Four Higher Education and Student Affairs Doctoral Students Selected as Next Gen Under 30

Four Higher Education and Student Affairs Doctoral Students Selected as Next Gen Under 30

Oklahoma State University higher education and student affairs doctoral students Heath Collins, Katherine Koch, Claire Painter and Rodney Thornton have been recognized among Oklahoma’s NextGen Under 30 for 2021.

The annual award is presented to individuals from across Oklahoma who demonstrate talent, drive and service to their communities.

“We are thrilled to have four 2021 NextGen Under30 over-achievers in our Oklahoma City-based PhD program,” said Kerri Kearney, OSU associate professor in higher education and student affairs. “All are high-drive, intelligent and extremely talented individuals who are a pleasure to work with. We certainly expect that they will make significant contributions in Oklahoma higher education and in our communities”

Koch and Painter were honored in the NextGen’s Adult and Higher Education category while Collins and Thorton were selected in the Non-Profit category. In total, NexGen Under 30 is recognizing more than 400 people for outstanding work in all fields in 2021. The NexGen Award Ceremony will take place online and in person on Nov. 12. All four students are pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies with an option in Higher Education, a research-focused degree that prepares participants for roles as higher education administrators, scholars or policy analysts.

The program at OSU teaches participants how to effectively lead higher education institutions and engage community partners in solving complex problems.

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