2020 Fall Student Symposium focuses on overcoming obstacles
The day included a free breakfast and lunch for the 60 registered participants, breakout sessions, and a drawing for a $250 scholarship. Demtrious “D.D.” Jordan, the morning keynote speaker, shared his story of overcoming homelessness and the challenges of growing up with a single mother who battles bipolar depression. Jordan’s story went viral a little over year ago on social media. Today, he is a graduate student at the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock. He is a model, public speaker, artist, conscious social media personality, podcast host and soon-to-be-author. He said he attributes his successes to God and to having what he calls “a ruling class mentality.”
Students also had the opportunity to hear from a panel of college representatives from Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs and four-year colleges in Arkansas. Representatives from Arkansas State University and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences were available to answer students’ questions regarding transfer.
The afternoon featured closing keynote speaker Brandy Dailey, a first-generation college student and survivor of childhood domestic violence. Born in Texas but spending most of her life in rural Arkansas, Dailey graduated from Hendrix College with a bachelor’s degree in politics. She received her Master of Public Administration and a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She is also a certified group facilitator through the Arkansas Public Administration Consortium and a Specialty Law Enforcement Instructor certified in Arkansas. She currently serves as the community response facilitator for the Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The event was capped with door prize drawings and the drawing for the $250 scholarship, which was won by Monica Johnson of Velvet Ridge. Johnson is a student in the practical nursing program at UACCB and anticipates she will complete her PN degree in July 2021. She intends to continue on to earn her registered nursing degree.
“I plan to graduate with my RN degree and would like to work with the elderly, most likely in a nursing home setting,” Johnson said.
Johnson said she enjoyed the symposium, particularly the inspirational stories shared by Jordan and Dailey. “It is nice to be reminded that you only fail when you stop trying and that a positive mindset is everything. I, along with all my classmates in the PN program, appreciated all the hard work that was put into creating the symposium this year and really enjoyed attending.”
Johnson said she was thrilled to win the scholarship drawing. “As a nontraditional student, all I could qualify for in the financial aid department were student loans. While I am very grateful for the loans, they will have to be paid back. This scholarship will be the equivalent of five payments when I graduate. I want to thank all those who make this scholarship possible,” Johnson said.