Donaghey Scholar readies for next step in her future

Julie O'Hara is a political science major graduating in spring 2019. Photo by Ben Krain.

When Julie O’Hara graduates on May 11, she will leave behind a legacy of success at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. With an acceptance to the University of Pittsburgh in hand, her energy is focused on a future in international politics.

O’Hara, a political science major from Little Rock, has been involved in local politics since she was a teenager.

“I actually started volunteering with the Democratic Party or Arkansas when I was 14,” O’Hara said. “I worked with various campaigns. Through those interactions, I realized how much I enjoyed getting to talk to the community.”

As a high schooler, O’Hara decided to attend UA Little Rock after hearing about her older sister’s experience as a Donaghey Scholar.

“My oldest sister went through the Donaghey program, so I had a really good idea about what I would get out of it,” O’Hara said. “One of my favorite things about it was the Socratic-style classes that let you actually discuss the material rather than have it lectured to you.”

O’Hara has had the opportunity to present her research at multiple national conferences.

“I attended the Southern Political Science Association’s conference twice, once to present research that I worked on in a methods course and again to present my final project for the Donaghey Scholars Program,” O’Hara said.

Julia O'Hara, who is graduating from UA Little Rock with a bachelor's degree in political science, stands outside the Senate chambers in the Arkansas State Capitol building. Photo by Ben Krain.
Julia O’Hara, who is graduating from UA Little Rock with a bachelor’s degree in political science, stands outside the Senate chambers in the Arkansas State Capitol building. Photo by Ben Krain.

Throughout her time as a student, O’Hara has continued to be active in state politics, thanks to UA Little Rock’s location in Arkansas’s capital city.

“Having grown up in Little Rock, I knew the opportunities for studying politics that I would get here,” O’Hara said. “I had built up connections through volunteering and internships.”

When reflecting on her time at UA Little Rock, O’Hara points to her interactions with its non-traditional student body as one of the university’s biggest strengths.

“We have such a nontraditional student body,” she said. “At UA Little Rock, you get diversity in ideas and experiences.”

After finishing her Ph.D. in political science, O’Hara plans to continue her research in international politics at a professional level.

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