Sometimes, attending Oklahoma Wesleyan University is an easy decision for prospective students.
For Ariela Nettleton, the recipient of this year’s Alumni Association scholarship, that was not the case.
“I didn’t want to apply to OKWU,” she remembered.
Nettleton had cast a wider net for herself, one that she hoped would include studying literature at a British university. OKWU wasn’t so much on the radar, despite her family’s affinity for it – Ariela is a fourth-generation Eagle.
“My great grandparents, Herman and Elsie Nettleton (’40), attended Colorado Springs Bible College,” she said. “My grandfather, Philip Nettleton (’66), attended Central Pilgrim College, where my grandma, Lucille (’66), joined him. And my Dad (Trent ’95) came to Bartlesville Wesleyan College after that.”
But for Ariela, who grew up on the mission field, Bartlesville, Oklahoma, wasn’t high on her list for college destinations. However, at the behest of her mother, she visited campus to check things out.
“It was not what I expected,” she admits. “I loved the campus, the students, the professors, chapel – everything. I realized why my family loved this school so much.”
Ariela remembers the chapel of her visit day as being especially impactful.
“I was listening to Courtney Dunn speak and considering the day’s earlier events,” she said. “Then I felt God say, ‘OKWU is your next chapter. England can come later.’”
Following the Call
Now a sophomore, Ariela has no regrets. She is enrolled in OKWU’s Honors Program and enjoys her classes and professors. She serves as co-leader for Culture Connections, a club that strives to promote unity through diversity on OKWU’s campus.
“A few weeks ago, we hosted an event. So many people came and had such a fun time worshipping,” she said. “Through this event, I caught a glimpse of the kingdom of God where every tribe, nation, and tongue will gather.”
For Ariela, this scholarship is a reminder of God’s favor and providence on her life and the heritage that she shares with so much of her family.
“I caught a glimpse of the kingdom of God where every tribe, nation, and tongue will gather.”
In the future, Ariela hopes to use her English degree to return overseas, possibly as a teacher at an international school. She believes in the power of words and literature, and she hopes to help others experience what she has experienced in her studies.
“For now,” she said, “I get to be a part of the same project as my family decades before me. I love that I get to share something as influential as a college with them.”
Ariela accepted her scholarship at last week’s Homecoming Banquet, where she was able to share that moment with three generations of Eagles. She was joined by her grandparents and her parents at the ceremony.