Scholarships, honors programs, overseas travel and campus life all combine to make the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith an attractive university destination for Crawford County residents.
Angel Shavalier is a good example. She’s from Van Buren and the daughter of Connie Cantrell. Shavalier had a partial scholarship to another university but Dr. Linus Yu, UAFS associate professor and assistant department head of mathematics, was a customer where she worked. He told her she should look at the possibilities for her at UAFS and to email Chancellor Paul Beran to inquire about the honors program.
His response prompted her to apply.
“This has really worked out well for me,” she said. “I’ve been able to establish good relationships with faculty here. It’s close to my mom. I have a full financial aid package, and I get to go to a lot of activities on campus.”
Shavalier is a chemistry major with a concentration in biochemistry.
“I want to go on to med school,” she said. “I’d like to be an obstetrician or work in the neonatal field. My courses here are what I need for med school. My professors have really helped me with good counseling and advice about courses.”
Shavalier said some of her friends from high school went off to larger schools but are transferring back to UAFS.
“They did real well and got good grades in high school, but they say they have trouble getting access to faculty members. It’s really different here. I mean, when I want to talk to a professor, I can do it without a lot of trouble. That makes a big difference.”
Judah Scott, who lives in Alma, is the son of Cheryl Scott of Alma and Clayton Scott of Fayetteville. He’s a biology major and also in the honors program and plans to go to medical school. Scott took his “Maymester” in Washington, D.C., this year. It enabled him to get three credit hours in a few weeks, provided a travel experience, and will lighten his academic load next semester.
“I was thinking of another school after high school graduation,” Scott said. “But Donna Scoggins, who was my science teacher, told me to look at UAFS. After I interviewed, I changed my mind. The honors program made the difference.”
Scott enjoys campus life because there are lots of organizations that interest him. He also sees classmates and friends throughout the campus, and he says faculty members are very approachable.
He’s in a fraternity and a couple of clubs and is a student worker, so college is a busy experience for him.
“If I could give people any advice, I’d tell them to not count out UAFS like I did at first,” Scott said. “Look into it. There’s a lot this school has to offer.”
Penny Pendleton of Fort Smith, dean of enrollment management, said she believes UAFS is an important option for Crawford County students.
In fall 2012, UAFS had 7,337 students enrolled, of which 1,694 came from Crawford County. This number represents 23.1 percent of the UAFS fall 2012 total enrollment. Of the overall enrollment from Crawford County, there has been more than a 40.3 percent increase since 2002, the year when UAFS became a four-year university.
The top five most popular majors among Crawford County students are the bachelor’s degree nursing program, early childhood education, business administration, psychology and criminal justice.
Pendleton noted that Crawford County students are active in various academic organizations on campus and regularly show up on the Dean's List and are award winners in the Undergraduate Research Symposium.
"Crawford County students do well on our campus," said Pendleton.
In addition to its bachelor’s degrees, the University offers a wide range of two- and one-year programs. In addition, UAFS provides non-credit lifelong learning courses and customized on-site training services to the region's business and industry. For more information, go to www.uafs.edu.