. Karen Karner will involve students for the Special Olympics (IS 3125 05) summer games once again. The class’s goal is to enlighten students in the culture of disability while gaining hours of experience working with children, caregivers, and families. The summer games are held in Stillwater.

Fermentation will be the topic of discussion in professor of biology Dr. Jeannette Loutsch’s course (IS 3125 06). Students in the class will observe fermentation in regard to food preservation, and those enrolled will taste and take home items made in class.

Another trip that will take students out of the state is professor of biology Dr. Jason Shaw and associate professor of environmental science Dr. Rachel Jones’s course (IS 3125 07) as it will take students to the southwest United States. The class focuses on the culture of ancient natives as they visit several national parks and monuments.

Daniel Pool, librarian, is offering a film class (IS 3125 08) that focuses on monsters. Students will learn why these monsters captivated audiences and how to use media literacy skills to analyze characters, plot, and subtexts within films according to the course description.

Finally, Dr. Nicholas Boyde, associate professor of chemistry, is offering a course on 3D printers (IS 3125 09). As these types of printers are becoming more common, students will be able to create their own prints and discuss various applications to the emerging technology.

“Independent Study is a great opportunity to gain some experiential knowledge, so don’t forget to fully and authentically engage in whichever experience you choose,” Steele said.

Students still have an opportunity to enroll in the Independent Study period through


Elyanne Kenney is a second-year psychology major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Ray Thomas-Lapham
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About the Contributor
Elyanne Kenney
Elyanne Kenney, Contributing Writer
Elyanne is a third-year psychology major from Moore. She has a dog named Luna, and she really enjoys Taylor Swift and reading books. Elyanne can normally be found sitting in her apartment listening to music and hanging out with Luna.   Experience with The Trend: Contributing Writer: Aug. 2023 - present