Millennial joins UA Little Rock Alumni Board
July 8-14, 2019
By Cait Smith
For Miguel Lopez, volunteering and mentoring has always been a favorite pastime, so when the opportunity arose to join the UA Little Rock Alumni Board, he leaped at the chance. “It’s a blessing to be able to be on the board and help with scholarship decisions because it wasn’t too long ago that I was applying for those scholarships,” he stated. As a two-time alumnus of UA Little Rock, Lopez is enthused to be involved in the community.
After graduating from high school, Lopez decided on UA Little Rock for one simple reason – versatility. From the slew of programs offered, it gave him the option to pursue two different degrees – a bachelor’s in political science and a master’s in public administration. “I decided to go into public administration because I knew I wanted something that would provide me with stronger skill sets in the professional setting,” he explained.
Lopez also expressed different interests in volunteer work while on campus – including being a Ronald E. McNair scholar. “I did two research projects while I was a scholar ... although they aren’t relevant to my current job, the practices I learned – data collection and analysis – are useful to me in banking,” he said. Lopez was also a part of the Mechanical Engineering Technology (ETME) Model Arab League. This not only allowed him to travel to Houston, Morocco, and Washington D.C., it helped him gain public speaking skills.
Everything came full circle for Lopez when he realized how much he loved working for nonprofit organizations. “I was grateful to get a job at the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce and work closely with the economic development team,” he said. Throughout his time there, Lopez met a lot of people, some of which included the leaders of First Community Bank. Without hesitation, he said yes to a job opportunity with the bank, “that’s when my passion and interest collided. I’m helping a small business and the community connect.”
Now as the Hispanic resource officer for First Community Bank, Lopez couldn’t be happier. “I love meeting people, seeing what their financial needs are and figuring out how we can meet those needs,” he said. First Community Bank is a locally owned branch committed to putting the community first in every decision they make. “Our approach to banking is really simple. We’re a strong bank that supports the community and in return they supports us,” stated Lopez.
Since being on the alumni board, Lopez is willing to help any way he can. “I want to help raise funds for the university and help with enrollment,” he said. Although Lopez is still learning the ropes, he always tell students the advice that has helped him. “UA Little Rock was a blessing for me, and it could be for you, too. You just have to apply yourself and see what’s out there,” he said.
Lopez is also an active participate in Little Rock, he serves on the following boards: Just Communities of Arkansas, Harmony Health Clinic, Goodwill of Arkansas Education Initiatives, and the Museum of Discovery. “Little Rock has given my family so much, so I’m always trying to find ways to give back,” he said. More recently, Lopez has focused his attention on connecting the Hispanic community within Little Rock. “We tend to self-ostracize from others a lot of the time. That needs to change … I think the more connected we are as a community, the stronger we are together,” he explained.
With so many opportunities on the rise, Lopez wants central Arkansas to be the best it can be. “Little Rock is a small enough city to create change. The more we contribute, the better city we’re going to be,” he proudly proclaimed.