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Thursday, June 9, 2016

UACCM Graduate Extols the Merits of Kids College

Jessica Mashburn received her first diploma from the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton when she graduated from UACCM’s Kids College in the mid-nineties.  She has since gone on to receive four degrees and certificates, with a fifth currently in progress, and is beginning a teaching position with Dardanelle School District this fall.  She credits her success, in part, to her experiences at Kids College and UACCM.
Mashburn has been part of the UACCM community since she was a young child visiting campus with her grandmother, Laverne Blocker, who retired as the administrative assistant for Academic Services.  Because of her exposure to campus, her parents encouraged her to take advantage of every opportunity available, which resulted in her participation in Kids College every year she was eligible.  Of her experience with Kids College, she said “It was beyond what I expected.  Not only was it an amazing learning experience, but it was a program that promoted the growth of social skills.  It was always fun to meet new people and share a fun learning experience with them.”
After Kids College, Mashburn stayed involved on campus and began taking UACCM classes while a freshman in high school.  When she graduated from Perryville High School in 2007 she had 21 credit hours at UACCM.   At 18 she completed the UACCM Certified Nursing Assistant program and worked as a CNA through her college career.  She then completed the liberal arts program at UACCM and graduated with an Associate of Arts. 
Mashburn credits her experience at UACCM with helping her develop a strong confidence and personality that allowed for a smooth transition to a four-year institution.  She also believed that the one-on-one attention with her instructors taught her important communication skills, accountability, and responsibility necessary at a large four-year university where she said it can be easy to get lost in the crowd.
With a confidence she said she found, in part because of her time at UACCM, she went on to receive her Bachelor of Arts in English, with a minor in psychology from Arkansas Tech in 2011.  Not one for taking a break, she began a master’s program in teaching three weeks after her graduation.  Before she completed this program, she was offered a position with Mayflower High School.  With a provisional license, she taught tenth grade English literature beginning in May of 2013 and graduated with a Master of Arts in teaching in December of 2013. Mashburn recently accepted a position to teach eighth grade English/Language Arts at Dardanelle Middle School, beginning this fall. 
According to Mashburn, UACCM’s Kid College has had a great impact on her teaching.  She said, “I believe that attending Kids College helped me see what great teachers are supposed to be.  Making classrooms interactive, explorative, full of technology, and focusing on the individual learners was a major success point at Kids College.  It has been one of the major factors throughout my education, aside from God and my family.”
Jessica has a family that has been very supportive of her education from the time she was very young.  She said, “I couldn’t ask for a better support system that what God gave me.  My family is the backbone of my college career.” While she is the first in her family to get a bachelor’s degree, education is important to her family. 
Her entire family has attended UACCM, and several have earned certificates and degrees.  Kelly McGehee, her father, received his Associate of Applied Science and both a Technical Certificate and Certificate of Proficiency in Petroleum Technology.  Her mother, Susan McGehee, completed the business program when the college was Petit Jean Vo-Tech.  Her grandmother, Lavern Blocker, received an Associate of Applied Science and her brother, Nick Maggio, is a current UACCM student in the Petroleum Technology program.
When she isn’t teaching, she uses her CNA license as a patient caretaker with the Catholic Health Initiative in Morrilton.  When the Conway County Farmer’s Market opens, she will help sell the products of her family’s 120-acre farm at the bottom of Petit Jean Mountain, where she was born and raised.  She is also a Dive Master and will begin teaching scuba diving classes soon.
Mashburn highly encourages parents to consider sending their children to Kids College.  As a teacher, she is thrilled UACCM offers this opportunity for students who normally wouldn’t be exposed to this type of learning in a traditional classroom setting.   She said, “Kids College is a program specifically developed for young learners.  There are so many fun activities to enjoy.  Making friends and learning will happen every day at Kids College.”
Kids College begins Monday, June 27 and goes through Thursday, June 30.  Classes start at 8:00 a.m. each day and end at 2:30 p.m.  The cost is $75 per student.  For more information about UACCM’s Kids College or to get registered, contact Vicki Shadell, Director of Workforce Development, at 501-977-2132 or shadell@uaccm.edu.


Former Kids College student Jessica Mashburn, pictured with students from her school, encourages parents to consider enrolling their children in UACCM’s Kids College. (Photo courtesy of Jessica Mashburn)    

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