A graduating UA Little Rock student is thankful to the university for helping her prepare for a future career helping people as a medical surgeon.
Taylor Arnold, a senior biology major from Hot Springs, said she was inspired to follow in her father’s footsteps to the medical field.
“It helps in the fact that my dad was a surgeon,” she said. “I grew up in that environment and got to see the ins and outs of the career. Being able to have the opportunity to take human anatomy, it solidified that goal for me. I love that UA Little Rock offers that course. It definitely helped me a lot.”
After graduating from Sheridan High School, Arnold joined UA Little Rock after taking a semester off to care for a sick relative.
“My aunt got really sick, and I ended up applying to go to school here so I could continue living with her,” she said. “It was probably the best thing that has ever happened to me. UA Little Rock has helped me grow as a person because we have a really diverse community, and it’s helped me figure out who I am.”
While at UA Little Rock, Arnold has served as president of the Campus Garden Alliance, vice president of the Biology Club, and a student ambassador for the Donaghey College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
Out of all her activities, Arnold found participating in the Learning Assistant Program to be the most rewarding. Learning assistants take a course on the science of learning. Then they work with faculty to design and implement active learning instruction in the classroom.
“The most meaningful will always be the LA program because we get to work with students and help tutor them,” she said. “It’s the best feeling ever when you can connect with another student, and they come up later and tell you that you made a difference for them.”
She is especially grateful to Ronia Kattoum, an instructor of chemistry, for serving as an inspirational mentor in her life.
“In high school, I’ve always been seen as the dumb blonde stereotype by people who don’t know me,” she said. “Ms. Kattoum took a specific interest in me and asked me to join the Learning Assistant Program. She is the first professor that made me feel like I am important and that I could do whatever I put my mind to. Having that mentor in my life that sees the best in me really inspired me and helped me through my college career.”
While Arnold will start medical school in the fall, she’ll be working as a patient care technician at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences next year.
With graduation fast approaching, Arnold finds the end of her undergraduate career to be “bittersweet,” but is looking forward to starting the next step toward medical school.
“I am very excited to move forward in my life, but I am also sad that I won’t be in the same environment that I have been for the past four years,” she said. “I walk around campus, and I think this is one of the last times I will be here as a student. I’m just thankful for the opportunities and the kind of environment UA Little Rock offers to their students. That’s really what helped me here.”