Wagoner native Julie Swaringim-Griffin is one of 338 Oklahomans to be honored this fall with a NextGen Under 30 Award.
Swaringim-Griffin, 28, is director of the TRIO Talent Search program at Oklahoma State University. She oversees a hefty budget from the U.S. Department of Education, supervises employees and helps with programming for students in 6th through 12th grades.
The program serves more than 500 first-generation, rural or low-income students.
“This program is extremely special to me because I work with multiple rural communities in the state to assist students in their pursuit of reaching post secondary education,” she explained. “I believe the TRIO programs across the nation have made a positive impact. It is an honor to be a part of this impact.”
The NextGen award recipient has worked in the Division of Institutional Diversity at OSU for five years. Dr. Clyde Wilson, director of the McNair Scholars Program, nominated her for the award.
“From the time I met Julie, I was impressed with her ability to connect with students,” Wilson said. “It is important to lead by example and to see Julie pursue her dreams and pursue her passion while at the same time serving as a bridge-builder to those that come behind her — it was kind of a no-brainer to nominate her.”
Swaringim-Griffin admits receiving the NextGen Under 30 Award was both surprising and exciting.
“This award is a celebration of young professionals who are doing great things within their jobs and have a bright future ahead,” she said. “It feels amazing to be recognized alongside so many young professionals in Oklahoma. I am honored to receive recognition for my work in higher education.”
In addition to working full-time, Swaringim-Griffin is pursuing a doctorate in educational psychology. She is president of the Educational Psychology Student Society and is teaching an undergraduate inclusion leadership course.
Her career goal is to work in administration at a university and work her way up to dean, vice president or provost.
She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from OSU.
The NextGen Under 30 Award program was created by Don Swift, publisher of ionOklahoma magazine in 2011. Some 1,238 winners out of 7,000 nominees from more than 400 companies or organizations have been honored.
This year saw 338 Oklahomans from 241 companies and organizations recognized in 17 categories. Winners are chosen based on their talent, drive and service in their communities.
Swaringim-Griffin was recognized in the adult and higher education category.
The award recipient is a 2009 graduate of Wagoner High School. She is the daughter of Richard and Angela Swaringim of Wagoner and the granddaughter of Harold and Irene Swaringim of Wagoner and Kaye and Tony Kilgore of Muskogee.
Editor’s note: David Bitton with Oklahoma State University Brand Management contributed to this story.