Key returns to classroomKey will return to full-time teaching at Ozarks. “While I have only had the pleasure of knowing and working with Mr. Key for two months, I have appreciated his leadership of the division, his willingness to help me as I walked through new territory when I came here, and his unfailing commitment to University of the Ozarks and love of this place,” Gill said. “At the same time, I am happy for all of our students who will be taking his classes as I hear that his classes are sought after and remembered. He is a rare talent.” Despite the rigors of juggling academics and athletics, University of the Ozarks sophomore Sydney Key is always going to find time to lend a helping hand. The health science major and softball player from Lamar, Ark., recently returned from her third mission trip to Guatemala with the Journey Church in Clarksville. It has become an annual tradition for Key, who started going on mission trips to the country in 2015. “One thing that initially made me want to go was that when my mom was a kid, her family were missionaries down there,” Key said. “I quickly discovered that I just really enjoyed serving and helping others. I found that it made me feel great to get involved.” The mission trips that Key has taken part in have provided medical services, assisted in construction projects and given out food bags of rice, beans and corn. “We helped build a wall, with only hand tools, at an orphanage to help with getting everything ready for the new boys home they are trying to open,” Key said. “With the medical team, we went into communities and set up clinics so they could see doctors and get treated for illnesses. We would also make food bags and give to the people who need food in those areas.” Ozarks Softball Coach Roland Rodriguez had Key talk to his team when she returned from her latest mission trip. “I wanted our players to hear about her experience and for them to see the joy she gets out of helping others,” Rodriguez said. “Sydney is the type of person who sees the world with her eyes wide open, always looking for what she can do to help people. And, she doesn’t do it for the accolades or recognition. She genuinely enjoys it.” Key, who plans to pursue a career in athletic training, also serves as an orientation leader on campus, a role that fits her personality nicely. “I first got interested in Ozarks because of softball, but I quickly fell in love with the school and the faculty; It’s just feels like a big family that’s super welcoming to everyone,” Key said. “As an orientation leader, I get to welcome prospective students to campus and convey those same type of feelings I got when I first visited campus.” Having played softball since she was 4, Key said her coaches and professors help her juggle the many requirements of being a student-athlete. “I love being a part of a team where we all have the same drive to get better and help the program succeed,” Key said. “I thought it was going to be a lot more difficult to combine academics and athletics in college, but my professors work very well with athletes and are understanding if you need a little extra help with an assignment. They’re always going to help you if you need it.” Rodriguez calls Key the “model” student-athlete. “She’s so giving, caring and unselfish — ideal traits that you want in a young person,” he said. “Sydney is the type of person you’d want representing your softball team, your University and your community.” Though just a few weeks old, 2016 has already proven to be a banner year for University of the Ozarks senior Grady Finley toward his goal of becoming an athletic trainer. Since January, Finley has served a nine-day athletic training internship in Panama and has also learned he had been accepted into the master's degree program in athletic training at the University of Arkansas. The senior health science major from Sheridan, Ark., participated in the internship at the Cescal Sports Performance Foundation in Panama City, Panama, from Jan. 7-16. Cescal is a baseball training facility owned and managed by 1989 alumnus Tom Justice, a former baseball player at Ozarks.
When Jessica Milloway walks across the stage on May 16 to receive her diploma as part of the University of the Ozarks' Class of 2015, she will have some very proud family members in attendance.
Jessica Milloway will graduate with a major in health science and plans to pursue a graduate degree in occupational therapy.
The health science major from Knoxville, Ark., will be the first in her family to obtain a college degree, something that has her family members beaming with joy.
"I know I'm going to be proud and happy, but probably not near as proud and happy as my parents will be," said Milloway. "I know this is something they've wanted and worked toward for a long time, so it's an exciting time for all of us."
With a younger sister, Milloway also knows that being a first generation college graduate can be an influential accomplishment.
"I've talked to my sister about going to college and working hard in school in order to have that same opportunity," Milloway said. "I hope that she sees through me that it can be done."
Thanks to a strong work ethic and financial aid such as the University's Commitment to Excellence and Johnson County scholarships and the Arkansas Challenge Scholarship, Milloway will graduate with no college debt.
"I've had to work a lot of hours and juggle work with school," she said. "It definitely hasn't been easy, but it'll be so much worth it when I get that diploma. Having to work as much as I have, I definitely appreciate it more. I take a lot of pride in what I've been able to accomplish."
Despite working most of her way through school, Milloway will graduate with Magna Cum Laude honors.
"I've always been a pretty good student but I think Ozarks helped bring out that next level in me," she said. "I decided to come to a small school like Ozarks because of its strong academic reputation and I knew it would challenge me and prepare me. I believe it's definitely done that."
Milloway, who is engaged to Ozarks classmate Daniel Cook for a November wedding, plans to pursue a graduate degree in occupational therapy following graduation. She hopes one day to work with children, and is currently "shadowing" a pediatrics center in Russellville as part of her final semester course work.
"I've always enjoyed working with children, so it seemed like a natural fit for me," Milloway said. "I want to help children that might have injuries or developmental disabilities recover and improve their abilities. That would be a very rewarding career."
The University of the Ozarks' health science/physical education majors organization will present the first annual Healthy Ozarks Health Fair on campus on Tuesday, March 3.
The event, which is open to the entire campus community, will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Rogers Conference Center.
Several Johnson County health partners will be present as well representatives from the University of Arkansas for Medical Services (UAMS). Among the vendors who are expected to take part in the health fair include, Arkansas Children's Hospital, the Blue and You Foundation, Farm Bureau, Conway Regional Health Center, Johnson County Regional Medical Center, Johnson County Parks and Recreation, Little Angels Therapy, Massage SPA and the Lamar School Wellness Center.
There will be various health tests and diagnostic screenings available, as well wellness information from the participating vendors. Door prizes will also be awarded, beginning at 1 p.m.
According to the event's organizers, the goal of the health fair to raise awareness of the services available through area health agencies and to promote health and wellness among the campus community.
For more information, please call 479-979-1327.
Tuesday, February 3, started out like any typical mid-week day for Taylor Parker. But it quickly turned into one of the most memorable days of his life.
That was the day that the senior health science major from Hot Springs, Ark., received a highly anticipated email informing him that he had been accepted into the three-year physical therapy doctoral program at Regis University in Denver.
"It was my number one choice for PT schools, so to say I was excited would be a giant understatement," said Parker. "It was an awesome feeling because I was beginning to get stressed out since I hadn't heard from any of the schools I had applied to. Then to hear from my top choice was a tremendous relief. I've been smiling a lot ever since."
Parker is schedule to graduate in May along with his wife of five months, history major Jonna (Magee). He said the couple is looking forward to moving to Colorado.
Taylor Parker, a senior health science major from Hot Springs, Ark., recently found out via an email that he had been accepted into his top choice of graduate programs for physical therapy.
"We both enjoy the outdoors and we're really excited about Colorado," Parker said. "We're both life-long Arkansans, so it's going to be a wonderful adventure."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, physical therapy will be one of the fastest growing professional careers over the next decade. By 2022, the bureau projects physical therapist employment growth of 36 percent, with the field adding 73,500 more jobs.
Parker credited his health sciences professors at Ozarks --- Dr. Brett Stone, Dr. Pete LeRoy and Jeremy Provence --- for helping him get accepted into the highly competitive program at Regis.
"They helped me all along the way, from helping me select schools to apply to, to writing reference letters on my behalf, to giving me advice on what to expect in the interviews," Parker said. "I feel like my entire Ozarks education helped prepare me to get into graduate school."
One example of that was an Intro to Rhetoric class that Parker took at Ozarks.
"I only signed up for the class because I needed some hours and it was in a time slot I needed," Parker said. "But I learned so much in that class about how to present yourself and how people read you and see you. I took a lot of what I learned in that class with me to the interview at Regis and I felt like it really helped. My interview went extremely well and I think it was one of the things that helped me get selected."
As a three-year starting infielder for the Eagles' baseball program, Parker has successfully juggled athletics and academics at Ozarks.
"My time management skills have definitely improved," Parker said. "It hasn't been easy and I've had to work pretty hard to get through, but it's definitely worth it. I've had to make the most of every second of my free time and that's helped me become pretty disciplined. My coaches and professors have also been very understanding. They've been extremely helpful in allowing me to do both."
Parker said watching former teammate and 2012 graduate Chris Driedric succeed at the University of Central Arkansas' physical therapy graduate program served as an inspiration.
"I was a freshman when he was a senior here at Ozarks and to see how he handled his academics and how he took care of business made a strong impression on me," Parker said. "I've talked to him some about what to expect in graduate school and he's been very helpful. He said that it's definitely difficult, but that the academic foundation he received at Ozarks really helped him. It's great to hear that from somebody who came through Ozarks and is succeeding in graduate school."
Parker said a career in physical therapy became his goal after he spent time observing physical therapists as part of his academic curriculum at Ozarks.
"I really got to see what they do on an everyday basis and I fell in love with it," he said. "I liked the idea of helping people regain their mobility. It was very rewarding to see someone get back on their feet or be able to use their arm again, and to see the joy that they got from it. As an athlete, I've always been able to run and throw and I've taken that for granted. Working with people who can't do those things really opened my eyes. I felt it was something that I could do where I was helping people."
A communications degree from University of the Ozarks seven years ago has taken Dr. Jordan Bass on an atypical, yet fulfilling, journey.
In just seven years, Dr. Jordan Bass has gone from Ozarks graduate to an assistant professor of sport management at a large institution in Kansas.
Bass, who graduated with Cum Laude honors from Ozarks in December of 2007, is in his second year as an assistant professor in the sport management program at University of Kansas. He is also the director of the university's Laboratory for the Study of Sport Management.
Bass returned to the U of O campus recently to conduct research on a study of NCAA Division III athletics.
After earning his undergraduate degree, Bass went on to earn a master's degree from Wichita State University and a Ph.D. from Florida State University, both in sport management. Despite the fact that he did not pursue a traditional communications career, Bass was quick to credit Ozarks for his success in academia.
"There's no doubt that this University laid a great foundation for me academically," said Bass, who played tennis as a student at Ozarks. "The well-rounded academic programs made it possible to go into a completely different field after graduating and be successful. I sometimes am amazed about how things have worked out for me in academics. I look back at my time at Ozarks and I realize that this is what put me on the path to where I am now."
Bass still remembers a class he took under Professor of Religion Dr. David Daily that sparked his intellectual flame.
"I remember Dr. Daily really having us question and examine our views of the world," Bass said. "It was one of the first times that I remember really starting to form independent opinions and viewpoints and to question the way I looked at things. Other classes I had, like with Coach [Jerry] Waggoner and [athletic trainer] Chad Floyd, were also very influential. It was classes like those that ultimately pushed me to delve deeper into academics."
Bass said he decided to pursue a sport management career after graduating from Ozarks.
"I had initially thought about going into coaching but I met someone at a tennis camp that I was helping run who was pursuing a sport management degree and that sounded like a perfect fit for me," he said. "I love the combination of sports and management and I've discovered that I love the teaching and research aspects of it as well. I especially enjoy when students come into my classroom and have pre-conceived notions about sports and to then to have them begin really examining and questioning those pre-conceptions. In some ways I'm the bad guy who is helping them look at sports from a different perspective, and it's not always a rosy perspective."
Bass' current research agenda focuses on organizational behavior of athletic programs, the place of athletics in a higher education setting, and social issues in intercollegiate athletics. He was on the Ozarks campus as part of a research project he is working on through the Laboratory for the Study of Sport Management. Ozarks is one of several D-III athletic programs that he is doing research on through a KU grant.
"I am examining the role of Division III athletics at colleges and the overall student-athlete experience at these small colleges," Bass said. "Over the years I've been asked a lot about what it was like to be a D-III athlete and it made me think about that. That was the motivation behind this project. There has been a lot of research done on Division I athletics, but no one has really looked at the specific experience for D-III athletes. And, no one has really looked at the place and importance that D-III athletics plays on a small campus."