When AnnMarie McCollum toured the University of Arkansas Fort Smith as a Mulberry High School student, she came to several realizations.
“I knew that here, I was more than just a number. I would be seen as me. I would be seen as a student with a dream and passion so fierce that people wouldn’t see my dreams as unrealistic,” McCollum said. “I would be able to get involved on campus and be able to reach and interact with a vast majority of our student population. I knew that the faculty, staff, and administration here at UAFS would do anything in their power to help me, or any other student, to succeed. I knew I would be given opportunity after opportunity to make a difference not just on our campus, but to the community and world as a whole.”
For McCollum, it was an easy decision – she would attend UAFS to study English in preparation to travel across the world teaching the language in other countries.
She earned the university’s Chancellor’s Leadership Council scholarship, a prestigious scholarship opportunity that enrolls recipients in a leadership course taught by Chancellor Paul B. Beran. The course opened her eyes to new viewpoints.
“Dr. Beran pushes his students to break free from the reigns and ideas previously presented to them, and he asks for us to take a journey to figure out our actual beliefs, not just what we've grown up knowing,” she said. “At first, I didn't think that anything would change for me, but when I began researching and listening to life around me, I realized the world is so much bigger than what I had ever dreamed. From there, I was able to form my own ideologies based off of what I had personally found to be true.”
That was just the beginning of her involvement opportunities, though. Since coming to campus in 2014, she has served in leadership roles with Delta Gamma, University Student Ambassadors and the Student Government Association. She has also been a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success and Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society and Campus Activities Board.
While she’s flourished at the university, she attributes a large portion of her success to the campus community.
“Undoubtedly, the people here at UAFS have molded my entire experience and made me fall in love with this institution time and time again,” she said. “All of the expectations I had coming to UAFS were surpassed. UAFS is a school that is centered around family. The connections between the varying roles of people at UAFS is unique. There is an understood level of compassion for one another here that I have never seen before. The servant attitude of every person I've known here is humbling and reaffirming that I choose the right university.”
“I do more at UAFS by being an active and involved leader on campus,” she continued. “I am in numerous organizations and am able to meet a plethora of our student body. This enables me to serve and lead in my organizations to better our campus and community.”
For more information about educational opportunities at UAFS, visit www.uafs.edu or call 479-788-7000.
About the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith
The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith is the premiere regional institution of Western Arkansas, connecting education with careers and serving as a driver of economic development and quality of place in the greater Fort Smith region. Through a small campus, dedicated professors, and the university’s unique bond with its community, students at UAFS are able to do more in the areas they are passionate about, both on- and off-campus, in a way that prepares them for post-graduate success. To find out how you can do more at UAFS, visit www.uafs.edu.