EPIC Spotlight: Maria Barrenechea

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Sam M. Walton College of Business senior and honors student Maria Barrenechea is pleased with her international background. She was born and raised in Bolivia; went to high school in the Patagonia, Argentina; took some courses in Buenos Aires; headed to the United States for college; and this past summer, she studied in Italy. “I think [my background] will give me a competitive advantage in the future,” she said, “especially when having to deal with cross-cultural situations in the work-force”

Right now, though, Barrenechea is enjoying the new experiences that an American university offers. She mentions that the University of Arkansas offers in-state tuition to Bolivian students; “however, what triggered me most to come here was the opportunity of being exposed to college life in America. Living in the dorms, the football games, the student organizations, Greek life, and all the other on-campus traditions compose a different lifestyle worth experiencing” she said. Barrenechea chose the major that she believed would open the most doors for her. “I thought of business as a broad major that would give me the opportunity to explore the many areas it is composed of.” She said she was happy with the program’s structure of core and sampling of major courses, which helped her determined that transportation and logistics was what she wanted to do.

Barrenechea was selected to participate in the Center for Retailing Excellence’s two-year-long mentoring program. She recognizes how integral the program is to her professional development. “When I was debating between TLOG or marketing as a major, I shadowed both areas with Colgate-Palmolive. They also helped when I first started interviewing with companies. They would invite me to valuable meetings and answer any questions I had. It is great to have highly experienced professionals become your advisors and friends” she said.

Barrenechea studied in Italy during the first session of summer 2010. She hopes to add to her knowledge of world cultures while simultaneously adding to her knowledge of transportation and logistics. “I can’t wait to be exposed to the Italian culture. I am also planning to tour exportation companies and visit some ports just to learn a bit about the European supply chain system.” She is going through the CIMBA program with a group of business students from across the United States.

During the second half of summer 2010, Barrenechea was a marketing intern for Coca-Cola International in South America. “I was looking for a company with global presence, so when I graduate, my contributions to the company would not only be valued back at home but in different parts of the world” she said.

While on the University of Arkansas campus, Barrenechea works for the Supply Chain Management Research Center, a Walton College outreach center. She works as a research assistant. “I have had a good combination of indoor and outdoor jobs on campus. I was a student mentor for orientation and R.O.C.K. Camp. Most of that was about interacting with incoming students and parents, guiding tours, presenting the U of A traditions, attending parent panels, etc. My job in the Supply Chain Center is more in depth and analytical. It requires hours of dedication in front of a computer.”

She is also involved in Leadership Walton, a program that combines leadership, academics, and professional development. Barrenechea says Leadership Walton “enriches the student’s academic experience preparing them for future success.” She is also excited to contribute to the University of Arkansas chapter of the American Marketing Association as a vice president of fundraising during her last year of college. These extracurricular activities are just one aspect of the Walton College that she loves. “The college offers a wonderful learning environment and vast opportunities outside of class.”

So, where will Maria Barrenechea go after graduation? “Right now, I’m keeping my options open, but it would be ideal to start working in the supply chain or marketing department of a big company somewhere in the northeast part of the United States. Hopefully, after a couple of years of experience, I’d get the chance to go to graduate school for an MBA. I would still like to eventually go back home and contribute to Bolivia’s growth.”

EPIC Spotlight: Marcus Monk

MarcusMonkThose who remember Marcus Monk during his undergrad years at the University of Arkansas probably think of his time as an Arkansas Razorback wide receiver.When Marcus graduated from the Sam M. Walton College of Business in 2008 with a degree in marketing, he went on to play in the NFL and then to play basketball in Germany for two years.
In January 2013, Marcus returned to the University of Arkansas to be a student again, this time in the Walton MBA program. “I remember when the recruiters came to talk to us (about the MBA program) and I knew it was something I was going to do,” he says. “When I first finished with my undergrad degree, I wasn’t finished playing ball. I knew that in grad school, you get out of it what you put into it. Once I really made up my mind to move on (from playing ball), I knew I was ready to do something else.” In May 2013, Marcus joined a team of students who participated in a study abroad program in India for three weeks. His previous international experience had already taught Marcus that to be successful in a different culture, especially in the business world, a person “can’t be stuck in your own ways. You have to be open to change.”

Marcus described his study abroad program as a “great experience” that was totally different than what he had expected. The first thing he recognized as different was the amount of people, he says. He was able to see up close how people in India conduct business in comparison to the United States.

Understanding how a different culture operates is vital to being a successful international business leader, he says.

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“If you’re a US company doing business in another country, you have to take what they do and try to adapt to it, not try to make them adapt to U.S. ways,” he says. “You can’t be stuck in your ways, you have to be open to change.”

Marcus’ international experience has proven that international work is his preferred niche, something that will be possible because of his MBA from the University of Arkansas.

“If I can get into something that helps a U.S. company do business internationally, I think that’s something I would really enjoy, Marcus says. Wherever Marcus ends up in his career, he says that his experiences in the MBA program are preparing him for what lies ahead.

“The connections you make with people and that the school has are second to none,” Marcus says. His internship with a company based in Little Rock as well as his visits to some of the world’s top corporations will give him the business experience on his resume that is necessary to land a more permanent job.

“I know that I want to be in the business world and know that I need business experience before going out to get a job,” he says. “This is setting me in that path.”

Learn more about our Study Abroad Programs

Meet Dr. Vikas Anand, MBA Director

EPIC Spotlight: Locke Isaacson

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Jonesboro native Locke Isaacson graduated from the Sam M. Walton College of Business in spring 2010 with a major in marketing management and a minor in finance, but she doesn’t want to stop learning just yet. Isaacson is applying in September 2010 to the dual degree program that partners the Walton College with the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock. She hopes to use her education to better the lives of other through nonprofit work.

While pursuing her degree, Isaacson came to really appreciate her professors. “Several of the teachers here are incredible. The relationships they create with us, in and out of the classroom, are great.” She said she has considered becoming a teacher, too. “Eventually, I think I might want to be a college professor because I’ve really enjoyed several of my teachers here, and I would like to help others like I have been helped,” she said. “I also think it would be fun to teach a non-profit class in the business school. I haven’t taken anything like that; they might offer it, but I haven’t heard of it.”

Isaacson said she has been given many opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. One of those opportunities took her to Europe on a study abroad trip. In summer 2008, Isaacson spent six weeks on the southern coast of Spain. “It definitely threw me outside of my comfort zone. The main way I orient myself in a situation is by talking to people. When you don’t speak much Spanish in a Spanish-speaking country, it’s a little bit more challenging,” she said. This challenge didn’t take away from the experience, though. “It was great because I was able to learn about so many different cultures. The students at this school were from all over the world; even though they weren’t American, many of them spoke English, so we could communicate that way; or, it really forced me to communicate in Spanish. It was a great experience—very challenging, but a good time.”

She also had two internships during her time at the Walton College. She worked with PowerAde, an internship through CBS Sports, to promote the product to the University of Arkansas intramural sports program and to set up taste tests among students. She also spent a semester working for Tyson Foods, where her duties consisted of analyzing reports, budgeting, and setting up product cuttings to assess product quality. She said this internship was at times taxing, but well worth it. “Being involved on campus, going to class, and working at least 20 hours a week [at Tyson] was a full load. I’ve been pretty good with time management, but that semester was challenging. I think it was true to life, though,” she said. “The hands-on learning experience was great because it is something that can’t be taught in the classroom.”

From January 2009 to January 2010, Isaacson served as vice president over recruitment for the Panhellenic Council. “I helped host women’s recruitment for all the sororities on campus. I worked here over the summer and talked to all the students and parents during orientation, and I worked with all of the sororities to make sure everyone knew the process, rules, and schedule.” She said planning the sororities’ week-long rush event at the end of the summer contributed to her business education. She learned how to properly handle a time-sensitive schedule and plan for unplanned events. “It’s definitely shown me that I like working with people,” she said.

During her senior year, Isaacson also served as co-vice president of the University of Arkansas chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma, the national business honor society. She said she felt privileged to be chosen for such a position and was pleased with the opportunities she was given. “I was selected to go to Tampa to a business conference and was privileged to host the Beta Gamma Sigma benefit,” she said.

Isaacson has graduated from the Walton College, but she hopes to return soon, this time as an MBA candidate working toward a dual degree in business and public service, which is offered by the Walton College and the Clinton School of Public Service. Isaacson said this degree plan is compatible with her career hopes. “I’d like to work in the non-profit side of business,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to have a non-profit organization for underprivileged kids, but mainly those aged 12 to 18. I feel like most programs end once kids get older and are considered more mature, but I think 12 to 18 is such a vital period in their lives. They still need some influence—maybe a mentorship program in which education is really encouraged.”

In May 2010, Isaacson graduated summa cum laude from the University of Arkansas Honors College. She was also the Outstanding Marketing Senior for the Walton College.

EPIC Spotlight: Dr. Linda Myers

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“We have a strong family environment here.
You feel supported and valued.”

Ask Dr. Linda Myers what her hobbies are, and she is hard pressed to say anything other than research.

There are always issues that no one has looked into. There’s also existing data that can be studied from a different angle. And this keeps research interesting for Myers. “We almost never know what the answer’s going to be, so that’s kind of cool,” says Myers, an accounting professor at the Sam M. Walton College of Business

It’s what she loves. And it shows.

#Myers was recognized for her research with a 2013 Walton College Faculty Research Award at the University of Arkansas. Most of her work explores a common theme: the effects or potential effects of proposed regulations.

For example, firms in the United States prepare and present their financial statements following U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (or GAAP). U.S. regulators, however, are considering adopting or converging to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which are used in many other countries. Myers’ co-authored research, published in the Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, sheds light on differences in the quality of accounting information under these standards.

Other academic publications that feature her research include The Accounting Review, Journal of Accounting and Economics, Journal of Accounting Research, Contemporary Accounting Research and Review of Accounting Studies, among others. In 2009, she won the best paper award from the American Accounting Association’s Financial Accounting and Reporting Section. Her work has also been written up in The Economist and the New York Times.

Her research on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act passed by Congress in 2002 to help protect investors from fraudulent accounting practices by corporations has been cited by the chief accountant of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as well as in a joint letter to the House Committee on Financial Services from the CFA Institute, Center for Audit Quality and the Council of Institutional Investors. These, and other governing bodies, have cited the academic research she and her co-authors provide because, Myers explains, they trust that the information is accurate and unbiased. In addition, Myers periodically interacts with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a nonprofit corporation established by Congress to oversee the audits of public companies.

#Myers is currently researching issues related to mandatory auditor rotation, which would require public companies to periodically switch audit firms. Although rotating auditing firms may prevent some problems that can occur when auditors who have long-term relationships with their clients become less independent, her research generally shows that new rotated auditing firms can overlook critical information and increase audit failures.

Myers says her teaching, which involves master’s- and Ph.D.-level courses, is an extension of her research process. She says that she especially enjoys sharing important research findings with her master’s students, and many of these students decide to pursue doctoral degrees. In addition, Myers often collaborates with current and past Ph.D. students. “Our Ph.D. students are incredibly research active,” she says.

In addition, Myers says she enjoys working with the college’s junior faculty. She describes the accounting department as a close-knit group where many put others ahead of themselves. “We have a strong family environment here,” she says. “You feel supported and valued.”

In Myers’ particular case, some of the department is family. Her husband, Dr. James Myers, is also an accounting professor at Walton College. They moved to Fayetteville with their two children from Texas A&M University in 2008 and are enjoying life at the University of Arkansas, she says.

EPIC Spotlight: Qili “Lily” Jin

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“My philosophy is to challenge your limits. You’ll never know how successful you’ll be.”

This part of her visit to China wasn’t in the study abroad curriculum. But it was something Qili “Lily” Jin felt she had to do. Only days before, she was in Hong Kong, networking with the country’s business leaders. Now, she was in a remote village, sleeping on a mat on a classroom’s floor, waiting to teach English to preschoolers.

To get to the village of Fenghuang in the Chinese province of Hunan was a 12-hour train ride followed by a three-hour commute. Then, she hopped in a minivan and rode for an hour. The last leg to her destination involved a two-hour hike through the mountains on a path that wasn’t always easy to see.

The country is quite familiar to Lily. She was born in China and lived there until she was 13. Last summer, however, she wanted to see her native country through the eyes of an outsider while also making a contribution. She first did a Sam M. Walton College of Business study abroad program in China with professors John Aloysius and Gary Peters. Then she chose to stay in the country to teach young students through the Impact Abroad program. “It made me appreciate seeing the country as a whole,” she says.

It also made her realize she’s just beginning to make a difference in the world. “I always ask myself, what’s next?” she says. “How can I do more?”

Lily is a junior majoring in accounting with a minor in economics and retail who graduated from high school in Round Rock, Texas, a suburb of Austin. She says her parents encouraged her to consider business as a career – a suggestion she gleefully took. She tested the waters in high school by participating in DECA, an organization that helps prepare high school and college students for the business world.

She considered a number of universities in Texas and visited the University of Arkansas three times, where she found the Walton Honors program to be especially welcoming.

Before entering the Walton College as a freshman, she enrolled in the college’s Business Leadership Academy, a residential program that introduces students to career choices in retail and other opportunities available to business majors. This prompted Lily to be involved with the Center for Retailing Excellence at the Walton College, which connects academics and industry. She says programs there have enabled her to meet many senior executives and attend conferences and other business events.

Lily was recently appointed to the Dean’s Student Advisory Board, which provides communication between Walton College undergraduate students and Dean Eli Jones. She serves as treasurer for Students of Retailing Excellence and for Leadership Walton. She also is also outreach director for the Chinese Students and Scholars Association.

This summer, Lily will travel abroad again when she goes to Italy in a program led by Molly Rapert, an associate professor in Marketing. She will intern for Walmart’s Accounting Finance Development Program when she returns.

If things go according to plan, she will finish her senior year early before continuing her accounting education through the Integrated Master of Accountancy program, which, upon completion, makes students eligible to become certified public accountants.

“My philosophy is to challenge your limits,” she says. “You’ll never know how successful you’ll be.”

EPIC Spotlight: Lauren Weems

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“In TLOG, you have so many opportunities to learn things you wouldn’t learn otherwise.”

The devastating scenes of Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 Haitian earthquake that were broadcast on the nightly news caused Lauren Weems to change the way she thought about her life. She not only worried about the people’s welfare, she thought about how supplies, such as food and first aid, would be delivered.

Moved by the dramatic events from those natural disasters, Lauren, then a freshman at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, began encouraging people to donate to a student organization she created called Young Generations Need L.O.V.E. (Let’s Offer Valuable Education) and the American Red Cross, which was on campus at the time taking donations. Though her organization is now inactive, she says the experience got her to thinking about logistics and the supply chain, which is necessary when providing relief to those who are suffering. “Disasters happen all the time,” she says.

That’s when Lauren knew that Transportation and Logistics was the right major for her. Often referred to on campus as “TLOG,” she realized its potential for innovation, she says. For example, the field needs people to find ways to make the supply chain more environmentally friendly and to transport more health conscious products. She says she began thinking seriously about these concepts after attending a Leadership Delta conference, sponsored by Lauren’s sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and General Electric Co. But she says her main interests are relief and international logistics. Lauren says she likes the challenge of finding solutions to shipping goods to other countries where the laws are different from those in the United States. Plus, she says it suits her talents. “I think I’m just a literal, analytical, straight-to-the-point person,” she says.

Lauren, who is from Little Rock, says she always knew she would pursue a career in business, though she briefly thought about going into journalism when she was in high school. She says that before college studies took over her free time, she used to enjoy writing, including penning a poem or two. Yet, she says she feels she has made the right choice to pursue a business degree, adding that the education at Walton College is “second to none.”

“In TLOG, you have so many opportunities to learn things you wouldn’t learn otherwise,” she says. “I dove in head first and I love it.”

The opportunities don’t end there. Lauren serves as first vice president of her sorority where her duties include assisting the sorority’s president and being the chairperson for multiple committees that implement scholarship, sisterhood and service. “I love it,” she says. “It keeps me busy. I love to be busy.”

And she is. Lauren also serves as a Walton College Student Ambassador, where she meets with prospective university students, as well as an ambassador for the Department of Supply Chain Management, which oversees the transportation and logistics program. As a supply chain ambassador, she meets with other University of Arkansas students who might be interested in the program. She says she also enjoys mentoring students, which she does through Connections, Razorback Bridge and Silas Hunt Scholarship mentoring programs, all with the UA Multicultural Center. She also served as a mentor at the Business Leadership Academy’s two-week summer program at the university and is currently on the Dean’s Student Advisory Board at Walton College.

Spare time, when it occasionally happens, is spent with friends, listening to music, eating and sleeping Lauren says.

“I’m a really relaxed person,” she says. “I love to chill.”

EPIC Spotlight: Lauren Waldrip

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“During my first semester, I was undeclared. Then I decided to go with Walton College. I knew how strong Walton College is and what it means to a degree.”

Lauren Waldrip admits she’s a bit of a sports fanatic. She remembers calling the Hogs at a very early age. As a member of the Razorback Diamond Dolls, a spirit and volunteer group at Arkansas Razorback baseball games, Lauren is quick to point out that she’s in the middle of all the action, whether it be hearing colorful language from an angry visiting coach or watching a baseball sail over the chain link fence onto Razorback Road.

Even her Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority sisters are familiar with her passion for sports. While others may want to watch “Harry Potter” or some other program, “I’m the one at the Kappa house who’s just trying to watch ‘SportsCenter,’ ” she says of the ESPN television show.

Lauren, a senior at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, is majoring in both marketing and public relations with a minor in accounting. She says she’s already practicing what she has learned as she goes about her Diamond Doll activities such as greeting visitors and assisting in the dugouts. “This is just another example of PR,” she says.

She’s also making good professional contacts by working with university athletics and the marketing department.
But she also has a soft spot for agriculture. The daughter of a retired farmer, Mark Waldrip, she was surrounded by row crops, namely soybeans, while growing up in the eastern Arkansas town of Moro. “No stoplights,” she says. “No stop signs.”

When she interned last summer as a legislative assistant for U.S. Sen. John Boozman, she chose agriculture as her focus. She wrote press releases for Boozman’s website, attended legislative hearings and corresponded with constituents.

As vice president for Associated Student Government, she serves as a voice for those attending the University of Arkansas. She does this through spending time with ASG cabinet members and discussing what’s important to them and overseeing programming on campus, which includes being involved with every aspect of planning an event. In August, she helped organized Welcome Week, a series of events on campus welcoming students, staff and faculty to a new school year. Among other events, she also worked closely with the Student Alumni Board to plan homecoming.

Last fall, she was selected as one of the Top 5 finalists for homecoming queen. “I learned so much,” she says. “It was a good experience.”

Many ask her if she’s honing herself for a political career. “I just say, ‘no,’ ASG is about serving the students, not politics,” she says. Her concern, as ASG vice president, is to represent and serve the students, nothing else, she says.

She has come a long way since she first stepped foot on campus. (She also sometimes gets confused with another student on campus, her twin sister, Katie Waldrip, a dietetics major.)

“During my first semester, I was undeclared,” she says. “Then I decided to go with Walton College. I knew how strong Walton College is and what it means to a degree.” As a Walton College Student Ambassador, she is able to share her passion for the college with potential students.

Lauren says she’s keeping her options open for now, though she plans to eventually go to graduate school. “I just know how beneficial it can be to my career at some point,” she says.

EPIC Spotlight: Kristin Wilmes and Haley Prewett

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“I feel like the teachers really know you.”
– Kristin Wilmes

“The networks I’ve made will be very beneficial in the future.”
– Haley Prewett

With their red, athletic shirts bearing Razorback and Nike logos, it’s common for Kristin Wilmes and Haley Prewett to be mistaken for University of Arkansas athletes.

But the two Sam M. Walton College of Business undergraduates are actually interns who work behind the scenes for the Razorbacks. Kristin works in the marketing office, where she plans and executes promotions for athletic events. Haley works in the business office, practicing her accounting skills and making travel arrangements.

Both of these honor students say they dream of a career that involves sports. Kristin hopes to someday work for the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, though she’s considering marketing for a foundation or charity. Haley aspires to be an athletic director or a chief financial officer for a professional sports team.

Kristin, a senior from Joplin, Mo., says she became a fan of the University of Arkansas after her older brother attended college here. But she says it was Walton College’s rankings and good reputation that lured her to the business school.

Majoring in marketing with a minor in Spanish, Kristin has participated in Leadership Walton, a program offered to business students that provides training applicable to the real world, and Clubbe Economique, a student organization that aims to enrich students’ economic knowledge through visiting speakers. She says a benefit to her honors’ classes is that they have fewer students, which means more one-on-one time with the instructor. “I feel like the teachers really know you,” she says.

During the fall semester of her sophomore year, Kristin began working for the Razorbacks’ marketing office, where she works with promotional items, children’s activities, in-game promotions, autographs by the student athletes and at least one other thing: shooting the T-shirt gun at crowds during sporting events, allowing lucky recipients to receive free Razorback T-shirts. Between her Walton College education and her internship, she says she feels she has the skills and knowledge to succeed in the real world.

“The people that I have worked with in the sports marketing department are incredible, and I have learned a lot from each of them,” Kristin says.

Like Kristin, Haley has family ties to the University of Arkansas; her father attended law school here. She says she grew up a Razorback fan in her hometown of Russellville and knew how to “call the Hogs” at a young age. When her love for sports kept growing, she began to consider a career in the field. While still in high school, she visited the Arkansas athletic department staff to get a jump start on her chosen career. By her freshman year, she had landed an internship.

With a major in accounting and a minor in recreation and sports management, Haley has gained experience organizing group travel arrangements, such as airfare and other related accommodations for the Razorbacks. She also helps with deposits and budget reports, she says.

Now, with her eyes set on being an athletic director, she recognizes it’s a male-dominated field, “but I’m going to work toward that goal,” she says.

She’s also enjoying life as a Walton College student. This summer, she will study abroad in Belize with other Walton College students.

“Not many schools say you can travel abroad,” Haley, a sophomore, says. “I knew that would be exciting, too.”

Haley says after she graduates, she hopes to get a master’s degree, possibly in sports business. “The networks I’ve made will be very beneficial in the future,” she says.

Kristin says the same applies to her. “The Walton College has been really good about pushing those networks,” she says.

For Haley, her Walton College education and athletic department internship convince her she’s choosing the right career path.

“It’s kind of like a dream come true,” she says. “I know I want to work in sports, and it’s proven to me that I don’t want to change my mind.”

EPIC Spotlight: Kristen Zachary

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“My honors classes have really challenged me and helped me grow.”

Some college students spend years figuring out their career path, but Kristen Zachary says she knew it the moment she stepped foot on the University of Arkansas campus.

“When I came to college, I always wanted to be in business,” she says.

That part was easy. Narrowing it down to a major took a little self-discovery. She thought about going into accounting. After all, she had always been good with numbers. But after taking a classes in the Sam M. Walton College of Business, the lure of marketing and communications was too strong to resist.

The consumer behavior courses fascinated her. She also loved the idea of building relationships with other people and entities.

A junior majoring in marketing with a minor in communications, Kristen says she has found the right fit.

“I love people,” she says. “I’m a big people person.”

Kristen says when she graduates in May 2013, she hopes to work for a company or an organization where she can best use her skills. She has already had plenty of practice as an undergraduate.

The Tulsa, Okla., native is vice president of development for her sorority, Pi Beta Phi. Her duties include facilitating workshops, monitoring academics and overseeing committees, she says.

“It’s been wonderful,” Kristen says. “It’s been a great opportunity to serve the women and serve this campus.”

It also enables her to get plenty of practice in public speaking – something that is becoming easier for her.

She also is a co-leader of the Walton Honors Student Executive Board, which is in its first year. Kristen says the group is comprised of 16 honor students who work toward building alumni relations and organize social and marketing activities for the college. Her duties took her to Boston College, where she and another executive board representative visited with hopes of modeling a program similar to one there.

Her summers have been spent working at Camp War Eagle near Rogers, about 30 miles northeast of Fayetteville. This also enabled her to build relationships and develop communication skills.

Kristen also is a member of the American Marketing Association’s university chapter and Gamma Beta Phi, an honor society open to students in the top 20 percent of their class.

Going to the University of Arkansas deviated from the Zachary family norm. She says family members, including her parents, attended Oklahoma State University.

“I just kind of wanted to do something different,” she says. She discovered that Fayetteville is just the place for that “something different” – she’s far enough away for new experiences while being close enough to home to visit on a whim.

All while finding her place in the world.

“My honors classes have really challenged me and helped me grow,” she says.

Kristen values the guidance provided by her professors. She says they care about her as a person and not just a student. “That side of it has been so rewarding – with the advice they have given me,” she says. “I know that they’re there to answer questions. … They’re available.”