Laura Ortega began her studies at NWACC with plans of eventually transferring and majoring in art. She had developed her artistic skills in high school, and this major seemed to be a good fit, that is, until she enrolled in Ms. Ellen Turner's biology course. Turner's passion for her subject was infectious, and her inspiring lectures led Laura to see science as a possible major. Because Laura found concepts like photosynthesis so fascinating, she decided to study science.
To help narrow things down, Laura Ortega's academic advisor, Paul Kirkpatrick, recommended Dr. Bates' class introducing students to academic disciplines within agricultural, food, and life science. Laura gives high praises to Dr. Bates after having been given the advice to take his class. She said, "Thanks to him I found crop science and horticulture." She went further to say that, "because of Dr. Bates, I was able to figure out what major best fit my interests, in addition to learning about how to get involved with the Undergraduate Research class." Finding this right formula was a valuable key to the development of Laura's future goals. Because of her experiences in Dr. Bates' class, Laura discovered her how she could maintain her interest in beauty and art as seen in the natural world, while also developing knowledge to help her contribute to the world of science.
Though Laura aspires to be a research scientist within a lab, using her findings to bolster and improve crops, she intends to maintain her connection to artistic expression as an eventual graduate student minoring in horticulture. That minor will permit volunteering for botanical societies as a way to give back to her community. Choosing this path is how Laura hopes to demonstrate the often overlooked interrelationship between art and science.
As a UA Chancellor's Transfer Scholarship recipient, and a recipient of the Delta Scholarship for majors in crop, soil, and environmental science in the U of A Dale Bumpers College, Laura is well on her way to becoming a standout student at UA, just as she was at NWACC. In fact, one day soon, Laura will be commuting, by way of Ozark Regional Transit, doing her homework on the bus, and planning for days when she can benefit the local and global community through her knowledge and perseverance.
If Laura could give one piece of advice to students who wish to follow in her footsteps, it would be to "stay on top of things, plan ahead, and build connections with people who have insights about how to achieve success, including acquiring scholarships." These are the things that made a difference for Laura, and she is confident that students who heed her advice will be able to say the same.
Posted June 29, 2015
When Shelly Wisecarver received news that she had been chosen as a Chancellor's Transfer Scholarship recipient at the University of Arkansas just two days before graduation, she felt the need to pinch herself. Though she had worked hard to write the essay, and even harder to get the grades that demonstrate excellence, she couldn't believe that her hard work had finally paid off. Two days later she walked across the stage, shook Dr. Evelyn Jorgenson's hand, and received a diploma noting completion of a degree she'd been working hard to achieve for the past two years.
Shelly is not your ordinary student. She is not a graduate from a high school in NW Arkansas, and it's been years since she received her high school diploma. Originally from Berlin, Wisconsin, Shelly's path to Northwest Arkansas and life as an undergraduate student was certainly not representative of what we would think of as an average journey.
After years of self-employment, Shelly and her husband, Roy, decided to relocate to Rogers, Arkansas. The relocation was a chance to begin anew, and that is when Shelly decided to pursue higher education. At first, she leaned on her business background and chose to buttress her practical experience with an academic education. That proved less satisfying than Shelly had hoped, and so she decided to change her major.
The process of changing her major was not easy. She had an idea of what she wanted to do—work with people and help them communicate their ideas for their business clearly--but she didn't know how to go about pursuing a degree that would simultaneously make that happen and make her happy.
To explore her options, Shelly found herself at the door of the Transfer Center at Northwest Arkansas Community College. Having someone who would work through various options was encouraging. After talking with Monica Moore, Coordinator of Transfer and Transition Services, Shelly decided on Communication as a possible major. But that was only the beginning. It wasn't until she visited with her J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences advisor at the UA that she realized Public Relations in the Lemke Department of Journalism was the right path for her.
Shelly is very excited about entering the next stage of her education. Remembering the encouragement of past instructors, like Lorraine Bach, English instructor at NWACC, and how other NWACC faculty members pushed her to do her very best, will carry Shelly through her days at UA. She knows that she will meet other helpful people along the way, but she credits those from her past for helping her learn, for believing in her, and for making her the best student she could possibly be.