What drew you to be a part of the OKGIT?
I was first introduced to the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team after being interviewed by the former Executive Director, John VanPool about my work at the University of Central Oklahoma. After learning that the OKGIT was an organization that people from the community could join, I was invited to attend a meeting by member and UCO coworker, Cathy Webster. After attending the meeting, it was a breath of fresh air to see so many individuals who were committed and passionate about creating a prosperous and globally focused Oklahoma. After being raised in a small box outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma, I felt that the OKGIT was a great platform to help me accomplish my mission of helping Oklahoma become a more globally competent state through OKGIT’s pillar of education.
Tell us about your international experiences and how that is reflected in your life/work in Oklahoma?
My interest in international education began as a result of my first Chinese roommate. This led me to having the opportunity to study abroad in Japan and to return as an English teacher upon graduation from Oklahoma Christian University. Since returning home and working for the UCO International House, I have had the opportunity travel to more than 30 countries, establish and lead global non-profit organizations, and participate in a fellowship program with our sister-state in China, Gansu Province.
Why is it important for you that Oklahoma has strong international ties?
It is important to have a global outlook in order to work, create, work, and collaborate with those who are from different countries. Furthermore, it is important for Oklahoma to have strong international ties if we want to be become a top 10 state economically.
Executive Committee – Executive Director
Jared Scism works as the Assistant Director of the International House and Programs at the University of Central Oklahoma where he also received his Master’s degree in Adult Education with an emphasis in bilingual education. As an assistant director, Jared is responsible for helping international students, American students, and community members understand different cultures by executing a number of events each month.
Additionally, Jared serves as the president and co-founder of the recently resurrected Japan America Society of Oklahoma and a board member of the Edmond Sister-Cities organization. He previously served as the president of the World Experiences Foundation – an organization that brings leaders of different countries and diverse experiences to public school classrooms in order to impart non-biased multicultural and multilingual education.
Ironically, Jared was not encouraged to be globally minded as he was growing up; the only international experience he had was traveling to Europe with his best friend during their junior year of high school. When he entered college, Jared’s first roommate was Chinese. Although Jared was uncomfortable at first, he quickly began to develop a relationship with his roommate and other Chinese and Rwandan students on campus. Soon he became very interested in international students and the culture they had to share. Throughout his time in college, Jared was able to travel to Tanzania, Africa to do mission work, as well as study abroad for two semesters in Japan. He founded a new chapter of the People to People International organization on his campus, where he served as President.
After graduating from Oklahoma Christian University with a general studies degree (emphasizing in Bible, Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and International Studies), Jared returned to Japan to work as an English teacher and missionary. Jared moved back to the United States with his wife, Cassie, in 2012. Jared and Cassie continue to travel internationally and have visited many countries in all 6 major continents and hope to travel to Antarctica someday. Jared has also participated in a fellowship program as a United States delegate with Oklahoma’s sister state in Gansu Province, China. From all of these experiences, Jared has become passionate about making Oklahoma a place that is more culturally diverse and hopes to someday make Oklahoma one the most diverse states in the country.