ATU Delegation to Attend Midwest Clinic

Fifty-two music students at Arkansas Tech University are investing a portion of their winter break in attending the Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Conference at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill.

As part of the trip, 16 ATU students will perform in chamber ensembles beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 21.

“This is a first time attending the Midwest Clinic for every one of these students, and I know they’ll have an amazing professional development experience,” said Dr. Daniel A. Belongia, associate professor of music and director of bands at ATU.

Arkansas Tech students scheduled to be part of the performance ensembles in Chicago are:

Flute Quartet

  • Sierra Klutts
  • Miranda Kraus
  • Meeka Smith
  • Ger Vang

Clarinet Quartet

  • Jessica Garrett
  • Shelby Horne
  • Anna Shelton
  • Piper Turner

Woodwind Quintet

  • Ger Vang, Flute
  • Hannah Cochran, Oboe
  • Kaela Thompson, Clarinet
  • Anna Bloodworth, Bassoon
  • Garrett Napier, Horn

Tuba/Euphonium Quartet

  • Michael Bays, Euphonium
  • Corey Nolan, Euphonium
  • Michael Barker, Tuba
  • Katie Rodriguez, Tuba

Learn more about the ATU Department of Music.

MARCOMM Earns 16 National Awards

University Marketing and Communication (MARCOMM) at Arkansas Tech University received 16 awards in the 2018 Education Digital Marketing Awards.

This year marked the sixth annual Education Digital Marketing Awards, which are sponsored by Higher Education Marketing Report.

Included in MARCOMM’s honors were nine gold awards. The staff received top honors for its performance in the following categories:

  • Electronic Advertising (ATU Airport Ad)
  • Microsite (Graduate College)
  • Online Display Ad (Undergraduate Advertisement)
  • Online Publication (Student Newsletter)
  • QR Code (More Than Stories)
  • Social Media (ATU Instagram)
  • Total Marketing Program (ATU Graduate College)
  • Website (
  • Website Refresh (

In addition, the MARCOMM staff won a silver award in the electronic advertising category for a billboard and two bronze awards, one in the electronic advertising category for a Graduate College advertisement and one in the online publication category for the online version of the Tech Action magazine.

ATU MARCOMM collected merit awards for digital video (More Than: Michael Post), microsite (ATU microsite), online publication (faculty newsletter) and total marketing program (ATU undergraduate).

Carrie Harris Phillips is interim director of MARCOMM. Additional staff members are Liz Chrisman, director of photography; Brandi Collins, licensing, branding and editorial manager; Michael Stoker, senior web developer; Ryan Taylor, video production manager; Liz Underwood, creative services manager; Felisha Weaver, director of publications and creative services; and Tera Simpson, front-end web developer.

Learn more about ATU MARCOMM.

ATU Graduates Reflect Upon Achievements

For some, the anticipation of commencement ceremonies at Arkansas Tech University on Saturday, Dec. 15, was overwhelming.

“The nerves…I couldn’t sleep last night,” said Jarred Thommen, who was the first graduate in line at Tucker Coliseum for the 10 a.m. ceremony. “I was up until 2 a.m. I only got a few hours sleep, but around 7 a.m. I figured I might as well get ready and get here. I had all these things in my mind…I was really excited.”

Thommen’s degree was one of approximately 1,170 academic credentials received by ATU graduates during ceremonies closing the fall 2018 semester.

He originally intended to be a nuclear physics major, but he switched along the way and received his Bachelor of Science degree in geology on Saturday morning.

“I’ve learned so much that it’s hard to even count all the different ways that Tech has affected me,” said Thommen, who was among approximately 250 ATU graduates wearing first generation graduate stoles atop their graduation robes on Saturday. “The curriculum is strong and the professors in geology are very thorough, helpful and generous with their time. If I ever had any questions, they would be right there to help me and guide me through it.”

Thommen pointed to geology faculty members Dr. Jason Patton, Dr. Michael Davis and Dr. Jacob Grosskopf as the most influential mentors during his studies at ATU.

Originally from Salisbury, Conn., Thommen said his first choice is to remain in Arkansas to begin his career, possibly with the state government or an environmental consulting agency.

“It’s surreal that it’s even come to this point,” said Thommen when asked about receiving his degree. “It’s been three long years. This is the fulfillment of a dream that I set out for myself. I wanted to become a scientist, and I did it. It means more to me than anything. It’s a testament to my perseverance through everything.”

Anna Holt also knows about perseverance. A family illness and a subsequent desire to remain close to home were among the reasons she chose Arkansas Tech. The support network she found on campus helped her persist to earn a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree.

“(ATU) grew on me,” said Holt, who resides in Conway. “I made a lot of friends here. It just fit. All of the professors have been there for me, even in hard times. I think that’s what kept me here, going to school and striving to finish. I wanted to finish what I started no matter how hard the struggle was.”

Holt described mechanical engineering faculty members Dr. John Krohn and Dr. Ehsan Hosseini as being “understanding and patient” in helping her achieve her academic goals. She has accepted a job as an engineer for Plastic Ingenuity Inc.

“It’s a big relief,” said Holt of commencement day. “It has been such a long road, and I think for me it’s more than just the degree. It’s a big milestone in my life, and it’s something that I was able to reach. It’s a confidence thing for me and proving to myself that I could do it.”

Margaret Whitfield hopes the Bachelor of Science degree in hospitality administration that she received from ATU on Saturday provides other non-traditional students with confidence.

“I’m setting the example that it’s never too late to go back and get an education,” said Whitfield. “I’ve made great friends, I’ve had great teachers and I’ve enjoyed the entire experience. Today means that I complete a goal that I set, and it sets me up for a better rest of my life.”

Whitfield began college in 2003. After shepherding her children to their teenage years, she enrolled at Arkansas Tech and met hospitality administration faculty member Susan West.

“She is awesome,” said Whitfield when asked about West. “She’s crazy and she’s great. We love her. It’s her personality and the way she teaches. It’s everything.”

Whitfield has a career goal of working in hotel management.

Karmen Stephens’ career path will begin as a supervisor in training for Tyson Foods at its Dardanelle facility. She earned that opportunity by completing the ATU Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture business with an emphasis in animal science.

“I made it,” said Stephens. “It’s been a long four years and a stressful four years, but I’m thankful for every obstacle and challenge that I was faced with because I was able to overcome them and get to graduation.”

Stephens, who is from Little Rock, was one of seven fall 2018 ATU graduates who completed the steps necessary to earn the Tradition Keeper designation from the ATU Alumni Association.

As a result, she, Angela Barraza, Bailey Harris, Jaelyn Herrera, Ty Reasnor, Hannah Simmons and Esther White wore special green cords during their commencement ceremonies.

Nate Robertson chose an even more personal accessory for his graduation regalia.

A product of Paris, Robertson received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree on Saturday morning while displaying a message atop his cap that shared the philosophy that propelled him to commencement day. It read: you only fail when you stop trying.

“The secret to getting through college is not being the smartest person,” said Robertson, “it’s seeing how many times you can get knocked down and keep going.”

Fall ’18 Tradition Keeper Graduates Named

Seven Arkansas Tech University graduates were recognized with the Tradition Keeper designation during fall 2018 commencement ceremonies at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville.

Angela Barraza, Bailey Harris, Jaelyn Herrera, Ty Reasnor, Hannah Simmons, Karmen Stephens and Esther White wore special green cords at commencement ceremonies and earned the distinction of Tradition Keeper on their official Arkansas Tech transcripts.

The Tradition Keeper program recognizes students who demonstrate extraordinary campus involvement while completing their degrees at Arkansas Tech.

Tradition Keeper activities include having a photo made with campus ambassador Jerry the Bulldog, attending athletics events, participating in a campus blood drive, attending a career fair and many others.

Documentation of each tradition upheld is made through the “Arkansas Tech Traditions” app, which is available for download at the App Store and Google Play.

Learn more about the Tradition Keeper program.

Photographed (from left-to-right): Esther White, Hannah Simmons, Bailey Harris, Ty Reasnor, Jaelyn Herrera and Angela Barraza. Not photographed is Karmen Stephens. 

Holiday Break Dining Schedule Announced

Chartwells, food service provider at Arkansas Tech University, has announced the on-campus dining schedule for the 2018-19 holiday break.

Chambers Cafeteria will be open from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15, and closed on Sunday, Dec. 16.

The cafeteria will be open for lunch only from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at a special promotional price of $5 per person from Monday, Dec. 17, through Friday, Dec. 21.

Chambers Cafeteria will close at 1 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 21, and will re-open for breakfast (7-9 a.m.), lunch (11 a.m.-1 p.m.) and dinner (4:30-6:30 p.m.) beginning on Monday, Jan. 7.

The regular meal plan schedule at Chambers Cafeteria will resume at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13.

Doc’s Place, Baswell Techionery and the coffee stand in Brown Hall are closed for the holiday break.

Baz-Tech will re-open at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13. Doc’s Place and the Brown Hall coffee stand will re-open on Monday, Jan. 14.

Learn more about dining services at ATU.