Hannah Risley is a senior Early Childhood Education major from Edmond, Oklahoma, and says that selecting her major was really a no-brainer. “I absolutely love kids. They’re so genuine, and pure, and I think they bring such joy to people’s lives,” said Risley. “I just want to be around them, and make an impact on their lives.”

Hannah has wanted to be a teacher for most of her life. “Ever since I found out I could be something other than a mom when I grew up, I’ve wanted to be a teacher,” said Risley. Her reasoning behind this is something that Hannah feels very passionately about. “I grew up with some teachers that were so loving, caring and sweet. I want to reflect that, because I know that kids come from different backgrounds and some have rough lives. They don’t always get to see the love they should at home, so I want to be able to bring that into their lives and show them the love God has for them.”

In addition to her major, choosing Oklahoma Christian as her home was another simple decision for Hannah. “Growing up so close to campus and being involved here before college really made OC feel like home,” said Risley. Since attending Oklahoma Christian, Hannah has been involved in several activities on campus, including the women’s social club Gamma Rho, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, and Chamber Orchestra as a violinist. In addition, Hannah also served as Gamma Rho’s homecoming representative this year, and is currently their chaplain. When asked what she wanted to accomplish before leaving Oklahoma Christian, Risley replied, “I want to be remembered as someone who was always open, or willing to listen when you needed someone to talk to, or was the shoulder to cry on, even if it was just a quick smile- I want to love on everyone.”

Although some people break off from their major outside of school, this is not the case for Hannah. In addition to being a tutor for kids in kindergarten to seventh grade, she also works with the Children’s Ministry at Edmond Church of Christ and has served as the intern for three years.

For anyone who knows Hannah, it was no surprise at all that she received this award. “Hannah is such a kind, loyal, and thoughtful person,” said Renee Pederson, one of Risley’s close friends and roommates. “I don’t know how I got so lucky to live with her these past two years. If you think Hannah is quiet and reserved, you just don’t know her well enough yet.”

“If you told me that there was someone out there with a kinder heart than Hannah, I would tell you that you were wrong,” said another one of Hannah’s roommates and close friends, August Cronin. “Hannah radiates the gentleness, kindness, and love of Christ. There is something about her that makes your heart feel fuller than before!”

Hannah, you clearly make an positive impact on both everyone you meet, and everyone in your life. This was made very evident after receiving several nominations for you from your fellow students. We congratulate you on receiving this award and may God bless you as you continue to shine his light brightly wherever you go!