At age five, Marissa Moore decided that she was going to be just like her uncle as she watched him clean teeth.
UAFS brings Moore a step closer to her goal, as it is one of the only schools in the area to offer a degree in dental hygiene.
“I’ve known what I wanted to do since I was five. I haven’t changed my mind once,” Moore said.
And when Moore has a goal in her sights, she cannot be stopped. That resolve was one of the reasons she was selected as the first recipient of the $1,000 UAFS Alumni Legacy Scholarship.
“She has an incredible drive, ambition and determination. She will go far,” said Alumni Affairs Director Rick Goins.
The Alumni Advisory Council established the scholarship as an opportunity for family members of alumni to attend the university. The scholarship has been set up to assist a child, parent, spouse or sibling of a UAFS graduate or a former student who passed 14 credit hours from Fort Smith Junior College, Westark Junior College, Westark Community College or Westark College.
When looking for a university to attend, Moore, who grew up on a cattle ranch in Mulberry, chose UAFS.
“I didn’t want to leave home, I wanted to stay close to family. UAFS is like a home away from home,” Moore said.
The freshman is also following in her mother’s footsteps.
“We are not just mother and daughter, we are best friends,” Moore said, “and now we will both be alumni here at UAFS. My mom is so proud that I am going here.”
After first earning her associate’s degree, Pamela Moore, ’91 and ’09, returned to UAFS for a Bachelor of Science in middle school education.
“I was hoping Marissa would go to Fort Smith,” Pamela said. “It’s exciting that she is going to the same school as me.”
A high achieving student, Marissa graduated from Mulberry High School with a 4.0 GPA and college credits. She’s also a single mother caring for a 10 month-old daughter, Emma Grace, while working and attending school.
“I support my daughter. I’m trying to save up for a home to call my own, but that is difficult to do while trying to save money for my education, too,” Marissa said.
Members of the Alumni Advisory Council were excited to welcome Marissa to the university and the Lion family.
“I would hire her,” Karla Jacobs, scholarship committee chair, said. “She is so well spoken and well mannered.”
To learn more about the scholarship or to make a donation to helping students, visit alumni.uafs.edu/give/legacy-scholarship.