U of A Honors College Selects 23 Incoming Students for Path Program

Incoming Path freshmen with  Xochitl Delgado Solorzano, director (front left) Michelle King, assistant director (front right) and Path alumnus Xavier Smith (fourth from right, second row), graduate assistant.
Photo by Russell Cothren

Incoming Path freshmen with Xochitl Delgado Solorzano, director (front left) Michelle King, assistant director (front right) and Path alumnus Xavier Smith (fourth from right, second row), graduate assistant.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas Honors College has selected 23 outstanding new freshmen to participate in the Honors College Path Program. The Path Program is a mentoring initiative that recruits talented high school students from underrepresented populations. The goal is to help them achieve academic success at the University of Arkansas and join the Honors College.

“We are excited to welcome this high-achieving, motivated group of students to campus and to support them in their college journey,” said Xochitl Delgado Solorzano, the director of the Path Program. “These students hail from across the state of Arkansas, as well as Oklahoma and Missouri, and represent every academic college on campus.”

Thanks to a nearly $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation, 14 incoming Path freshmen who plan to major in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics will each receive a renewable scholarship of $4,500 ($5,500 if they join the Honors College).

The nine students who plan to study other disciplines will also receive academic scholarships of up to $5,500, thanks to $5.5 million in endowment from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation and gifts of $100,000 to $250,000 from former Honors College Dean Bob McMath and his wife, Linda; Lee and Beverly Bodenhamer; and Nick and Carolyn Cole. These scholarships will be renewed based on continued engagement with the Path Program and satisfactory academic progress.

“This is the second cohort of Path Scholars to receive funding,” Delgado said. “This financial support will go a long way in helping them complete their education.”

The incoming Path Scholars are currently participating in a five-week summer bridge program on campus, during which they are learning from top Honors College faculty in a course offering discipline-specific introductions to research. As a part of the Path Program, they will also form groups centered on specific research interests, led by faculty mentors. All Path students benefit from shared housing, academic success advising, and peer and professional mentoring, as well as study abroad, research and internship opportunities.

The Path Scholars already participate in a wide range of academic and extracurricular activities, from playing trumpet in a mariachi band, to environmentally-friendly fashion design to JROTC, theater and soccer. About half of the incoming class members are the first in their families to go to college.

These students will join an impressive group of young scholars: The Path Program boasts a 100 percent on-time graduation rate since its first group graduated in 2018.

University of Arkansas Path scholars, Class of 2023

  • Nastajae Alderson of Huttig, Strong High School, psychology major
  • Gabrielle Brown of Branson, Missouri, Branson High School, engineering major
  • Maria Cervantes, Siloam Springs High School, apparel merchandising major
  • Ellion Dison of Sherwood, Sylvan Hills High School, electrical engineering major
  • Karina Escobar of Rogers, Rogers New Technology High School,  communication disorders major
  • Willow Ferricher of Roland, Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts, biology major
  • Reid Gullett of Cabot, Cabot High School, engineering major
  • Christopher Haywood of Hope, Hope High School, civil engineering major
  • Evelyn Johnson of Lake Village, Monticello High School, engineering major
  • Courtney Kendle of Rogers, Bentonville High School, undeclared major
  • Breanna Kilgore of El Dorado, El Dorado High School, biomedical engineering major
  • Jarod King of Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff High School, engineering major
  • Kaleb Manley of Texarkana, Arkansas High School, engineering major
  • Miguel Marin of Springdale, Springdale High School, international business major
  • Clay McGuire of Claremore, Oklahoma, Verdigris High School, biology major
  • Marco Mederos of Little Rock, Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts, industrial engineering major
  • Jordy Morquecho of Waldron, Waldron High School, management major
  • Logan Moss of Rosston, Nevada High School, agricultural leadership major
  • Reynaldo Pena Vazquez of Cabot, Cabot High School, engineering major
  • Brandon Pope of Mountain Home, Mountain Home High School, mechanical engineering major
  • Roberto Quezada of Fort Smith, Subiaco Academy, electrical engineering major
  • Dalila Sanchez of Springdale, Springdale High School, international business major
  • Kacie Wyrick of Sheridan, Sheridan High School, landscape architecture major.

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 $72,000 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, with interdisciplinary collaborations encouraged. Fifty percent of Honors College graduates have studied abroad and 100 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.


Samantha Kirby, Senior Editor
Honors College
479-575-5848, srkirby@uark.edu

Xochitl Delgado Solorzano, Director of the Path Program
Honors College
479-575-3874, xdelgad@uark.edu

Kendall Curlee, director of communications
Honors College
479-575-2024, kcurlee@uark.edu


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