Director, wife establish scholarship in program’s honor
The UALR Cooperative Education Internship and Placement Office is celebrating the program’s 20th-anniversary with the establishment of an endowed scholarship and an evening in the Grand Hall at the Governor’s Mansion at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24.
Jesse Mason and his wife, Gail Reede Jones, M.D., have committed $15,000 for the new student scholarship for current and former Co-op interns to continue their education.
Tickets for the event, “Co-op Works,” are $50 per person; $25 is tax-deductible. The event will feature hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, music, and a live auction with Craig O’Neill. Attire is business casual.
All proceeds will benefit the Jesse Mason and Gail Reede Jones, M.D., Endowed Scholarship for the UALR Cooperative Education Program.
The new scholarship will be available to both undergraduate and graduate students, and officials hope to raise $75,000 to benefit current and future interns.
UALR Chancellor Joel Anderson said, “Jesse’s vision and leadership of the Cooperative Education Internship and Placement Office has greatly contributed to the success of hundreds of students, as well as the entire university. The establishment of this endowed scholarship is yet another way in which Jesse and Gail are demonstrating their commitment to the success of our students and university.”
The Co-op program, established at UALR in 1993, provides participants with relevant work experience, earned income in a professional work-integrated learning environment, and academic credit.
“The Cooperative Internship program is integral to our mission of having an application-oriented, high quality curriculum for our business students. I applaud the Masons for providing a scholarship for these highly motivated students,” said Dr. Jane P. Wayland, Stephen Harrow Smith Dean of the UALR College of Business.
Mason said his interactions with business leaders provides numerous opportunities to raise awareness of the benefits of cooperative education.
“I can’t think of a more natural match than to be director of the Cooperative Education Internship and Placement Office at UALR and to serve as vice chairman of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport Commission, and on the board of directors for the Arkansas Repertory Theatre,” said Mason.
“Together, we are learning how to identify and nurture bright minds and build partnerships between business and education that will last a lifetime.”
Students who enroll in the program develop skills that give them an edge when they begin to seek employment after graduation.
Jennus Burton, a former Co-op intern at Raytheon, parlayed his summer experience as a facilitator in Camden, into a full-time offer with a company in Tucson, Arizona, with a starting salary of $64,500 per year.
“The degree I received from UALR in 2005 made me a well-rounded person, but Cooperative Education made me an employed person,” said Jennus.
According to Michael Yang, Co-op coordinator, more than 92 percent of UALR Co-op graduates indicated that their experience gave them an advantage in the job market.
“Co-op students have at least two job offers before they graduate and students enrolled in the program have higher grade point averages and 20 percent greater graduation rates than other students,” said Yang.