Wow! The 2017 Scholarship Drive raised over $15,500, thanks to your generosity. The perpetual endowments set up by members in the names of the companies that were important in their careers – currently, Systematics/AIS/FIS, Acxiom and Arkansas Systems/Euronet – contribute another $3,000 annually for scholarships. With an additional $3,000 from the Academy’s general funds, which are supported by dues, the total amount of scholarships available for Arkansas computer science programs in 2018 is $21,500, enough to provide 43 scholarships of $500.
Although these scholarships are relatively small, they are important to the state’s computer science departments and the students that receive them. Most scholarships have many requirements set for eligibility. The AAoC scholarships are granted at the discretion of the departments, allowing them to be creative in helping students along their paths.
As I have been visiting computer science departments, I have heard some of the stories. In one case, a student was forced to temporarily drop out of college because of family difficulties. They were too late to drop courses, so their grade point suffered and they could not retain a GPA based scholarship. When they returned, the department was able to provide the AAoC money and the student earned a 4.0 the next term and is eligible for other funding. Your scholarship donations are helping good things happen and assuring the future of Arkansas computing.
The AAoC scholars have many other recognitions, for example one of the winning teams at the 2017 Jolt Hackathon had two of our scholars on it. In general these are among the best computer science students in the state. Gary Dowdy recently told me J.B. Hunt had signed one of them up for an internship after he met the student at our annual meeting. Gary is pretty astute to make this connection and other members at firms offering internships might take note!
I hope you are encouraged to contribute to the scholarship funds this year. If you contribute $500 you can select the department to receive the funds, and, if you wish, we can let the scholar know in whose footsteps they are following. In 2017 members designated scholarships for CSCE and IS departments at UA Fayetteville, UA Little Rock, and UCA. Endowments funded scholarships honoring Don Hatfield at Arkansas Tech and a scholarship at Henderson State.
Even better, if you are an employee or alumni of a company without an endowment named for it, you can help organize raising a new endowment. A minimum endowment of 12,500 will provide a $500 scholarship forever. And the endowment forms still another link between great companies and great students.
In a later note, I will report other things I have learned from visiting our university partners, including ways we can help smooth the path for students to careers.
Celebrating Arkansas Computing,