Young alumnus, Adam White, understands what it means to “give back” to the University of Arkansas. A member of the Arkansas Alumni Association, board member of the Civil Engineering Alumni Society and scholarship benefactor, his proactive approach to staying connected to his alma mater and department continue to be important aspects of his life.
A 2008 graduate of the civil engineering department, White, a native of Russellville, understands the struggles that students face when contemplating degree programs, finances and homework. Through his understanding, he and two of his fellow classmates, Trenton Ellis and Meagan Berlau, decided to start a scholarship for civil engineering students. “I was a recipient of the Arkansas Academy of Civil Engineering scholarship. It allowed me to not worry about finances and instead, focus on the things I enjoy in school,” he said.
Looking to give other students that same opportunity, White and his two classmates consulted with faculty and staff members within the department, including Dr. Kevin Hall, departmental chair of civil engineering, who supported them on their endeavors. Deciding that each would contribute $500 to the scholarship, the Honorarium for Dedicated Leadership and Outstanding Character Scholarship was started. Set up for junior and senior civil engineering students, White added, “It is an annual $1,500 scholarship for those who demonstrate leadership skills in academic and extracurricular activities.”
When asked why, at such a young age, they decided to take on such a venture, White stated, “We all had the financial capacity to start the scholarship. We didn’t want to wait.”
Apart from his contributions to helping students financially while in school, he stays actively involved in the Civil Engineering Alumni Society, serving as a board member. Joining two years ago, he is an advocate for the society’s purpose of “unifying alumni and providing them the opportunity to come back and connect,” as well as “giving back to students and scholarships.” Proud to be involved in an organization that allows alumni and students to build relationships, he urges students to make connections with professionals; something he understands through personal experience.
As a junior, White participated in the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Steel Bridge and Concrete Canoe competition. While building a steel bridge in Lawrence, KS, he met many people within the program, and through his connections, received an internship with Garver Engineers, LLC, his current employer.
“I work in the aviation department. We build airports in the area and help our clients achieve their vision,” he said. Adding that as a project engineer, his job allows him to help with funding, as well as oversee the projects, he claims that “getting to know the clients and seeing a project from its concept through the construction phase is what I like best about my job.”
Although his activities outside of work keep him busy, White can’t imagine it any other way. “The Arkansas Alumni Association is an avenue to connect and give back to the University of Arkansas,” he said. Through his involvement with the Association, he has met fellow professionals who he shares similar interests, such as former Civil Engineering Alumni Society president, Marcus Hopkins, and fellow civil engineer, Paul Selig.
The people he has met, the opportunities he has been given and the impact he and his fellow classmates continue to make on current students are just a few of the reasons why he believes it is worth getting involved.
“It is rewarding to give back to students. You get so much of it and it helps you grow as a professional just as much as they grow as students.”