Archives for December 2016

Golden Suns Advance to No. 15 in WBCA Poll

Arkansas Tech University will enter the holiday break ranked 15th in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association NCAA Division II top 25 poll.

The WBCA released its final pre-holiday national rankings on Wednesday, Dec. 21.

The Golden Suns (7-1 overall, 3-1 Great American Conference), winners of six consecutive games, moved up two spots in the poll compared to the previous week.

Arkansas Tech will return to women’s basketball action when it hosts Southeastern Oklahoma State University for a 5:30 p.m. GAC contest at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Thursday, Jan. 5.

Tickets ($5 adults / $3 students and senior citizens) will be available at the door. Those with a valid Arkansas Tech identification card will be admitted free of charge.

View the complete WBCA NCAA Division II top 25 poll.

Arkansas Tech Named Finalist for NCAA Award

Arkansas Tech University has been selected to represent the Great American Conference as a finalist for the 2017 NCAA Division II Award of Excellence.

According to a news release from the NCAA, the award recognizes “events that exemplify any of the six Division II attributes: learning, balance, resourcefulness, sportsmanship, passion and service.”

Among the approximately 300 institutions that hold membership in NCAA Division II, only 25 were selected as finalists for the award.

Arkansas Tech earned the recognition based upon its “Paint the Town Green and Gold” campaign, a cooperative effort with the ATU Connection Committee of the Russellville Area Chamber of Commerce to rally support for the university and its athletic teams at the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year.

This marks the fourth consecutive year that Arkansas Tech has been selected as the finalist from the Great American Conference for the NCAA Division II Award of Excellence.

The national winner will receive a cash prize of $1,500 and a nationally-televised football or basketball game during the 2017-18 season. The first runner-up will receive a $1,250 cash prize and the second-runner-up will receive $1,000. Each finalist institution receives $500.

All financial awards from the program are earmarked for use toward future community engagement initiatives.

The two runner-up recipients and the overall winner will be announced during the 2017 NCAA Convention on Jan. 21 in Nashville, Tenn.

BPS Graduate Creates Program for AT&T

The opportunity to save one of the world’s largest corporations more than $111 million is not the average outcome of a class project.

But Jacob Garrett is not the average student, and the Arkansas Tech University Bachelor of Professional Studies degree is not the average online program.

Motivated by a goal to complete his college degree before his son graduated from high school, Garrett applied the credits he had earned at Tech earlier in life and went on to complete the online BPS degree from Arkansas Tech in two years as a member of the Class of 2016.

His was among 700 degrees awarded by Tech to graduates during fall commencement ceremonies at John E. Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Friday, Dec. 16, and Saturday, Dec. 17.

On his path to graduation, Garrett used his capstone class to create a program entitled “You Achieve” for his employer, AT&T. The nine-figure savings (so far) have resulted from increased efficiencies in employees gaining access to online portals for coaching, documentation, gaining rewards, referring customers and professional development.

“I look for innovations that will allow us to use technology to change a process or procedure to make work-life balance better for our employees,” said Garrett, who works out of Conway as a member of AT&T’s national team in his role as senior technical processing quality manager. “I always start at the front line, and they really like that this project didn’t start high up in leadership and trickle down to them. These were ideas that started with employees.”

More than 116,000 AT&T employees have utilized the You Achieve system since it went live. The associated website has received more than 90 million hits.

Garrett points to his academic advisor, Miranda Senn, and his instructors, including Annette Stuckey, as key factors in allowing him to successfully complete the BPS program.

“I really thank Ms. Stuckey a lot for helping me with my capstone project,” said Garrett. “I knew how to run projects, but she really gave me a structure on how to run it. I had the experience, but I never had that structure. As big as this program was, being able to break it down into those steps is what made it successful.

“The biggest a-ha moment I had was the teamwork aspect,” continued Garrett. “What I found is that when everyone is involved and has skin in the game, it’s no longer my project. It’s everybody’s project. When I first went back to school, I thought I just wanted to get that piece of paper. But as I took ethics in business and psychology classes, I learned more about how to relate to people and the charisma part of gaining buy-in.”

With his degree in hand and a brighter future in front of him, Garrett has a simple message for individuals who are in the position now that he was in two years ago.

“I challenge you to enroll in one class,” said Garrett. “That is the hardest part in going back to school. Once you register, then you are in and you want to try two classes. Never give up. Register for one class. This online program is a life changer.”

Learn more about the Arkansas Tech Bachelor of Professional Studies degree.

Wonder Boys Cage Lions 103-92

Career nights from Alex Brown and Grant Prusator propelled Arkansas Tech University to a 103-92 non-conference men’s basketball win over Missouri Southern State University at the Leggett and Platt Athletic Center in Joplin, Mo., on Monday night.

Brown scored 32 points and Prusator notched 23 points as the Wonder Boys (5-2) won at Missouri Southern for the third time in 20 all-time road games against the Lions (8-3), who suffered their first home loss of 2016-17.

Arkansas Tech was 14-of-30 from 3-point range, including a combined 11-of-17 by the duo of Brown and Prusator.

“We knew we would have opportunities,” said Wonder Boys head coach Chad Kline. “We’ve had them the last couple of games and just haven’t knocked them down. They were really pressuring the basketball, but we knew if our point guards could drive and get downhill, they could kick it back out and we could play horse. I’m proud of the guys. Missouri Southern is good.”

There were six ties and nine lead changes in the first half, the last of which came on a buzzer-beating Trevin Woods 3-pointer that sent Arkansas Tech to halftime with a 48-46 lead.

Missouri Southern briefly claimed a two-point edge early in the second half, but Prusator responded with a 3-pointer to put the Wonder Boys back in front for good at 62-61 with 15:28 remaining.

Arkansas Tech pulled away with a 7-0 spurt over a span of less than 90 seconds late in the second half. A layup by Bennie Lufile, a 3-pointer by Prusator and two free throws from Justin Graham gave the Wonder Boys a 91-80 advantage with 4:18 to go.

Arkansas Tech remained steadfast in the face of full-court pressure from the Lions down the stretch and made 9-of-12 free throws over the final two minutes to earn its first road win of the season.

Freddy Lee had a season-high 14 points for the Wonder Boys. Graham finished with 11 points and a season-high 10 assists. Lufile had nine points and led all players with 13 rebounds.

CJ Carr had a team-high 21 points for Missouri Southern.

The Wonder Boys will return to action on Saturday, Dec. 31, when they host Missouri S&T for a 1 p.m. non-conference game at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville.

Love of Tech Brings McCrary Back for Degree

Lindsey Ahrens McCrary’s educational goals ultimately led her to pharmacy school at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, but she always remembered that Russellville and Arkansas Tech University were where her story began.

So on Saturday, Dec. 17, she was back at John E. Tucker Coliseum in Russellville to participate in fall commencement ceremonies and receive her Bachelor of Science degree from Tech on the same day she became a Doctor of Pharmacy through UAMS.

Hers was among approximately 700 degrees conferred by Arkansas Tech upon graduates at the conclusion of the fall 2016 semester.

“I met my husband (Michael) right outside of the Ross Pendergraft Library, I was crowned Miss Arkansas Tech on the Witherspoon Auditorium stage and I learned what I was truly made of in McEver Hall,” said McCrary. “As I set foot on the ATU campus, I can’t help but feel such nostalgia and to feel right where I belong. To come back and walk across that stage to receive my diploma is to see a beautiful adventure come full circle.”

McCrary completed three years in the pre-professional pharmacy track at Tech before moving on to UAMS. As her graduation from pharmacy school drew near, she worked with faculty members in the Arkansas Tech College of Natural and Health Sciences to take the steps necessary to complete a degree audit and become a Tech graduate.

“From the life-long friendships that were formed to the education that I received, I can’t describe my experience (at Tech) as anything less than amazing,” said McCrary. “I was given multiple opportunities to be involved on campus, each of which helped shape and mold me into the person I am today. My experience at ATU is unforgettable and one that I will always hold dear to my heart.”

She points to the mentorship she received from Arkansas Tech faculty as one of the main factors in her success at pharmacy school.

“The professors (at Tech) are 100 percent dedicated to their students’ education,” said McCrary. “It’s because of several of them that I am where I am today. I was pushed and challenged to learn more than I ever thought possible. From working as a teaching assistant to doing undergraduate research, or even being involved in a pre-professional club, the opportunities that are offered through (the Arkansas Tech College of Natural and Health Sciences) are endless in helping prepare you for professional school.”

McCrary was so prepared that she was able to balance multiple life changes alongside her successful completion of pharmacy school. In addition to marrying Michael and moving to Malvern, she also became a mother when they welcomed Owen to the family in August 2014.

“Owen has brought so much joy to our lives, and he, along with his dad, have been my driving forces to cross the finish line,” said McCrary. “I also can’t say enough how much I appreciate my parents, Dwane and Anita Ahrens. They have always offered me unfailing love and support. The balance of life with pharmacy school wasn’t always easy, but it most certainly was worth it.”

With her Arkansas Tech University and UAMS degrees in hand, McCrary is prepared to pay forward the opportunities she has received.

“My biggest goal is to impact the lives of others through my career,” said McCrary. “I want to give back to the community what has been sewn into me. Pharmacists have a unique opportunity to help others as one of the most accessible health care professionals. All it takes is one moment of sincerity and kindness to change the course of someone’s day.”