#MyPathToSeniorWalk: Angel Williams
Angel Williams knew early on she wanted to study design.
Growing up in Bentonville, she was a creative child who enjoyed playing outside, building forts and seeing how things worked. Through various high school classes, she developed an interest in art and artistic expression, as well as the psychology of how people experience things.
Williams is now in her third year studying interior architecture and design in the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design. She entered the university learning remotely during the pandemic.
“The pandemic fully solidified my decision for this career choice when the whole world had to quickly learn the value of spaces they live and work in when they had less control over what that looked like,” she said.
When it came time to choose a college, though, it wasn’t a given that she would come to one just a 30-minute drive from home. Williams, who’s a first-generation college student, looked into several colleges and universities before selecting the U of A.
Several things appealed to her as she learned more about the Fayetteville campus. She liked the offering of student organizations, the campus traditions, such as Senior Walk, and the low faculty-to-student ratios in design studios. And then, once in studio in Vol Walker Hall, she enjoyed studying in the historic reading room space and daily views of Old Main.
“I feel like there is a lot of emphasis on belonging here,” she said. “It’s funny, even at a college level where we’re on a campus with over 30,000 students, I feel like I have something to be proud of and to belong to more than when I was in high school. It’s more individualized, which surprised me.”
Williams also learned about the various scholarship opportunities on campus before she ever began classes. She now has several university-level scholarships and one school-level scholarship.
“I applied to all that I was eligible for and was able to receive more assistance than I ever would have imagined,” she said. “I owe my success at the university to the generous donors who have funded my academic experience, ensuring that I don’t have to worry about paying for my education while I am focusing on my studies.”
Her favorite class so far has been Professional Practice, which she took last fall. The class pulled together things she’d been hearing about the industry and started to prepare her to work in the field.
“It is incredibly helpful and inspiring as I am preparing for internships and my pathway post-graduation. I love that this level of detail about career pathways is included in our curriculum,” she said.
She feels that the university offers students many resources to help them succeed, including the annual Career Fair, which is a chance to connect and talk one-on-one with design professionals and potential employers.
Williams has found many ways to get involved and engage with the Fay Jones School beyond her studios and other classes. She feels especially connected as part of the Student Ambassador group, which is composed of fellow students who can learn from each other while serving the school. Student Ambassadors host workshops, give tours, meet with visiting lecturers and provide feedback to school leadership.
She also has worked alongside her fellow design students during the school’s summer Design Camp, serving as a student teaching assistant. And she’s involved in the student chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers. Her favorite aspects of that group are getting the opportunity to meet students in her major across all grade levels and to serve as a mentor to a first-year student.
As much time as she spends in Vol Walker Hall, she also enjoys several other spots on campus to hang out with friends, to study and to just relax. When she wants some alone time, she’ll put up her hammock between trees near the building or go to the fourth floor Sky Terrace. She and her friends also enjoy meeting in the newly renovated floors of Mullins Library.
“It is such a great place to work with each other and enjoy the scenery,” Williams said.
For more student success stories like Angel's, check out our previous #MyPathToSeniorWalk features: Erick Soto, Kennedy Hicks and Rachell Sanchez-Smith, Gary Jackson, Ismael Salgado and others at our #MyPathToSeniorWalk website. If you have a story that you'd like told or know someone who has an inspiring story, please check out the nomination form.
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