A University of Arkansas at Little Rock Donaghey Scholar who earned a remarkable 141 college credits while also maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average is this year’s Edward L. Whitbeck Memorial Award winner.
Senior Mackie O’Hara will receive the award during an annual awards luncheon Friday, May 16, at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. Joining her will be the UALR 2014 Distinguished Alumnus, Jon T. Rymer, who serves as the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Defense, and local attorney Tjuana Byrd, recipient of the 2014 President’s Award.
The event is hosted by the UALR Foundation Fund Board and the UALRAlumni Association.
The Whitbeck Award is given each year to an outstanding graduating senior who has demonstrated excellence in scholarship, leadership, citizenship, and character.
Last summer, O’Hara earned the Mark Hartmann Student Fieldwork in Anthropology Fellowship and a research travel grant to finance a trip to South Africa, where she joined an excavation team from the University of Wisconsin.
The trip inspired her honors project at UALR, the development of a process for preserving fragile fossils as they are being removed from soil so that valuable data is not lost.
O’Hara, an anthropology major and biology minor, has presented two conference posters on her research focusing on a three-dimensional technique that reconstructs the human diet based on “wear patterns” on fossilized teeth.
After collaborating with Vanderbilt University to compare two-dimensional and three-dimensional microwear analysis techniques, she was listed as a co-author in an academic journal and received numerous acceptances to top-tier graduate programs, including one at The Ohio State University, where she will be attending this fall.
In recognition of her many achievements, O’Hara was also selected as UALR’s nominee for a Marshall Scholarship and the Gates-Cambridge Fellowship.
She will graduate May 17 at UALR’s 2014 Spring Commencement.