Brook ScalzoOnline NursingLearn More About Brook
RN to BSN ProgramLittle RockLikes the theater
“The program allows you to work with several hospitals throughout central Arkansas and determine which environment is right for you. The professors work hard to make sure that you are prepared and confident to join the workforce.”
Brice SmithInformation Science JuniorLearn More About Brice
Acxiom InternFordyceLikes going to the mall.
“I have had no trouble interacting with the faculty on a professional and personal level. All of the classes are sized wonderfully to give each student the one-on-one attention that they need with a professor.”
Emily ThackerSocial Work MajorLearn More About Emily
Community College TransferTexarkanaLikes City Shopping
“You get a wide variety of peopleâ€™s opinions, religious beliefs and worldviews. Thatâ€™s the reason I chose to transfer to UALR.”
Trevor CollinsE-Commerce SophmoreLearn More About Trevor
Information Technology MinorMaumelleLikes Making Videos
â€śThe connection among UALR students, staff, and faculty is strong and family-friendly. The university offered a home away from home.â€ť
Staying close, but traveling far
Trevor Collins of Maumelle, a Little Rock suburb about 20 minutes from campus, knew it wasnâ€™t necessary to travel far away from home to get the education he wanted.
Collins graduated from Little Rockâ€™s eStem High Public Charter School, which advances the study of science, technology, engineering, and math. He chose UALR for his post-high school education because he could expand his educational horizons without sacrificing the intimacy of a campus environment similar to that of his former high school.
â€śThe connection among UALR students, staff, and faculty is strong and family-friendly. The university offered a home away from home,â€ť he said.
Even though Collins is local to the area, he chose to live on campus because of the numerous opportunities to socialize and bond with other students majoring in the same subject areas.
â€śImmediately, I felt connected with all of the students because of the campus-wide activities available for students,â€ť he said.
In addition, Collins is able to finance his education as an Environmental and Spatial Technology (EAST) scholar, which can be renewed up to four years totaling $40,000. He is allowed to major in any area of study available at UALR.
He said the quality of the academic programs at UALR is reflected in the fact that professors routinely adapt their curriculum to go beyond the basics. Collins believes this quick adaptation is important on many levels.
â€śAs we progress in time, our information, technology, and tools are constantly changing,â€ť said Collins. â€śIt is important to have professors who update their knowledge and techniques so the content is relevant, not only for today, but for the future.â€ť
Collins encourages other students to view higher education as an opportunity to grow both intellectually and personally. But ultimately, any education is what a person makes of it, he said.
A transfer student seeking transformative life experiences
Emily Thacker decided to transfer to UALR from a community college in Texarkana, Texas, because she was ready for something new.
â€śI transferred to UALR because I knew this would be an exciting and different experience than Texarkana College,â€ť she said. â€śIt is so much bigger and has so many different options in classes. â€ť
Thacker was home schooled her entire life and able to focus on subjects that interested her. Being homeschooled also meant she could receive the additional help she needed in subjects that posed a challenge and prepared Thacker for the rigors of college earlier than usual.
â€śWhen I was 16 my mother and I decided it was time for me to attend college classes,â€ť she said, â€śso I began to take classes at Texarkana College right before my 17th birthday.â€ť
Thacker received an associateâ€™s degree of Fine and Studio Arts. There she learned the value of relationships from her art professors.
â€śThese two ladies worked very hard each day, spending time teaching us techniques and helping us express our thoughts into something beautiful. Not only did they teach us art, but they also wanted to have relationships with us,â€ť she said.
Today, Thacker is taking that background in building strong relationships to pursue a degree in social work at UALR.
â€śIf I could use my degree to encourage the lives of just a few young women I would feel accomplished,â€ť she said. â€śHelping teenage girls to feel empowered, intelligent, and beautiful is important to me.â€ť
Outside the classroom she works on campus in UALRâ€™s Engineering and Information Technology Student Services. â€śI enjoy working in EIT because there is always something going on. I enjoy being able to greet students and professors walking in and out of the office,â€ť she said.
Small-town guy embraces big-town amenities
Brice Smith is a self-proclaimed â€śproud sonâ€ť of Fordyce, a small town in south central Arkansas. With a population of just over 4,000 people, Fordyce is not just a community, but almost an extended family.
Still, Smith is the first to admit the importance of choosing a university where a small-town student can participate in perks of metropolitan life.
â€śWhen you move to Little Rock, you see how amazing it is to have the world at your fingertips,â€ť he said. â€śNo more driving 45 minutes to get to the nearest movie theater!â€ť
More importantly, Smith, an information science major living in the South Hall residence on campus, is a close drive to Little Rock-based Acxiom, a marketing and technology company known around the globe. At Acxiom, Smith is completing an internship where he makes weekly virtual visits to Australia and Brazil to work on products in those locales.
He said no other university in the state seemed able to connect him to real-world opportunities the same way that UALR has.
â€śYou see the connections that UALR has with major corporations here in central Arkansas, as well as all over the world,â€ť he said. â€śI can assure you that there is no decision that will benefit you more.â€ť
Not that UALRâ€™s metropolitan setting has diminished the family-like classroom experiences that Smith enjoys.
â€śI have had no trouble interacting with the faculty on a professional and personal level. All of the classes are sized wonderfully to give each student the one-on-one attention that they need with a professor,â€ť he said.
Pursuing an education and career path, entirely online
In just 18 months, Brook Scalzo will earn a bachelorâ€™s degree in nursing without ever having to enter a traditional campus classroom.
Scalzo is a licensed nurse who chose UALR because she could continue to work full-time even as she earned a bachelor of science degree through the schoolâ€™s online RN to BSN program, a pathway for nurses to advance their education.
But the convenience of online learning is just part of the reason Scalzo chose UALR. The quality of the learning was a top priority, as well.
â€śThe department has a reputation for sending well-rounded, professional, and well-trained nurses into the field. The professors hold you to a high standard and promote evidence-based practices,â€ť she said.
â€śThe difference in nurses trained at UALR as compared to other schools is, in my opinion, that UALR nurses are more prepared. They are excellent nurses who get plenty of experience by doing clinical rotations through different hospitals.â€ť
Scalzo was employed with Arkansas Childrenâ€™s Hospital before she became a registered nurse.
â€śThe program allows you to work with several hospitals throughout central Arkansas and determine which environment is right for you,â€ť she said. â€śThe professors work hard to make sure that you are prepared and confident to join the workforce.â€ť
Scalzo is the recipient of a Walker Scholarship specifically for those who want to participate in the RN to BSN program. UALR offers the only nursing program in Arkansas with support from an endowment established by the Willard and Pat Walker Foundation. This year, the foundation helped provide nearly $100,000 in scholarships to nursing students.
â€śI am proud to be a student at UALR,â€ť she said. â€śI am so grateful for this opportunity.â€ť