By Scott Faughn
The phrase “it takes a village” is never more apparent than when a successful college graduate reflects on the professors and mentors who contributed to his or her success. In the case of recent Arkansas State University graduate Zach Hedrick, this adage has special significance. Having recently received a B.S. in Public Relations, Zach appreciates that both his graduation and positive college experience would not have been possible without the teachers and leaders who helped get him through his college career.
Fresh from small town Dexter, Missouri, Zach first considered the University of Arkansas as a potential college choice, but his interactions with Assistant Dean of Students Natalie Eskew sealed the deal. Not only was Eskew’s knowledge of the university and her enthusiasm key in Zach’s choice, but her continued mentoring and encouragement also helped Zach succeed once on campus. She also guided him in the inner-working of the campus processes, and assisted Zach in mapping out his education objectives. Zach readily admits that, without Natalie Eskew, he would not have been able to reach his full potential as a University of Arkansas student.
In terms of building a solid educational foundation, Zach also credits all of his professors in the College of Communications for giving him the knowledge and experience he will need in his future career. For example, leader of the Journalism department Gil Fowler pushed Zach to deepen his understanding of public relations beyond the classroom, and help facilitate the key internships that provided Zach with hands-on experience. Another outstanding professor, Holly Hall, kept Zach on track with his studies, ensuring that he graduated on schedule. Her uplifting demeanor allowed Zach to flourish in the rigorous program, and gave him the confidence he needed to succeed. Radio-Television instructor Larz Roberts also inspired Zach with his captivating and challenging coursework, and stands as yet another example of the difference that caring and quality instructors can make in the lives of their students.
Zach also credits business and community leaders for their contribution to his collegiate success. Through Liberty Bank’s Director of Marketing Ed Way, Zach landed a top-quality internship with the Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce. Local realtor Craig McDaniel also helped Zach by encouraging him to become more involved in the community, and facilitating his involvement with local business leaders.
As Zach graduates from the University of Arkansas, he knows that this achievement is not his alone. Without a dedicated group of inspiring mentors, ones who helped him every step of the way, Zach could never have made the most out of his time at the University. Thanks to these selfless individuals, Zack believes that his future is brighter than ever before, and hopes to pay forward the spirit of their encouragement as he works to make the most it the lessons they taught him.