Archives for July 2018

ATU Cheerleaders Garner Accolades

Arkansas Tech University earned five awards at the Universal Cheerleaders Association camp in Warrensburg, Mo., during the weekend of July 27-29.

The ATU cheer squad was named overall most collegiate and won first place in sideline cheer, fight song and overall game day. Tech captured second place in timeout cheer.

Tristan Cagle-Trundle of Bella Vista and Macy Webb of Greenwood are serving as ATU cheer captains in 2018-19.

Other members of the squad include Austin Ashley of Ashdown, Kaitlyn Baldwin of Bryant, Paden Cook of Lamar, Marlana Coupland of Pea Ridge, Emmit Dalton of Lamar (alternate), Kennedy Dooly of Fort Smith, Darby Dunn of Hot Springs, Celeste Fortune of Atlanta, Texas, Sydney Henjum of Bryant, Katelyn Jennen of Van Buren, Kaley Jones of Russellville, LaBrian Phillips of Little Rock, Megan Reece of Bryant, Caroline Weaver of White Hall and Jordan Wright of Pottsville.

Brenan Rigby of Rogersville, Mo., is serving as ATU cheer coach during the 2018-19 academic year. He is a graduate student at Arkansas Tech and former captain of the cheer squad at Missouri State University.

AABHE Selects Williams for Leadership Event

An otherwise non-descript spiral notebook sits on Dr. Alaric Williams’ desk in Crabaugh Hall at Arkansas Tech University.

Inside that notebook is the knowledge he gained from pursuing professional development at the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education (AABHE) Leadership and Mentoring Institute July 8-15 at Texas Southern University in Houston.

“This thing is full of notes that I have been referring to in the two weeks that I have been back,” said Williams, interim head of the ATU Department of College Personnel and associate professor of college student personnel. “How should I handle this situation? What would someone in a leadership role do about this? It’s my how-to notebook from an amazing experience.”

Williams was among 19 individuals from around the United States selected to participate in the 2018 AABHE Leadership and Mentoring Institute. He applied for and was the recipient of a scholarship to attend.

According to the AABHE, the institute is designed to “support African-Americans who want to acquire information and skills to prepare them for senior administrative and faculty ranks.”

Williams has worked in higher education since 2002, first as a staff member and for the past decade as a faculty member.

He is a three-time graduate of Texas A&M University-Commerce with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, a master’s degree in counseling and student affairs and a doctorate in higher education supervision, curriculum and instruction.

Williams joined the ATU faculty in 2015 and was a member of the inaugural Leadership Tech cohort.

He learned about the AABHE Leadership and Mentoring Institute through Dr. Keegan Nichols, vice president for student affairs at ATU, and Dr. Barbara J. Johnson, vice president for accreditation relations at The Higher Learning Commission.

Williams also credited Dr. Mary B. Gunter, chief of staff in the ATU Office of the President, along with Dr. Linda Bean, dean of the ATU College of Education, for supporting his attendance at the AABHE institute.

“Dr. Bean said I was glowing when I got back,” said Williams. “We had individuals from all over the nation come in and do sessions with us on topics such as strategic planning, administration and leadership, personality conflicts…basically how to lead and manage people. The session on financial management, strategic budgeting and resource alignment was one of my favorites.

“Probably the most eye-opening session was hearing the unfiltered experiences from individuals who have been in higher education for 30 or more years,” continued Williams. “These were former presidents, former vice presidents and former chief financial officers who told us how they went from being faculty or staff to taking on leadership positions. It was beneficial to hear the real side of their experiences.”

Williams said he is interested in giving back to the institute by returning as an alumni participant and speaker in future years. One early outcome of his attendance in 2018 is the beginning of preliminary research with colleagues from Texas Southern University and New Mexico State University that he met in Houston.

“By the second day, we gelled as one big group,” said Williams. “We’re still communicating with each other to see how everyone is doing, and some of us have begun conducting research together. Not only were we learning how to improve to become better leaders and managers…it was a way to network.”

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.”

ATU Still No. 1 for STEM Among Arkansans

Data released by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education indicates that Arkansas Tech University remains the statewide leader in attracting incoming students from Arkansas who wish to major in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The ADHE data shows that over the past five years (2013-17), 1,939 first-time entering students at Arkansas Tech who were graduates of Arkansas high schools chose to major in one of the STEM fields.

That figure represents 18.7 percent of all in-state STEM students at Arkansas colleges and universities since 2013, and it ranks Arkansas Tech ahead of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (2nd, 1,723 students), the University of Central Arkansas (3rd, 1,580 students), Arkansas State University (4th, 1,388 students), the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith (5th, 934 students) and Henderson State University (6th, 736 students) in attracting Arkansans to study in the STEM fields over the past five years.

The information was released as part of the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board regular quarterly meeting, which took place on Friday, July 27, in Fayetteville.

“For almost a decade now, Arkansas Tech University has consistently been the STEM institution of choice for Arkansas high school graduates,” said Dr. Robin E. Bowen, ATU president. “This distinction is a reflection of the quality of our programs and faculty, our steadfast commitment to our institutional heritage and our dedication to serving as a place of opportunity for the people of the Natural State. We are proud that more than 92 percent of our students come from Arkansas, and we are pleased that we were able to increase our scholarship budget by $1 million over the past year so that even more Arkansans can enjoy the benefits of an Arkansas Tech University education.”

ASBTDC Spotlight: Gifts on Parkway

When Sydney Halford learned that Gifts on Parkway in Russellville might be closing, she saw it as an opportunity to pursue her dream of owning a business.

The regional office of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center at Arkansas Tech University was there to not only help that dream become reality, but to ensure that Halford had the tools necessary to succeed.

She received ASBTDC assistance with business planning, financial projections, marketing and other topics to prepare her for business ownership.

“The most valuable assistance that I received from the ASBTDC was when Mr. (Nathan) George explained the steps I needed to take to ensure purchasing my business was successful,” said Halford. “He gave me a detailed checklist that helped me understand what I needed to do and when it needed to be done. The checklist also explained where to go to accomplish each task. Anyone interested in purchasing a business should make an appointment with the closest ASBTDC. The employees are so helpful and can guide you in the right direction. They know who to contact and the steps you need to take to successfully start a business.”

Gifts on Parkway offers gifts for every occasion ranging from timeless classics to on-trend items and will soon offer bridal and baby registries. Halford expressed appreciation to the community for the support they have shown during the transition.

Gifts on Parkway is located at 2149 E. Parkway Drive in Russellville. For more information, call (479) 890-6932 or visit the business’ Facebook page.