A Letter to Students from Tera Zeigler Simpson, BA ’11, Public Relations


Tera Zeigler Simpson Stars@Short/Denney

When I reflect on my experience as an undergraduate student, my mind always turns to the year I lived in the Stars Residential College in Short-Denney Hall. My first year at UCA started off a bit rough; I did not know many other students and felt out-of-place as the first person in my family to attend college. I worried that I did not belong. After a week, I had my bags packed and ready to go home. As I was going to get my car, I was stopped in the hall lobby by a group of people I shared one of our in-hall classes with. We spoke about class for a while, and then they invited me to stay and hang out with them. We ended up going to eat together in the caf and I never made it out to my car. After our meal, I went back to my room and unpacked my bags.

Staying in the Stars@Short/Denney helped me realize that not only did I belong there with my new friends, but that I belonged in college. Each of the faculty members that taught our in-hall classes encouraged and challenged us to grow by expanding and subverting our preconceived notions of the world. Outside the classroom, Dr. K. and our hall mentors developed programs and events that helped us come together as a community. Some of the best times we had were at the hall-wide Guitar Hero tournament and when we made an impromptu water park in our courtyard!

The feeling of excitement created by living in the Stars translated to excitement about college in general. The Stars@Short/Denney faculty and staff’s passion for student development inspired me to explore higher education as a career. Thanks in part to my experience in the Stars@Short/Denney, I’m now the first person in my family to go to graduate school!  I am a student in the College Student Personnel program at Arkansas Tech University