Kate Sekula is currently a graduate student at the University of Connecticut and is pursuing a Ph.D. in music theory and history. Her proposed dissertation topic is: “Utilizing Computer Programming to Analyze Post-tonal Music: Segmentation and Contour Analysis of Twentieth-Century Post-Tonal Music for Solo Flute.” Kate holds a B.S. in music education and a B.A. in flute performance from Lebanon Valley College and a M.M. in flute performance from George Mason University where she studied with Ms. Judith Lapple. Recently, she has presented papers for the New York Chapter of the American Musicological Association (in joint with the North American British Music Association) and for the International Network of Alternative Academia’s symposium entitled: “Awe, Wonder and Passion: Music and the Creation of Meaning.”
Kate has studied flute with Barbara Divine (formerly of the United States Coast Guard Band), Dr. Theresa Bowers (Gettysburg University) and the late Judith Lapple (formerly of the United States Army Band and Orchestra).
Rhenada Finch is a 2006 graduate of USAO. As a student, she played keyboard in the USAO Showband for four years and accompanied students in various performances and recitals. She has also worked as music director/accompanist for two Chickasha Community Theater productions, Ten Year Theatrical Review and Secret Garden. She had the privilege to work as music director/keyboardist for the world premier of Judylee Oliva’s production of Te Ata. Currently, Finch is staff accompanist for the USAO Music Department, teaches class piano and is acting as the festival coordinator for the Festival of Arts and Ideas. Previously she coordinated the Five B’s Festivals for USAO. Finch and her husband live on a farm outside of Lindsay.
Emily Hector serves as an adjunct instructor for the Division of Arts and Humanities and the coach of the Drover Dancers, USAO’s spirit team. She took over as coach in 2010.
In addition to teaching, coaching and being a choreographer for USAO, Hector coaches Chickasha High School Pom, is a dance instructor for Sunny Patch Daycare, is the movement coordinator for Grand Spirit Squad and owns and teaches at her own dance studio, Love to Dance. She founded her studio in 2008 on her ongoing passion for the arts and her enjoyment of working with children.
Hector holds an Oklahoma teaching license in dance and has performed with Shoji Tabuchi in Branson, Celebrity Cruises in the Pacific touring Australia and New Zealand, the OKC Yard Dawgz and “Fixin’ to Rain” in Tennessee.
On a separate note, she was the youngest female to solo an airplane in the United States and holds a private pilot’s license.
Martin Reding is a graduate of two institutions on one campus. He graduated from USAO before the institution's name was changed in the 1970s and also graduated after the name change. He has been instrumental in gathering graduates and students from OCLA for reunions at the college.
Recently Reding, with the help of OCLA classmates and others, worked to restore the lodge and recreation area at the USAO College Farm. In addition to his work at USAO, he also volunteers for the Chickasha Community Theatre. Before coming back to USAO, he was a master carpenter for United Artists and a stage tech for Walt Disney World in Florida.
In addition to directing the Art Gallery at USAO, Layne Thrift teaches in the art department at the college. He served as the assistant director of the gallery until 2010. He was the assistant to the director from 1998-2001 while a student at USAO.
Before coming back to USAO, Thrift was an adjunct professor of visual art at Oklahoma City Community College and a graduate teaching assistant at Texas Tech University. He also was a ceramic technician and a graduate assistant at Texas Tech.
Thrift received the USAO Alumni Distinguished Graduate Award and was named the Outstanding Graduate by the USAO Division of Arts and Humanities. He is a member of the National Council on Education of Ceramic Artists; Potter's Council, American Ceramic Society and the Oklahoma Visual Artists Coalition.
He has participated in exhibitions in Chickasha and in Slaton, Lubbock, Denton, Marfa, Houston and Rockport, Texas. He has attended workshops by William Haver, Tom Bartell, Ken Little, Jesus Morales, Robert "Boomer" Moore, Mo Neil, Ken Price, James Surls, Elmer Taylor and James Watkins.