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Carlton, Smith Named Top Seniors at Tech

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Janessa Carlton of Green Forest and Jake Smith of Hackett earned the top two honors available to students at Arkansas Tech University during the 2012 Student Leadership Banquet at the Chambers Cafeteria East Dining Room on Monday night.

Carlton received the Margaret Young Award, which goes to the most outstanding senior female student at Arkansas Tech each year.

Smith was presented with the Alfred J. Crabaugh Award, which is given annually to the most outstanding senior male student at Arkansas Tech.

Carlton has served as editor of the Arka Tech student newspaper, as president for the Society of Professional Journalists and as an officer for both Zeta Tau Alpha and the Collegiate Middle Level Association during her time as a student at Arkansas Tech.

“I absolutely cannot even put into words how appreciative and how humbled I am right now,” said Carlton. “The first thing I did was look at my Mom and tell her that I don’t deserve this award. I am honored in every way possible.”

A member of the Dean’s List in multiple semesters, Carlton also holds membership in the Public Relations Student Society of America. She worked as both a producer and news anchor at the Arkansas Tech student television station.

“I’ve changed so much as a leader over the past four years,” said Carlton. “I never expected my college experience to have this much of an impact on me as a person as I go into my career. When I look back on it, there’s no way I could have guessed I would be in this position.”

Daughter of Janita and Jack Carlton of Green Forest, Carlton will graduate from Arkansas Tech with a degree in journalism in May.

“With a degree in broadcast journalism and public relations, I am applying for careers in both right now,” said Carlton. “Wherever the road takes me and wherever God sends me, that’s the way I’ll be headed. I am hopeful and I am excited.”

Smith has held the positions of treasurer and secretary of finance and administration for the Arkansas Tech Student Government Association (SGA).

His service to SGA has also included working as founding chairman of Wonder Week, chairman of the SGA Student Affairs Committee, Gold Rush chairman, Homecoming Ceremony Committee chairman and Homecoming Parade Committee chairman.

“Ever since I heard of this award freshman year I have been striving for it,” said Smith. “I wanted to make a difference here at Tech, and to finally have it in my hands is enlightening. There are no words to describe the emotions in my head right now. I’m really excited.”

A member of the Dean’s List in multiple semesters, Smith was selected as the Tech Idol singing competition winner in fall 2010.

Smith held the office of Wilson Hall Government president and was vice president of the College Republicans. He has been active in the Arkansas Tech instrumental music program, the Volunteer Action Council, the Pre-Med Club, Baptist Collegiate Ministry, the Tech Loyalty Fund senior class gift committee and Tri-Beta.

“I came in my first year, and I didn’t know anyone,” said Smith. “Arkansas Tech provided opportunity after opportunity for me to get to know people. I was used to being involved in high school, and I was able to come here and get involved in everything at Tech. Arkansas Tech has made me a better leader and eventually a better doctor.” 

Son of Lisa and Brad Smith of Hackett, Smith is majoring in biology with a minor in mathematics and chemistry. He will graduate from Arkansas Tech in May and then begin studies at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

“The busy schedule I have had at Arkansas Tech has prepared me for the tight schedule I will have in medical school,” said Smith. “I’ve definitely been well prepared here at Arkansas Tech.”