Karli Rabb, a sophomore Pre-Veterinary major at Southern Arkansas University, has been named as the first recipient of the Joey Baker-Emerson, Arkansas Scholarship.
The desire to benefit his community inspired Baker, a 1977 graduate, to endow the scholarship for students from his hometown who chose to become Muleriders. Rabb, who plans to apply to veterinary school after graduating from SAU, expressed her gratitude for the scholarship, which will enhance her academic and career plans.
Baker, who graduated from Emerson High School in 1973, explained his vision for the scholarship. “Emerson High School and SAU helped shape who I am today,” he said. “I want to give back to both in a significant way.”
He still identifies with students today. “I see them in the same way I was in 1973. Money was a big issue. I want to be able to help out.”
As determined by SAU’s Scholarship Committee, scholarships are awarded to Emerson graduates based on academic and financial need.
Rabb has enjoyed her experience at SAU. “It has been so much more than I imagined,” she said. “I have met new people and formed amazing connections with my professors and peers.”
In addition to expanding her horizons, SAU has encouraged Rabb to focus on subjects aligning with her career goals and develop leadership skills that will help her in the future.
“This scholarship is a great help to me as I continue my education,” Rabb enthused. “In high school, I worked to maintain the grades I needed to obtain scholarships. College is expensive and even working away from class, it is a lot to handle, which is why I am so appreciative of this opportunity.”
After obtaining a degree in veterinary medicine, Rabb plans to start working in an area clinic before eventually opening her open practice with a focus on larger animals.
Baker chose Southern State College (which changed its name to SAU in his senior year) for its proximity to his home and its affordability. He can attest to the true family feel of SAU, noting that its culture of caring is still strong today.
He worked for the Pharmacists Mutual Company, providing insurance and financial services for Arkansas pharmacists for 28 years. He has taught as an adjunct professor at UAMS College of Pharmacy for 21 years and also teaches personal finance at Harding University’s College of Pharmacy. Utilizing his teaching and life experiences, he has written a book, Baker’s Dirty Dozen Principles for Financial Independence. He believes that giving back will make one healthy in heart, body, and soul.
April 4-8, the student organization, Mulerider $ense will host a series of events aiming to create financial literacy among college students. Baker is a featured speaker for the series. The mission of the organization is to strive to educate students about the importance of setting goals, managing debt, and building wealth in order to reach financial independence.