Stacy Willis scholarship awarded

Edwin Brian Mitchell is the winner of the 2009-2010 Stacy Willis Memorial Scholarship. Brian was born and raised in Amherst, a suburb of Buffalo, New York. He attended public schools in his elementary and secondary education, using a sign language interpreter. The family moved to Grenada, Mississippi when Edwin was 14 years old, which was a huge culture shock for him. He attended Grenada High School, graduating in 2006 in the top 10% of his class.

Upon graduation, he looked for a university in Mississippi with interpreting services and a good Disability Resource Center that had experience working with Deaf college students. After not finding what he wanted in Mississippi, he looked to Arkansas, and enrolled at UALR.

He says, “Since I have been living in Arkansas, I have been blessed with many opportunities with a wonderful circle of friends, while enjoying many services of staff interpreters and Disability Resource Center. I finally feel like I belong at a place as a Deaf individual; I was really isolated in Mississippi.”

Edwin is majoring in History/Secondary Education, and wants to get a teaching license and secure a teaching position at Arkansas School for the Deaf upon graduation. The subjects he’d like to teach include history, U.S. government, and geography. While working at ASD, he plans to enroll in graduate school to earn his Masters in Educational Administration, with possible plans to pursue a Ph.D. so he can advance to the position of Principal or Superintendent.

Edwin has volunteered at UALR in the community in various capacities since he arrived here. He worked for the St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center Hospital Beautification Project, served as a mentor/tutor/role model for Arkansas School for the Deaf, and served as a mentor/resident assistant for the iTransition College Camp held at UALR in 2008. He is a member of Phi Alpha Theta (History Club), and is part of the campus catholic ministry. His grades have earned him a place on the Dean’s list at UALR.

Edwin was chosen as one of 10 recipients for the 2009 Arkansas Governor’s Commission Scholarship on People with Disabilities with excellent grades and leadership. On July 14th, he was awarded the scholarship inside the Governor’s Mansion where he got to meet Gov. Beebe.

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The purpose of the Stacy Willis Endowed Scholarship is to fund scholarships for students with disabilities at UALR. It is named for a remarkable young woman who attended UALR, and who made an impact on everyone she met.

Applications for this scholarship are accepted every spring for the following academic year. For more information, visit the DRC website (ualr.edu/disability) any time.

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