Nontraditional Student, Veteran Always Dreamed of Becoming a Razorback

Byron Dejarlo
Photo Submitted

Byron Dejarlo

Byron Dejarlo is a veteran, an immigrant, a father and a non-traditional student at the University of Arkansas.

He's studying to become a technology teacher through the Career and Technical Education program. He wants to help prepare students for life after high school, including those who don't plan to attend college. 

Byron immigrated to the United States from the Philippines when he was a young boy. He was raised in Oden, Arkansas. After high school, he joined the Navy.

"As I trained and educated peers in the military, I found that I enjoyed teaching people skills that will enhance their careers and their lifestyle," he said. "I also met many different people who thought college was the only way forward to a stable career. 

"I found that I enjoyed talking to those people about different options that were available to them."

As a technology teacher, Byron wants to help students work on computers or electronics. He also wants to teach them how to build and repair things with their hands and basic tools. 

"In the future, I hope to become a school counselor and mentor, to help students plan their path ahead," he said.

Between schoolwork and being dad to two daughters, Byron is also known as the family handyman.

"I own a home that I regularly fix. I have a car that I tinker with. I also help family members with fixing household or automotive problems, if I have time outside of classes," he said.

He said being a non-traditional student has been a mixed bag.

"It can feel alienating being older than the average student, being a veteran, having a family, and having experienced many different things," he said.

Getting connected to other non-traditional students has helped, he said. Support from the instructors in his College of Education and Health Professions program have also been essential to his well-being. Byron is also plugged in to the Veteran Resource and Information Center on campus.

Overall, he's enthusiastic.

"I feel lucky, happy, and energized that I'm able to attend classes at the University of Arkansas and learning about what I want to do as a career," he said. "I have always been a Razorback fan and I always dreamed of going to school at the U of A so I could call myself a Hog."

This story is the latest in a series called the Dean's Spotlight, featuring outstanding students in the College of Education and Health Professions. Visit COEHP's online magazine, Colleague, for more news from the six units that make up the College. Visit the Curriculum & Instruction page for more information on COEHP's Technology Education program.


Shannon G. Magsam, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions


Pryor Center Presents Lisa M. Corrigan: 'Feeling Riots: The Emotional Language of Urban Rebellion'

Lisa M. Corrigan, professor of communication, will give the first of four lectures focusing on racism, social justice, and policing hosted by the Pryor Center. It will be at 6 p.m. Thursday.

UA Rome Center to Provide Student Access to NASA Leader's Event

Douglas Terrier, chief technologist for NASA, will discuss space technologies at 11:30 a.m. CDT Sept. 23. U of A students will have access to hear the discussion through the university's Rome Center.

Register Now for Mary Gentile's Talk, Part of 'Let's Talk About Integrity and Race'

Mary Gentile, author of Giving Voice to Values, will speak via Zoom at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29, as part of the Let's Talk About Integrity and Race program.

Landscape Architecture Professor Appointed Visiting Professor, Wins Sustainability Award

Carl Smith will be a visiting professor at the University of Sheffield School of Architecture. He was also awarded the 2020 Green Medal Sustainability Award by Garden Communicators International.

U of A Greek Life Participates in National Hazing Prevention Week "Reshaping the Process"

University of Arkansas Greek Life will offer a variety of programs and activities to inform the Greek community on the dangers of hazing.

News Daily