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UA Little Rock Grad Honored as LULAC Student of the Year

Christina Jones
Christina Jones

Christine Jones, a graduating student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, has been honored as the LULAC Student of the Year.

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council 750 honored Jones with the award for the second year in a row during a Nov. 5 dinner celebrating the 17 UA Little Rock students who received LULAC scholarships for the 2022-2023 school year.

“We have a really good group of students that are involved and really want to get things done,” said Jones, who serves as president of UA Little Rock’s LULAC chapter. “We recently elected our new board that will begin next year. I’m just really excited for the future of the chapter. I felt honored that they think me worthy of being Student of the Year again.”

Jones was also among a group of UA Little Rock students who attended the LULAC National Convention this summer in San Juan, Puerto Rico. They were the first students from the university to attend the conference since 2016 and raised more than $11,000 for the trip, where they learned valuable skills in leadership, education, career preparation, and networking.

Jones, who lives in Cabot, will graduate in December with a Master of Arts in Professional and Technical Writing degree and plans to work as a communications specialist. She said that living in a homeless shelter is what convinced her to go back to college to change her life for the better.

“In November 2010, I moved into a homeless shelter with 4- and 6-year-old little boys,” Jones said. “I got myself out of the homeless shelter by March and literally climbed out of there. That was my moment of reckoning when I decided to come back to school. I realized I needed to make a change for myself and my boys.”

Jones said she joined UA Little Rock for the flexibility of classes and the focus on nontraditional students.

“From the moment I arrived back on campus, I completely jumped into my studies, wholeheartedly,” Jones said. “I enjoyed every course I took and the more and more I excelled, I realized that the Professional and Technical Writing program was a perfect fit for my creativity, which is evident in my work and my 4.0 GPA. Also, I began to join different organizations on campus, wanting to become more involved. As an undergrad, here at UA Little Rock, I was a single mother with two young boys trying to balance that along with a full-time job and a full course load. Now that my children are much older and more independent, I have some extra time on my hands.”

Throughout her time at UA Little Rock, Jones filled leadership roles in the Graduate Student Association, Student Government Association, the Racial Barriers Committee, and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, but she cites her time in LULAC as the most memorable.

Christine Jones, left, Luis Velazquez, and Kassandra Torres are some of the five UA Little Rock students traveling to Puerto Rico in July to attend the National LULAC convention. Photo by Ben Krain.
UA Little Rock students Christine Jones, left, Luis Velazquez, and Kassandra Torres attended the National LULAC convention in July.

“I wouldn’t trade the experience I’ve gained for anything in the world,” she said. “And I will always be grateful to LULAC and every single entity on the UA Little Rock campus who donated to the cause for helping four LULAC students to raise $12,000 to go to Puerto Rico for the LULAC National Convention, where I was able to accept, in person, the 2022 LULAC National Education Service Centers, Inc. Aspiring Scholar Award. I plan on taking on an advisory role through the parent organization, LULAC 750, after graduation.”

In addition to her extracurricular activities, Jones gained valuable professional experience through graduate assistantships. She managed social media and planned engagement activities for Ottenheimer Library, then served as a communications assistant for the Dean’s office in the College of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, and Education. She spent her final semester as a social media assistant with the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum.

As Jones reflects on her time at UA Little Rock, she is thankful for the education, skills, and confidence she gained to be successful in her future endeavors.

“This is the best decision I ever made,” she said. “I’ve been improving our lives in little tiny steps ever since I started college. When I started school, I thought I would try it out and see how it went. I never expected to excel the way I did. I put my mind to succeeding, and there is nothing I can’t achieve if I put my mind to it.”