Abbie Henley of Beebe began her Time Out for Tech 2019 experience with one arm around Jerry the Bulldog, Arkansas Tech University campus ambassador, and a bright smile for the camera phone pointed her direction.
"Jerry is awesome," said Henley. "I'm obsessed with dogs, so it's really cool. I came and toured the (ATU) campus last fall, and I just really liked it. I wanted to come back and get the full experience of the whole campus and all the students. I like the size of Tech. It feels like home to me."
Time Out for Tech provides high school seniors and their families with a chance to learn more about the academic programs, student housing options and campus life opportunities available on the Russellville campus.
The opening session at Tucker Coliseum was followed by academic break-out sessions, campus tours and lunch at the various dining options at Tech.
Henley hopes to study digital marketing at ATU and pursue a career in Music City.
"One day I hope to go to Nashville and work for a record label," said Henley. "Earning my degree here will be bittersweet because all of the hard work will finally pay off."
Jennifer Morataya of Russellville said that the value of an ATU degree and the reputation of the nursing program are two factors that drew her to the institution.
"I want to be a neonatal nurse," said Morataya. "There's something about nursing that I just love. I've heard that Arkansas Tech is very good, and it is close to home. I'll be very proud of myself when I earn my degree because of all the effort I've been putting into school."
Greyson Warhurst of Dover attended Time Out for Tech so he could learn more about ATU's cybersecurity degree programs.
"It's like a puzzle to me, and I think that's cool," said Warhurst when asked about the field of cybersecurity. "(ATU) is a great college. My family went here, and I want to do the same thing. This place is like home to me. You can't replace the feel of it. This is my school."
Braden Williams of Benton is less sure of his college choice, but he'll know the right one when he feels it.
"I was accepted here at Tech, so I decided I should give it a shot and see what it is all about," said Williams. "I want to explore the campus and see what opportunities I have. I am just weighing out my options right now. I want to major in marketing. This is a really nice campus. I'm looking forward to learning more about scholarships. I'm looking for a good atmosphere. I want to get a good feel for the campus and the energy of the people I meet. I'm looking for a positive vibe overall."
A family connection prompted Caitlin Alison of Springdale to apply to ATU.
"My cousin went here, and he liked it here," said Alison. "He said it was a good school with good programs. I'm trying to decide between majoring in criminology and nursing. Today I want to learn about those programs and the clubs. Earning my degree will mean a lot because I'll be the first one in my immediate family to go to college."
Arkansas Tech University is the third-largest institution of higher learning in the state with a fall 2018 headcount of 12,101 students, the largest enrollment in the 109-year history of the institution. ATU ranks No. 1 in the state and among the top 10.5 percent of colleges and universities in the nation on the CollegeNET Social Mobility Index, which measures how much students' economic position improves from the time they enter higher education through their early career.
Visit www.atu.edu/admissions to learn more about applying to become an ATU student.