University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

IT Day for Students

The IT Day event is part of our grass roots effort to increase the number of students graduating with an information technology degree. Students are invited to learn about opportunities in the field of information technology.  In 2015, The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics states that there will be 1.1 Million U.S. computing-related job openings expected by the year 2024, but only 41 percent of these jobs can be filled by bachelor degree recipients by that time.

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More About This Event

The Information Technology Research Institute at the Sam M. Walton College of Business hosted its first IT Day for Students in the Arkansas delta on Friday, March 3rd, 2017 to demystify information technology careers to students.   The event was sponsored by the Newport Economic Development Commission and the Joe and Helen Harris Education Foundation and hosted at the Newport High School in Newport, Arkansas.

The goal of IT Day for students is to drive awareness of what information technology is, what career opportunities are available in the field and allow ITRI member company representatives, local teachers and University of Arkansas faculty and staff the opportunity to interact and positively influence the lives of 9th through 12th graders.  Approximately, 115 students attended the event from three schools in the area.

newport2The five-hour event kicked off with the Defining Careers in Information Technology activity.  This is a fun activity that breaks the ice and gets the students engaged in learning.  Several students line the stage with a sign of either a career title or a salary amount while the PowerPoint presentation provides definitions of the position title. Students enthusiastically raise their hand in support of which title they think matches the definition then they match the salary to the title. This exercise illuminates the variety of positions available in IT and exemplifies the higher salary rates associated with an IT career. 

Rob Burgess, Assistant to the Dean and Master Instructor of Computer Networking Technology at Arkansas State University in Newport spoke about opportunities available at ASUN including the Computing Networking Technology degree program.  Mr. Burgess's passion for the field of technology and the continual learning that occurs came through in his presentation to the students.

Autumn Parker, Associate Director of Undergraduate Programs at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville spoke about scholarship and enrollments, their deadlines and the degree programs available at the Sam M. Walton College of Business.  Participants knew the GPA and ACT score required for admittance and who to contact with any inquiries.

Adrain Smith, Director of the Strengths Based Initiative of the Multicultural Center at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville gave a presentation on Leadership and Branding.  This presentation encourages the students to think about how their attitude and demeanor affect how others perceive them.  Determining your brand at an early age and learning to lead by example are pertinent keys to success.

newportSynetra Hughes, Director of Student Programs at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville led a True/False Career activity as a precursor to a game of Jeopardy.  Participants broke into teams and competed for prizes by asking the correct question in the shortest amount of time.  Each member of the winning team received a bag full of goodies.  Students learned the titles of positions, job descriptions and the level of education typically required for that career.  The theme "learn more, earn more" was prevalent in this activity.

The panel discussion moderated by Susan Bristow allowed students the opportunity to ask questions of IT professionals from Acxiom, Arkansas BlueCross BlueShield, Dillard's, J.B. Hunt, Kyya Chocolate, the University of Arkansas and Verizon.  This interaction between industry and

The working lunch project lead by Susan Bristow, Information Systems Professor at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville tasked groups with creating a solution using technology.  It could be an app, a product or a service.  Mentors from area companies, ITRI board members and faculty worked with students during lunch to come up with an idea, list its advantages and capabilities and create a pitch.  After lunch groups vied for the opportunity to present their product or service to their peers.  This activity includes team building and presentation skills, analytical thinking and drives home the message that information technology is not just about coding.  Kyya

Rick Boosey of Kyya Chocolate LLC. gave the keynote presentation which revolved around following your passion by doing something you love, the value of giving and how thinking outside the box can help you be successful.