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."
Topics: Health Science