Alumni in their own words

Lena Marshall 2011 Graduate
Lena Marshall
I am self-employed. I have been a photographer since 1997. I managed and owned a successful photography business in Fayetteville, AR for years. I moved to Little Rock and continued to pursue photography while I attended UALR. I had actually started college in 1993 and ended up quitting because my business had taken off so much that I had to put my focus into business. I had a continual voice in my head that kept saying “finish what you started.” I finally graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts in 2011. It took me a long time but I believe it’s never too late to get a degree. I love photography. I am a huge people person and my biggest strength is being a people person. If you want to shoot portraits or weddings, you need a good personality or you cannot thrive. You have to change your attitude for each client. Some clients are more fun while others are very reserved. If you are talented with people, this is a great job to have. I have photographed at least 400 weddings and around 250 boudoir sessions. I love delivering photos after a shoot and watching the reactions of my clients. I love to see them cry with emotion and I love hearing them tell me about what the photos mean to them. Being able to create art for people is a huge passion of mine. I also love being able to travel. Wedding photography has brought me to Hawaii, Mexico, Dominican Republic, California, Virginia and many places in between. This year I will be traveling to Las Vegas for the annual Wedding and Portrait conference (wppi).
Don’t give up on school. There are days that will frustrate you to no end. I worked 3 part time jobs while I ran a photography business. I took a full load of classes and had my family & my child to contend with at the same time. I look back and wonder why I did so much and took on so much but I did it and there were days I just wanted to give up and quit. I will admit there were moments at 2am and I would be typing up a paper while trying to finish a photo shoot edit for a client. There were times I would bawl my eyes out from the stress but I kept seeing the finish line and the goal I wanted to accomplish so badly. It was worth it for me. I now have something no one can take away from me – a degree!
Lesley Thomas-Washington 2011 Graduate
I am currently working at the Ottenheimer Library at UALR. I am a Library Technician-Stacks Manager and my position is to maintain the maintenance of the collection of books on the 4th and 5th. By making sure that the collection is in order and if patrons/students have difficulty locating items, we (me or my student workers) assist them.
I would encourage current students to try to stay positive in their field of study. Have a support group of individuals that will keep you motivated and encourage you to keep going when it seems pointless to continue. That positive atmosphere will encourage you to keep going to pursue your dreams.