Edgell Shares Love of Public Service in Peru

Dylan Edgell is taking the passion for leadership and economic development that he first developed during his time as an Arkansas Tech University student and applying it to benefit people more than 3,500 miles from home.

Edgell, a 2016 graduate of ATU with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, is spending his summer working in Ollantatytambo, Peru, for his international public service project as a student in the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.

His efforts with non-profit organization Awamaki have centered on helping local artisans set up their own businesses, connect to global markets, sell their wares and develop a sustainable business model.

“My experience here has been amazing,” said Edgell, a graduate of Pottsville High School. “Pushing myself outside my comfort zone and working in a foreign country has been difficult, but I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I’d like to pursue as a career while I’ve been here. I’ve been able to work with some amazing people at Awamaki and with the women in the communities Awamaki works with. Experiencing a different culture, working to improve my Spanish skills and being able to apply my academic knowledge from Arkansas Tech and the Clinton School to contribute to the work of Awamaki has been fulfilling. The Sacred Valley of Peru is beautiful, and I even got to cross an item off my bucket list and visit Machu Picchu.”

Edgell was the third generation of his family to attend Arkansas Tech. Scholarship opportunities and proximity to home helped convince him that ATU was his university of choice. Now, he looks back on his time as president of registered student organization Enactus as one of the most important aspects of his undergraduate experience.

“Being able to impact the community, lead, get that experience, fail and learn from that was a big highlight,” said Edgell. “I was given so many opportunities (at ATU) in terms of access to professors and other leaders around campus. It shaped my trajectory. I came to Tech initially to be a doctor, but that didn’t work out. I switched to business because I thought I wanted to be an entrepreneur. Enactus was just a club that I thought I’d join, but I really ended up liking public service. After working in a corporate setting for a year, I decided that was not what I liked so I changed paths and went back to public service.”

That led him to the Clinton School of Public Service, where he is on pace to graduate with his master’s degree in May 2019. He credits his undergraduate experience at ATU as preparing him for the rigors of post-graduate study.

“All of the extracurricular activities I did at Tech…Student Government Association, Enactus…really prepared me for the real-life challenges that I would face in my career and graduate school,” said Edgell. “Econometrics and several other classes in the ATU College of Business gave me the quantitative and qualitative skills I need in graduate school.”

Edgell’s goal after completing his master’s degree is to work in economic development, and when he achieves that goal, he’ll look back on his summer 2018 in Peru as a turning point.

“It’s been a life-changing experience,” said Edgell. “I’m excited to take what I’ve learned here in Peru back to Arkansas and see how I can apply this knowledge and contribute to my own community.”

Donnell Makes History, Gains Statewide Honor

Joe Donnell, a member of the Arkansas Tech University Class of 2018, has been recognized by Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Commissioner Johnny Key of the Arkansas Department of Education for his academic performance in the realm of computer science education.

Donnell was among five individuals honored as the first graduates of computer science education post-secondary programs of study approved by the Arkansas Department of Education. The recognition took place at the 2018 Computer Science Educators Conference in Arkadelphia.

A native of Danville, Donnell completed his Bachelor of Science degree in computer science education from ATU in May.

Joining him as the first computer science education degree holders in Arkansas were Candace Speers from Henderson State University as well as Chris Malone and Nate Vogel from the University of Arkansas. Drake Maltos, who is scheduled to graduate in December from the University of Arkansas, was also lauded for his achievement.

Learn more about the study of computer science education at ATU.

ATU Alumni Lauded for Excellence in Nursing

Two Arkansas Tech University alumni are among the Arkansas Center for Nursing’s 2018 40 Nurse Leaders Under 40.

Rachel Farris, a 2013 graduate of ATU, and Taylor Loggins, a 2016 ATU graduate, were selected for their commitment to excellence in nursing, service and outreach, leadership qualities and contributions to the nursing profession.

Farris (photographed, left) is employed by Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home, while Loggins (photographed, right) works at Helena Regional Medical Center. Both hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from ATU.

According to the Arkansas Center for Nursing’s mission statement, the organization is dedicated to promoting “a culture of health for the citizens of Arkansas by advancing nursing education, practice, leadership and workforce development.”

Learn more about the ATU Department of Nursing.

ATU Alumnus Gains New U.S. Army Command

Arkansas Tech University alumnus Major Gen. Gary W. Johnston is the new commander for the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM).

Johnston was installed during a change of command ceremony at the Fort Belvoir Community Center (Va.) on Monday, June 11. In his new role, he will have oversight of 17,500 soldiers, Army civilians and contractors working on behalf of the United States at 180 locations in 45 countries.

“INSCOM is very fortunate to have such a promising leader in the able hands of my close friend Major Gen. Gary Johnston, an extraordinarily capable, incredibly talented and committed leader,” said Lt. Gen. Scott D. Berrier, U.S. Army deputy chief of staff, G-2, during the change of command ceremony. “There is no better successor to command INSCOM than Gary Johnston.”

A 1983 graduate of Russellville High School, Johnston went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from Arkansas Tech in 1987. He completed the U.S. Army ROTC program at ATU and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army.

In the 31 years since, Johnston has served as the Senior Intelligence Officer (J-2), Joint Intelligence Center, U.S. Central Command, McDill Air Force Base (Fla.); Deputy Commanding General for U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command at Fort Belvoir (Va.); Senior Intelligence Officer (G-2), XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg (N.C.); and Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence in Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan. He has been deployed in support of operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Joint Endeavor, Enduring Freedom and Freedom’s Sentinel.

Johnston received a Master of Science of Strategic Intelligence Degree from the Joint Military Intelligence College and a master’s degree from the U.S. Army War College.

According to a news release from INSCOM, the organization that Johnston will lead “executes mission command of operational intelligence and security forces, conducts and synchronizes worldwide multi-discipline and all-source intelligence and security operations, delivers linguist support and intelligence-related advanced skills training, acquisition support, logistics, communications and other specialized capabilities in support of Army, Joint and Coalition commands and the U.S. Intelligence Community.”

Johnston is one of seven Arkansas Tech ROTC program graduates to earn the rank of General officer in the U.S. Army. The others are Major General Ronald S. Chastain, Major General Harley C. Davis, Brigadier General Gracus K. Dunn, Major General William E. Harmon, Brigadier General Larry Newman and Major General William Wofford.

Other honored ROTC graduates of Tech include Congressman Steve A. Womack and two Department of Defense civilian General-officer-equivalent: Senior Executive Service Dalton R. Jones and Defense Intelligence Senior Level William H. Speer (Colonel, U.S. Army Retired).

ATU Alumna Honored by Yale University

Arkansas Tech University alumna Dr. Rose Nanyonga Clarke is one of five Yale University School of Nursing 2018 distinguished alumni award recipients.

Clarke and her fellow honorees were recognized for their contributions to the practice, teaching and research of nursing.

A 2002 graduate of ATU with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, Clarke went on to earn her Master of Science in Nursing degree from Baylor University and her Doctor of Philosophy degree in nursing from Yale University.

Today, she serves as vice chancellor for Clarke International University in Uganda. Clarke is also a senior faculty member at Clarke International. She teaches courses in health policy and planning as well as advanced strategic management.

Clarke is an advocate for children’s rights and providing leadership opportunities to health care providers. She serves on boards for Clarke Group, Narrow Road International Aid, The Nursing Now Campaign, Uganda Steering Committee, REMI East Africa and The Sinza Project.