Freshman Engineering Program

Meet Matt Annis! Matt is a Sophomore Civil Engineering student from Russellville, Arkansas. Along with being a Parent Ambassador, Matt is a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and a showroom host for Hotz Honors Hall.

This year, an estimated 800 students will join the College of Engineering here at the University of Arkansas. Some of these students will be lucky enough to have a good idea of what discipline of engineering they wish to study. Others will be still trying to decide which field to enter. Here at the university, the College of Engineering is dedicated to providing every new engineering student with the maximum range opportunity to experience the nine different degrees it offers. This is accomplished through the Freshman Engineering Program.

The Freshman Engineering Program, or FEP for short, is designed to provide a baseline experience for all new engineering students. Students are not allowed to officially declare their major until Decision Day, which occurs in the spring semester. Before then, everyone is considered a “freshman engineer”. FEP is a multifaceted tool that gives students a diverse range of routes to improving socially as a young individual, academically as a new college student, and professionally as a career seeker.

Part of the baseline experience offered by FEP is the common curriculum. Each freshman engineer will take four hours, two per semester, of introduction to engineering coursework along with their other classes. Part of the requirements for these general engineering (GNEG) courses is attending “Informational Departmental Sessions.” During these sessions, the nine departments get to showcase their degree opportunities in an attempt to recruit new students to their program. Other requirements of GNEG classes include attending a resume workshop and a mock interview. Honors GNEG courses are offered for students who have previous experience with engineering coursework and/or want to get a jump on their Honor’s College thesis by starting their research almost a year early.

One of the best aspects of FEP is the peer mentoring program. Each new student is paired with an upperclassman within the College of Engineering at the beginning of the fall semester. This upperclassman acts as a guide to both what it means to be an engineering student and a college student as a whole. During both the fall and spring semesters, the freshman engineers meet with their peer mentors once a week for half an hour. The peer mentors teach a short lesson, interject personal experience to fill holes in the curriculum, and then answer any questions the mentee might have. My peer mentor was the most helpful person I met during my first year in college. She helped me with extracurricular activities and building my resume more so than anything else. Her excellent example of leadership inspired me to apply to the peer mentoring program, and I am glad to say that I will be one of the 81 peer mentors aiding students in their transition into college life come this fall.

More information about the Freshman Engineering Program can be found at If your student is going to be a freshman engineer, I urge you to follow the link and inform them on the numerous features FEP has to offer them. The best lesson to be learned in college is how to help yourself.

Why R.O.C.K Camp?

Meet Josh Jensen. Josh is a Junior studying Industrial Engineering at the U of A from Austin, Texas. In addition to serving as a Lead Parent Ambassador, he is also the Outreach and Special Events Student Coordinator for R.O.C.K. Camp 2017 and a member of the Beta Upsilon Chi fraternity here on campus. Even though the University of Arkansas is 8 hours away from home, he can’t imagine living anywhere else.

As an incoming freshman, your student may be nervous about leaving the nest, leaving their friends, or leaving what they know to start a new chapter in their lives. There are some students who grew up calling the hogs with their grandparents while there are others who didn’t know Fayetteville, AR even existed until they began looking into colleges. No matter what background your student is coming from, here at the University of Arkansas we have a program that gets your student excited and ready for their freshman year and it’s called “R.O.C.K. Camp”!

R.O.C.K. Camp is an extended orientation for first year students that stands for Razorback Outreach Community Knowledge and there are two sessions available for incoming students, both of which allow your student to move in early to their residence hall and get the lay of the land before anyone else! Your student will be put in a group of 12 other students and over the 4 days of camp, they’ll compete in different events, sports, and competitions to try and earn points and become the best team on campus. Besides the fun events that we have planned for your student, they’ll also learn the chants, cheers, history, and the do’s and don’ts of campus life here at the University of Arkansas. Your student will also meet with their college advisors and older students in their college so that they can ask any questions they have and be given advice on how to succeed during their freshmen year and beyond. On the third day of camp, we will travel to Tahlequah, OK to further the camp experience! You student will stay in cabins for the night and meet even more students that they might come across in their classes or in their residence hall and on the final day of camp, we will end by going on a float trip down the Buffalo River.

I am from Austin, Texas (8 hours away from home), I didn’t grow up calling the hogs and I only knew a handful of people from my high school coming to the University of Arkansas my freshman year. Needless to say, I knew very little about the university or how to get involved with the community here. My roommate and I and decided to attend R.O.C.K. Camp and it was by far one of the best decisions that I’ve made while in college. I met my people and found a home at the University of Arkansas. It was a relief on the first day of classes when I realized I was one of the few freshmen who weren’t totally lost on campus and it was all thanks to my mentors from R.O.C.K. Camp. I’d encourage your student and their roommate to check out this extended orientation because a lot of students won’t tell their parents if they’re nervous about moving up in the world and attending R.O.C.K. Camp is definitely one of the easiest and most fun ways your student can get into the college experience.

Woo Pig and Go Hogs

Below is the link for more information! Check it out and start the conversation!


Center for Community Engagement

Meet Hayden Thrasher! Hayden is a Junior Computer Science major from Greenbrier, Arkansas. This is Hayden’s third year with the NSFP office. Along with being a Lead Parent Ambassador, Hayden is a member of the BYX Fraternity and is a Houseboy at the KKG Sorority house.

One of the best things that your student can do during their time at the University of Arkansas is to volunteer some of their time and to give back to the Northwest Arkansas community. There are countless benefits to volunteer work; from being able to apply for the Presidential Service Award, to looking really good on a resume, and even that warm fuzzy feeling you get inside when you get to volunteer. One of the best opportunities for students at the University of Arkansas to volunteer and give back to this community is through the Center for Community Engagement.

The Center for Community Engagement (CCE) serves to bring together the University of Arkansas campus and the rest of the NWA Community. They also serve as a liaison for nonprofits around the Fayetteville area to recruit and engages students at the U of A as volunteers in their different programs. The CCE also provides many different on-campus opportunities for students to volunteer, and advise the on campus Volunteer Action Center.

One of the biggest services that the CCE provides to students at the University of Arkansas is the U of A GivePulse account ( Through this website, students can see all of the different volunteer opportunities (called “Impacts”) that have been registered on the U of A page. From here, students can sign in using their Uark username and password, or using their Facebook page! With this account, students can track their volunteer hours and history. This allows them to keep track of their hours in one place, and makes the information easily accessible to put on resumes or to apply for volunteer awards!

The CCE also provides several different services directly for the students at the U of A. They oversee the Volunteer Action Center (VAC) on campus. The VAC provides many services to students who may need it, including an on campus food pantry stocked with food donated by students and businesses at the University of Arkansas.   The CCE also gives students the opportunity to take part in the “Work It Off” program. The Work It Off program allows students who have received a parking citation here on campus the opportunity to “Work It Off”. This lets students volunteer for a certain amount of time in order to compensate for the parking ticket, instead of having to pay the monetary value that the ticket is worth.

All in all, the CCE is a great resource that your student can use in a variety of different ways here at the University of Arkansas. For more information about the CCE and the programs or opportunities it can provide your student, visit their website at: .

Fayetteville Parks

Meet Christopher Hess. Christopher is a freshman in Electrical Engineering.  He is from Springfield Missouri.  Christopher decided to attend the University of Arkansas because of its great engineering program and the beautiful location.  In his free time he enjoys riding the bike trails and playing disc golf.

Meet Christopher Hess. Christopher is a freshman in Electrical Engineering. He is from Springfield Missouri. Christopher decided to attend the University of Arkansas because of its great engineering program and the beautiful location. In his free time he enjoys riding the bike trails and playing disc golf.

Fayetteville Parks

Northwest Arkansas is widely known for its natural beauty, and justly so.  The University of Arkansas campus is surrounded by magnificent rolling hills, quaint streams and woods.  One of the best ways to observe the beauty of the area is by going to one of the many parks near the University of Arkansas.  The City of Fayetteville is home to about 37 parks including sports complexes, nature areas and gardens.  Many of these parks are very accessible from campus and have a lot to offer your students.

The closest park to campus is Wilson Park.  This park is very popular among students here at the university for several reasons; for one it is only one and a half miles from the union.  This is a short walk, especially for students who live on the north side of campus.  It is has a basketball court, tennis courts, a sand volleyball court and even a softball field.  For the less competitive park goers there is also a walking trail, gazebo and picnic areas.  This is Fayetteville’s oldest park and arguably one of its best.

Walker Park is also very close to the University of Arkansas campus.  This park offers several unique features that Wilson Park does not offer.  One of my favorite amenities at this park is the disc golf course that cuts through the wooded portion of this park.  In addition to its tennis courts, basketball court and volleyball courts it also has eight baseball fields, two handball and racquetball courts, twenty horseshoe pits, two soccer fields and a skate park.  Although this park is a little bit farther than Wilson Park it has quite a bit more to offer.  This park is about 1.8 miles from the union and is connected to campus via the Razorback Regional Greenway.

Lake Fayetteville is another great park located in the Northwest Arkansas area.  This park is significantly farther away from campus but it is still worth the fifteen minute drive.  If your student is looking for a pleasant bike ride, they can ride just over seven miles on the Frisco and Scull Creek Trails.  This park also has a trail that loops around the small lake.  This park is a different caliber park than Wilson and Walker, it doesn’t have many sports facilities, besides its softball complex, but it is a beautiful park with many trails.  It has hiking and mountain biking trails as well as a small technical bike course.  Lake Fayetteville is also home to North Shore Disc Golf course.

These are my personal favorite parks here in Fayetteville, but there are many other great parks here that all have something unique to offer the city’s inhabitants.  You should encourage your student to explore Fayetteville and all it has to offer; I encourage everyone to go to these parks and to visit others.  For more information about Fayetteville’s parks follow this link.

Out of State Students

Meet Margaret Anne Shanks. Margaret Anne is a sophomore pre-nursing major from Memphis, Tennessee. In addition to being a parent ambassador, she is also a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She enjoys going on walks, hiking, and exploring Fayetteville.

As an out of state student from Memphis, Tennessee I can attest to the advantages and disadvantages of living far from home. The University of Arkansas was appealing to me not only because of the academics, but because it is a college that not everyone from my hometown attends and was going to be a new experience for me. I am so glad I chose the University of Arkansas because it has introduced me to so many new people and experiences.

While going away to college can be a big transition for many students, it can also be an incredible learning experience as it increases their sense of independence and pushes them outside their comfort zones. Personally, I have found that being away from home makes me appreciate it more when I have the opportunity to go back. Further, while I love going back home to visit with family and friends, it is also nice to make my way back to my home away from home here in Fayetteville. I have also met a number of really great people that also come from Memphis here at Arkansas, so it is a fun conversation starter and a wonderful way to meet new people.

My favorite part about going out of state for school is that it opens you up to a brand new environment, new atmosphere, and best of all, new people. It also gives your students a chance to start with a clean slate. I have met so many new people at the University of Arkansas and made many lasting friendships.

The one hard part of going out of state for school is being so far from home. Homesickness is real and it does happen. Homesickness is usually the most prevalent in the third week of school, especially in the first year. The best thing to do when your student gets homesick is to visit them or have them come home for a weekend. Also try not to ask your student questions like “are you homesick yet”, because sometimes they may not even realize they are homesick until their parents bring it up. Every once in a while students need a break from college life and a call or visit from their parents is all they need to rejuvenate. A great time to come visit is during Family Weekend in the fall! Family Weekend is a fun opportunity to spend quality time with your student while meeting other families as well.

Having your student go away for college can be hard, but it is a growing experience for both you and your student. Going to an out of state school for college was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I hope your students feel the same way!

Things to do in Fayetteville

Meet Malorie Catlett. Malorie is a sophomore Kinesiology major from Hot Springs, AR. She is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority and enjoys volunteering at the animal shelters in Fayetteville. Her favorite restaurants in Fayetteville include: Hugo’s Hammontree’s, Wasabi, Andy’s, and Rick’s Bakery. She has always wanted to come to the University of Arkansas and loves Fall in Fayetteville.

Fayetteville and its surrounding areas are full of things to do and places to see.  Whenever you decide to come visit your student, there will be plenty of options so keep you entertained.  There is something here for everyone, no matter what your interests are. Something that is unique about Fayetteville is our extensive list of coffee shops. My personal favorite is Arsaga’s.  They have many different locations, so you can easily get to another one if one is busy.  They aren’t just known for their coffee but also their delicious crepes.  The atmosphere is family friendly, and it is a perfect place to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee or a meal while deciding what to do next. Mama Carmen’s is another popular coffee and tea shop.  This business was inspired by a lady in Guatemala named Mama Carmen.  She provides food, shelter, and other resources to over 60 abandoned children.  Mama Carmen was anonymously given a coffee farm to earn money to provide for these children, and someone from this business went and taught her to run the farm.  Onyx Coffee Lab has a very interesting setup and environment. Something unique about Onyx is that they roast the beans in front of you, and they also have snack selections.

If you and your student are into hiking and being outside, Northwest Arkansas is a perfect place to do it!  Fayetteville has many parks and trails:  The trail system goes all throughout the city in populated areas.  Fayetteville is a leader in establishing trails throughout its city limits. An extensive trails system is currently in use and expanding at the rate of two to three miles per year. Following the city’s Master Plan, a 100-mile interconnected system will someday run throughout the city.  Covering more than 4,000 acres of land, Fayetteville has 70 parks with something for everyone. Our parks offer 40 miles of paved and natural trails, three lakes, 43 athletic fields/courts, a swimming pool, a BMX track and even a skate park. Whatever you want to do, it’s free of charge.  If you are up for a drive, Devil’s Den is about 30 minutes away, and there are many trails that range from mild to hard.  There are other places to hike such as Lost Valley in Ponca, AR and Hawksbill Crag, but both of these are about an hour and twenty minutes away, so if driving that far isn’t an option, there is a beautiful lookout point here in Fayetteville.  No matter the season, Mount Sequoyah provides a beautiful view of the entire city, and it has hiking trails, too.  The best part is that it’s only 5 minutes from campus!

Crystal Bridges is an art museum that is free to the public.  It isn’t in Fayetteville, but it is in Bentonville which is only about a 20 minute drive from campus.  The beautifully crafted museum is surrounded by hiking trails and also has a restaurant that specializes in modern American comfort food.  Throughout the year, there are different displays that come for certain amounts of time.  If you or your student are interested in art, this is a wonderful place to experience it.

These are just a few suggestions of what there is to do in Fayetteville.  There are so many wonderful things to do and to see here.  Your student will know of other things to do, but these are just a couple of ideas on where to start.