Grad believes UA Little Rock has prepared him for future career of public service

UA Little Rock Donaghey Scholar Dylan Wright will graduate Dec. 14 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and minors in economics, math, and creative writing. The Little Rock native has also studied human rights and social movements at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina during a study abroad trip offered by the Donaghey Scholars program.

A University of Arkansas at Little Rock graduate is grateful for the personalized yet flexible college education he received that helped him gain experience in politics, public policy, and nonprofits that will be invaluable to his future career. 

Dylan Wright of Little Rock will graduate Dec. 14 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and minors in economics, math, and creative writing.

“I think the biggest reason that I attended UA Little Rock is that I got the Donaghey scholarship,” Wright said.

Donaghey Scholars receive a financial package that includes full tuition and fees, a housing subsidy, a stipend, a study abroad experience, and a new laptop computer.

“I knew I would have a lot of opportunities to be flexible in my education,” Wright said. “I got to study abroad and take a bunch of classes in different areas. Dr. Jessica Scott and Dr. Simon Hawkins from the Donaghey Scholars Program have been amazing and helped me through any problems I’ve had.”

The Little Rock native has also studied human rights and social movements at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. During his study abroad trip, Wright researched queer cinema in Argentina and the role it plays in citizen’s LGBTQ rights under the mentorship of Dr. Erin Finzer, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and assistant professor of Spanish. He presented his research at the Southeastern Council of Latin American Studies conference in Mexico in March. 

In another research project, Wright is working with Dr. Eric Wiebelhaus-Brahm, associate professor in the School of Public Affairs, to study the implementation of more than 1,000 recommendations of truth commissions in 13 Latin American countries. The truth commissions investigated histories of human rights violations.

Wright and Wiebelhaus-Brahm have presented their research at the Law and Society Association conference and will present at the Midwest Political Science Association meeting in Chicago next year with support from UA Little Rock’s presidential Studies Program.

“Dylan has done some amazing things at UA Little Rock,” Wiebelhaus-Brahm said. “He’s  supported some of the most important nonprofits in our community. He’s worked on several election campaigns, ranging from mayoral to presidential. There are great things in his future.”

Wright remains thankful to the research opportunities he had with his mentors.

“Dr. Brahm and Dr. Finzer have been the two professors who have been the most active in guiding my interests and helping me explore the topics I’ve been interested in, including human rights, international relations, and social justice,” Wright said. “The professors here have done a really great job of providing me with guidance and resources and passion for different areas that I am now interested in and want to pursue.”

During his time at UA Little Rock, Wright has become an active volunteer in the Little Rock nonprofit world. He has served on the advisory board for Lucie’s Place and the UA Little Rock Diversity Council. He has also volunteered with El Zócalo Immigrant Resource Center, Heifer International, and the Clinton Presidential Library. 

“I started out as an English major, but I didn’t feel fulfilled,” Wright said. “I switched my major to political science. As I became more politically aware, I wanted to become more active in local organizations who are doing important work. I tried to dedicate as much of my time as I could to volunteering.”

In the political arena, Wright has interned for the Democratic Party of Arkansas, the Clinton Foundation, the Human Rights Campaign: Project One America, and two political campaigns.

After graduation, Wright plans to attend a joint graduate program where he will attend law school while studying public policy. While he’s keeping his options open, Wright’s future career will most likely involve law, politics, and public policy.

“I’m applying to graduate programs, but I do know I want my career to be nonprofit or public-service oriented,” Wright said. “I really want to spend my career helping people.”

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