Jacob Laan, a third-year criminal justice doctoral student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, is this year’s recipient of the $2,500 AT&T War Memorial Scholarship.
Arkansas Community Foundation will make a scholarship presentation with Laan on Sept. 12 during halftime of the University of Arkansas Razorback-Toledo Rockets game at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. On Friday, Sept. 11, Laan is scheduled to appear on KARK-TV’s early morning news show for a short segment with the foundation.
“I know that I am only one of many student veterans at UALR and across the state of Arkansas deserving of this award, and I am humbled to be receiving it this year,” Laan said.
The scholarship honors Arkansas’ 25 Congressional Medal of Honor recipients and is awarded annually to a veteran of any branch of the armed forces who is or will attend an accredited college or university in Arkansas.
AT&T established the scholarship at the community foundation, a nonprofit organization that fosters giving to improve communities, in 2011 to support Arkansas veterans seeking higher education.
“I am thankful for the sacrifices of my fellow student veterans, those of the military men and women who are still serving today, and most of all those who have given their lives in support of our country and the freedoms that allow me to pursue my education,” said Laan.
Laan served in Iraq in 2007 and 2008 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also served in the Army National Guard in Alabama for eight years prior to moving to Little Rock to pursue his Ph.D.
Laan’s criminal justice research has been included in four scholarly publications, and his work recently earned him first place in the Social Sciences Graduate Division at the 2014 UALR Student Research Expo.
An active member in UALR’s Student Government Association since he became a student at the university, Laan currently serves as the president for the 2015-16 academic year. Previously, he was a two-term senator representing the graduate school and students, and he served briefly as secretary before being elected president.
During his final term as a senator, Laan played a pivotal role in writing the first updated Student Government Association constitution in 18 years and was recognized as the 2015 “UALR Senator of the Year.”
As part of a collaborative agreement between UALR and the Arkansas Department of Corrections, Laan works as a research assistant at the department’s central office.
He is a lifelong member of the Alpha Tau Omega Men’s Leadership Fraternity, of which he was a chapter Founding Father at Troy University during his undergraduate studies.
Laan said he would not be able to achieve his educational goals if not for the support of organizations like the Arkansas Community Foundation, AT&T, and the War Memorial Stadium Commission. He thanked them for their continued support of military service members.