“It makes the whole system work, that one little tiny piece of orange fabricated enhancement he made with the 3D printer — that’s it,” Doughty said. “And it was entirely his idea. It was entirely his project. Nobody followed him on this. He just did it.”
One minor issue, though ...
“We did give him some points off for making them orange and not red,” Doughty joked. “No one can be perfect.”
A student’s second chance
Doughty, having supervised Isom as he worked in Housing & Food Services, gave a gleaming review of her worker, stringing together a long list of adjectives that would make anyone blush. As she put it, “This kid was aces from the start.”
“He’s sweet and he’s charming and he’s lovable and driven and determined and smart,” she said. “He took every single thing we asked him to do with the utmost sincerity and ambition and he would, by God, get it done.”
Isom has made some waves in Housing & Food and throughout OU, but his fate at OU wasn’t always that auspicious. In fact, excelling at OU didn’t come easily during his early days here. He pursued an engineering degree before switching gears and focusing instead on international studies, and during his first semester earned a disappointing 1.33 GPA. However, he turned that into a 3.88 GPA upon graduating.
Isom’s mother, Sherry Isom, the director of Price Academic Advising Services, said she was surprised when her son rerouted career paths after his first year. She thought her “LEGO maniac” little boy who competed in bridge-building competitions in high school was bound for a career in engineering. Although he waffled with majors, she knew he’d eventually land on his feet.
“He had some recovery to do,” she said of her son’s first year at OU. “He came in thinking, ‘Is this is what I really want to do?’ and he thought, ‘Huh, maybe not.’ I’m really thrilled that he found his calling, something that he is really interested in, something he’s really excited about.”
And while many students might keep near-failing grades hush-hush, Isom readily offers up the info, hoping other students can learn from his story. He said the people he met at the University of Oklahoma — in particular professor Mariam Mufti, now at the University of Waterloo — shaped and supported him every step of the way.
“Tripping is easy,” he said. “And you’re probably going to trip on your way to graduation — some more than others. … I felt like crap (my first semester) and I didn’t think I was going to amount to anything, but there are hundreds of professors, staff, family and friends that will pick you back up. OU doesn’t give up on you even if you mess up, so you shouldn’t either.”
Interested in studying abroad through OU?
OU is a leader among all American universities in international exchange and study abroad programs. One in four OU students study abroad. OU currently offers programs in over 60 countries and 200 cities in six continents. Students from 120 countries are enrolled at OU. Get more info here!