A Perfect Match

At UAFS, a first-generation college student finds a place to grow as a leader and a scholar


Dana BroadFor Dana Broad of Springdale, UAFS wasn’t the obvious choice, but it proved to be the right one. “Most of my friends went to Fayetteville,” says Broad, “but after touring UAFS, doing Den Day [an annual event for high school seniors], and meeting the faculty, I was set on coming here. It was the only place I applied.”


Of course, the prospect of earning an outstanding scholarship made the decision even easier. She already knew she’d study business, which made her eligible for one of several First Bank Corp Scholarships of Distinction, amounting to essentially a “full ride” for four years.


Broad indeed was chosen for the scholarship, and has shown herself more than worthy of the honor. With less than a semester to go, the Accounting/Business Administration double-major carries a 3.82 GPA while also serving as president of her sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, and interning in the credit department at Rheem Manufacturing.


Not surprisingly, the first-generation college student has no second thoughts about UAFS. The business program, she says, incorporates an unusual amount of hands-on, experience-based learning, and the faculty bring valuable professional experience as well as academic insight to the classroom.


Broad specifically cites Dr. Jim Beard’s Fundamentals of Managerial Effectiveness and Doug Babb’s Leadership. Babb, CEO of Cooper Clinic and a member of the UAFS Foundation Board of Directors, gives his students the rare opportunity to learn directly from a top-level executive, who also happens to be, in Broad’s words, “a wonderful teacher.”


Broad has also enjoyed the unique opportunities presented by a smaller, younger, more personable University. “Here you can come in and get involved in whatever you want,” she says. “I’ve really developed as a leader because of the chances I’ve had.” She even participated in the process of interviewing and evaluating candidates for the Neal Pendergraft Endowed Professorship of Accounting, now held by Dr. Amelia Baldwin.


With credentials like hers, Broad wasn’t going to last long on the job market. In fact, she already has a position waiting for her with the international firm Ernst & Young. As part of the company’s Fort Smith team, Broad will work with the likes of Golden Living, Baldor, and Arkansas Best.


“It’s been perfect for me,” says Broad of UAFS, and the converse is true as well. She has been an invaluable leader on campus, and all indications are that she’ll continue that role within the larger Fort Smith community.


That’s the kind of far-reaching impact scholarship support can have, not just helping out an individual student, but also profoundly changing her family’s story as well as benefitting the community as a whole.