After moving back to Arkadelphia, his hometown and town of his alma mater, following his time in medical school and residency, Dr. Wesley Kluck was asked what his dream job was while playing a newlywed game at church.
Freshman year of high school included moving from Kansas to Savannah, Georgia, for Tyrese Allen, a senior biology major and student body president. His family packed up their rental car, and all Allen cared about were his clothes and fishing poles. While living in Savannah, in the 10th grade, Allen created a mass college application to hundreds of schools.
Sabaoot Esho, an international student from Erbil, Iraq, made a 6,841-mile trip to small-town Arkadelphia to attend college at Ouachita Baptist University at the mere age of 17. Before moving to America, Esho had only seen Ouachita’s campus through a computer screen. From her first steps on campus, Esho immediately felt welcomed and seemed at home.
Most Ouachita students have several different roommates for four years during their time in Arkadelphia, but for twin sisters Elizabeth and Madeline Steely, having a roommate is all they have ever known. The Steely twins have shared a room together for as long as they can remember, and that tradition continued throughout their years at Ouachita.
For Rickey Rogers Jr., a freshman communications and psychology double major from Arkadelphia, Ouachita has always been home. When Rogers was 10 years old, his family moved into O.C. Bailey Hall because of his father’s new position as the Tigers’ wide receiver coach and residence hall director.
In the summer of 2020, the United States was a breeding center for historic riots and the battle grounds for a pandemic. While most citizens watched these historic happenings on the news, Caroline Johnson, a sophomore political science major from Springdale, interned in Washington, D.C., aiding the nation’s leaders in a time of crisis.
While most people were stuck in quarantine for the summer, a few students opted to spend their time in the last frontier.
With the unknowns that carried into the summer, junior political science and psychology major Allyson Oliver from Conway wondered if the internship she had in place would carry through. She had the privilege to intern in the public affairs office of Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. Fortunately, Oliver’s experience was only delayed a month due to the pandemic and was virtual only a portion of the time.
While on a mission to answer his questions about Christianity, Levi Dade, a sophomore Christian Studies and Spanish double major from Senatobia, Miss., started his podcast, Defending Christianity. Through his podcast, Dade’s goal was to answer common questions regarding the Christian faith.
As high school graduation grew near for Kirsten Swanson, a dietetics and nutrition major from Canyon Lake, Texas, she struggled to make a college decision. After realizing she was unsure of what she wanted to do career-wise, Swanson decided to take the year off and started her journey for what would become a seven-year gap period.
Wade Wilson, a Christian studies major from Springdale, was one of only two sophomores to be selected as a Tiger Tunes Rewind host. Prior to being selected, Wilson loved to sing and play guitar but did not have an outlet to do so. After seeing that sign-ups had opened for Tunes host, several friends encouraged him to take a chance. He decided to try out.
Many students spent quarantine with their eyes glued to the screen, but Sam Conine, a freshman business entrepreneurship major from Little Rock, was on the other side of the camera. Over the summer, Conine wrote, produced, directed and starred in “AEGIS,” the film of his dreams.
One family’s dream to help a country that they do not even live in has encouraged their daughter to lead a life in the same servant-hearted way.
What seemed like the flu for senior Riley Carson, a worship arts major from Springdale, turned into several nights of hospital stays throughout Spring 2020. In late February 2020, Carson went home for several weeks because of what he thought was the flu. After a trip to the emergency room and a negative test result for the flu, Carson was told he could return to Ouachita. However, Carson’s stay on campus did not last long.
Being in love with the music industry gave Dawson Bray, senior music industry major from Little Rock, the drive to succeed as a musician. Bray decided to spend his pandemic summer in Nashville, Tenn., as an intern at the music label SSM Nashville on Music Row.
Ouachita music professors Mary Chung and Carlos Feller have been traveling the world together for 11 years sharing their love and passion for music by performing and educating others. At a young age, Chung and Feller both found music as their refuge. Chung moved to the Dominican Republic where she encountered a language and culture barrier; she retreated to music as her escape. This led her to enroll at a conservatory where she began to earnestly study music. Feller attended a technical school, a specialized high school, at the age of 15. At that mere age, Feller was living in an apartment alone in Brazil. In an unfamiliar city with unfamiliar faces, music became his rescue in a new and foreign environment.
Learning how to overcome challenges is a skill that some acquire throughout a lifetime. However, for Lindsey Crowder, a senior psychology major from Bentonville, understanding how to face adversity became a way of life at the age of two.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic left many students with ruined plans during the summer of 2020. For sophomore music and chemistry major Abbi Sullins from Benton, that was not the case. Sullins worked as a medical screener for the coronavirus at the Saline Memorial Hospital in her hometown of Benton. Sullins had a history at Saline Memorial as her mother Amy worked in the hospital for many years when Sullins was a child.
One of the most common questions Ouachita students were asked was, “How did you end up at Ouachita?”
Julianna Parsons, a freshman business entrepreneurship major from Celina, Texas, is Madame Pastry. Parsons has baked recreationally and professionally in her time as a baker and has drawn her inspiration from the sweeter things life has to offer.
About the Ouachita Voices blog
The Ouachita Voices blog is a place for the people of Ouachita to tell the stories of Ouachita. Lend your voice to the conversation. Submit your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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