From student to teacher
Class of 2018 graduate John Turner remembers playing with his cousins on The University of Tulsa campus as a child because his grandparents lived only a few blocks away. “As a kid, I always dreamed of being able to call myself a TU grad,” Turner remarked. Now, he is not only a graduate of TU’s history program, but Turner went on to earn a master’s degree in American Studies from Northeastern State University while teaching full time at Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences (TSAS).
As a first-generation college student, Turner recognizes how important his peers at TU were to his success: “I had to remind myself that I belonged in the room, that I was worthy of an education. I was surrounded by peers who welcomed me and encouraged me.”
At TSAS, Turner teaches classes on Native American and world history. He credits the professors at TU for inspiring him to give back to his students. “I will never forget the true dedication of teachers who showed up every day willing to pour into their students,” noted Turner. “It is hard to express in words how humbled I am to reflect on the diligence of those educators.”
Turner also emphasizes the value of getting a liberal arts degree to his profession: “Because of my diverse liberal arts education, I have felt more prepared for the classroom. Being able to bounce from one topic to another and provide insight is a credit to a well-rounded humanities approach.”
From Tulsa to London to New York
Career flexibility has been the hallmark of Hutton Person’s life since graduating from TU in 2016.
Person majored in history and minored in art history, a combination which secured her a spot in the M.A. program at Christie’s auction house in London. After completing her degree in fine and decorative arts there, she landed a position at Sotheby’s auction house in New York City, where she served as a sale coordinator in the Old Master Paintings department. In this capacity, Person oversaw auctions for three global departments and approximately $217 million worth of art, including the sale of Sandro Botticelli’s Portrait of a Young Man and a rediscovered drawing from the Triumphs of Caesar series by Andrea Mantegna.
Although she loved her time at Christie’s and Sotheby’s, Person recognized that she did not want a long-term career in the auctions world. She therefore recently joined a New York City private equity firm as an investor relations and marketing advisor.
Person identifies her history major and the liberal arts foundation that TU provides as keys to her ability to switch jobs and careers. “I developed critical and creative thinking, research, and communication skills, all of which are applicable and important regardless of job or industry,” she noted. In fact, Person believes that her untraditional background has helped her advance in the finance industry: “Being a history major does not confine you to a limited number of professions. Today, more than ever, managers are looking for employees who do not necessarily match the job description verbatim but candidates who bring a unique skillset or alternate perspective to the larger team and company.”