Arkansas SHRM Honors UA Little Rock Student with J.C. Cote Scholarship

Yadira Lara-Dugan

A UA Little Rock student has been recognized as an outstanding college student and future human resources professional.

Yadira Lara-Dugan, a senior from Hot Springs, is this year’s recipient of the J.C. Cote Scholarship from Arkansas SHRM.

“Receiving the J.C. Cote Scholarship has been an honor!” Lara-Dugan said. “I was very excited when I received the phone call with the news. To be awarded this scholarship by members of AR-SHRM has been really encouraging and meaningful.”

Each year, the Arkansas SHRM State Council awards a $1,000 scholarship to a college student who has demonstrated scholastic achievement and a commitment to a career in human resources.

This award is named in honor of J.C. Cote, who was a dedicated member of the ARSHRM State Council and the Western Arkansas SHRM chapter (WAHRA). J.C. served as chapter president of WAHRA for two years. He also represented the ARSHRM State Council as 2001 State HR Conference Chair and as West District Director. J.C. put his heart and soul into these roles. Through this scholarship award, the Arkansas SHRM State Council seeks to identify and reward students who characterize J.C.’s commitment to the human resources profession.

Lara-Dugan will graduate in December with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in human resources.

“It’s been a long journey to get to this point, but it’s been a great and rewarding experience,” she said. “Once I graduate, I hope to find a job in HR, possibly working in employee benefits. I currently work as a surgery scheduler for a specialty clinic. I think my experience in the medical field and with insurance benefits will be helpful working in an HR department.”

She is a surgery scheduler at CHI St. Vincent’s ENT Clinic and an active member of the UA Little Rock Human Resource Society. She also volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and delivers groceries and masks to those in need during COVID-19.

“The reason I decided to study human resources is because of one of my previous jobs,” Lara-Dugan said. “I worked closely with human resource directors in my hometown to provide medical services to employees. During my time at this job, I learned quite a bit about the pre-employment and workman’s compensation process. When I decided to return to college, I knew that I wanted to study human resources.”

Dr. Thomas Tudor, a professor of management who nominated Lara-Dugan for the award, said that she was a hard-working student and a pleasure to have in class.

“She would be a strong asset to any employer or academic program because she is quick to learn, gets along well with others, and has demonstrated a great work ethic,” Tudor said. “She is worthy of this scholarship.”

Lara-Dugan said she is thankful to all the people in her life who have helped her achieve her dream of earning her college degree.

“I would just like to thank all my instructors, my advisor, and everyone at the Arkansas SHRM State Council,” she said. “As a first-generation college student, going to college wasn’t always easy, but I have had great professors and a great experience at UA Little Rock. I know that the next group of college students are going to have the same experience I have had!”

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