Chloe McGehee, from Bryant, Arkansas, has graduated from UA Little Rock with bachelor’s degrees in mass communication and political science.
McGehee has known she wanted to be a journalist since middle school, where she was editor of the Bryant Junior High yearbook. When she transitioned into high school, she remained on the yearbook staff and became editor of the award-winning Bryant High School yearbook staff her senior year.
When it came time for her to choose a college, UA Little Rock was an easy decision. Her mother and maternal grandparents graduated from the university, making her a legacy student. She was also accepted into the Donaghey Scholars Honors Program, which was another incentive hinting that UA Little Rock was where she needed to be. As such, she attributes a lot of her success to Dr. Simon Hawkins and Dr. Jessica Scott, director and assistant director of the honors program.
“I knew I would need scholarships to attend college, and they made it possible for me to go to school debt-free, which was something I never thought would happen,” McGehee said. “I was able to give my all to school, and if not for Donaghey, I probably wouldn’t have been able to be so involved on campus.”
She was on the Donaghey Committee her senior year, which involves planning events for the program and interviewing potential new scholars.
“I just wanted to make an impact on the program the same way it did for me,” McGehee said.
The program requires its scholars to study abroad, so she had the opportunity to travel to Amsterdam from August to December as well.
“It was life changing,” McGehee said. “Everything that I wanted it to be, it was. It altered my view on politics and life, it made me more independent, and completely changed my outlook on life.”
She has done a lot in her time at UA Little Rock, but the accolade she’s most proud of is being executive editor of The Forum. She became editor her sophomore year, making her the youngest in the newspaper’s history, and was also named Newspaper Editor of the Year at the 2023 Arkansas College Media Association award competition.
“I’ve never known anybody as energetic as Chloe,” Sonny Rhodes, advisor of The Forum, said. “I’ve known some great editors in my 23 years of advising The Forum. I wouldn’t want to embarrass anybody by saying she’s the best, but she’s certainly one of the best. I’ve never known someone who can do so many things quite so well.”
McGehee met Rhodes when she joined the newspaper staff as a freshman, and thinks just as highly of him as he does of her.
“He’s been such a positive influence on my life and he’s probably my biggest supporter,” McGehee said. “I feel like I can go to him with anything and he’ll help me with it. He’s written countless letters of recommendation for me, and he’s really become a friend. I’m really thankful for him.”
McGehee serves as communications director for the Student Government Association, in which she has grown the Instagram account and made it a “one-stop shop” for things going on around campus.
McGeehee has also done Model Arab League since 2021, which is a multi-regional competition where high school and college students come together to cover topics and write resolutions to issues important to the Arab League. During that time, she and the rest of the team have traveled to Texas, Washington, D.C., and South Carolina. She has won awards at each of the five conferences she has attended.
“I say, if you like to argue diplomatically, the Model Arab League is where you should go,” McGehee said. “You really have to know how to argue in a polite way. I’ve won three national awards and awards at Houston and South Carolina. It really opened my eyes. It’s a different part of the world with an entirely different culture and lifestyle that I wouldn’t know anything about if not for the class.”
She has tutored students at the UA Little Rock writing center and completed several internships at Little Rock publications such as the Arkansas Business Publishing Group, the Venture Center, and the Daily Record, all of which have helped prepare her for a career in journalism.
“Little Rock is my city,” McGehee said. “In five years, I hope to have made a positive impact on Little Rock and have a really robust writing and photography portfolio. I just want to grow in my career, my portfolio, and my personal life to be the best person I can be.”