Jeannie Kuang-Nguyen graduated from Mills High School in Little Rock in 2013 and could have gone out of state for college. Instead, she stayed close to home and came to UALR, which she says opened up her world in all new ways.
My senior year of high school, I had a great desire to leave the state, but when I began considering in-state options, specifically the Donaghey Scholars Program at UALR, I was convinced that it wasn’t necessary to leave to receive a good education or to have an enlightening undergraduate experience.
I vividly remember when I received the call informing me that I was accepted into the program. I was in the car on the way home after a rough and disappointing soccer game. After hearing the news, I said aloud, “Today is the best day of my life!” My mother can attest to this.
I found out that I was accepted to several out-of-state schools, but none of the financial packages, although substantial, were up to par to the benefits of the Donaghey Scholars Program. I wanted to leave the state, but I saw the financial burden of leaving. There were other costs to consider besides tuition and room and board.
However, cost was not the only factor in consideration. Although the prospect of taking only the courses needed for a degree and graduating as soon as possible were appealing, I also wanted to continue having a challenging, well-rounded education. I want to be knowledgeable on topics other than chemistry, my intended major.
I desire to not only develop skills for my intended career as a physician-scientist, but to develop skills and foster characteristics for my role as a citizen of not only this city, state, or country, but also the global society. Furthermore, I sought to attend a school in which I could be part of a small community within a sea of resources and opportunity. The Donaghey Scholars Program and UALR, as well as the University Science Scholars Program, provided what I was looking for.
So far, my first year as a scholar has been quite fulfilling. I have experienced team-taught courses and examined numerous sides to issues of relevance to society. I have been encouraged to consider issues that I have not paid attention to. I’ve been introduced to economics, a subject that was rarely covered in my previous education. I have encountered interesting texts.
I have been challenged, and I am continuously being challenged. I have met and befriended new people of different cultures and backgrounds. I’ve become a member of a community of open-minded, interesting, and supportive people.
As a scholar, I hope to further develop and improve my critical thinking, writing, speaking, and communication skills, all of which are necessary in my intended career as a physician and researcher. In the near future, I plan to affirm my career choice by shadowing a physician and by gaining research experience in a lab. I am looking forward to studying abroad, to immersing myself in another culture, and improving fluency in another language. I hope to continue to broaden my mind by becoming globally conscious of current issues. Additionally, I aspire to become a leader.
I anticipate that my future years as a Donaghey Scholar and a UALR Trojan will be even more enlightening and fulfilling than my experience thus far.