Pictured (left to right): Indonesia Jackson (Pine Bluff School District), Jada Lambert (Friendship Aspire Academy Southeast Arkansas Prep), Aaliyah Handy (Watson Chapel School District), Freddiemae Thompson (Dollarway High School District).

PINE BLUFF, AR – The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), hosted a historic Signing Day on Wednesday, welcoming four valedictorians from local high schools in Pine Bluff and Jefferson County.

The four women, Freddiemae Thompson, Aaliyah Handy, Jada Lambert, and Indonesia Jackson, signed commitments to enrolling at UAPB in the fall.

The students’ enrollment marks a historic moment for the university, as it’s the first that Valedictorians from all Pine Bluff High Schools have chosen to enroll at UAPB. Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management and Student Success, Dr. Braque Talley, Sr. credits the university’s campus-wide commitment to excellence.

“We are excited about welcoming these extraordinary students this is a monumental for UAPB and the community – keeping our talent here,” said Dr. Talley.

Amanda Kirklin, the scholarship coordinator at the university echoed Talley’s comments, “We want our local students to know that UAPB is a viable option.”

This fall, the young women plan to study in various fields including nursing, business, and law. In addition all four students have been award a full scholarship to the university.

“We must work to attract and retain top talent in our state and help make lasting, transformative investments in our future students and local schools that will have positive impacts for generations,” said George Cotton, Sr., Vice Chancellor of Institutional Advancement.

“Not only did these scholars perform well academically, but they performed well during a pandemic; this validates their strength and commitment to their goals,” said Donna Ryles, Director of Recruitment at UAPB.

As part of the Class of 2021, the women excelled in their academics and received the highest grade point average (GPA) at their high schools.

Freddiemae Thompson of Dollarway High School

Miss Thompson plans to major in biology and has plans to become a doctor or an entrepreneur. She would like to established a privately-owned healthcare facility called Thompson Care.

Aaliyah Handy of Watson Chapel High School

Miss Handy plans to major in nursing. She wants to work in the medical field and plans to become a registered nurse.

Jada Lambert of Friendship Aspire Academy

Miss Lambert plans to major in nursing and would like to pursue her passion for taking care of others by becoming a registered nurse.

Indonesia Jackson of Pine Bluff High School

Miss Jackson plans to major in English with a minor in Political Science. She plans to attend Law School and become a criminal or civil attorney.

About the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) is an 1890 Land-Grant HBCU with a diverse student population, competitive degree offerings, and stellar faculty. For more than 140 years, UAPB has worked to create an environment that emphasizes learning, growth, and productivity while affording a basic need to its students: a chance to advance. UAPB offers certificate and associate degree programs, more than 40 undergraduate and master’s degree programs, and a doctoral program in Aquaculture/Fisheries. Students are active in more than 100 organizations, including an internationally renowned Vesper Choir, Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South Band, concert bands, wind symphony, and an accomplished athletics program. For more information, visit www.uapb.edu.


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