Life is moving fast for UA Little Rock graduate and Donaghey Scholar Alyssa Smith.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Smith will marry her college sweetheart, fellow UA Little Rock graduate Baker Rodgers, on June 10. After a honeymoon cruise in the Caribbean, she will start work as a natural gas engineer at Summit Utilities.
“I am proud to say that I will be graduating Summa Cum Laude and have a current GPA of 3.97,” Smith said. “I have worked so hard during my time at UA Little Rock and am excited to see where it takes me! I cannot wait to start my life as an engineer and UA Little Rock graduate!”
After graduating as valedictorian of Arkansas High School, the Texarkana, Arkansas native sought a friendly campus where she could grow and learn.
“I realized that the personal aspect that UA Little Rock brings is what I am looking for,” she said. “People are friendly and treat each other like family. While searching for colleges, I knew UA Little Rock was perfect for me after being accepted into the Donaghey Scholars program.”
Smith chose to major in mechanical engineering, citing a love of mathematics and roller coasters as her inspiration for her future career.
“I have always been strong in math and loved the way that engineering could give me so many opportunities after graduation,” she said. “I also traveled a lot, and I loved roller coasters, learning about how they moved, and anything related to them.”
Throughout her time at UA Little Rock, Smith has gained invaluable experience through her internships. During summer 2022, Smith completed an international internship at Starmans Electronics in Prague, Czech Republic, where she created rods that test materials for cracks using ultrasonic vibrations.
“I love to travel, and this was an opportunity to explore a new part of the world and gain engineering knowledge at the same time,” she said. “It was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life.”
Smith met her future husband within weeks of their freshman year at UA Little Rock as members of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry.
“We were both on the freshman leadership team, and we’ve been together all four years at UA Little Rock,” she said.
The Baptist Collegiate Ministry would play an integral role in Smith’s time at UA Little Rock, providing an avenue for growth, fellowship, and leadership as she served as chair of student recruitment, vice president, and president of the campus ministry.
“This organization means so much to me and has given me so many sweet memories that I will always hold on to,” she said.