Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City

El Salvador Native Overcomes Obstacles, Named OSU-OKC Outstanding Graduate

(December 17, 2014, Oklahoma City, OK) – An outstanding graduate is a student who goes far beyond what is expected, knowing that good grades are only one piece of the puzzle. They see the bigger picture on what it means to be outstanding. Having exemplary academic and community achievements in addition to an outstanding grade point average, is how Patty Lopez Diaz earned her recognition as Outstanding Graduate for OSU-OKC’s Division of Business Administration for the fall 2014 semester.


Emigrating from El Salvador when she was only 14 years old, Diaz said, “Now that I am here, I will not let anything stop me from getting my education.” She is proving just that.


Diaz said her toughest battle when coming to the U.S. was overcoming the language barrier. She said she had to work harder because not only is she the first in her family to go to college, but her family also speaks primarily Spanish. During her time at OSU-OKC, Diaz relied on her professors and took advantage of the tutors available on campus.


“College is more advanced in the English levels,” Diaz said. “I felt frustrated and scared a lot of times, but I did not want to give up. Instead I took my language barrier as a challenge that I needed to cross, and it motivated me to learn more and improve my English-speaking skills. I realized that if I had will and determination, there is no barrier that cannot be overcome.”


OSU-OKC Accounting and Economics Instructor Tony Smith has proven to be a positive impact on Diaz. “He had patience with me and encouraged me to keep up my good work,” Diaz said.


“Patty is one of the hardest working students I have ever taught,” Smith said. “OSU-OKC is the right fit for Patty due to the small class sizes, convenient location, flexible class schedules, and one-on-one attention given by the faculty and staff. Patty’s future is bright since her dedication and motivation is sought out by employers looking for accountants.”


OSU-OKC Business Administration Division Head Patti Ripple said, “She has not only excelled academically with a 4.0 grade point average, but has also demonstrated an unswerving commitment to serving others in her community.”


It was no easy feat for Diaz. She said she studied hard and pushed herself over her limits sometimes staying late at the computer labs and not eating or sleeping until her work was done.


Upon hearing she received the Outstanding Graduate award, Diaz said, “It was a mixed reaction. At first I was in denial. I was surprised because it was a miracle for this to happen. I felt happy and excited because I realized it was a great honor.”


Diaz’s next step is to pursue her bachelor’s degree and said no matter how difficult it is, she will try her best to go beyond and accomplish her goals.


“I had a wonderful experience at OSU-OKC that made me realize college is not as hard as it seems and there is always help available to assist in everything the students need, Diaz said.”


When asked what advice she would leave to new students she said, “I want to share what Professor Smith told me to encourage others: ‘Be good to yourself.’”


“Anything is possible if you believe and have faith,” Diaz said. “Work hard and try your best, and no matter how many times you fail or fall, get up and try again because you never know if the next time you try will be the time you succeed.”


For more information on OSU-OKC’s Division of Business Administration, visit www.osuokc.edu/business. To view all of OSU-OKC’s Fall 2014 Outstanding Graduates, visit the university’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/osuokc.

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OSU-OKC faculty and staff with Diaz at the Outstanding Graduate Awards ceremony from left, Chuck Zalonka, Amber Hefner, Steve Hiebsch, Lisa McConnell, Patti Ripple, John Strange and Tony Smith