ITRI Hosts IT Day for Northeast Arkansas High School Students

The Information Technology Research Institute at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas, hosted its first IT Day for Students in Arkansas’s Delta region at Newport High School. More than 115 9th through 12th grade students from Newport, Bradford, Tuckerman and Cedar Ridge attended the event held March 3.

The day focused on opportunities in the field of information technology. Students participated in activities that highlighted job types, job descriptions, and salaries, as well as activities to build leadership skills. They also heard from currently information technology professionals about what it is like to work in the field. Included in the event was a Q&A session with a panel of information technology executives.

“It was inspirational to expose high school students in Northeast Arkansas about lucrative career options in the field of information technology,” said Eric Bradford, managing director of the Information Technology Research Institute. “I loved seeing their bright minds latch on to new ideas and begin to think about future opportunities for themselves.”

Entrepreneur Rick Boosey, founder of Kyya Chocolate, served as the keynote speaker and encouraged students to follow their passion by doing something they love. Boosey also shared the value of giving and how thinking differently or finding a niche can help you be successful.

Other professionals were on hand to explain the college admissions process, degree options, personal attitude and branding. Guest speakers included Rob Burgess, assistant to the dean and master instructor of computer networking technology at Arkansas State University Newport; Autumn Parker, associate director of undergraduate programs at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas; Adrain Smith, director of the strengths based initiative of the Multicultural Center at the University of Arkansas; Synetra Hughes, director of student programs, Center for Retailing Excellence, Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas.

The event was sponsored by The Joe and Helen Harris Educational Foundation and the Newport Economic Development Commission in partnership with ITRI board member companies.

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