Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Casey Oates, familiar face of the Chillicothe Campus, not missing a beat while living a well-rounded college life

By student public relations writer Leah Sternberger

When students schedule their last few semesters of classes, they often reflect on their past few years at Ohio University-Chillicothe. Casey Oates, who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice next fall, is one of many seniors preparing for life after OU-C.

Oates, a graduate of Chillicothe High School, originally attended Ohio Dominican University. He transferred to OU-C in 2012 because of its affordability and proximity to home.

“The transition was simple and pleasant. If there was anything that I needed help with, the faculty and staff were willing to help in any way that they could. As well were the current students,” Oates said.

After arriving on campus, Oates began working in the Chillicothe Campus’ Financial Aid Office. Under the supervision of Coordinator of Student Activities Ashlee Digges, Oates has gained invaluable communication and event planning skills.

“I have worked several Welcome Weeks and Spring Flings here on campus,” said Oates.
“By participating in all of these, I have been able to learn how to plan an event as well as see that it runs smoothly.”

Digges attributes Oates’ academic and social success on campus to his positive attitude.

“He is willing to go along with just about anything that has some benefit to his future,” said Digges. “He has learned so much important information from this job, not only about financial aid but about the rest of the OU-C experience as well.  He readily passes this information on to his peers, and he helps his classmates get connected to the appropriate resources.”

According to Digges, students like Casey who are engaged on campus often perform in the classroom.

“I think it is important that students make an effort to become engaged with the campus,” Digges said. “Research shows that working around 20 hours a week can lead to better academic success.  I encourage students to work part-time while in school. I also think that getting involved with OU-C’s student organizations and activities is a great way to engage with the campus.”

Oates has also appeared in promotional materials for the university including a billboard advertisement. Staff member Jack Jeffery, director of communications and marketing, said he appreciates his cooperation and enthusiasm with these projects.

“He has a very engaging personality, a good sense of humor and the invaluable ability to ‘read’ people and relate to them,” said Jeffery.  “Further, Casey knows how to enjoy being a 20-something college student. He is almost constantly upbeat and knows how to enjoy life. He is having a well-rounded college career, both in the classroom and beyond, as evidenced by his student employment position in Student Services and activities such as playing disc golf.”

Even though Oates is arguably one of the most recognizable students on campus, he knows adjusting to college life can be intimidating to freshmen. He strongly advises students who are new to campus to ask as many questions as possible.

“If there is something that they don't know or something they are scared of, odds are there are multiple students who once had the same questions or fears,” said Oates.

“If there was one thing that I wish I knew when I was a freshman, it would be that I wish I knew how fast it would be over. Get involved in everything that you want to because before you know it you are applying for graduation and you will wish you would have done more.”

Having already earned his associates degree in law enforcement technology in 2012, Oates is currently wrapping up his bachelor’s degree and planning his future. After graduation, he aspires to work as a parole officer or within the prison system in Chillicothe.

“I chose this path because the criminal activity in the area, as well as other areas, is on the rise. I would like to have something to do with helping to decrease such activity or to help change the lives of those who used to take part in those activities,” said Oates.

“My time spent here on the campus of OU-C has really helped mold me into the person that I always wanted to be,” Oates said. “It has provided me with an opportunity to start a life in a field of my choosing. There are a lot of people in this world that can’t say that and for that reason I will always be grateful to OU-C.”

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