Student Spotlight: Allison Riddle
Growing up just down the road from the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma in Marlow, senior physical education major and golfer Allison Riddle had visited the campus for various events as a high schooler. Though she spent her freshmen year of college at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, she found that it was not the right fit for her and decided to move to a more familiar campus. The recent addition of a golf team to the Drover Athletics program helped seal the deal.
“I chose to pursue a degree in physical education because I want to be a college golf coach,” said Riddle. “I grew up playing golf and knew about Head Coach [Bruce] Renfroe’s excellent reputation as a fantastic coach at Norman High School.”
Though Riddle already knew she would thrive in her anatomy and other science classes because of her love for the material, she has found the whole atmosphere on campus both inspiring and inclusive. The university’s required interdisciplinary studies curriculum has helped her become more extroverted and willing to step outside of her comfort zone to learn from new people and their unique experiences.
“Everyone here is so accepting of one another, this allows everyone to feel at home and feel free to be themselves and not have to fit some kind of mold,” she said. “I have grown so much in my two years here. I have grown out of my shell of being shy and scared to put myself out there. I am constantly finding new things to learn or do so I can grow and evolve into a better version of myself. This university has taught me to embrace myself and every unknown circumstance.”
As one of Science & Arts’ celebrated scholar-athletes, Riddle’s time on the golf team has helped her develop exceptional time management skills, as they frequently travel off campus to compete. In order to stay on top of things both athletically and academically, Riddle has learned how to prioritize things and get ahead in her coursework so she can successfully complete all of her responsibilities. Coach Renfroe has also played a key role in helping her navigate the complexities of college life.
“Coach Renfroe has been the most personable and helpful person in my life,” she said. “He has helped me with my school, golf and personal issues. He has always been super uplifting and positive no matter what the situation is. He has taught me to always look on the bright side of things and gave me a new outlook on life that I will forever cherish.”
In addition to the mentor she has found in her coach, Riddle has also made lifelong friends and forged some unforgettable memories, both on the team and around campus. While the women’s golf team started out small, this also helped Riddle get closer to her teammates.
“The first year, there were only five of us, and we got along so well,” she said. “Every tournament after our first round, we went to dinner early so later we got to go get ice cream. No matter how cold it was, we always wanted ice cream. We also ate at a local eating establishment when we went to different cities—we said no chain restaurants and got to eat so many delicious foods that were unique to each town.”
While she was initially nervous about coming to Science & Arts as a transfer student, Riddle has found the faculty and staff here extremely welcoming and ready to help with whatever she needs. She urges other students to consider the value of this kind of campus culture because she feels that no other school is as caring as Science & Arts. It also provides its students with a wealth of potential experiences that few undergraduates are able to pursue.
“Be involved, find something on campus that you are passionate about, get out of your comfort zone,” said Riddle. “Also, do not get caught up thinking you are too cool or that something is lame. Ditch the negative attitude or it will ruin everything about your college experience. Instead, try to think of three positive things about whatever you are doing—this will help you to grow as a person, and, who knows, you might find a new interest or passion.”