UAFS Students and Alumni Present at STEM Posters at the Capitol

david hotz

David Hotz discusses his research to attendees of the STEM Posters at the Capitol


brianne smith

Brianne Smith poses beside a posterboard for her research on military families.


tyler white

Tyler White presents research on the construction of the rover he and other UAFS
engineering students are constructing.

Research conducted by two University of Arkansas – Fort Smith alumni and one student was on display at the Arkansas statehouse during the 2017 STEM Posters at the Capitol event held Feb. 15 in Little Rock.


David Hotz of Fort Smith, Brianne Smith of Fayetteville, and Tyler White of Poteau, Okla., traveled to the Capitol to present their research in different areas within the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).


Hotz’s research focused on creating a computer coding class in response to Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s initiative to promote the teaching of computer science topics in public schools. His faculty adviser sponsoring his research was Dr. Brandon Hutchison, assistant professor of mathematics.


A 2016 graduate, Smith presented research conducted throughout her undergraduate career on the effects of military experiences on the children of enlisted armed forces members. She spoke about her project with legislators including Sen. Jake Files and Reps. Charlotte Douglas, Jeff Williams, Mat Pitsch, George McGill and David Meeks, and she said she received “extremely valuable feedback from each of them.”


“Representative Douglas is interested in having me present my data in front of the education committee during the next session at the Capitol next month, and Representatives McGill and Williams have offered to help get me in touch with the right people to continue to make progress for military children, especially within the cities of Arkansas,” Smith said. “I feel as if my research may have an opportunity to make a difference thanks to these legislators and this STEM presentation.”


Smith’s faculty sponsor for the event was Dr. Shelli Henehan, assessment coordinator of child development programs in the university’s School of Education


White’s research concerned a rover he and other UAFS engineering students are constructing with the hopes of presenting it to NASA later this year. He said he was grateful for the opportunity to participate in the event and discuss the project.


“I am very thankful for this experience to not only grow through my opportunities, but to engage and interact with individuals who have similar passions for engineering like myself,” White said. “The experience as a whole has been amazing. I think now as a senior, I have really started to recognize the passion I have for continuing my education through diligent applications of work and through the constant support by my family, friends, and professors. The opportunity to work on this rover was unlike any other.”


White’s faculty sponsor for the event was Dr. Kevin Lewelling, professor of engineering.


STEM Posters at the Capitol is an annual event held each February inviting undergraduate students from across the state to present their research to state officials.


For more information about educational opportunities in the university’s College of STEM, call 479-788-7610 or email


About the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith

The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith is the premiere regional institution of Western Arkansas, connecting education with careers and serving as a driver of economic development and quality of place in the greater Fort Smith region. Through a small campus, dedicated professors, and the university’s unique bond with its community, students at UAFS are able to do more in the areas they are passionate about, both on- and off-campus, in a way that prepares them for post-graduate success. To find out how you can do more at UAFS, visit


Article by John Post, Director of Public Information
Date Posted: 
Friday, February 17, 2017
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