Engineering physics junior Dallas Elleman is a nontraditional student whose journey to The University of Tulsa began six years ago as a local cable guy and dad of three who enrolled at Tulsa Community College.
“I decided I wanted to have a bigger impact on the world and do something better with my mind,” he said.
It took him longer than a conventional student to earn associates degrees in electrical engineering, physics and math. He managed work, school and family and also completed an internship at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. When he transferred to TU, Elleman received the Jack Kent Cook Foundation Scholarship to attend as a full-time student.
“It’s incredible how much there is to do,” he said. “TU is this amazing, magical place where a lot of really cool stuff is happening.”
Elleman has taken advantage of several opportunities to step outside of his comfort zone and participate in programs such as the TU NOVA Fellowship and the Stanford University Innovation Fellowship. He has helped facilitate the Oklahoma Young Entrepreneur Awards, visited Washington, D.C. and traveled to Austin, Texas, for the VentureWell 2018 Conference. He also presented a TED Talk at TEDxUniversityofTulsa in 2017. While participating in professional development activities, his engineering physics degree involves an electrical engineering option focused on robotics.
“Automation is going to be such a big part of the economy going forward, and I’m interested in that,” Elleman said. “I’m learning about automation, programming and code, which is a valuable skill to have and be able to speak.”
Elleman plans to graduate in the spring of 2019 and pursue a master’s degree in robotic systems development.
“Long-term, I want to stay in Tulsa and help the economy here,” he said. “I want to open a business or engineering firm or join something that’s young and innovative that’s making a difference in a new kind of way.”
Moving on to TU after TCC was the best decision Elleman said he could have made for his future. With scholarships and other financial aid opportunities designated for transfer students, he said a bachelor’s degree from a top 100 national university is possible.
“I feel confident that what I’m learning here and the people I’m meeting are preparing me to make the kind of difference in the world that I want to make,” he said. “There’s a lot of heart and intelligence here, and it’s a great place to be.”
Elleman is helping organize the TU Day of Innovation on April 14. Students can learn more about the day’s workshops and activities as well as $4,000 in prizes and the Reverse Job Fair at www.fb.com/TUDayofInnovation.