The University of Arkansas at Monticello announced in a news release Friday, September 17th, that the “Rising Junior Scholarship” given by the Drew County Farm Bureau Board has been awarded to Ag Business and Finance major Samantha Minton of Star City. The $1000 award is given to an agriculture student at UAM that has shown dramatic improvement in academic achievement, high potential for success, and needs financial assistance. The check was presented Wednesday at the Monticello Farm Bureau office by Drew County Farm Bureau President Kerry Hartness.
According to UAM College of Forestry, Agriculture and National Resources professor Paul Francis the board chose Minton because she meets and exceeds all these criteria. She has a strong work ethic. Minton is a former member of the UAM Rodeo Team. Tight finances made staying on the team difficult, said Francis. Francis added, “she now works long hours at Mazzio’s Pizza in Monticello to help defray her college expenses.”
According to Francis, the award was created to help students who might have had a rough academic start with adapting to college life. He says somewhere around their junior year, they catch on and improve their grades. He says he and the Farm Bureau Board thought it would be good to recognize those students. Francis said, “there are lots of scholarships for first-year students and sophomores but fewer for juniors and seniors.”
“We try to identify a student who comes in, and maybe their ACT scores weren’t quite where they needed to be when they started college to qualify for those scholarships. Year after year, they improve their grades, work hard, get better with B’s and A’s, and need financial assistance. This award fills that gap,” said Francis. “We want the potential for student success,” said Francis. He adds, “We want to make sure we give the award to somebody who will get their degree and is employable,” said Francis.
Minton says she hasn’t started a job search yet, but when she does, Minton said, ’I’ll be looking for a job that allows me to make farm loans to ranchers and farmers who want to get their careers started and do a job they love.” Minton added, “I’ll use the $1000 award to buy a new computer to help me with my schoolwork.” Francis, along with retired UAM professor Robert Stark, was instrumental in helping the Arkansas Farm Bureau set up the scholarship.