Triple major balances academics, athletics and philanthropy

A chance visit to the campus may have led senior Jocelyn Sheffield to TU, but it doesn’t take long to realize this scholar, athlete and volunteer leaves almost nothing in her life to chance. Her path has been marked by a strong work ethic that drives her to continue learning, exploring and seeking the wisdom of others.

On her decision to enroll at TU, the St. Louis native smiles as she recalls that stopping in Tulsa was a detour after visiting Baylor — something her mom suggested. “I didn’t think it would lead anywhere, but the school had so much to offer, including a major related to what I wanted to do. In my gut, I felt it was the place to be.”

The choice to major in Spanish and international business was a pragmatic one for Sheffield. She challenged herself to learn Spanish at an early age but really fell in love with the language while working with Engage St. Louis, a nonprofit that assists with refugees from across the world. “Volunteering at a daycare for children from Mexico, I realized the practicality of knowing Spanish. I wanted a major that allowed me to use my language skills and the international business program appealed to me for the same reason.”

She then noticed that many employers visiting the Collins College of Business were looking for management information systems (MIS) majors. She talked with recruiters from Phillips 66 about MIS and decided it sounded interesting.

Sheffield admits, “I was nervous at first because I didn’t consider myself tech savvy, but after meeting MIS professionals with personalities similar to mine, I decided to add it as a third major.” That decision has paid off: She’s landed both of her summer internships (with WPX Energy in 2014 and this year with Devon Energy) because of MIS.

Sheffield not only excels in academics; she also showcases her athletic abilities as a member of the Golden Hurricane softball team. A recipient of the prestigious Jackie Robinson scholarship, the three-year letter winner walked on to TU’s softball team as an infielder and deftly balances her time on the field with a rigorous academic schedule.

She has maximized the time in between by serving as an orientation leader, representing the junior class in iTU (a campus MIS professional club), translating Spanish during parent-teacher conferences at Kendall-Whittier Elementary, participating in TU’s Spanish club La Tertulia and serving as a worship band leader for Chi Alpha Campus Ministries. She also sings and is teaching herself to play guitar. When asked how she juggles it all, Sheffield matter-of-factly states, “I do better when I have more going on in my life. I’m forced to organize my time. The more I’m involved in, the better I am in terms of efficiency.”

She’s quick to attribute this work ethic to a strong foundation instilled in her by her parents. “It develops in the small things you do, how you approach your studies starting in elementary school. Even though I’ve always been involved in a lot of activities, I wasn’t raised to use that involvement as an excuse to be mediocre.”

Whether in sports, the classroom, her work or activities, Sheffield says she learns by continuously seeking mentors and connections. “I see people who are where I want to be and are doing the right things. It doesn’t make sense to recreate what’s already been created. Why not emulate a process that works?”

Though she doesn’t yet have definitive career plans, she wants to use her final semester at TU to travel abroad and explore opportunities that make the most of her language and business skills.

No matter where her path eventually leads, one thing is clear: This young woman is going places.