The Conductor — a public-private partnership between the University of Central Arkansas and Startup Junkie, based in Conway, Arkansas — will hold a book gifting ceremony to present every elementary school in Faulkner County, Arkansas with a set of Little Launchers books, so that all Faulkner County students can be introduced to the concepts of entrepreneurship and creative problem-solving early on.
Author Erica Swallow will travel to Conway, Arkansas to share in the celebration. The ceremony will take place on Thursday, November 2nd from 1:30-2:30pm at the University of Central Arkansas Makerspace, a venue powered by Conductor as a place for students and community members to make, design, and dream.
Representatives from each of the 20 elementary schools in Faulkner County will be in attendance to receive a signed copy of the Little Launchers book series, donated by Conductor, a grand total to 20 book sets, or 80 books distributed across the county.
“Talent development is a very important focus for the Conductor,” says Conductor Team Leader Jeff Standridge, also the founder of Cadron Creek Capital. “We think it is very important that students, teachers, administrators and parents understand that Entrepreneurship is a viable career path. The ‘Little Launchers’ books do a great job of helping us tell that story. Even if the students with whom we come into contact don’t go on to start their own businesses, it’s important to also let them know that even established companies look to hire innovative, entrepreneurial talent.”
School representatives will be in great company — UCA President Houston Davis; Dr. Vicky Grove-Scott, Dean of the College of Education; and Lauren James COO Lance Stokes will be in attendance, among others. Books will be presented by Standridge and Conductor COO Kim Lane.
In addition to receiving the Little Launchers book series for their libraries, school representatives will have an opportunity to also see the UCA Makerspace, which launched last month, and learn more about how their schools, teachers, and students can use the Makerspace facilities for field trips, special classes, and other purposes.
“I wrote these books with educators in mind,” says author Erica Swallow. “Every book ends with a question meant to open up discussion, whether in a classroom setting or with parents: ‘Now it’s your turn… What problems do you want to solve in the world?’ I can’t wait to hear what the educators of Faulkner County think about the potential for introducing kids to entrepreneurship through this series.”
As Swallow gears up for the ceremony visit she says Little Launchers’s next feat is producing lesson plans. She says, “If any educators are already starting to teach these books in the classroom, we’d love to hear what is resonating!”
The University of Central Arkansas holds a special place in the hearts of Swallow and illustrator Li Zeng — Zeng was a graphic design professor at the university while illustrating the Little Launchers book series and many of the duo’s brainstorming sessions and even their Kickstarter video filming took place at UCA, where Little Launchers project videographer and technologist Dan Ndombe is also an alum. Swallow is looking forward to being back on campus for the book gifting ceremony in November.