Kristina Johnson, a Little Rock native who now lives in Hot Springs Village, has known since high school that she wanted to pursue her passion for writing in college.
“When I was a senior, I thought about what I was good at. I really liked English and creative writing. I’ve enjoyed writing short stories in my free time for many years.”
After graduating high school, Johnson joined UA Little Rock in 2014 for the close location to home and focus on education.
“I took my ACT here and really liked the campus,” she said. “It was just a really pretty campus that fit my dreams of college. I wanted to live at home, and it was the perfect setting for me to focus on my education.”
She would graduate in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing and then join the graduate program. Johnson is now looking forward to her December graduation with a Master of Arts in Professional and Technical Writing degree. She is thankful to professors Heidi Harris, Karen Kuralt, Londie Martin, and Joe Williams for helping her.
“The feeling of finishing my professional portfolio and my professors coming back and saying, ‘This looks good,’ is the most relief I’ve ever had,” Johnson said. “It took a lot of effort and hard work to get here. I’m very happy and proud of what I accomplished.”
She cites her greatest accomplishment at graduate school as writing a grant that provides $10,000 in funding for two pilot suicide prevention programs in Arkansas jails.
“I took the grant writing class with Dr. Barb L’Eplattenier,” she said. “It was one of the hardest classes I took in all my education, but it was worth it. I wrote my first grant, and it was funded. It was definitely my biggest accomplishment of graduate school, maybe ever, and it gave me a new appreciation for writing and how it can be used to help people.”
Unlike most new college graduates, Johnson won’t have to worry about finding a job as she started her career as a technical writer at MidSOUTH, UA Little Rock’s social work academy, last year. She is responsible for developing training materials and coordinating continuing education trainings.
“I’ve done it sort of backwards,” Johnson said. “I’ve already gotten a job so this degree will help push my career forward and give me bigger opportunities in the future.”