“I came to the UALR campus, took tests to figure out what classes I needed to take, and that next Monday I was sitting in my first college class,” she said.
“I took a ‘Mass Media and Society’ class with (Associate Professor) Sonny Rhodes, and he was just so passionate and excited about the media and journalism,” she said. “It inspired me and I made a decision in that week that I was going to pursue journalism.”
Rhodes, a former newspaper reporter and editor, encouraged her to start practicing her newly found passion by seeking a position on the UALR student newspaper, The Forum. She got on-the-job training as its editor-in-chief for two years.
“Getting involved in campus activities makes all the difference in the world,” said Thomas, who also served as an orientation leader. “Whether it is a Greek organization, an organization that has something to do with your major, or student life, you get to really embrace the college experience, and learn more about yourself.”
After earning a degree in journalism, Thomas pursued a master’s degree. Just before graduation, she was hired for what was supposed to be a temporary internship at AY Magazine.
“I was supposed to be there for six weeks, and it’s been seven years,” said Thomas, now the editor of the lifestyle news magazine.