Arkansas State University-Beebe alumna Karen Brucks said ASU-Beebe provided the solid foundation she needed for her education and career.
Brucks, of Cabot, attended ASU-Beebe from 1983 to 1985 and earned an associate degree in liberal arts before transferring to Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Education, specializing in social sciences. “ASU-Beebe gave me a solid foundation in furthering my education as well as my career. My first two years were basic study and one-on-one instruction before I began the specialty area.”
Brucks has worked for the Veterans Administration as an Information Technology Specialist for 32 years. “When I started working at the VA, we didn’t have computers, so I adapted to each change in the IT field,” said Brucks. “And even though I earned a teaching degree, I have used the knowledge and skills in my career in showing others how to use a computer and work on technical issues.”
Brucks said she began taking college courses at ASU-Beebe the summer before her senior year. She had signed up for a pilot program the college offered for high school students at Beebe, Quitman and Cabot school districts. “By the time I began attending ASU-Beebe in 1984, I had already completed my freshman year college course work.”
In addition to the high school program, Brucks became familiar with ASU-Beebe through her mother, Nola Neal, who is a retired secretary in the areas of fine arts, education and social sciences. “During that time, many faculty and staff members had become like family to me,” said Brucks. “My favorite memories are of sitting in the Owen Center reception office and visiting with students and faculty who came through.”
When Brucks enrolled at ASU-Beebe, she said she qualified for a scholarship through community service and worked part-time for the Counseling Center and the Registrar in recommending classes to students.
As a college student, Brucks said she also enjoyed the many activities such as dances, Harvestfest, and basketball games. “There was always something happening on campus to be involved in for a great college experience,” said Brucks.
Brucks said her family has always recognized the value in earning a college education. Her husband Al is an ASU-Beebe employee and their daughter Amanda attended and received her Associate of Arts degree from ASU-Beebe.
When asked what has guided her in her education and career pursuits, Brucks said she looked for opportunities to learn more, recalling her former basketball coach saying: “If you learn the drills, then there is no reason to miss a free throw.”
“It was a shock going from high school to college and it helped me to be familiar with the college so that it wasn’t so overwhelming,” said Brucks. “Looking back now, I would advise students to study, finish what you start, take advantage of the campus services, get to know your instructors and participate in extracurricular activities having fun along the way.”
“Our alumni are our strongest asset in communicating the value of ASU-Beebe. I am inspired by their stories,” said Rose Mary Jackson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement. "We gladly share their stories of how ASU-Beebe has positively influenced them."
Arkansas State University-Beebe Alumni Stories is a project of the Alumni Association with the goal of sharing and preserving the ASU-Beebe historical and educational experiences of former students. If you are an alumnus and would like to share your story, contact Institutional Advancement at (501) 882-8855.