October 1, 2021
Alumnus Wendell Scales Jr., who is Deputy Director of Innovation at Arkansas Lighthouse Academies, graduated from ASU-Beebe in 2010 with an associate degree in business.
“I chose ASU-Beebe because of the proximity to home and small campus size. I didn't realize how many opportunities I would be offered while attending. I grew as a student and learned the value of community,” said Scales.
Both Scales and his twin sister Whitney attended ASU-Beebe after graduating from Lonoke High School. Then, after graduating from ASU-Beebe, Scales attended Henderson State University, where he earned a degree in business administration with an emphasis in finance and enrolled at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, earning a master’s degree in higher education with an emphasis in Student Affairs.
Over the years, Scales said he completed exams and leadership certification programs throughout his career, such as Graduate School Practicum, an education frameworks/theory blended with practical application focused on student development. “Whether directly or indirectly, education has always been a vital part of my career,” said Scales.
Scales is also an alumnus of several leadership programs, such as SCOP (Stanford College Outreach Program), a college access immersion program, and Cato Sphere Summit, an immersive public policy program with an emphasis on civic education. Scales was also a graduate of the Leadership Greater Little Rock Class XXXV, which is a nine-month leadership program focused on developing community leaders by training and informing participants on a wide array of local public policy issues and concerns. He also served as a statewide facilitator for a previous non-profit education improvement group called Noble Impact.
In the community, Scales served as Vice President of the 100 Black Men of Greater Little Rock, spearheaded the H2O Leadership Institute, a co-ed summer environmental STEM (Summer, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program for teens. He is currently leading Arkansas Lighthouse Academies’ (ALA) districtwide launch to reimagine the ever-changing education landscape by promoting cultural competency in partnering with Frontlines of Justice to bring social justice/ DEI programs to its charter schools this fall.
Scales said he had some rigorous business instruction at ASU-Beebe, which helped form the foundation for his career. “I gained an appreciation for classes like finance, microeconomics, and macroeconomics that have greatly impacted my career.”
While a student at ASU-Beebe, Scales worked as a Student Ambassador in the Office of Admissions. “The Admissions team created a fun, family atmosphere and leadership opportunities to represent the institution and serve prospective students.”
“Several staff and faculty inspired and influenced my journey as a student and professional.” In particular, Scales said Robin Hayes, retired director of Admissions, played a vital role in influencing his career. “I would never have begun a career in college admissions if it wasn't for her guidance and encouragement,” said Scales.
When relating his ASU-Beebe experience, Scales said he would remember the people and relationships most. “I met friends that I still have to this day.”
“As a first-generation college student, it is so important that our next generation have people to look to for mentoring and opportunities,” said Scales.
Scales offered advice for students, saying “My journey started at ASU-Beebe. I didn't have it figured out then, and oftentimes never truly will. A lot of great people are on the campus - get to know them. Work hard, be curious. Bet on yourself. And don't be afraid of failure.”
Scales received the 2021 ASU-Beebe Outstanding Alumni for Arkansas Community Colleges, and will be awarded at the ACC Fall Conference in October.
“Our alumni are our strongest asset in communicating the value of ASU-Beebe. I am inspired by their stories,” said Rose Mary Jackson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement. "We gladly share their stories of how ASU-Beebe has positively influenced them."
Arkansas State University-Beebe Alumni Stories is a project of the Alumni Association with the goal of sharing and preserving the ASU-Beebe historical and educational experiences of former students. If you are an alum and would like to share your story, contact Institutional Advancement at (501) 882-8855.