Kelsey Ramsey, a 2013 University of the Ozarks graduate, has spent the last few months as program director for the Hot Springs/Garland County Beautification Commission in Hot Springs, Ark.
The Hot Springs/Garland County Beautification Commission is a non-profit affiliate of the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission, which strives to educate the public about ways to preserve the natural, scenic beauty of Arkansas.
Ramsey, who graduated with a degree in biology and a minor in environmental studies, was offered the position just days before her May graduation. She said she is excited to use her education to make a difference in the Hot Springs community.
University of the Ozarks 2013 graduate Kelsey Ramsey, receiving her diploma from her father, head women’s basketball coach Carl Ramsey, is working as the program director for the Hot Springs/Garland County Beautification Commission.
"I was attracted to this position, because it allowed me to go straight into the work force in a position where I felt I could make a difference. It is very fulfilling to see the difference the Commission is making and know I am partially responsible for that." Ramsey said.
As program director, Ramsey finds her skills tested in many different ways.
"I run all of the current programs, such as the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, which recently received national honors," she said. "I am also responsible for securing funding for projects via grants. I facilitate service days and coordinate our volunteers when we put on recycling and litter pickup events. In addition to all that, I am working with Growing Healthy Communities, where I serve on a subcommittee that focuses on providing community gardens in areas that otherwise may not have access to healthy foods."
Ramsey has enjoyed the challenge of her new role, and credits Ozarks and her professors for preparing her so well. One of the things she loved most about Ozarks was the opportunity to explore outside the classroom.
"I took advantage of Ozarks Study Abroad and was able to spend time in the Amazon rainforest, which was a lifelong dream of mine," she said. "I also was part of the National Parks class, which concluded with a nearly two-week long camping trip. Ozarks Outdoors also became one of my favorite parts of campus life as it sparked my love for outdoor recreation. I was blessed enough to experience all of this with some of the most amazing people you could ever hope to be around."
Ramsey is quick to point out that, even though she loved all the outside learning experiences, her work ethic and successful attitude is a direct result of the high expectations of her professors.
"As amazing as all of my extracurricular activities were, they were nowhere near as life-changing as the relationships I developed with my professors," she said. "I would not be the person I am today had it not been for the open door policies of my professors and the opportunities I had to work alongside them. I was blessed to be a part of Ozarks’ science department, where I can truly say I adored every single science and environmental studies professor."
Ramsey encourages other students to take advantage of the experienced and knowledgeable faculty at Ozarks.
"My advice for current students is to develop a relationship with your advisors and your professors," she said. "Even though it might not feel like it when you are pulling all-nighters or cramming for tests, they are there to help you succeed academically and beyond."
Topics: Environmental Studies