EPIC Spotlight: Locke Isaacson

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Jonesboro native Locke Isaacson graduated from the Sam M. Walton College of Business in spring 2010 with a major in marketing management and a minor in finance, but she doesn’t want to stop learning just yet. Isaacson is applying in September 2010 to the dual degree program that partners the Walton College with the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock. She hopes to use her education to better the lives of other through nonprofit work.

While pursuing her degree, Isaacson came to really appreciate her professors. “Several of the teachers here are incredible. The relationships they create with us, in and out of the classroom, are great.” She said she has considered becoming a teacher, too. “Eventually, I think I might want to be a college professor because I’ve really enjoyed several of my teachers here, and I would like to help others like I have been helped,” she said. “I also think it would be fun to teach a non-profit class in the business school. I haven’t taken anything like that; they might offer it, but I haven’t heard of it.”

Isaacson said she has been given many opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. One of those opportunities took her to Europe on a study abroad trip. In summer 2008, Isaacson spent six weeks on the southern coast of Spain. “It definitely threw me outside of my comfort zone. The main way I orient myself in a situation is by talking to people. When you don’t speak much Spanish in a Spanish-speaking country, it’s a little bit more challenging,” she said. This challenge didn’t take away from the experience, though. “It was great because I was able to learn about so many different cultures. The students at this school were from all over the world; even though they weren’t American, many of them spoke English, so we could communicate that way; or, it really forced me to communicate in Spanish. It was a great experience—very challenging, but a good time.”

She also had two internships during her time at the Walton College. She worked with PowerAde, an internship through CBS Sports, to promote the product to the University of Arkansas intramural sports program and to set up taste tests among students. She also spent a semester working for Tyson Foods, where her duties consisted of analyzing reports, budgeting, and setting up product cuttings to assess product quality. She said this internship was at times taxing, but well worth it. “Being involved on campus, going to class, and working at least 20 hours a week [at Tyson] was a full load. I’ve been pretty good with time management, but that semester was challenging. I think it was true to life, though,” she said. “The hands-on learning experience was great because it is something that can’t be taught in the classroom.”

From January 2009 to January 2010, Isaacson served as vice president over recruitment for the Panhellenic Council. “I helped host women’s recruitment for all the sororities on campus. I worked here over the summer and talked to all the students and parents during orientation, and I worked with all of the sororities to make sure everyone knew the process, rules, and schedule.” She said planning the sororities’ week-long rush event at the end of the summer contributed to her business education. She learned how to properly handle a time-sensitive schedule and plan for unplanned events. “It’s definitely shown me that I like working with people,” she said.

During her senior year, Isaacson also served as co-vice president of the University of Arkansas chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma, the national business honor society. She said she felt privileged to be chosen for such a position and was pleased with the opportunities she was given. “I was selected to go to Tampa to a business conference and was privileged to host the Beta Gamma Sigma benefit,” she said.

Isaacson has graduated from the Walton College, but she hopes to return soon, this time as an MBA candidate working toward a dual degree in business and public service, which is offered by the Walton College and the Clinton School of Public Service. Isaacson said this degree plan is compatible with her career hopes. “I’d like to work in the non-profit side of business,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to have a non-profit organization for underprivileged kids, but mainly those aged 12 to 18. I feel like most programs end once kids get older and are considered more mature, but I think 12 to 18 is such a vital period in their lives. They still need some influence—maybe a mentorship program in which education is really encouraged.”

In May 2010, Isaacson graduated summa cum laude from the University of Arkansas Honors College. She was also the Outstanding Marketing Senior for the Walton College.