When University of Arkansas – Fort Smith student Aaron Dickson suffered second-degree burns during an accident early in the semester, he faced a financial challenge. Having prided himself on paying for his tuition out of pocket, he found himself struggling to make his tuition payments in lieu of medical bills.
He found the financial assistance he needed through a scholarship from the UAFS Foundation, which helped pay for part of his tuition and books.
"This scholarship really was a godsend for me,” Dickson said. “I wasn't sure how I was supposed to pay for my bills or tuition, until I was told that I had received a scholarship from an anonymous donor. It really was overwhelming."
Dickson’s suffered injuries after gasoline fumes exploded while he was lighting a fire. After a trip to Arkansas Children’s Hospital to tend to the second-degree burns on his face and arms, Dickson was back on campus only two days after the incident.
Although he surprised his professors by returning to class so quickly, it was just another act of dedication for Dickson in his mission to receive a college degree.
“This semester has been my hardest semester yet and I didn’t want to miss any classes, lectures or assignments that would hinder my grades after all the hard work I have put it,” Dickson said.
Dickson said all of his professors were extremely helpful and flexible and allowed him to make up his work.
“The faculty here were beyond helpful during this time,” Dickson said. “My professors were very flexible with the work I had to make up and were genuinely concerned for me. When I received the email informing me the scholarship funds, I found out it was one of my professors who put my name forward to receive the scholarship. I could not have asked for better professors.”
Dickson is a senior biology major at UAFS and wants to be a high school teacher in the surrounding area upon graduation.
About the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith
The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith is the premiere regional institution of Western Arkansas, connecting education with careers and serving as a driver of economic development and quality of place in the greater Fort Smith region. Through a small campus, dedicated professors, and the university’s unique bond with its community, students at UAFS are able to do more in the areas they are passionate about, both on- and off-campus, in a way that prepares them for post-graduate success. To find out how you can do more at UAFS, visit www.uafs.edu.