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SAU names 2023 Hallman Scholarship inductees

Sophy Tyson

The Southern Arkansas University Hallman Scholarship has been awarded to four promising 2023 freshmen women.

Funded by SAU Foundation’s Cinda Hallman Scholarship Endowment, the Hallman Scholarship provides scholarships for incoming freshman women in the College of Science and Engineering. The 2023 inductees are as follows: Sophy Tyson of Hope, Arkansas; Emily Leyden of Lewisville, Texas; Julia DeSalvo of Center Ridge, Arkansas; and, Kelli Minge of Cabot, Arkansas. 

Sophy Tyson

Garrett Memorial Christian School senior and valedictorian Sophy Tyson always knew she was going to SAU. 

“It’s the only college I listed on my FAFSA,” Tyson said with a smile. 

Daughter of ’93 SAU alum Jim and sister to current Mulerider Libby, blue and gold runs in the Tyson family’s veins. Receiving the Hallman scholarship was further validation that SAU was exactly where Sophy needed to be. 

“I’m so grateful to represent Ms. Hallman’s ideals and expectations as a young woman. It is an honor. I hope to have as positive of an impact on this world as she did,” Tyson said. 

A fan of Grey’s Anatomy and daughter to a dentist, Sophy has been interested in the medical profession for as long as she can remember. But, it wasn’t until she broke her collar bone during a basketball game and experienced the kindness of her nurses that Sophy solidified her decision to study nursing at SAU. 

“I can’t think of a more rewarding job,” she said. “As a nurse, I’d get to help and meet new people every day and call it work.” 

Though SAU’s nursing program boasts stellar NCLEX pass rates and state-of-the-art simulation equipment, Sophy is most excited about the small classes sizes and caring faculty that make SAU feel like her hometown of Hope, Arkansas. 

Emily Leyden

Lewisville, Texan Emily Leyden didn’t plan to apply to an out-of-state college, but when her mother encouraged her to attend a college fair, SAU piqued her interest. 

“SAU was more affordable,” she said. “I thought a new change of scenery would be nice.”

The computer science program was another important draw for Leyden who secured math and foreign language credits at Lewisville High School studying HTML, Java and JSP. 

Leyden aims to take advantage of SAU’s video game design and creative writing courses as well. 

A member of her school’s National Honors Society, Writing Club and President of the Academic Decathlon team, Leyden also makes time to upload instructional materials for students with dyslexia to Youtube.

When asked what the Hallman scholarship meant to her, Leyden relied, “What doesn’t it mean? It’s taking away the financial beast of burden. I can save money to afford my own place at a time when IT is competitive.”

Julia DeSalvo

The Hallman scholarship has been “a huge blessing” to Julia DeSalvo. “I feel very honored because Ms. Hallman had an incredible legacy.” And, DeSalvo knows something about legacy.

A descendent of Italian immigrants, Julia DeSalvo grew up on a fifth-generation cattle farm in Center Ridge, Arkansas. Agriculture is a part of DeSalvo’s heritage, and she aims to keep her family’s legacy alive by studying agricultural law. 

“I want to be directly involved in supporting and protecting farmers and ranchers. I’m fascinated with Ag Law—either environmental or lending sides,” DeSalvo explained.

As a high school student at Nemo Vista High School, DeSalvo has been preparing for the future. She has shown livestock, while helping to maintain a large garden and small vineyard on her family’s land. She’s active in 4-H, FBLA, FCA, and she is the FFA chapter president as well as FCCLA regional president. 

With robust and quality agriculture programs nestled in a small, close-knit community, SAU was the ideal next step for DeSalvo. 

“SAU has exactly the same feel that I’m used to,” she said of both the campus and classroom sizes. “At SAU, I won’t just be a number.” 

Kelli Minge

Cabot, Arkansas native Kelli Minge has been obsessed with animals since the age of four. Whether she was sneaking turtles onto the school bus and raising them as pets or scuba diving in Norfork Lake with her dad and twin sister to see the fish, Minge was drawn to the water and its inhabitants. 

“I always knew I wanted to help animals and protect things you can’t see everyday,” Minge said. She’s particularly passionate about the impacts of climate change, such as coral bleaching. 

“I want to make a difference,” Minge said. “I want to put words into action.”

When Minge isn’t singing in one of her multiple choirs, volunteering as a National Honors Society member, leading worship and mentoring youth at First Baptist Church or helping the local animal shelter, she is taking rigorous courses, such as Advanced Placement biology and environmental science. 

Determined to study marine biology, Minge knew Southern Arkansas University was the ideal college to continue the hard work she had started at Cabot High School. After touring the Magnolia campus and meeting with SAU’s president, Dr. Trey Berry, Minge was impressed by the small town feel and opportunities to work with the faculty. 

“The Hallman scholarship is truly a blessing,” Minge said. “I’m able to support myself and help my family.”

The Cinda Hallman Scholarship

Cinda Hallman was a 1966 SAU graduate and 1999 recipient of the SAU Distinguished Alumni Award. As one of four women leading Fortune 500 companies when she became CEO of Spherion Corporation, Hallman had already received international recognition for her 20-year career at DuPont Global Systems and Purchases. At DuPont, she served as senior vice president and was named Chief Information Officer of the Year by Information Week Magazine for “reshaping DuPont’s information systems organization to meet the changing competitive needs of its business units.” 

Dedicated to providing opportunities for women, Hallman provided funds for the scholarship through her estate with an aim to support incoming freshmen women in the College of Science and Engineering.

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