Julie McElyea--100 Alumni You Should Know

Julie McElyea--100 Alumni You Should Know


By Tailor Finney

Julie McElyea graduated from USAO in 2006 with a B.A. in English. As the third McElyea to attend USAO, Julie has since put the inter-disciplinary concepts she learned to good use in her career.

McElyea is a member of the Adoption Transition Unit for the state of Oklahoma. As an Adoption Transition Specialist, she helps locate adoptive homes for children in DHS custody who are no longer able to return home and have no potential adoptive homes. Working in a career that surrounds youths with varied backgrounds, McElyea exercises the unique education of USAO every day.

“USAO provided an interdisciplinary education which integrated me into my field of study and exposed me to different opinions, cultures, cultures, and knowledge of the world,” said McElyea. “USAO provided an opportunity to explore, grow, learn, and expand my comfort zone which is critical because I work with youths of varied backgrounds.”

McElyea attributes these lessons to the unique way of teaching at USAO. Unlike some universities, USAO encourages students to explore interests that are outside of their field of study. The IDS courses also encourage a unique way of thinking.

“Often people are put in boxes and expected to stay in those boxes,” said McElyea. “However, USAO encourages students to not only think outside of the box, but also to enjoy the journey. It leads students to think not just analytically but creatively as well.”

If not for this kind of encouragement, McElyea may never have found her way to ATU.

“Incorporating the lessons I learned outside of my field of study led me to pursue new interests and career options,” said McElyea.

And, if not for this kind of encouragement McElyea would be without one of her greatest life accomplishments.

“The best feeling in the world is watching a child get adopted,” said McElyea. “Anytime I am able to match a child to a future home, my greatest accomplishment is repeated all over again.”