Jessica Smith formed positive impressions of Oklahoma Baptist University beginning at an early age. It all started when she received personal promotional items in the mail from the university. This was most likely because her father was an OBU alumnus and her family was on point to hear from his alma mater. She recalls the images of green and gold and the various snapshots of life on Bison Hill.
Fast forward 10 to 12 years when Smith was in high school and beginning her college search. She attended Sachse High School, northwest of Dallas. Smith had grown up in the Tulsa area until 8th grade when her family moved to Texas. Following her junior year of high school, Smith attended an OBU spring preview day where she toured Bison Hill and experienced the university setting for herself.
“I was trying to decide where to attend college and had a state school in mind as well. I visited OBU two times while I made my decision. I was really intrigued by the smaller campus environment and the personal interactions. OBU felt like home to me and I was very comfortable from the first time I visited,” she recalled.
Smith, who received her Bachelor of Science in mathematics from OBU in 2020, said she had always been academically successful in math. It was a subject that clicked well with her interests and learning style. Her love for equations and formulas led to her decision to select it as a course of study once she started her college journey.
“I had a couple of professors who really encouraged me to pursue math as a major. I wasn’t exactly sure where this field would lead me, but I was certain I would receive a rigorous and robust education in an area I really enjoyed. I didn’t really feel drawn to teach math, but I knew this would be a field that offered a variety of options for me,” Smith said.
She also minored in women’s ministry while at OBU.
“I was intrigued and challenged through the more complex math classes. Introduction to Complex Variables with Dr. Tucker was my favorite course. I can remember her and Dr. Marsh being so kind and knowledgeable and willing to assist students,” she said. “They motivated me and made me want to learn. Besides being my professors, I felt like they were my friends and mentors…actually they are just great people,” Smith said.
While a student, Smith was a member of Kappa Phi Beta social club. She also served as a member of the Campus Activities Board. Her CAB involvement included working on sets and décor for the stages of OBU’s annual Freshman Follies, Biggie and Spring Affair shows.
Smith said her senior year was a bit unique due to the worldwide pandemic and her semester being cut short. However, despite that challenge, she still was selected to direct the CAB Spring Affair show, which she conducted virtually. This was an experience she says was rewarding, interesting and quite challenging.
Reflecting on her time on Bison Hill, Smith said she sees how Christian faith was incorporated into so many aspects of learning and activities.
“For example, math helps illustrate and explain God’s creation. It is a logical and absolute way to help us understand it. That was reflected in my learning here,” she said. “I also had many opportunities to grow spiritually through chapel, on-campus friendships, and my professors. These are things I will never take for granted and are the elements that made OBU such a great choice for my education. I am still in contact with friends from college and am thankful for the foundation we share together,” she said.
Not long after graduation, Smith was hired to work at Midland Mortgage, a division of MidFirst Bank. She quickly grew from her role as mortgage assistance associate to her current job as business process analyst for the Midland Mortgage website. She is responsible for designing, organizing and managing both small and large scale updates to the company website. Her duties include problem solving and providing technical support for customer facing departments, writing technical specifications, coordinating with executive management, developers, and business units to facilitate implementation of updates, managing project testing, and reviewing website processes to improve efficiency and customer experience.
“I write logic and manage system testing to facilitate updates to website content and functionality to make our systems more user-friendly for our customers and ensure the company is compliant with all government regulations related to mortgage servicing,” she explained. “As a mathematics student, I see how my education really prepared me to perform in the professional realm. My particular college field of math required rigorous work, perseverance through very difficult courses, a lot of brain power and studying, meeting deadlines of projects, and building the discipline of strong study habits. I am satisfied in my current job knowing I am enhancing processes and procedures in a way that creates a good experience for our customers,” Smith said.
When asked what she feels defines an OBU future shaper, Smith said, “Being a future shaper is embracing my privilege to go out into the world and make it a better place for the next generation.”
And, it appears the many steps in Smith’s journey thus far are “adding up” to do just that.