New Student Ambassadors Describe Their Experiences
Photos by Dianne Stout
Student ambassadors for the College of Education and Health Professions are, from left, Amanda Reed, Diana Perez, Lindsey Fairchild, Samantha Buckmaster and Ally Carlyle.
The College of Education and Health Professions announces the selection of five student ambassadors for the 2008-09 school year.
The ambassadors work one hour per week in the Boyer Center for Student Services, helping with prospective student inquiries and other tasks. They also attend recruiting events with Boyer Center advisors and assist at special events such as the college's annual Honors Convocation and Commencement.
"Student ambassadors serve as student representatives for the College of Education and Health Professions at recruiting and college fairs and other college functions and respond to inquiries from prospective students, sharing their experiences and knowledge about the college," explained Barbara Goodman, director of the Boyer Center. "Prospective students can obtain a student point of view on the University of Arkansas and the College of Education and Health Professions through contact with our student ambassadors. Our student ambassadors are a very talented and diverse group of students, and we are proud to have them represent our college."
Academic advisor Amy Koster manages the student ambassadors for the college. She can be reached at email@example.com.
The student ambassadors recently described their experiences in the college and at the university:
Samantha Buckmaster of Cabot, a senior childhood education major
Samantha graduated from Cabot High School in 2005. She plans to pursue a Master of Arts in Teaching degree following graduation next May. She started at the university as a business major but then decided to change to education.
"I decided to take a leap of faith and attempt what I had always truly wanted to do -- teach," Samantha said. "At first I was nervous because I felt as if I was behind compared to other students in my classes. However, all of my professors and advisors supported me and made me feel so comfortable in my new environment so that I knew I belonged. I now know that I am in the right place and on the path toward my goal of becoming a teacher!"
Samantha chose the University of Arkansas for several reasons.
"I am the youngest member in my family, and I have always looked up to my older siblings," she said. "Their positive experiences here at the U of A made me want to continue the family tradition. Being only three hours away from my house, it is just the right amount of distance from home. When I came to visit the campus, I automatically fell in love with the area, as I am a big lover of the outdoors. There is so much to do and become involved with that there is truly something for everyone here."
Being a student ambassador for the college allows Samantha to share all of the positive experiences she has had throughout her college career, Samantha said, and she's hopeful she can encourage others to give the university and the college a try.
"I want future students to have the same amazing experiences and opportunities that I have been so fortunate to have," she said. "I know that I will never forget the memories I have made here, and the knowledge and experience that I have gained will truly last a lifetime!"
Ally Carlyle of Nashville, a senior childhood education major
Ally is originally from Shreveport, La., but moved to Nashville, Ark., at an early age. She graduated from Nashville High School and attended four years at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, majoring in secondary history education.
"Just last summer, I transferred to the University of Arkansas to pursue a different major," Ally said. "This was a huge leap of faith and one of the best decisions I've made. Being a small part of this university will no doubt prepare me in big ways."
She described the move from Tech as a bit of a culture shock.
"The whole U of A atmosphere was intimidating to me, and I was extremely nervous," Ally said. "The first day of class rolled around and I can remember praying that I would find my right classes and get to them on time. After the first week, I knew the U of A was exactly where I was supposed to be."
Since that first week, Ally has become involved in several activities. By choosing to become a student ambassador, she hopes to reach out to prospective students as a way of giving back to the institution.
Ally plans to graduate in May and begin a Master of Arts in Teaching degree here.
"I have always dreamed of traveling the world after I graduate," she said. "I plan to teach in Department of Defense schools all over the world, hopefully in Germany first."
Lindsey Fairchild of Fort Collins, Colo., a senior kinesiology major
Lindsey's major includes a concentration in exercise science and pre-professional coursework. She has applied to several physical therapy schools.
"The University of Arkansas has been a wonderful place to do my undergraduate work, and I would not change a second of my experiences here," she said.
Lindsey lived in several places while growing up, and she graduated from high school in St. Louis.
"I decided early on that I wanted to do something different when I got out of high school so I decided to attend the U of A," she said. "I did not know anyone who was going to school here and decided it would be another new adventure and move for me to do on my own, without my parents."
She's known since she started college that she wants to be a physical therapist.
"However, physical therapy is not an undergraduate degree so there were many different paths and different colleges on campus that could have fit my goals," she said. "I fell in love with the College of Education and Health Professions, specifically the kinesiology department. The classes are interesting, the instructors are friendly, there is always someone available to help, and the coursework satisfied not only my path to pursue PT school but also my curiosity in other areas."
Lindsey said she feels well-prepared to start a new adventure after graduation next May.
"The U of A and the College of Education and Health Professions do an excellent job of making students feel comfortable and at home while at the same time challenging them," she said. "Everyone makes their own journey during college and I have truly enjoyed the journey the U of A has allowed for me."
Diana Perez of Fort Smith, a senior nursing major
Diana's family moved to Fort Smith from Los Angeles in 1995. She has long wanted to work in the medical field.
"At a very early age I learned that nothing in life ever comes easy," she said. "I learned that one has to work hard in order to achieve their dreams. I come from very humble beginnings; no one in my family has ever gone to college or attained a high school diploma.
"There is nothing I feel would be more rewarding than improving someone's quality of life," Diana continued. "That is the reason why I chose biology/nursing as my major because I want to either be a registered nurse or attend medical school one day. I know that in order to succeed I must be challenged and disciplined. I truly believe that here at the University of Arkansas I am being enlightened at the highest level."
Attending college has been a life-altering experience that allowed her to grow as a person and afforded her many opportunities to give back to her community, Diana said.
"I could have never imagined how amazing college life would be," she said. "I look back at my past few years here at the University of Arkansas and realize two things: that coming to the University of Arkansas has definitely been the highlight of my life thus far and that all the struggles and obstacles I had to face to get here were well worth my efforts. I feel so thankful for the support of my mentors and all of the awesome friendships I have made during my time at the University of Arkansas. It is for those reasons and countless others that I am proud to be a U of A Razorback!"
Amanda Reed of Little Rock, a senior kinesiology major
Amanda's concentration in kinesiology is biomechanics. Like Lindsey, she has applied to physical therapy schools.
"My undergraduate time here at the University of Arkansas has been one of the highlights of my life, and I'm honestly sad it is coming to an end," she said.
Amanda is from Little Rock and said she has been calling the Hogs from the time she could talk.
"I always knew I loved the Razorbacks but did not officially decide to attend the U of A until the end of my high school career," she said. "Coming to this campus from a graduating class of 84 was intimidating to say the least. I had never in my life walked with so many people just on my way to a morning class. However, my intimidation was soon forgotten as I realized what I had been missing out on during my small high school experiences. I immediately learned that the constant buzzing of this campus happened to be one of its greatest strengths."
It didn't take Amanda long to decide on her major.
"With my interest in physical therapy, I immediately fell in love with the College of Education and Health Professions," she said. "Not only did I love the curriculum, but also the people and environment. The class sizes are never too large so I don't just feel lost in a crowd. The professors are always available for help, and even the students are ready to talk or answer any questions. I had always known that college would be one of the greatest times of my life, but I could have never imagined the opportunities that have been presented to me."
The Boyer Center also uses a Facebook account to communicate both with currently enrolled students and prospective students. Advisors ask incoming freshmen to sign up at orientation, and they use Facebook to send messages to students about advising.