Archives for July 2010

Collins Named State’s Top Pageant Director

To attend the annual Miss Arkansas Tech University Scholarship Pageant and experience the performance by Dr. Jim Collins as master of ceremonies is to witness someone who enjoys and has great passion for what he is doing.

That passion was rewarded this month when Collins, professor of agriculture at Arkansas Tech, was named executive director of the year by the Miss Arkansas Pageant organization.

The Miss Tech Pageant is an official preliminary to the Miss Arkansas Pageant. It is one of 45 such preliminary pageants conducted around the state each year.

Collins was selected from among the leaders of those 45 pageants as the 2010 executive director of the year.

“It was on the Friday night of Miss Arkansas week,” said Collins of the night he received his award. “It was a total shock. I was seated around several people from Russellville and other friends, and when they announced my name they all yelled. I wasn’t half paying attention. I’m just glad I was wearing shoes. It was fun.”

Collins has served on the faculty at Arkansas Tech since 1983.

This was his 10th year as executive director of the Miss Tech Pageant. He became involved after Delta Zeta purchased the franchise.

“(The Miss Tech Pageant) was run by the Student Government Association for years,” said Collins. “That was a challenge because students come and go. Looking back at it now it must have been difficult because every year you’d have new people learning how to run it all over again.

“I take a lot of pride in it,” continued Collins. “I try to make it fun. The scholarship money is big. We’re right up there among the top preliminaries in the state in terms of scholarship money. We awarded $8,000 in scholarships at this year’s Miss Tech.”

And beyond everything else, those scholarships are what drive Collins to continually improve Miss Tech. It is a drive that dates back to a helping hand he received from a family member when he was an undergraduate student.

“One week before my sophomore year at Mississippi State, my mother died unexpectedly,” wrote Collins for the 2010 Miss Tech Pageant program. “My mother was a nurse and my father was retired — not a huge income family. My uncle, Lewis Cook, a family practitioner, sat me down one day after her funeral and told me not to worry about funding my education. He would take care of it. Wow. His only condition was, that if I ever had the opportunity, to help someone else pay for his/her college tuition.”

Colllins keeps his end of that bargain with his Uncle Lewis by selling advertisements and gaining sponsorships for the Miss Tech Pageant every year.

“I want it to keep growing, keep getting that scholarship money up,” said Collins. “Once you’re Miss Tech, you’re always Miss Tech. I’m always rooting for them to go on and do well. When girls realize the scholarship money they can earn in pageants without even winning, they want to get involved.”

Tech Cheerleader Works at NCA Camp

Arkansas Tech student Paul Webb is back in Russellville after spending his summer working as a cheerleading instructor.  Webb is an Arkansas Tech cheerleader, but each summer he works as an instructor at a cheer camp for the National Cheerleading Association.

“This is my fourth year to work for NCA.  I got the job after attending a camp,” explains Webb.  “At the end of the camp, they offered me a job application to audition for a position within the company after I graduated from high school.”

Webb says he’s worked with many of his co-workers for several years.  He explains, “The best part about NCA camps is that you get to meet and hang out with some really cool people.  My co-workers are really like my family.”

Throughout the summer, Webb helps teach cheerleading and tumbling skills to high school cheerleaders at five to seven camps each summer.  He adds, “We teach a variety of skills including stunts, cheers, chants, pyramids, dances, jumps and safety requirements for cheerleading.  The camp is really packed with lots of information and techniques to help the cheerleaders prepare for their year.”

Webb says before the camp begins, he receives a video of all the material instructors are expected to teach during the camps.  He is responsible for learning the material in the video and being ready to teach the material during the camps.

Webb says the camps help him stay prepared and in shape to cheer at Tech during the following year.

Warnick Recognized for Advising

Jason E. Warnick, assistant professor of psychology, at Arkansas Tech has been recognized with an Outstanding Advising Award in the faculty category from the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA).

The award is presented annually to individuals who “have demonstrated qualities associated with outstanding academic advising of students or outstanding academic advising administration.”

Warnick is being recognized in the faculty category, which honors those whose primary responsibility is teaching, and they spend a portion of their time providing academic advising to students.

Warnick is one of ten faculty members from across the country being honored with the award this year.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Warnick serves in various capacities around campus to help students transition to college.  Each summer he serves for six weeks as a full-time advisor, and he speaks at orientation sessions throughout the summer.

Warnick also teaches a Tech 1001 course, which is an orientation class for incoming freshmen, and he volunteers as a mentor in the university’s Bridge to Excellence program.

Warnick will be honored and presented with the award in Florida during the NACADA annual conference this fall.

Cuenco’s Work on Display in Washington

Edwin Cuenco, assistant professor in the Arkansas Tech Department of Art, opened an exhibit featuring his digital prints and photographs at the Republic of the Philippines Embassy in Washington, D.C., earlier this month.

The exhibit, which is entitled “Orkidyas,” is intended to show the beauty of Philippine orchids. The Philippine Women’s University Alumni Charities, Inc., and the Philippine Orchid Society are co-sponsors of the exhibit.

At the exhibit opening, Philippine Ambassador Willy C. Gaa (photographed, foreground right) thanked Cuenco “for using his art to inspire us all to appreciate the earth’s natural wonders and to remind us of our responsibility to its care.”

Cuenco (photographed, foreground left) is a 1988 graduate of Philippine Women’s University in Manila. He earned his master’s degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 1998.

A member of the Arkansas Tech faculty since 2008, Cuenco was named 2010 educator of the year by the Arkansas Advertising Federation.

Cuenco’s two-week exhibit at the Philippines Embassy’s Carlos P. Romulo Hall will end on Friday, June 30.

Photo courtesy of Republic of Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs.

Cheerleaders Prepping for Football Season


Members of the Arkansas Tech University cheering squad are at Tech today practicing for this coming fall.

The cheerleaders are practicing about four hours each day this week before heading to the Capital City this weekend to attend a cheerleading camp at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

The two-day camp is hosted by the National Cheerleaders Association, and during the camp, the cheerleaders will attend classes on several aspects of cheering including:

  • Crowd leading
  • Safety training
  • Skill classes

Following the camp, the cheerleaders will return to the Arkansas Tech for two additional weeks of practice before classes begin this fall.

Sarah Strickland, captain, says the cheerleaders are working to learn dances and cheers that will be performed during the Arkansas Tech University football games this fall.

See the list of 2010-11 Tech Cheerleaders.