Multipotentialite takes on UA Little Rock downtown space
January 28 - February 3, 2019
By Caitlin Smith
With a passion for serving others, Ross Owyoung has been given the opportunity to provide the public with information about the academic possibilities at UA Little Rock. As the new director of UA Little Rock Downtown, Owyoung is ready for a fresh start – “I’m most excited about reconnecting the university to the city and the city to the university.”
This 25-year-old has always had a knack for serving the community. Born and raised in McGeHee, Arkansas, Owyoung says he grew up valuing generosity. “They taught me that kindness is a huge aspect of everyday life […] I was raised in an environment that I was always serving the community in some way,” said Owyoung.
It all started while Owyoung attended school. He joined East Lab because the program focused on the needs of the community. He came up with ideas such as exercising for the elderly. East Lab was his segway to Beta Club. “The mission of Beta Club was to let us lead by serving others,” said Owyoung. As the president of the club, he attended various national Beta conventions to give public speaking speeches. Due to experiences in his personal life, Owyoung was able to deliver passionate stories about hope and never giving up.
Owyoung also had an active life during his years at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He joined the Student Alumni Board Association because they stood for everything he believed in. “Basically, what they do is service for the university,” said Owyoung. One of the initiatives he took was suggesting there be a ribbon cutting ceremony for alumni once their names have been engraved on the sidewalk – called the ‘Senior Walk Dedication’. After he received a bachelor’s degree in legal studies, Owyoung was set on attending law school.
After doing some research he stumbled upon the Clinton School of Public Service. “Everything that the Clinton school represents and does is everything that I’ve been taught and instilled in my whole life. I had not even known that that was an avenue you could create a career out of,” said Owyoung. When applying to the Clinton School he faced a hard question – ‘what is your public service interest?’ Owyoung explains, “I call myself a multipotentialite. I have so many potentials and interests. I love to dive into all these different initiatives. At the Clinton school that made me focus in because you can’t make a career out of being a multipotentialite.”
Reflections about his past school career helped him come to a solid decision. “I’m passionate about education the most. I’m choosing the education/academic route to fight oppression in the world,” he said.
During his time at the Clinton School, Owyoung was involved in various projects. He was able to work with organizations, Jericho Way Research Center and The Venture Center on two of his projects. Both projects included studies of economic and social analysis. For Owyoung’s third project he traveled to Panama and implemented an after-school program for the Panamanian community center. After his travels, Owyoung was grateful to have had that experience. “I came back a completely different person. It’s something that was much needed for my life I would say. It definitely changed the way I viewed the world,” he said.
After graduating, Owyoung followed his passion for education and applied to work at UA Little Rock. In August of 2016, he was hired in fundraising, then got promoted to the director of UA Little Rock Downtown in November of 2018.
Owyoung is looking forward to immersing education within the community of Little Rock. “I’m most excited about bringing in the various Arkansans to explore the river market. Just being able to get people in those doors and to talk to them about UA Little Rock and the unlimited pathways that we have,” said Owyoung.
The UA Little Rock downtown space will help spread the word about the programs, scholarships, and student work opportunities the university has. One of the things the school emphasizes is that this building is multifunctional – as it provides community classes, seminars, and lectures to the public. Mural “Struggling in the South” by Joe Jones is featured for the people to view as well. This downtown space is now open to the public.
The future for Little Rock looks bright in Owyoung eyes. “The reason I chose to stay here is because I feel like I want to work to get Little Rock to be better. It’s so neat that we’re a part of the process of growing. I think it’s a great place for networking, connection, and opportunity,” he said. Owyoung’s motivation and drive for serving the community have led him to a dream career with UA Little Rock.
Source: UA Little Rock Communications v
Ross Owyoung speaks to the crowd at the ribbon cutting for UA Little Rock Downtown on Wednesday, Jan. 16. (Photo by Caitlin Smith)