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Williams completes degree 15 years after being accepted to UA Little Rock

In 2002, after taking a gap year, Alexis Parker Williams had been accepted to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and was ready to take the next step in her life. 

“I chose UA Little Rock because it is in the metropolitan area, and it is a good school locally and regionally,” she said. “I felt like UA Little Rock would be the tried and true best route for me.”

Life got in the way of Williams’ carefully laid-out college plans.

“I applied for UA Little Rock, and my mom got sick after that, so I didn’t attend,” she said. “I took another year, and then I started at Pulaski Tech and did a year there. Then I got married and started a family.”

After 15 years since first applying to UA Little Rock, Williams will graduate Dec. 16 at Jack Stephens Center with a bachelor’s degree in applied communication.

“It is very rewarding to get to the finish line, but it has taken everything to get to this point,” Williams said. “I am graduating with honors. I try to show excellence in everything that I do.”

During a decade of what Williams refers to as her “period of obscurity,” she had four beautiful children – James III, Joshua, Jonathan, and Naomi – and started a family home construction business with her husband, James, where she works as the business administrator.

“I am extremely grateful for God’s grace and my husband’s patience,” she said. “I am humbled because so many mommies put themselves last for the betterment of their families. They often don’t get the recognition and praise they deserve for the contributions inside their homes.”

In 2014, Williams completed another year of college at Pulaski Tech before transferring to UA Little Rock in fall 2015.

While on campus, she completed an internship with the Communication Skill Center, which helps students with brainstorming, research, organization, outlining, and PowerPoint/Prezi presentations.

Alexis Williams helps a student in the Communication Skill Center. Photo by Lonnie Timmons III/UA Little Rock Communications.
Alexis Williams helps a student in the Communication Skill Center. Photo by Lonnie Timmons III/UA Little Rock Communications.

Dr. April Chatham-Carpenter, chair of the Department of Applied Communication, described Williams as one of the most compassionate and giving students she has ever met.

“She has served as a dedicated intern in the Communication Skill Center and often goes above and beyond to help students,” Chatham-Carpenter said. “Alexis is beautiful inside and out, and I am proud to have gotten to know her. She has made me a better person by having gotten to know her.”

This semester, Williams interned with Family Promise of Pulaski County, a nonprofit organization that works in partnership with local congregations to offer homeless families shelter, meals, transportation, and case management. Williams worked as the internal communication coordinator.

“I would highly recommend most students do an internship,” said Williams, who plans to attend graduate school in fall 2018. “It would highly help in getting out of the classroom and putting your skills to use in the real world. Both internships really helped me develop my professional skills.”

When she graduates, Williams will have her “cheering section,” including her husband, four children, a brother traveling from Mississippi, and a sister coming from Oklahoma.

“I am humbled to have been able to pour my effort into my children and husband, but also to have this experience for myself. It makes me very proud,” she said. “I’ve spent a lot of years watching my peers go on and do great things in life while I was changing a diaper or running to parent-teacher meetings. It is very humbling, and I am grateful.”

In the upper right photo, Alexis Williams is ready for commencement. Photo by Randall Lee.