Honors College Selects 14 New Students for Path Program

Honors College Path seniors Haley Wilson, Dominique Blake and Xavier Smith sit around a table in the Honors Study Hall with Terrance Boyd, the Honors College director of recruitment who leads the Path Program.
By Russell Cothren

Honors College Path seniors Haley Wilson, Dominique Blake and Xavier Smith sit around a table in the Honors Study Hall with Terrance Boyd, the Honors College director of recruitment who leads the Path Program.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Honors College has selected 14 outstanding freshmen to enter the Honors College Path Program this fall. The Path program, which began in 2014, is a mentoring initiative that recruits talented high school students from underrepresented populations and helps them achieve academic success at the University of Arkansas.

The students are from cities across Arkansas, and more than three-quarters of them are the first in their family to attend college. Overall, more than half of the 50 students currently in the Path program are first generation. This year’s freshman cohort boasts an average high school grade point average of 4.06.

“This group will definitely impress me,” said Terrance Boyd, head of the Path program and director of recruitment for the Honors College. “Academically, they’re strong. They are studious, they prioritize well, they have chosen challenging majors. The class of 2021 will certainly take advantage of what the university – and life – have to offer.”

These students demonstrate a wide range of academic and extracurricular interests. Karen McMillan, for instance, will be working with a local ministry to implement a sustainable food source to fight protein deficiency in Haiti. Cleondra Cooks is a scholar in the Engineering Career Awareness Program who plans to split her time between studying engineering and rooting for the Razorbacks as part of the university’s cheer squad.

The Path program pairs students with peer and professional mentors who help them achieve success in the classroom and explore opportunities to secure scholarships and financial aid, study abroad, conduct research and get involved in campus leadership. Path students have studied in countries around the globe, from Sweden to Thailand and Australia. Students are also interning with local and international companies, gaining experience from Little Rock to Panama.

The Path program has already developed a strong track record, with many of its students joining the Honors College, which requires current university students to achieve a 3.50 or higher university GPA.

Thanks to lead gifts from Nick and Carolyn Cole, Lee and Beverly Bodenhamer, and former Honors College Dean Bob McMath and his wife, Linda, this year’s senior class is the first Path cohort to receive academic scholarships, awarded based on continued engagement with the Path program, commitment to leadership and honors status.

In August the freshman Path students participated in the university’s R.O.C.K. (Razorback Outreach for Community and Knowledge) Camp, a four-day extended orientation during which they got a jump-start on making social connections and developing the skills necessary for collegiate success.

The University of Arkansas Honors College Path students of 2017, with their high schools and hometowns are:

  • Luis Aguilar, Van Buren High School, Van Buren
  • Malachi Block, Arkansas High School Texarkana, Texarkana
  • Cleondra Cooks, Crossett High School, Crossett
  • Joseph Cummings, Jacksonville High School, Jacksonville
  • Jazmine Fray, Little Rock Central, Little Rock
  • Peyton Jones, Little Rock Central, Little Rock
  • Lizbeth Juarez, Crossett High School, Crossett
  • Lizeth Martinez, Prairie Grove High School, Prairie Grove
  • Karen McMillan, Ashdown High School, Ashdown
  • Lillian Pinkston, Cave City High School, Cave City
  • Liliana Pleitez, Rogers New Technology High School, Rogers
  • Andrew Rodriguez, Conway High School West 11-12, Conway
  • Rosemary Sanchez, Rogers Heritage High School, Rogers
  • Terricka Williams, Academics Plus Charter School, Maumelle


About the Honors College: The University of Arkansas Honors College was established in 2002 and unites the university’s top undergraduate students and professors in a learning environment characterized by discovery, creativity and service. Each year the Honors College awards up to 90 freshman fellowships that provide $70,000 over four years, and more than $1 million in undergraduate research and study abroad grants. The Honors College is nationally recognized for the high caliber of students it admits and graduates. Honors students enjoy small, in-depth classes, and programs are offered in all disciplines, tailored to students’ academic interests, with interdisciplinary collaborations encouraged. Fifty percent of Honors College graduates have studied abroad – three times the national average – and one hundred percent of them have engaged in mentored research.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Terrance Boyd, Director of Recruitment
Honors College
479-575-3874, terrance@uark.edu

Samantha Kirby, Editor
Honors College
479-575-7678, srkirby@uark.edu


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