When the Student Becomes the Teacher, Alum Returns to OSUIT

When the Student Becomes the Teacher, Alum Returns to OSUIT

When the Student Becomes the Teacher, Alum Returns to OSUIT

Amanda Cullum, OSU Institute of Technology alumna and Instrumentation Engineering instructor, always dreamt of returning to her alma mater to teach after retirement. Luckily for her, she didn’t have to wait that long.

“I have always wanted to pay it forward and come back and teach here,” said Cullum. “Teaching has always been a passion of mine. I planned to wait until after retirement to come back and teach, but the stars lined up for my family and me to come back now.”

Cullum graduated from OSUIT in 2010 with a Bachelor of Technology in Instrumentation Engineering Technology. After graduation, she returned to Midland, Texas, to work for Chevron Corp., where she worked for the past 10 years before returning to OSUIT.

She held several roles while at Chevron, including field specialist, plant specialist, electrical instrumentation specialist and automation analyst. Now at OSUIT, she teaches the upper-level bachelor classes for the Instrumentation Engineering program; Instrumentation, Process Control and Measurement and Capstone. Amanda was also chosen as a 2016 recipient of the Rising Star Award for the OSUIT Alumni Hall of Fame and featured in STATE magazine, the official magazine of Oklahoma State University, and an OSUIT branding campaign. 

As an instructor, Cullum said she hopes to help students succeed as her instructors did during her time as a student. 

“I want to show them that their hard work can leave the world at their fingertips,” said Cullum. “In today’s world, being an essential employee is important. Instrumentation Engineering is a diverse, ever-changing industry. Students can go into oil and gas like I did, utilities or manufacturing.” 

Cullum was not the typical college student when she applied to OSUIT. She was looking for an opportunity to better her life and her children. 

“I first heard of OSUIT because my brother was enrolled in the Civil Engineering program and spoke of how amazing it was,” she said. “I was going to a local community college in my hometown and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I was a single mom of two young boys.” 

Once she learned about the opportunities that OSUIT could provide, she jumped on the idea and moved to Okmulgee to pursue her education. Her husband also pursued his education at OSUIT in the Electrical Construction program. 

“I have so many amazing memories as a student,” said Cullum. “Being chosen as the outstanding graduate and delivering a speech at graduation and working on group projects with my classmates late into the night in the laundry mat on campus are some of my fondest memories.” 

Cullum said that she would recommend OSUIT to others because it stands out due to the hands-on experience it provides the students.

“Here, you do get to learn the theory behind it, but you really get to put your hands-on real-life stuff that you will be doing once you get out into industry,” she said. “For a short time at Chevron, I was a recruiter and would go to schools looking for employees. I always looked forward to coming here because I knew the students had hands-on experience with what they would be doing on the job, and it would be a smooth transfer to the working world.” 

Cullum’s classes are hybrid, meaning a mix of online and face-to-face instruction. The course is currently in the online or theory section; she won’t actually see any of her students until a few more weeks when labs start on campus. 

“Teaching others and helping them grow is my passion,” said Cullum. “I came from making $900 a month to have the finances to adopt four children. This school took me from living off government assistance to being able to help children in need. I truly have a passion for this school.”