Student Spotlight

Mentors helped McCoy find her path

Jacee McCoy of Katy, Texas, wasn’t sure what she wanted to major in when she came to Oklahoma State University. Despite being unsure of the exact pathway that she would take to reach her goals, McCoy knew that OSU would give her the opportunities she needed to succeed.

“I knew I wanted to major in a science field but wasn’t sure exactly what science that was going to be. I just knew that I love school and wanted to continue my education somewhere I thought would allow me to grow and flourish. OSU allowed me to do that,” she said.

Due to amazing faculty members who helped guide her, McCoy realized that biochemistry would give her opportunities that she was looking for. During her time at OSU, she added not one or two but three minors -- chemistry, microbiology and Spanish. Her goal is to go to med school.

“I’m interested in Ph.D. programs,” she said. “I want to be what they call a physician’s scientist. I’m still working with patients and treating patients but also, I’m doing clinical research and helping to fill in the numerous gaps of knowledge that there are.”

Research has played an important role in McCoy’s time at OSU. As a freshman, she was involved in the Freshman Research Scholars program, which introduced her to her love of research. She has worked in multiple labs, attempting to find the research question that excited her the most.

“I think for me it’s just where I see myself making the biggest difference. That may be the one research project that there is nothing known on it and it may take years and years to figure out. But to be able to have some sort of contribution would be amazing,” McCoy said.

Recently she won second place in the Biological Science Division at the Emerging Researchers National Conference in D.C. for her work on the virulence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Research is far from the only way that McCoy has been involved in on campus. One of her passions is giving back, which she has been able to do through community involvement and leadership. Starting her freshman year, she became involved with Alpha Epsilon Delta Honor Society and the Minority Association for Pre-health Students. 

She was also involved with OSU’s Concert Band, playing tenor saxophone. McCoy had been heavily involved with her high school’s band, where she played both alto and soprano saxophone. Music is a huge part of McCoy’s life, which is something not everyone expects.

“Music is definitely one of my passions. You walk in my room and you never know what you are you’re going to listen to. It could be Broadway show tunes it could be classical music,” she said.

Starting sophomore year, McCoy got involved with the College of Arts and Sciences Student Council. She served as the Awards, Recognition and Banquet Chair during her junior year and now is the Vice President. She is also the Vice President for the College of Arts and Sciences Ambassadors.

Her involvement led to her being one of the convocation speakers for the class of 2023.

“I did not think my story would have the ability to impact someone to where they would think that I would be a good candidate for this,” McCoy said. “It was an honor to get to tell my story and hopefully impart some wisdom on the incoming freshmen. Hopefully, they can learn from my story.”

Even though her journey at OSU has come to a close, McCoy’s story of success is far from over.

“That is my story so far, from freshman year until now, is just involvement and trying to give back. OSU have me so many amazing opportunities and I made it my mission to give back just as much.”