Category Archives: Study Abroad

Think. Plan. Do.

Thea Winston, a senior accounting major from Forrest City, Arkansas, is a thinker and a planner. She gathers pertinent information, dwells on it, creates a plan and then executes it. Information gathering is what led her to the Sam M. Walton College of Business and has kept her on track ever since.

When Winston was in high school in eastern Arkansas, she began to critique her likes and dislikes to plan for her future. She hated blood and gore, so medicine was a definite no. She liked numbers and logic, which led her to work after school at certified public accountant Sharon Wilson’s office in Forrest City.

While there, Winston performed administrative duties – answered the phone, made copies, filed materials – and was able to tackle the occasional accounting task and observe her boss at work. She learned what an accountant does and saw first hand that the work suited her. She realized she could become a CPA.

Her task became: Find a college that fit.

Over two summers, Winston attended two week-long residential programs at Walton College – Technology Awareness Program and Business Leadership Academy – where she met faculty and staff, lived on campus, befriended other campers and applied for scholarships.

After that, her mind was made up. Walton College was her choice and accounting was her major.

Helping Out

Winston’s summer camp programs eased her transition into college. She had made friends at both programs and reconnected with them in her freshmen year. She also met Barbara Lofton, the director of Walton’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

“Dr. Lofton is always willing to help,” Winston said. “She always checked up on me. She gives you tough love and is always there.”

Thea Winston [photo credit: Ryan C. Versey]
Thea Winston
[photo credit: Ryan C. Versey]
Winston’s Honors adviser for the past four years is Jason Adams, the associate director of Walton’s Honors Program, who was always there for Winston as well. She cites Susan Anders, the assistant director of Global Engagement, as another Walton staff member who was equally friendly and supportive.

“She always made time to answer my questions,” Winston said.

With the support of these Walton College staff, it is no surprise that Winston was an active participant in the Honors Program and Study Abroad and scholarship opportunities.

During her high school summer camp programs, Winston applied for and became a Boyer Fellow. The fellowship is earmarked for business students from Arkansas who have earned a 32 ACT or 1450 SAT college admission exams, along with a 3.75 grade point average and pays for her tuition, fees, books, room and board and other academic expenses.

Winston has also received the Arkansas Academic Challenge and Arkansas Governor’s Distinguished Scholarships, as well as scholarships from Tyson and Conoco Phillips. Talking to Walton faculty and staff helped her find scholarships.

“They’ve helped out so much,” Winston said. “I see a lot of students struggle and I know that worrying impacts their studies. It (scholarships) allowed me to focus on what I was doing academically.”

The scholarships also had an impact on her parents who have two kids in college. Winston’s brother, Avery, is an engineering student at the University of Arkansas.

Walton World View

In addition to studying accounting and general business, Winston expanded her working business knowledge through an internship for two summers at Ernst & Young in Atlanta. She also participated in Walton’s study abroad program to learn about Vietnamese culture and business practices.

Thea Winston
During a service project in Vietnam, Winston works with team members to power and heat resident housing.

In 2015, the summer before sophomore year, Winston traveled to Vietnam for a month with five other Walton students. For two weeks, she worked on a community development project building individual greenhouse systems to power and heat resident housing. Working with other business and agriculture students from the University of Arkansas, Thea learned from Vietnamese students who served as mentors and translators.

The travelers stayed on a Vietnamese university campus for two weeks. They slept on mats lying directly on a twin-size bed frame – Winston bought a second mat to create a softer bed. The food also was a change for the Arkansas native. Breakfast was often meat with rice, along with coffee with sweetened condensed milk ladled on top. One of her favorite meals was a beef dish with a sauce. She avoided the fish dishes if the eyes and head were intact.

Thea Winston
Thea Winston

“The first year we went, none of us had much of an idea of what we would be doing or how successful the program would ultimately be,” said Stephen Kopp, associate professor for the Department of Marketing. “Whether she realizes it, Thea was instrumental in the initial and continuing impact of this program. This was a brand-new program, and I was still working on the details. Her consistent question was, ‘My mom wants to know how is this relevant to my major?’ This compelled me, and still does, to make sure that the students understand the relevance of our work in Vietnam. I think she did not and does not realize the impact of her mom’s question has had on every aspect of the Vietnam program.”

In spring 2017, Winston attended the University of Sussex in South England in the University of Arkansas’ exchange program. She took four classes there – international business, ethics, race and ethnicity, and leadership – with students from Russia, Switzerland, the Middle East and England. The experience taught her about multi-national enterprises, racial issues in other countries and group dynamics with diverse members.

During her time in England, she learned many people there knew American politics, but most Americans were not in tune with world politics. She now sees the importance of being aware of global issues including political ones. She keeps up with her fellow students from her travels via social media.

Stateside

At the University of Arkansas, several classes and professors were especially thought provoking for Thea. Katie Terrell, an instructor for the Department of Accounting, taught Accounting Technology, where Winston learned about data analysis and the coding needed for accounting systems. It gave her insight into a different aspect of her major.

Thea Winston [photo credit: Ryan C. Versey]
Thea Winston [photo credit: Ryan C. Versey]
“She (Katie Terrell) enjoyed her job; it made me enjoy her class,” Winston said.

The Honors Economics Colloquium class taught by Amy Farmer, a professor in the Department of Economics, tackled life decisions, which involved economic thinking and decision making.

“Thea took my Honors colloquium course, which is a discussion-based economics class requiring a lot of critical thinking about any number of issues, some of which are controversial,” Farmer said. “Thea was an active participant in that class, adding a lot of insight and perspectives that added to the class.  She showed a great deal of maturity and ability to think critically, which impressed me quite a bit. I look forward to seeing what happens in Thea’s future.”

Next Steps

After Winston graduates in May with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, she will attend Vanderbilt University to earn a master’s degree in accounting. Once she graduates from Vanderbilt, she hopes to work at a public accounting firm in consulting, auditing or tax accounting for several years and then reevaluate her professional goals and direction.

No doubt, her skills at researching an issue, creating a plan and executing the plan will aid her on her journey to Nashville and beyond.

Walton Study Abroad Instagram Photo Contest Results

The third annual Walton Study Abroad Instagram Photo Contest has announced its winners for this year! Early this semester, Walton students who studied abroad in 2017 were encouraged to enter their pictures to the categories of Local People, Culture, Hogs Abroad, Places, and Historic of the photo contest to be featured on Instagram.

The many submissions were voted on by Instagram followers and the most-liked photos were passsed on to a faculty round of judging. Thank you from the Global Engagement Office to all who submitted photos and participated in this year’s contest! Congratulations to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners!

To view all the submissions to the contest, check out the Walton Study Abroad Instagram (@walton_studyabroad) and maybe they will encourage you to study abroad in the near future!

Study Abroad in Brazil in Summer 2018

Adriana Rossiter Hofer, associate professor in the Department of Supply Chain Management at the Sam M. Walton College of Business and director of the Walton College Global Engagement Office, will lead a three-week program during the summer of 2018 to Brazil where University of Arkansas students can learn about the country’s socio-economic, business and cultural environments.

From May 14 to June 4, the students will have the opportunity to spend time in Rio de Janeiro and Recife.

“Brazil is one of the largest economies in the world, and many of the companies who hire our students have a strong presence there, which means that they value the knowledge about that market,” Rossiter Hofer said. “Also, I am Brazilian so of course I absolutely love showing off my country and my people. I love sharing with students what it means to grow up and work in Brazil, showing my favorite sites, and introducing them to my favorite dishes. It is such a joy to see how my students fall in love with the country and many of them end up going back.”

Rio de Janeiro is in the most developed part of the country, and Recife is in the region with the fastest growing economy. Students will study the historical, cultural and economic differences between the two regions during field trips to businesses as well as to historical and cultural locations such as Christ the Redeemer, Porto de Galinhas Beach and Sugarloaf Mountain.

The program is open to all U of A students. Students can learn more information at hogsabroad.uark.edu

For more information, contact Walton Undergraduate Programs at 479-575-4622.

Study Abroad Experience Inspires Campaign Gift From Roberts Family

University of Arkansas alumni John and Tamara Roberts, along with their children — alumnus Connor Roberts and current student Blakely Roberts — have made a family gift through Campaign Arkansas to help support study abroad opportunities at the university. Continue reading Study Abroad Experience Inspires Campaign Gift From Roberts Family

Walton International Photo Contest Winners

Global Engagement photo winners
Global Engagement winners of the 2016 Instagram International Photo Contest.

The Global Engagement Office in the Sam M. Walton College of Business announces the winners of the first annual Instagram International Photo Contest. Students who studied or interned abroad in the past year submitted photos in five different categories:  #Cultures #LocalPeople #Places #Historic and #HogsAbroad.

The pictures were posted on the Walton Study Abroad Instagram page (@Walton_StudyAbroad) for students to vote on their favorite ones. The pictures with the most likes in each category were then judged by a panel of faculty members. The panel had the final vote on the photos in each category to determine the winners.

If you would like to see the winning photos in all five categories (1st – 3rd place and a few honorable mentions) the pictures are up on the wall outside of WCOB 343 or visit walton.uark.edu/global/contest.php.

Congratulations to our winners!

  • #Cultures: Wheeler Richardson, India, senior, marketing major
  • #LocalPeople: Emily English, Mozambique, junior, marketing major
  • #Places: Richard Wedding, Italy, sophomore, supply chain management major
  • #Historic: Meaghan Pulliam, Denmark, senior, marketing major
  • #HogsAbroad: Will Purdy, Vietnam, senior, management major