According to Kiley Green, her journey at Oklahoma Wesleyan University could certainly be considered an unexpected blessing.
Green, who majored in Biology and is currently attending dental school at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, grew up in Fredonia, Kansas, a very small town well within OKWU’s recruiting range. But the school wasn’t on her radar growing up.
“I grew up an hour and a half from Bartlesville,” she said jokingly, “and I didn’t even know that Oklahoma Wesleyan was a thing.”
Green was part of a farm family, and at first, she considered pursuing art, like her grandmother. Ultimately, though, her time on the farm got her interested in science, and she planned accordingly. Green and her twin sister, who also came to OKWU, originally planned to attend Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. Their mother had second thoughts about her children moving so far away and encouraged them to at least take a look at the previously unconsidered OKWU campus. The result of that visit was a change in plans.
“God was telling me this was where I needed to be,” Green said. “I wanted to go somewhere where I would be encouraged to grow in my faith, and I feel like OKWU was the best place for that.”
She came to OKWU knowing she wanted to pursue science, but originally planned to become an epidemiologist and study diseases. Soon, she switched to Biology, and decided that dental school was the right pathway for her. She’ll graduate dental school in 2023, equipped for the challenges that come with graduate school by the education she received at OKWU.
“God was telling me this was where I needed to be… I wanted to go somewhere where I would be encouraged to grow in my faith, and I feel like OKWU was the best place for that.”
“It was more difficult than I thought it would be, classes-wise,” she said. “The professors did an excellent job preparing us for the real world.”
But even more than the professional preparation that Green received, she points to the strong relationships she made here at OKWU. It’s this, more than anything, that makes the university so special.
“I was able to find lifelong friends at OKWU and develop meaningful relationships,” Green said. “I almost feel like I made too many memories.”
During her last semester at OKWU, Green had an especially trying time. She was dealing with an intense class load—about 18 credit hours—in order to graduate on time, and at the same time was coming to terms with a scary medical diagnosis. As she struggled to juggle her course load and formulate a treatment plan, Green began to feel hopeless. Until, that is, the people at OKWU stepped in to help.
“The school did everything it could to help me,” she said. They rearranged her course load and her schedule to allow her to take less hours and commute to campus only once a week—all while making sure that she would still graduate on time. “They went above and beyond, and I will forever be grateful for that.”
To Green, it’s this kind of thing that sets OKWU apart from other universities. “I was expecting to come into an environment that was completely different from a state school, and from my experience that’s what OKWU was.”
Now, as she and her husband Jacob—another OKWU grad who’s currently attending law school—take on the next stage of their lives, they think back fondly on their time in Bartlesville, and they’re grateful for the spiritual habits they formed during their time as undergraduates. Especially, Green points out, in this hectic stage of life when both still have graduate work to tackle.
“We both rely on Jesus a lot,” she said. “How daily life works is just a lot of balance and prayer.”
After graduation, Green and her husband are open to whatever the Lord has for them, but she can point to a few specific dreams. She’s interested in working with Doctors Without Borders at some point, but acknowledges that God would have to dramatically open those doors. She’s also passionate about taking her dental school training back to her hometown and establishing a practice there. “There is great need in that community,” Green said.
And by giving back, she is reflecting the beliefs of the university that trained her. She’s a credit to OKWU, but Green focuses more on her own thankfulness.
“I really appreciate everything that OKWU has done for me,” she said.
“The school did everything it could to help me… They went above and beyond, and I will forever be grateful for that.”