Two students are sharing East Central University’s prestigious George Nigh Award this year as ECU’s top graduating seniors.
Tyffany Osborn of Muldrow and Joe Trail of Ada received the awards Wednesday [APRIL 25] at a luncheon honoring them and finalists Caitlyn Clifton of McAlester and Rosa Denton of Porum for their outstanding academic achievements.
Former Oklahoma Gov. George Nigh, who was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives when he was a senior at ECU, answered questions from the finalists before the winners were announced.
Osborn and Trail each received $750 for the award, which is based on academic achievement, character and potential contribution to public service. The late Julian Rothbaum, a Tulsa oilman, banker and one-time state regent for higher education, established an endowment through the ECU Foundation Inc., to fund the Nigh Award in honor of the former governor.
Nigh, also a former president of the University of Central Oklahoma, served four terms in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, four terms as lieutenant governor and two terms as governor.
Tyffany Osborn will graduate in May with a bachelor of social work degree and a minor in counseling. She plans to work directly with children and families in social work practice.
After witnessing or experiencing the effects of such things as domestic violence, drug abuse and child neglect, Osborn wrote in an application letter, she can appreciate the struggles, fears and deep need of families experiencing these issues.
“Like me, many social workers enter the profession because, in some way, they have been affected by the negative aspects of society,” she said. “Social work is a way for them to change those things, as I want to do.”
Osborn is completing an internship at the Chickasaw Nation Office of Violence Prevention. After graduating, she plans to work for a social service agency and within a few years earn a master of science in social work degree and become a licensed clinical social worker. Eventually she wants to receive a doctoral degree to teach at the university level.