Cole Jackson grew up in tiny Cedar Point, Kansas (pop. 25) where his family operated a cattle yard for most of his childhood. As a 2011 National Merit Finalist, he received a generous scholarship to attend the University of Oklahoma. There he worked as a tutor for the school’s Multicultural Engineering Program and as a student assistant in the Department of Modern Languages. He graduated from OU with a degree in Computer Science in 2017.
Today, Cole works as a software engineer for Garmin at their headquarters in Olathe. He lives in downtown Kansas City, MO and enjoys the stark contrast to his rural upbringing. Outside work, he enjoys pub trivia, coffee shops, reading nonfiction, and automating literally everything in his apartment.
Andi Oursler moved to the Kansas City area halfway through her sophomore year of high school. She attended Spring Hill High School where she participated in cross country, track, theater performances, and choir. She also was a NSHSS member, Kansas Honors Scholar, Senior Class Treasurer, and salutatorian.
Currently, Andi is attending Mid-America Nazarene University. She is studying as a Mid-Level Science and Math Education Major. At MNU, she has been a part of choir and science club. She also has helped as a cross country and track manager, chemistry teaching assistant, and freshman mentor. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering with her church’s youth, reading, running, and solving puzzles.
Andi is currently a Classroom Instructor. Even if you’re not enrolled in a class, you’ll likely see her at Office Hours in Leawood.
Kansas State University
College of Engineering
Major: Mechanical Engineering
- What first drew you to Kansas State University?
Growing up I had always thought I would go to a private Christian college like my both of my parents and my sister before me. However, engineering was not offered or not very prominent at any school that I was considering so I had to broaden my horizons. I began doing campus visits to several state schools. As soon as I walked onto campus at KSU I knew it was the right place for me. I loved the atmosphere. Everyone was so friendly and every interaction I had with professors gave me a sense that I already belonged there. After graduating, I know that it was a great school that provided me with so many opportunities.
- What other colleges were you considering?
In my early search I looked at private colleges such as Olivet Nazarene University. Later I looked at state schools in the Midwest that offered in-state tuition to Kansas residents.
- How was the adjustment from high school to college?
For me the change was not as challenging as it is for many others. For one I was only 2 hours from home. This was the perfect distance for me; It was close enough to visit, but far enough away to feel independent. The best thing is to get involved early. I had already made several friends in band before my first semester had started and that made a huge difference.
- What was your favorite class? Why?
I can’t pick just one so I guess I’ll pick my top two. For my engineering related classes I loved my senior project. This was a yearlong course where we were assigned a project to work with a sponsoring company to complete different projects in groups of 4 to 5. We went through the entire project to do a proof of concept for some really cool up and coming technology. (I can’t say much more than that without a 3 page essay.) I loved getting to be so involved in such a unique project.
Secondly I loved being in a part of the Kansas State University Marching Band for four seasons. It was an amazing experience to be in one of the best bands in the nation. (Received the Sudler Award during my senior year) Also I got to travel the country on bowl trips every year. The comradery of this group is unlike anything and I would hope everyone gets to experience something like it at least once in their lives.
- What clubs or groups were you involved in?
Kansas State University Marching Band
Powercat Motor Sports
RA at Goodnow Hall (pronounced Good know)
Tutor for incoming Mechanical Engineering Freshmen
- Anything else you want to tell us?
Don’t pick the college you want to attend based solely on tradition or money. Talk to real people on the campus and find out what you absolutely must have to enjoy your college experience. For me, I had to find a place that could feel like home. And I found everything I wanted and more in the “Little Apple”.
- In one sentence, what do you love about your school?
KSU is filled with leaders of great character that will inspire you, students and staff alike.
Name: Stephen Heiner
College: St. Louis University, Cook School of Business
What first drew you to St. Louis University, Cook School of Business?
Their MBA program was top-5 in the Midwest and was in a city that I adored.
What other colleges were you considering?
Rockhurst University’s MBA program, where I did end up taking some classes which counted towards my MBA.
How was the adjustment from undergraduate to graduate school?
Fewer stragglers and people in flannel. But in all seriousness, we did have some people who were only there because they couldn’t get a job, but I couldn’t really get mad at them. What I relished instead were the new friends I made, some of whom are truly great ones.
What was your favorite class? Why?
International Business with Dr. Benmamoun. I loved having to think through different business concepts from the international perspective – at every single point. From something as simple as the color of the website to the way one closed a sale. It was one of many things that probably led to my move to Europe.
What clubs or groups were you involved in?
I was a participant in an Entrepreneurs’ Group. We shared current and future business ideas and offered constructive criticism. We also linked up with the 1-year MBA program and got to meet some great guest speakers.
Anything else you want to tell us?
You’ll never regret picking a school because you love the city it’s in.
In one sentence, what do you love about your school?
An amazing city, a historic and beautiful campus, wonderful staff and students, and a curriculum that would not let me give my second best, even if I wanted to.
Stephen Heiner is a Tutor at Get Smarter Prep.
For some time the staff at GSP have asked me to write about living in Paris. This article hopefully not just accedes to their request but teaches you a few things as well, which is always our mission here at Get Smarter.
1. It’s not true that everyone here speaks English and they just don’t want to speak it with you, disgusting American!
There are a large number of people in France in general who don’t speak English beyond saying “hello,” “goodbye,” and “thank you.” (Indeed, there are a large number of people who don’t speak English who live in America!) The French are proud of their language, which predates English and had a massive influence – via the Norman invasion of England – on what would eventually became English.
Learn – before you get here – how to say “hello,” “goodbye,” “where is the bathroom?” and the ever simple, “parlez-vous anglais, s’il vous plait?” The French are like many people all around the world: meet them on their terms, in their language, and they will do their best to meet you halfway.
2. It’s not true that the Parisians are rude. But it is true that Paris is full of city folk.
Any big city has “city manners.” People move quickly, brusquely. Transactions with vendors are hurried and functional. People always seem in a rush. You’ll observe this in the American cities of San Francisco, Chicago, and New York just as readily as here in the City of Light. So, that part of it is no different.
Are the French more formal and reserved? Absolument. Remember that even within their language, unlike ours, there is a separate form of “you,” based on your relationship to that person. But if they get to know vous they are just as friendly and loving as many other people can be. Americans, with our big hearts and big laughs, who call people “buddy” five minutes after we’ve met them, can perceive the formality and initial distance here as rudeness. But it’s not.
3. Everything you’ve heard that is good about French food is true. Remember that the English word “cuisine” is a French word.
So I love French food. I’ve also lost 14 pounds since moving here in December. How to reconcile those two sentences? Well, apart from the loads of walking that city living affords me, portion size, a lack of snacking, and meal elements are a major part of that weight loss.
The French eat very well, but they don’t necessarily eat a lot. They have foods for all occasions and regions. They’re intensely interested in whatever you’re eating. And they take it for granted that meals together are to be slow, coursed affairs that last well into the night. An American, like myself, that expects a typical Tuesday night dinner to be a fairly efficient affair (so we can get on to more important things, like Netflix or facebook) will have to adjust to the Thanksgiving-esque length of an any-night dinner here in La France.
4. Paris isn’t the most beautiful city in the world because of its age or the language spoken. It’s the parks and green space that complete this city.
I’ve had the good fortune and blessing to have visited many beautiful cities around the world, including most of the capitals of Europe, but I believe the best testimony that any human city can give is the harmony between the structures that we alone can build and the unduplicable beauties of nature that surround us.
Think of the beaver dam in the river in the forest. Harmony surrounds an artificial, unique construct. So too Paris, with her balance of river, canals, parks, apartments, and monuments – all of them old and new – not only pays testimony to a shared unique human history that dates back before the time of Caesar, but also never takes nature for granted.
5. Remember that Americans who refer to our “bailing out the French in WWI and WWII” might have forgotten that without French military and naval assistance, we would have lost the Revolutionary War.
America is a young country still, and sometimes her citizens lack a sense of history. France was the very first country to sign a treaty with us, the first to salute our naval vessels at sea, and the park across the street from the White House is named after a French general: Lafayette.
Paris features a statue of George Washington, street names like “Avenue de President Wilson” and metro stops like “Franklin Roosevelt.” If recent (read: over the last 20 years) French opposition to American foreign policy has clouded our view of what, over centuries, has been a relationship of great cooperation and amity, we can only hope that this time in our shared history will pass.
Beyond what many French may say about America’s actions on the world stage, many of them really do enjoy the company of Americans. Or they’ve been really good at faking me out for almost six months now. :-)
Stephen Heiner is a Tutor at Get Smarter Prep.