Dr. Justin Killingsworth spent most of Tuesday, April 26, doing what he does most days — helping students discover and pursue opportunities for academic success and personal growth at Arkansas Tech University.
Upon his return to Russellville from the Future Farmers of America state convention in Hot Springs, Killingsworth was presented with the 2021-22 Cupola Award during a ceremony hosted by the ATU Division of Student Affairs.
“It’s amazing to be recognized for service to Arkansas Tech,” said Killingsworth. “It’s been a big investment over 11 years. Personally, recognition and all that…I prefer to operate in the shadows. Recognition isn’t why we do this. We’re trying to take care of folks. Service to students being noticed by others is a big deal. I’m surprised by it, but I’m definitely proud and honored.”
According to the criteria for the award, it is presented on an annual basis to an Arkansas Tech employee who has “gone above and beyond to deliver the highest standard of service for students and deserves to be recognized for consistently striving to achieve excellence.”
Killingsworth is associate professor of agricultural education at Arkansas Tech. He has been a member of the ATU faculty since 2011.
“The return is the growth you witness,” said Killingsworth. “For 10 years, we’ve had graduates coming out of the program with ag education degrees. All of them are teachers or educators in some rite. When you know the investment in students is being turned over into investment in others, the ripple effect of service to others is really cool. That’s the payoff…knowing the work continues on beyond you.”
Killingsworth holds a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree from Texas A&M University. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree at the University of Missouri.
Students nominate faculty and staff for the Cupola Award, which is administered by the ATU Division of Student Affairs.
“At times, I wonder if Arkansas Tech University realizes what we’re capable of,” said Killingsworth. “There is so much opportunity here. I think we’re the perfect combination of large enough to have resources to make opportunities and learning experiences available for our students, but small enough that when you walk across campus you see people you know every day. It’s about building connections and communities.”