15 UCA Students Headed to Washington D.C. for Inauguration

Pictured are: (from left to right, front row) Jade Edwards, junior; Paige Murphy, senior; Darlecia Williams, senior; Kristin Weatherford, senior; Portia Crawford, senior; (second row) William Edwards, freshman; Kailen Hardman, sophomore; Allison Rubio, junior; Christian Melendez, sophomore; Sarah Jurden, graduate assistant; (third row) Melodie Pride, freshman; Elyahb Allie Kwizera, junior; Jared LaReau, freshman; Arzalious Davis, sophomore; (back row) Adam Price, junior; UCA President Tom Courtway; Aarsenio Perry, graduate assistant;  and Jason Riley, senior.

CONWAY—Fifteen students from the University of Central Arkansas will travel to Washington D.C. for the 2013 Presidential Inauguration.

The 15 UCA students will be among about 330 people traveling from Arkansas to Washington D.C. with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission. UCA is sponsoring the students’ trip. Two graduate assistants will travel with the students.

“A trip to Washington, D.C., and a chance to see and visit the seat of our nation’s government is a unique experience. This is especially true given the fact that it will give our students the opportunity to attend the inauguration of President Obama. They will ask questions, get to see things first hand, take a tour of important buildings and monuments, and see the inauguration,” said UCA President Tom Courtway.

He said he believes the trip will add to students’ full educational experience adding, “Reading and studying about our government and constitution is one thing, but seeing it work and how it operates makes the educational experience much more meaningful.”

DuShun Scarbrough, executive director, said two four-year schools and a high school have confirmed that they plan to send student delegations. He said students from Harding University in Searcy, Ark., Philander Smith College in Little Rock, and eSTEM High School in Little Rock, will also travel to the Inauguration.

The UCA students were selected from a pool of 138 applicants who were asked about their on-campus leadership roles, grade point average, and why they wanted to attend inauguration. A committee of six staff members contacted selected students in December.

“I was shocked. I was excited. I was very happy considering it was open to the entire UCA body,” said Portia Crawford, a senior biology major.  She said she sees this as a chance to be a part of history. “I’m very appreciative of this opportunity.”

“One of the students I contacted said, ‘This is the best Christmas present ever,’” said Wendy Holbrook, associate dean of student life and a member of the selection committee. “We were thrilled to hear their reactions.”

The group leaves on Saturday, Jan. 19 and returns Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013.