A Letter to Students from Grace Berkau, BA ’11, French & International Studies

Grace Berkau Stars@Short/Denney

Grace Berkau

Being a part of a residential college my freshman year at UCA was a game-changer for me, even though I didn’t realize it at the time.  Having classmates who were also my roommates provided a sense of belonging during a time when life was full of changes.  We could not only study together, but do life together, navigating through the academic and social challenges without ever feeling alone.  Living in The Stars@Short/Denney helped to develop the support system I would need to flourish on campus for the rest of my college career.  Even after graduation, I still have close relationships with that core group of friends, and I am continuing to build on the foundation the academic success that started there.

I studied abroad twice while studying at UCA, and I graduated summa cum laude with a double major in French and International Studies. I then taught French for a private academy for three years, and visited the islands of Spanish Wells and North Eleuthera in The Bahamas as a leadership mentor and English as a second language for a community of Haitian refugees.  I am currently earning my M.A. in Teaching, Leadership and Learning from Arkansas Tech University, obtaining my non-traditional teaching license, and starting my first year of teaching high school French and Literacy Remediation for the Dardanelle School District.

I honestly would not have matured into the person I am today without the formative social, emotional, and academic experiences in my residential college.  If you are still on the fence about joining a residential college, I encourage you to consider it not only as an investment in your academic success, but also in your emotional and personal growth – an investment that will pay dividends for the rest of your life.