Name: Julie McElroy

Degree: Strategic Communication

Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2018

It is nearly impossible to see Julie McElroy without a smile.

The key to her happiness is simple: Do what you love, always. Luckily for McElroy, she was able to find her yellow brick road in Oklahoma State University's School of Media & Strategic Communications program. Her dream is to work with a nonprofit to provide clean drinking water for the people of Costa Rica, which she discovered was a major issue after she studied there in the fall of 2016.

“My passion in life [is] clean water,” McElroy said. “I think that it is a basic human right, and it saddened me to know that not everyone has access to clean water. So, my hope is that while I am down there, I can learn a little more about their water system.”

While in Costa Rica, McElroy immersed herself in the culture and discovered she was passionate about something else as well: languages.

“I love being able to communicate with people in their own language,” McElroy said. “Being fluent in Spanish has opened so many doors for me.”

Recently, McElroy accepted a job teaching beginner Spanish to adults one night a week at Meridian Technology Center. Although teaching might not be her niche, she has used it as a way to get back to Costa Rica.

Although her dream is a few thousand miles away, McElroy is having the time of her life in college. As president of the Triathlon Club, races around the nation have given her an outlet for her boundless energy and connections within and outside of the college. 

"The Triathlon Club has given me a sense of community at Oklahoma State," she said. “They push me to be a better version of myself both mentally and physically.”

As her time at OSU comes to a close, McElroy has some advice for younger students.

“Learn a language,” she said. "It will open so many opportunities for you. Also, follow your passions. Take classes that sound fun to you, regardless of whether or not they relate to your major.”