Randy Thompson, a senior at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, will attend the 2020 Rural Youth Assembly Summit April 2-5 at McAllen, Texas.

Thompson is a broadcast journalism major and Peace Corps Prep Scholar, according to a news release. Travel, lodging and food for all participants will be covered by the Rural Assembly.

The summit is an opportunity for 50 young adults from rural places across the nation to discuss the issues they see as important to their lives and communities.

Participants will attend workshops that explore storytelling, interact with other rural youth from across the country, engage with local organizations along the border with Mexico and learn from mentors and leaders in the field of rural policy, According to the program’s website.

Thompson said he found out about the opportunity through Teki Hunt, director of UAPB 4-H Youth Programs and co-coordinator of the Peace Corps Prep Program.

“I applied to the program to bring awareness to issues happening in the community while being in a productive space to discuss ways to produce change,” he said. “I hope to gain techniques to better help and uplift my community. Poverty levels and affordable housing are both important issues that I attend to speak about at the summit.”

After he graduates, Thompson plans to join the Peace Corps and apply for the Fulbright Program. He aims to become the communications director for a U.S. embassy.

At UAPB, he is also a member of the Collegiate 4-H Club and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. He has participated in education programs in China and Guatemala offered through the UAPB Office of International Programs and Studies.

In 2017, he spent nearly two months studying Chinese language at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology in China’s capital city. In the summer of 2019, he took part in a program in Antigua, Guatemala, where he studied the Spanish language and conducted service work to help impoverished communities.

— Will Hehemann is a writer/editor at the UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences.