Van Buren, AR
"I have truly enjoyed my experience in the program and have gained valuable knowledge that directly impacts my career interests."
Like many of her first-generation college students, Amanda Seidenzahl understands the hardships associated with obtaining a higher level of education. This led her to pursue a Doctor of Education in Human Resource and Workforce Development degree at the University of Arkansas.
“This is a great program for anyone interested in workforce development,” said Seidenzahl, a project director in the Regional Workforce Grants office at the University of Arkansas in Fort Smith. “I have truly enjoyed my experience in the program and have gained valuable knowledge that directly impacts my career interests.”
Seidenzahl has been able to continue her studies with the access to an online program but at the same time deal with the demands and pressures of life, she said.
“Online studies provide flexibility to balance my family, work and education,” she said. “This flexibility allows me to connect with instructors and fellow students without spending hours commuting to campus. The connection of our instructors stands out for me. I have appreciated the constant information and quick responses from every instructor in my program. They use a variety of educational methods that allow students to engage in research-based practices relevant to the field.”
Seidenzahl has led multiple student success programs at UAFS, where she works with first-generation and low-income high school and college students to prepare them for college and assist in obtaining essential life skills.
“I discovered a passion and a capacity in which I could impact so many students as I helped provide cultural opportunities and assisted as they prepared for college entrance exams and applications for financial aid and college admissions,” she said.
Watching the sacrifices and perseverance of her parents instilled a drive in Seidenzahl to complete her education and help other students learn about opportunities, she said.
“Neither of my parents completed a four-year degree,” Seidenzahl said. “My dad would at times work three jobs to ensure that my mom could complete her education while providing for our family.”
Seidenzahl is one of 23 people to receive the W.E. Manning Memorial Scholarship for online U of A students for the 2020-2021 academic year. After graduating, she plans to continue to work in higher education, focusing on workforce development programs.
“I am honored for the opportunity to receive the scholarship as I continue my studies and excited to complete this journey and dedicated to meeting this lifelong goal,” she said. “I am dedicated in my pursuit of a doctoral degree and plan to pay forward the opportunities afforded to me as I continue to promote academic success and educational access for students.”