Meet Some of Our Recent Graduates

We are very proud of our graduates and no one can better express the impact this program can have on the lives and careers of our students than they can. Here is what just a few of them are up to and had to say when asked about what they got out of the Scholars Program.

Ryan Bourgoin (’21)
Major: Political Science (B.A.)
Final Project: Populism and Environmental Attitudes

What’s Next: “I am currently a forestry aid specializing in wildland firefighting with the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Pinedale, WY.”

“The Donaghey Scholar’s Program helped me to make sense of the world and my place in it. It gave me experiences in the classroom and the real world that helped me to find what I value most and what I desire in life. I don’t know where I’d be otherwise.”

Phillip Bryan (’21)
Major: Computer Science (B.S.)
Final Project: Continuous Improvement Web Application

What’s Next: ” I am a Graduate Researcher at the Emerging Analytics Center at UA Little Rock while pursuing my Master’s degree in Computer Science. I hope to continue my education while performing research in the promising field of 3D printing technologies.”

“The Donaghey Scholars Program enabled me to pursue my education and personal goals without worrying about crippling college debt upon graduation. Meeting class deadlines and finding good internships is challenging enough without the added stress of financial burdens. Beyond this, the Donaghey Program gave me the means to analyze complex social issues in ways that I would have otherwise not considered. The promise of studying abroad, although ultimately prevented by COVID-19, encouraged me to further my education in a foreign language and culture. Overall, the Donaghey Scholars Program provided me with the resources and motivation to better myself as an individual and scholar.”

Christopher Davis (’20)
Major: Computer Science (B.A.)
Final Project: Kathartica, an EP of songs translated and sung in Latin

What’s Next: “With UA Little Rock behind me, I want to earn the Undergraduate Certificate in Applied Cybersecurity through SANS.”

“The Donaghey Scholars Program challenged me to look deeply at the reasons behind why I believe the way I do.  I had to (gradually) learn how to accept that I would not always have the “right” answer when engaging with some philosophical/social/economic/political/etc. issue.  I benefited greatly from the director’s encouragement and advice whether that be in the context of pursuing my own hobbies or needing support in times of emotional distress.  If it were not for Donaghey financing, my Spanish courses, and my study abroad trip to Chile (which I still gush about), I would not have had the opportunity to experience as much contact as I did with the Spanish-Speaking world at both a social and academic level.”

Sadie Goss (’22)
Major: Chemistry (B.S.)
Final Project: Paying for Past Crime: Employment and Prisoner Reentry amongst Serious and Violent Offenders

What’s Next: “I am in training to be a competent forensic drug chemist for the Arkansas State Crime Lab.”

“The Donaghey Scholars Program provided me a support system and community of people to help carry me through my degree. Being in a diverse environment allowed me to practice compassion for those who I am not similar to, something very important to me and for my career path. The Donaghey Scholars Program was my home for four years and I love the people and experiences I gained from this program.”

LaTambria Hampton (’22)
Major: Biology (B.S.)
Final Project: Measuring the Effects of Varying Glucose Concentrations on the Growth and Senescence of Synechocystis sp. PCC6803

What’s Next: “I will begin the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) program at UAMS, a one-month program that aids in the transition from undergraduate to graduate school. This fall, I will start my studies as a Ph.D. student in the Graduate Program of Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences (GPIBS) at UAMS.”

“The Donaghey Scholars Program is important to me because it allowed me to truly become a well-rounded individual. The Scholars Program not only prepared me to be a great biologist, but also helped me to become a more critical thinker, a role model for young women, and an advocate for the next generation.”

Jordan Hancock (’22)
Major: Art History (B.F.A.)
Final Project: The Masculine and Feminine in William Blake’s “Fallen World” Told Through his Large Watercolor Prints

What’s Next: “I am currently taking a gap year to complete my current internship at the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts by digitizing their archive of paperwork relating to their annual Collector’s Show and Sale. I am currently looking for other museum internship opportunities for the fall while I prepare to apply for masters programs in art history and/or museum studies.”

“This program was everything in terms of determining my career path. From January-March 2020, the Donaghey Scholars Program funded my first museum internship in London. This internship and my time in London was absolutely vital to discovering my passion for museum work and sparking my interest in collections management. Without the Donaghey Scholars Program, I would never have had the finances or confidence to do an internship in a London museum or to experience London’s vast and varied museums in the way that I did.”

Sabah Ismail (’22)
Major: History (B.A.) and Political Science (B.A.)
Final Project: Transcending Political Barriers: The Intersection of Women and Class in Early American History

What’s Next: “I’m currently working with art preservation and tracking at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. In a few years, I’m planning to go to graduate school to earn a Masters in Museum Studies.”

“The Donaghey Scholars Program helped me to foster the analytical and communication skills necessary in order to succeed in archival work.”

Josiah Johnson (’21)
Major: Economics (B.A.A) and Finance (B.B.A)
Final Project: Estimating the Impact of Small Business Initiatives on Crime in Small Communities

What’s Next: “I’m super happy with my work as a data analyst for Apptegy in Little Rock and learning a lot. I am also beginning the process of publishing my Donaghey final project project.”

“The Donaghey Scholars Program pushed me out of my comfort zone and gave me opportunities that I wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere. I was able to study abroad (having never been outside of the U.S.), travel to academic conferences, and make lifelong friends. I felt somewhat directionless when I started college, but my senior year classes, advice from the directors, and the experience gained from my Donaghey final project really made clear my interests and where I wanted to focus my career.”

Avery McLean (’21)
Major: Biology (B.S.)
Final Project: The Future of Agricultural Herbicide Regulation: The Biological Evaluation and International Response in Regard to Impending Glyphosate Regulation

What’s Next: “Currently, I am a Juris Doctor candidate at Penn State Law (PSL). During my first year at PSL, I served as a 1L Representative to the Student Bar Association,Themis Student Representative, and was a member of the Phi Alpha Delta Mock Trial Team. Going into my 2L year I will be serving in the following roles: Representative to the Student Bar Association, Law Delegate and Speaker of the Assembly of the Graduate Professional Student Association, Mental Health & Wellness Committee Chair, Mindfulness in Law Society Vice President of Finance, and as the Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity Clerk. Upon graduation from law school, I look forward to practicing in environmental and agricultural law with future political aspirations.”

“The Donaghey Scholars Program has prepared me for a career in law through the rigorous and mind-broadening Donaghey classes. These largely discussion based classes made entering a Socratic law classroom less daunting, and also provided me with he ability to view issues from various perspectives. More importantly though, the Donaghey Scholars Program has prepared me to be a contributing global citizen who takes pride in service to their community. Without the connections I made during my time as a Scholar, I would not be where I am today.”

Katie Matthews (’20)
Major: Biology (B.S.)
Final Project: Coming Full Circle to Address Food Insecurity in Pulaski County  Through Gardening, Education, and Outreach

What’s Next: “I am beginning a new job as the Garden & Nutrition Education Facilitator for ‘Be Mighty Little Rock’ and working on my Masters of Public Service from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.”

“The Donaghey Scholars Program helped me become more well rounded in areas outside of my degree and to have a deeper and more empathetic understanding of the world around me. It allowed me to reflect on my perceptions, to be challenged, and to evolve in a judgement free and constructive atmosphere. I also left with lifelong connections through the program and a continued support system that I’m positive will extend far beyond my graduation.”

Abigail Resendiz (’19)
Major: International Business (B.B.A.) and Management (B.B.A.)
Final Project: Vascugenix Business Plan: Bringing a Medical Device to Market

What’s Next: “I just completed my international master’s program, graduating with three diplomas from three European universities. I have accepted a position as a business development specialist with POLITICO.”

“The Donaghey Scholars Honors Program acted as a solid foundation to catapult myself into any path of my choosing. It was an environment of positive encouragement for me curated by the directors, Dr. Hawkins and Dr. Scott, administrative assistants, and fellow Scholars, and continues to be. This propelled me to study abroad three times, conduct independent research, compete in national and international business competitions, join a social science-oriented debate team, represent the university at national conferences, and complete relevant internships. The Scholars program allowed me to challenge myself and develop a well-rounded portfolio simultaneously. As a result, I was accepted into my dream international Master’s program in Scotland, Spain, and Germany and received full funding from the European Union. Future Donaghey Scholars are getting much more than an amazing financial package, study abroad opportunities, interdisciplinary curriculum, and endless opportunities; they are getting a whole community of people that genuinely care about their overall well-being, not just their professional accomplishments.” 

Aleigha Smith (’22)
Major: Accounting (B.B.A.)
Final Project: What’s Up, Jock? Redefining Duty Days for Professional Athletes in the Wake of Covid-19

What’s Next: “I have started a full-time job at HCJ CPAs & Advisors in the Client Accounting Services Department. Alongside my full-time job, I have begun the process of studying for my first CPA exam section.”

“The Donaghey Scholars Program was so important to my collegiate experience in giving me a support system that helped me through the challenges of college. The program put me in a position to gain leadership experience and research opportunities. Those experiences have translated to my current job by helping me feeling confident to take on opportunities and work through issues regarding client matters.”

Taylor Toombs (’21)
Major: Political Science (B.A.)
Final Project: Transitional Justice and the Influence of Gender

What’s Next: “I am currently continuing my education at the William H. Bowen School of Law and hope to obtain my J.D. within the next 3 years.”

“The Donaghey Scholars Program, through its interdisciplinary classes, has encouraged me to always consider the influence of different disciplines on the world and the decisions that are made by individuals, organizations, and governments. This skill will come in handy, not only with my own decisions in my personal life but also in the world of law and expanding the access of justice to all people. I appreciate the Donaghey Scholars Program for all of the experiences I had during undergrad.”

Luke Tyhurst (’19)
Major: Information Science (B.S.)
Final Project: Rykos: Interactive Problem Solving for the Modern World

What’s Next: “I am currently a Support Engineer at Priority1 in Little Rock and enjoying every minute of my time there. In my free time, I am developing a business focused on mapping global research, news, and social data into an interactive problem-solving platform.”

“Although I did not have the smoothest academic career (switching your major 7 times tends to do that), the Donaghey Scholars Honors Program was always there for me. When I was down, confused, or ready to drop out, I had a community and wonderful directors/assistants to talk to. When things started to look up for me, they were there to congratulate me and cheer me on. The number one thing I received from the Donaghey Scholars program was not the stipend, the full ride, or even the study abroad. It was a family away from home that pushed me to strive for more in my life and to hold onto my passion for making an impact on the world. Because of their emotional, academic, and professional support, I am now able to say that I am financially stable straight out of college and am on a track to making my dreams a reality.”

Ruby Viera Corral (’22)
Major: Chemistry (B.S.) and Spanish (B.A.)
Final Project: In Vitro Biodegradation of Graphene in Macrophage Cells

What’s Next: “Since graduating, I’ve moved to San Antonio to be closer to my family and to live with my husband, Iván. After applying to 20+ jobs, I got my dream job at UT Health San Antonio – the medical school that I’ve also applied to this past month. I’m working as a study coordinator and research assistant on a phase I mRNA HIV Vaccine Clinical Trial, sponsored by IAVI in New York and with vaccines developed by Moderna. I get a lot of patient care experience, scheduling and coordinating with different teams, putting out small fires when they come up, finding new participants to enroll, and essentially serving as a point of contact for everyone involved in the study. As of now, I’m enjoying a great work/life balance and waiting to hear back about interviews for the school. I’ve also started reading for fun again!”

“The Donaghey Scholars Program has helped to shape me as a person and has bolstered my confidence and growth as a leader. Through the opportunities that I was able to access through the Donaghey Program and the advice of upperclassmen scholars, I had the chance to be a research assistant at the Center for Integrative Nanotechnology Sciences, provide interpreting services at Harmony Health Clinic, and complete a public health internship at the Arkansas Department of Health and those were the experiences that caught my employer’s eye and set me apart from other candidates. I am also confident that I’m prepared for medical school and ready to succeed in the interview process.”