Five Students Selected for Inaugural Arkansas Impact Fellowship

Ralph Bray, Katie George, Solomon Quarm, Stef Vestal, and Cameron Witt have been announced as the inaugural recipients of the Arkansas Impact Fellowship. This fellowship supports Clinton School Capstone projects impacting Arkansas communities.

Funding for the Arkansas Impact Fellowship is provided by a grant from the Roy & Christine Sturgis Charitable Trust.

The Arkansas Impact Fellowship provides stipends for second-year Clinton School students who have selected field service projects in Arkansas in key mission areas, including education, health, human services, and the arts.

Below is a closer look at the students and their projects.

Ralph Bray headshot

Ralph Bray

Springdale High School

Bray, along with members of his concurrent MBA cohort at the Walton College of Business, have developed a mentoring program for disadvantaged students – many of which are Hispanic or Marshallese – at Springdale High School in which current MBA students serve as mentors. The program intends to help in creating and developing a talent pipeline for future Northwest Arkansas Careers, as corporations in the region have indicated a need to train and hire more local, diverse talent.

Bray’s Capstone is focused on ensuring that the mentoring program continues with Springdale High School’s students by developing an evaluation toolkit and a logic model that will help guide new MBA leaders who direct the program.

The evaluation toolkit will also include evaluation surveys and best-practices interviews with other successful mentoring programs.

Katie George headshot

Katie George

Arkansas Rural Health Partnership

George is designing an implementation toolkit for an Arkansas Rural Health Partnership pilot program that combines Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and the peer support recovery model, two programs that they currently implement, to provide appropriate and effective mental health support to high school females.

The proposed project will train local young women in Mental Health First Aid, who will then act as peer mentors to teenage girls struggling with mental health concerns.

George’s work includes completing best practices research, and using that research to form a program plan and evaluation plan.

Solomon Quarm headshot

Solomon Quarm

City of Little Rock Department of Public Works

Quarm is collaborating with the City of Little Rock Department of Public Works to develop the city’s first Master Pedestrian Plan. This plan is an important component of the larger initiative to transition from a traditional, car-centric urban planning model to one that is inclusive of pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit.

The project aims to address the current gap in urban planning resources in Little Rock, specifically the lack of a dedicated Master Pedestrian Plan.

The Master Pedestrian Plan has the potential to significantly impact the transportation needs of residents and contribute to creating a vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable urban environment.

Quarm’s work includes a comprehensive analysis of pedestrian infrastructure, safety, comfort, and overall walkability in Little Rock, with the goal of creating a more multimodal and equitable transportation system for the city.

Stef Vestal headshot

Stef Vestal

Little Rock School District

Vestal is completing her Capstone project with the Little Rock School District and serving as a Strategy and Policy Fellow to LRSD Chief of Staff Reggie Ballard (’18).

Vestal’s work includes working with the Chief of Staff on several different smaller projects ranging from organizing and attending Community Optimization and Strategic Plan community forums to providing recommendations on how to improve the Volunteers in Public School (ViPS) process and website.

Vestal is supporting strategic planning for the school board, working on the community optimization process for the district, and serving on a team that is implementing a partnership with Bright Futures. She also serves as a project manager for “Reimagine LRSD,” helping to increase enrollment and retention in the district. Finally, she is creating a best practices manual that can be used to create welcoming, safe, and inclusive school environments for LGBTQ+ students.

Cameron Witt headshot

Cameron Witt

Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub

Witt is partnering with the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub in North Little Rock, a dynamic makerspace dedicated to advancing S.T.E.A.M. education and economic development by providing a variety of workshops and training for both adults and K-12 students.

Witt is creating recommendations that will help the Innovation Hub’s “Skills to Launch” program – which addresses the financial barriers to technical training – align with the evolving workforce development needs in Arkansas. She is conducting a needs assessment, analyzing the state’s employment trends and occupational projection data using statistical techniques and identifying best practices in workforce development through interviews and a comprehensive review of relevant literature.

The findings from the needs assessment will inform a detailed report on the current landscape of the industries and occupations in Arkansas relevant to the Skills to Launch curriculum.



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