3 Super Cool Majors: Awesome Degrees Offered in Arkansas

By NEXT Staff on Monday, September 8, 2014

Turn your passions into paydays with these awesome Arkansas degrees. They’re sure to suit your unique personalities and open doors to exciting job opportunities.

1. Sports Agent

Name: Josh Throne
Hometown: Maumelle
Age: 25
College: University of Arkansas
Athletics: Wide receiver, Arkansas Razorbacks (2008-13)
Major: Communication
Now works at: Pro Football Syndicate, Little Rock & Fayetteville

Besides rubbing shoulders with NFL pros, what does your job entail?
I help coordinate special events, appearances, college all-star games, individual workouts and interviews with NFL teams, as well as help market our athletes. We approach every deal that is on the table and ensure that our clients are properly compensated and protected, providing our clients with shoe deals with large organizations such as Nike, Under Armour and trading card deals as well.

How did you break into the field?
After playing football for the University of Arkansas, I was fortunate enough to meet one of the best NFL agents in the industry, Marc Lillibridge. He was representing D.J. Williams, who happened to be a great friend of mine as well. Marc could see that football was my passion and I was driven to be successful off the field. We maintained a strong relationship and Marc became a mentor of mine. I slowly gained responsibilities of managing athletes off the field by taking my own initiative and creating opportunities myself. Later, Marc offered me a position at Pro Football Syndicate.

What did you do in high school that prepared you not only for college but also for your job?
I removed myself from my comfort zone and learned how to become a people person. Knowing how to develop strong genuine relationships with those around you can help you become successful. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the people around me.

Any advice for students wanting to go into the sports field?
You have to be a trustworthy, passionate person who's extremely hard-working. It doesn’t come easy. Like anything else in life that is worth doing, you have to work hard. Think hard about what you want out of life — put it down on paper. Know that every single morning is a new chance to have your list turn into reality. Earn that life for you.


Why it’s so cool: For students who love sports but weren’t born with athletic abilities, this degree can get you in the game! As an agent, manager or publicist for athletes and teams, you’ll get to participate in – and cash in on – the exciting world of sports. Sports managers are crucial to ensuring the players, fans, coaches and financial backers coexist peacefully.

The degree you’ll need: Sports Administration/Management

Where it’s offered: Arkansas State University, Harding University, John Brown University, Ecclesia College

Similar degrees at Arkansas schools: Recreation & Sport Management, Management, Business Management, Public Relations, Strategic Communication

2. Graphic Artist

Name: Cyrene Quiamco
Hometown: Little Rock
Age: 25
College: University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Major: Graphic Design, Digital Graphics, Painting and Ceramics
Found a job at: Verizon Wireless, Little Rock
See her work: CyreneQ.com

Tell us about your cool job at Verizon.
My team is responsible for VerizonWireless.com. We work closely with stakeholders to create marketing graphics, landing pages and improve user experience for the website. My responsibilities range from creating marquees or affiliate banners to designing landing pages.

How did you break into the field?
The field is highly competitive. You need an experienced design portfolio; in all the job interviews I’ve had, employers always look for a great portfolio. I started doing freelance design work my freshman year in college, taking what I learned during the day and applying it for real clients in the evenings — and making money on the side! I was introduced to Verizon near the end of my junior year in college when the manager of the design team contacted me about an open position after he came across my portfolio online. This was an incredible opportunity, but I decided to focus on completing my degree. I started my first full-time job as a package designer for a cosmetic company right after graduation. The cosmetic company wasn’t the right fit for me. It was a long shot, but I contacted the manager of the Verizon design team again to see if a position was still available, and there was!

What did you do in high school that prepared you not only for college but also for your job?
I enrolled in as many Advanced Placement (AP) classes as I could. Some were converted to college credit, which gave me more time in college to take classes I wanted. I joined and led many school clubs and I was introduced to various volunteering opportunities. Having a full schedule helped me learn time management early on.


Why it’s so cool: If art class is where you feel at home most, a career in graphic design could be the perfect fit for you. Think of this field as where the art world and the everyday world meet: there’s constant demand for talented people who can create designs for magazine, websites or even the packaging of a supermarket product that’s beautiful and useful.

The degree you’ll need: Graphic Design

Where it’s offered: Arkansas Tech University, Harding University, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Arkansas State University, Henderson State University, John Brown University, Ouachita Baptist College, University of Arkansas–Fort Smith, Southern Arkansas University at Magnolia

Similar degrees at Arkansas schools: Advertising, Journalism, Web Design

3. Fashion Designer

Name: Anna Taylor
Hometown: Little Rock
Age: 23
College: University of Arkansas
Major: Apparel Studies
Found a job at: JudithAndJames.com (She’s the founder and fashion designer)

How did you break into the industry?
I worked at clothing stores in Arkansas. I also interned with two international clothing companies in Kenya.

How did college prepare you to start your own fashion business?
My classes focused on the broad spectrum of the fashion industry. It was very broad, but it prepared me to be the CEO of my company, not simply a designer. It was a good foundation for my success.

Tell us about your fashion business.
I went to Rwanda in 2009 and fell in love with African fabrics. I saw fashion as a practical way to help women in Africa who were desperate for employment. I started a training school to teach women how to sew in their own country with a vision to create my line that would be marketable in the U.S.

What do young people need to know about the fashion industry?
The industry is very tough to get into. Prepare early with gaining practice, real-work skills and experiences throughout college. You have to find your niche and be prepared to work diligently to reach your goals.

Any real world wisdom you learned the hard way?
The best way to learn is through experience. Take advantage of every opportunity you can to learn practical skills. Participate in work and internship opportunities.


Why it’s so cool: If you succeed, models like Heidi Klum will strut the catwalk in your designs during Fashion Week in New York, Paris and Milan, setting trends for the whole world to follow! Love fashion, but don’t want to design? Apparel studies will train you for a career in merchandising (also known as buying), which gives you the power to pick the clothes you see in stores. The possibilities in the fashion world are limited only by your imagination.

The degree you’ll need: Apparel Studies

Where it’s offered: University of Arkansas

Similar degrees at Arkansas schools: Fashion Merchandising, Retail, Graphic Design, Art, Interior Design, Entrepreneurship