Tech Love Story: Chi Alpha, Fate and Roommates

When Laura Tidwell got a new roommate at the beginning of her junior year, she didn’t know the connection would lead to meeting her future husband.

Laura brought along her new roommate to a meeting of her campus ministry, Chi Alpha. There, her roommate found a boyfriend. When her roommate’s boyfriend visited the ladies at their residence hall room, he brought along his own roommate, Jason. Immediately, Laura liked him, but she didn’t think he was interested in her. Still, Jason continued to hang out, shoot pool, watch movies, and attend Bible studies as part of their foursome.

One night, ditched by their roommates, Jason walked Laura home from a Chi Alpha meeting. During their conversation, they finally admitted how much they liked each other and began dating soon after.

For their first date, they doubled with their roommates and drove around Russellville to look at Christmas lights. Because they were “broke college kids,” most of their dates were campus events, hiking at Mt. Nebo, and dinner in the cafeteria.

After Laura graduated and moved to Northwest Arkansas, she and Jason kept up a long-distance relationship until he graduated a year and a half later. After that, the two married.

Laura values the time she and Jason spent together during college, and says, “I found my forever love at Arkansas Tech.” They now live in Gravette where Laura works for Life Way Christian School and Jason works for Walmart Home office. They have an 8-year-old son, Jonas, and a labradoodle, Otis.

Each day throughout the week of Valentine’s Day, Arkansas Tech will share the story of one couple who found love at Arkansas Tech. Be sure to check back on to see a new story each day.

Tech Love Story: College (and Mom) Brought Them Back Together

As children, Hailey and Calvin Manion were next-door neighbors in Conway. They formed a friendship during backyard cookouts, swinging, and general neighborhood mischief. When Calvin’s family moved away, their families remained friends and kept in touch.

Years later, Hailey’s mom gave Calvin a job at a gym and began trying to convince her daughter to date him. Soon after, Calvin left his job and moved to Russellville to finish his agriculture degree. When Hailey moved to Russellville the next year to study agriculture as well, she had no idea her mom had invited Calvin to help her move her things into Nutt Hall.

Calvin took the request from Hailey’s mother to watch out for her daughter very seriously. The two became best friends by going to weekly lunches at Baz-Tech.

Because they were best friends, transitioning to dating was awkward. Their first date was dove hunting with friends followed by food at Taco Bell, which Hailey described as “less than romantic.” Calvin took Hailey to La Villa the next day and gave her a redo of their first date with just the two of them.

About Calvin, Hailey says, “Honestly, I knew he was the one when he helped me move my mini fridge up and down five flights of stairs in Nutt my freshman year.” The two were married last September and will always be grateful that Arkansas Tech brought them back together.

Each day throughout the week of Valentine’s Day, Arkansas Tech will share the story of one couple who found love at Arkansas Tech. Be sure to check back on to see a new story each day.

Tech Love Story: They Had No Reason To Speak

For weeks before they officially met, Ashley Calcatera had noticed a man she described as a “tall cowboy golfer” walking on campus. She told her mother many times how cute she thought the guy was. Luke and Ashley ran into each other often but had no reason to start a conversation.

According to Ashley, “After a few weeks of making eye contact and awkwardly smiling at each other, he made a move.”

Ashley was studying and eating breakfast on a picnic table near Wilson Hall when she heard footsteps and watched the cowboy golfer walk by. She went back to studying and didn’t think anything of it when she heard footsteps again. Luke had decided he wanted to meet Ashley, so when she looked up, he was there to introduce himself with a handshake.

Their busy schedules made it difficult for them to get together for a first date, but finally, they were able to meet in the middle of the day for Blizzards at Dairy Queen.

They were married in 2009 and have a two-year-old daughter, Josie, and another baby due in July. Luke works at Arkansas Tech as the Men’s golf coach, golf instructor, and Athletic Event Coordinator. Ashley is a Registered Dental Hygienist at Griffin Dental.

Each day throughout the week of Valentine’s Day, Arkansas Tech will share the story of one couple who found love at Arkansas Tech. Be sure to check back on to see a new story each day.

ATU Student Develops Scholarship Resource

Arkansas Tech University student Amanda Condon has created a free resource for her fellow students seeking scholarship opportunities to assist in financing their education.

Scholarship Hot Spot was founded in 2015. Condon said she is “on a mission to break the barriers for online learners.”

Condon lives in Texarkana and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in emergency management from Arkansas Tech through distance learning. She is on pace to graduate in May 2018.

Her future goals include earning a Master of Science degree in emergency management and homeland security from ATU with an eye toward a career with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Learn more about Scholarship Hot Spot.

Jazz Ensemble Performs Monday Night

The Arkansas Tech University Department of Music will present the ATU Jazz Ensemble for a 7:30 p.m. performance at Witherspoon Auditorium in Russellville on Monday, Feb. 13.

Admission will be free and open to the public.

Selections will include “Act Your Age” by Gordon Goodwin, “Coconut Champagne” by Denis Di Blasio, “Bossa Nova U.S.A. by Dave Brubeck, “Caravan” by Duke Ellington and Juan Tizol, “Blue Rondo a la Turk” by Dave Brubeck, “Samba del Gringo” by Gordon Goodwin and “Tiger of San Pedro” by John LaBarbera.

Dr. Sean Reed, assistant professor of music, serves as director for the ATU Jazz Ensemble.

Members of the ATU Jazz Ensemble are:

Jarod Apple
Cole Birmingham
Tina Christiansen
Jordan Davis
Jackie Seres
Ger Vang

Nathan Andrews
Trevor Gould
David Hall
Krystofer Hayche
Dalton Snow

Alex Evans
Jacob Hawkins
Holden Jones
Alex Smith

Michael Barker
Payton Crawford
Matthew French
Megan Garrett
Ian Neiswender
Jacob Skinner

Learn more about the ATU Department of Music.