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UA Little Rock Graduate Finds Success While Supporting the Community

Anitrea Graydon
Anitrea Graydon

Anitrea Graydon is a wife, mother of two, a student, a business owner, and community volunteer from Jacksonville, Arkansas. She will receive a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degree from UA Little Rock on Dec. 18. She is not only a dedicated community leader, but she worked consistently to maintain a 4.0 GPA throughout her academic career.

Why did you choose UA Little Rock? 

UA Little Rock is a local university, and the Criminal Justice program has a high ranking nationwide. Moreover, the instructors are employed in this field and serve as great resources to enhance my knowledge of the field.

Who was your favorite professor or mentor?

Shannon Avra is my favorite professor. She has been amazing and she has always supported me. She encouraged and pushed me to be the very best version of myself while she was experiencing a health challenge herself. She never lost hope for herself or her students.

My favorite mentor is Verlancia Tucker with BOHEMIA Cares, a local nonprofit organization. She had no idea how much she pushed me to go above and beyond. She encouraged me, gave educational support, gave tough love, prayed, and worshiped with me to help keep me on the path of success.

What are some of the best highlights from your college career?

The best highlights from my college career are making the Chancellor’s and Dean’s lists during my college experience at UA Little Rock and graduating with honors. In addition to this Criminal Justice degree, I have earned three associate degrees from Pulaski Technical College.

Were you involved in any clubs or organizations?

I am the assistant secretary of the NAACP-Jacksonville Branch. I am a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

What are you looking forward to after graduation?

I am looking forward to a brief moment of relaxation. Once I am recharged, I will start looking for a job within the federal government, the juvenile justice system, or with the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I see myself owning a facility that houses troubled teens. The purpose of the facility will be to rehabilitate and restore the teens. I also see myself serving on boards of community organizations within the city of Little Rock or surrounding areas. Another goal is to become a franchise owner. Currently, I own a food truck called “Bird On a Leash!”

What is the best advice you were given or would like to give to new college students?

The best advice that I was given was that no matter what it looks like, NEVER give up or say what you can’t do. Always focus on the main goal and that’s to finish in excellence. I would advise new college students to always pace themselves and make time for self-care.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I would tell anyone that even though it may seem like it’s not doable, it’s doable. I’ve been happily married for almost 19 years with two teenage sons. I own two businesses and spend a lot of time serving in the community, all while maintaining my GPA. I live by this quote, “If you sacrifice a little bit, you can gain a lot.”