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Ramona Gibson

Ramona Gibson

College of Law | MLS, Energy


Ramona Gibson's Determination Leads to Online M.L.S

It is easy to accept that the journey set forth is finished. Hurdles and new paths appear and can deter even the most determined person away from their original goal. Sometimes life just gets in the way. 

Ramona Gibson, a native of Portland, Texas, is graduating with a master of legal studies in energy and natural resources law -- an online graduate degree offered through the University of Oklahoma College of Law.  Her path to OU and eventual success within the school are anything but typical. 

Gibson had her first of three children when she was 18. Her daughter, now a 26-year-old honors student in the nurse practitioner program at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, came at that pivotal crossroads in Gibson’s life. However, circumstances would not keep Gibson from finding new pathways forward. 

Gibson viewed having children at an early age as a blessing rather than a burden and chose to enhance her educational goals and to set an example for her children. That determination came from someone important in her life: Basil Phipps, Gibson’s stepfather and mentor. He was to inspire her through his achievements in business and life.

“My stepdad always said that I would make a great landman; I wanted to do more and wanted to be paid my worth,” she recalled.

Gibson earned her bachelor of arts degree in political science at TAMU-CC in 2004. She then opened a bookstore and eventually worked for the City of Portland as a librarian, local historian and genealogist. While her business acumen was growing, Gibson still felt the desire to buttress her opportunities.  

This led to Gibson earning her professional land management certificate from Midland College in 2021. Shortly after, she discovered OU Law’s 15-month M.L.S. program. 

For Gibson, finding an online master’s program in energy and natural resources law was a revelation. TAMU-CC did not have an online program, nor did other schools near her. OU’s online M.L.S. program became the new path to help set Gibson back on target. Gibson’s excitement was initially met with the honest question of how you could have a law program online. Once again, life got in the way but this time it helped provide an answer.

After starting the program, the pandemic’s effect on society had been felt. With in-class learning transitioning to virtual classrooms in many cases, Gibson became more familiar to distance learning. This new comfort helped set Gibson on her way to success within the program.

 She (Gibson) reminded me that our online graduate programs can change lives by bringing opportunities to those who might not otherwise be able to attend school due to personal obligations or a lack of physical proximity to a college or university. Her enthusiasm and her remarkable story reminded me why I love teaching. 

 

Gail Mullins
OU Law Assistant Dean of Experiential Learning

During a two-day, in-person conference. Gibson connected with Gail Mullins, OU Law assistant dean of experiential learning. Mullins found correlation between her background and Gibson’s, saying, “As a non-traditional student who attended law school in my late 30s while raising two children, I immediately identified with the challenges she had faced.  

“She reminded me that our online graduate programs can change lives by bringing opportunities to those who might not otherwise be able to attend school due to personal obligations or a lack of physical proximity to a college or university. Her enthusiasm and her remarkable story reminded me why I love teaching.”

Gibson’s journey to OU can be mirrored in countless others who dreamed of going to a college or university but had to defer or abandon their goal when faced with what seem like unsurmountable obstacles. Gibson stands as a strong example of success and perseverance.   

“OU Law’s online M.L.S. degree program provided me the opportunity to achieve my goal of acquiring my graduate degree with the flexibility and convenience of remote learning. Succeeding in this program strengthened my future earnings potential and provided me the legal foundation and skillset I desired to accomplish my career goals in the energy industry,” Gibson said.