The UA Fort Smith Alumni Association will feature young alumni and what their life after graduation has been like. If you would like to be featured, please e-mail

Friday, December 3, 2010

Brockette Minnick '08

After high school graduation, I decided to continue my education at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith. That decision has profoundly affected my life—educationally, professionally, and personally. I received a high-quality education at UA Fort Smith through the College of Business. My professors were knowledgeable and many had been out in the business world themselves. Thanks to them, I was more than prepared for life after college.
On our way to get our diplomas!
I graduated college in May of 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing, along with my husband Mitch, who I met at UA Fort Smith during our freshman year. We were married the summer of our junior year in my hometown of Paris, Arkansas.
Trying to be nice…!!! I promise I didn’t smear it on his face too much!
Even though my time as a student was over, I wasn’t ready to be finished with my time at UA Fort Smith, so I accepted the Scholarship Coordinator position the summer after graduation! Now I spend my days helping students find funding so they can receive a high-quality education—just like I did at UA Fort Smith!

A year after graduation on May 26, 2009, Mitch and I welcomed our greatest accomplishment into the world, Luci Ava Minnick!
Luci Ava Minnick 5lbs 12 oz
Now instead of studying text books together, we spend our evenings chasing around a toddler, taking pictures of her every move, and just enjoying life together as a family.
Our family!
I love UA Fort Smith and it truly has been a blessing in every aspect of my life!
Introducing Luci to the Lion at a men’s basketball game…she is still a little unsure if you can’t tell!!! GO LIONS!!!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Jessica Kursh '09

“Third Time’s a Charm”

When I decided to go back to college in the fall of 2005 I was very nervous and felt a bit intimidated. I had been a teen mom, was a single mother of three small children, and had dropped out of college twice before. Despite my apprehensions I was determined not to allow any statistics to determine my potential for success in life. Ultimately, it was my non-traditional student status that really helped me to remain focused on achieving my goals that third time around because I was always fully aware of what I had at stake. In the end my commitment to success paid off and in the spring of 2009 I graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. As overjoyed as I was about finally beating the odds, graduating from college was only the beginning of the next step of my fun-filled journey.
My mother, daughter, and me at my UAFS graduation ceremony May 9, 2009

In the fall of 2009 I began furthering my education towards my true calling in life: Counseling. I entered into John Brown University’s graduate program and started pursuing dual Master of Science degrees in Community Counseling & Marriage and Family Therapy. Life at JBU has been an awesome experience for me thus far. I feel very proud to say that my undergraduate education at UAFS thoroughly prepared me for my transition into graduate school. I am currently maintaining a 4.0 cumulative G.PA. Recently, I was very excited to learn that I had been cleared to move forward in my counseling program into my first Practicum section. In the spring of 2011 I will start seeing individuals, couples, and families at the JBU Fort Smith Care Clinic. I am scheduled to graduate from JBU in the spring of 2012. After graduation I plan to sit for the national and state counseling board exams so that I can become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).

My family has always been one of my biggest support systems and on December 5, 2009 me and my boyfriend, Julian, got engaged. We plan to get married on July 21, 2012.
My family’s 2009 Happy Holiday’s portrait

During my senior year at UAFS I had the incredible opportunity to become a charter member of the Upsilon Kappa Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. After graduating from UAFS I joined the Fort Smith Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Becoming a member of Delta Sigma Theta has truly been a remarkable gift for me because it has taught me so much about responsible leadership, the importance of higher education, sisterhood, diversity, and giving back to my community.
Me and my Upsilon Kappa Sorors at the Southwest Regional Conference in Fort Worth, TX

Upsilon Kappa & Fort Smith Alumnae chapters of Delta Sigma Theta worshiping together

During my leisure time I enjoy traveling, photography, shopping, sightseeing, and trying new foods. This past March my fiancĂ©’ received a big job promotion and relocated to Memphis, TN. Me and my children travel to Memphis often to visit him and it gives me the opportunity to combine all five of my favorite hobbies.
My family’s 2010 summer trip to the Memphis Zoo

I feel very proud to see how much I have accomplished over the last 5 years. Sometimes I think about how differently my life could have been if I had never taken the first steps towards going back to college that third time. I look forward to achieving many more of my dreams and also helping others to achieve theirs.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Katy Schrodt Prater '08

Comfort Zone

“Where do you feel most comfortable?” This was the seemingly simple question that one of my college professors, Michelle Clifton, asked me in the midst of my near meltdown involving my indecision about what my degree should be. As a sophomore at UA Fort Smith, I found myself lost in respect to what I wanted to be when I grow up. I was confused. I was frustrated. I was exhausted. And honestly, a little scared. When Michelle asked me this question, the undeniable answer involved a gym. Michelle opened my eyes to the answer to a question that impacts every day of my life as a college graduate. It was people like Michelle Clifton that make me so grateful that I had the chance to attend UA Fort Smith.

I graduated from college with a degree in English with a Teacher’s Licensure. Currently, I teach ninth grade English and coach high school volleyball at Lavaca High School. Michelle’s guidance encouraged me to pursue my love of sports and become a coach, a decision that enriches my life on a daily basis. I feel that my education and leadership roles in college provided me with all of the knowledge and characteristics necessary to impact young people in a positive way.

Beyond all of this professional stuff, I will always look back on my time at UA Fort Smith as some of the happiest years of my life. UA Fort Smith not only provided me with professional skills, it also provided me with my husband! In June of 2010 I married one of the coolest guys I’ve ever known. 
Our Wedding
 Cody and I met as freshmen at UA Fort Smith through our involvement with the Chancellor’s Leadership Council. He is nothing like the man I ever imagined marrying and yet everything I could ever need or want in a husband. Currently, Cody and I live in Fort Smith with our two children.
 Finny and Staley
We enjoy spending time with family and friends, watching sports, and traveling whenever we get the chance. Cody and I often times reflect on how much we enjoyed college and hope to remain connected with UA Fort Smith for years to come.

So, today when I think back on the answer to that question that shaped my life years ago, I realize that the answer is still very much the same and yet very different. I still feel comfortable in a gym coaching kids. However, I also feel comfortable in a classroom teaching English, in leadership positions outside of my job, in social situations meeting new people, and at home with my husband and my dogs. My comfort zone expanded because I was allowed to practice all of the skills necessary to be successful in any facet of my life in my time at UA Fort Smith. Oddly enough, when I consider answering where I feel most comfortable today, I can’t deny that one of the first places that pops into my head happens to be apartment 821 at Sebastian Commons or jogging on the campus green late at night or attending class in the Holt Building or dancing with all of my friends at Cub Camp. My time at UA Fort Smith might have ended in May 2008, but my experiences and lessons learned from those years will travel with me far beyond high school gymnasiums.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Katie Hurt '10

In December of 2010, I graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. It amazes me think that almost one year has gone by since that date! I have nothing but great memories looking back at my time while attending UAFS. The education program prepared me to not only be knowledgeable in my career choice, but also gave me an even greater love and desire for teaching. I enjoyed the experience that was given to me, the people I was able to meet and build relationships with, and for the lasting memories I will always have!

 At Graduation

After graduation, I stayed busy in local classrooms as both a temporary and long-term substitute teacher. I was also very active in an after-school program at Lavaca Elementary. In June, I was called about a position teaching Kindergarten in Lavaca. It could not have come at a better time! I was so excited to begin preparing for my first year as a Kindergarten teacher. I began in August, and it just keeps getting better. I have 16 students that brighten every day, and I love seeing them learn new things each and every week!

Along with teaching, I have also taken on the job as the Lavaca Jr. High cheerleading coach. I stay busy with cheerleading practices and attending ball games near and far. It has been a great and fun experience, and I love every minute I get to spend with those cheerleaders! Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, being involved with my church, and playing with my dog, Gizzy, who is full of energy and is lots of fun!
I am so thankful for the education that I received as a student at UA Fort Smith. It prepared me to feel completely comfortable starting a new job in a career that I absolutely love! I am also thankful to the professors and everyone who held a part in helping get me to where I am today! I am forever grateful!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Emily Hurt Hill '09

So many things have happened since my graduation from the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith in May of 2009. I was one of few students in my class to actually have a job already lined up for me. So, on June 1, I started my first position as a Registered Dental Hygienist, less than a month post-graduation. I would be working four days every week, doing what UAFS had prepared me for.

I was excited and completely nervous when I seated my first “real world” patient that morning, though I was also not surprisingly confident in the skills I learned as a student at UAFS. The Dental Hygiene program is definitely a difficult one, but, looking back, I am so grateful for the discipline it required of me. I use the terms and ideas that I learned as a dental hygiene student with different patients each and every day.

After a few weeks into my career, I took a week to finish final preparations for the biggest day of my life. On July 18, I married my best friend, Drew.

Me and Drew

We dated through college and were very ready to tie the knot once graduation had passed. Now, we live in Lavaca, where we stay very involved in our church. Drew serves as the student pastor there, and in our free time, we love spending time with teenagers from the youth group, and, of course, our friends and family.

After about ten months of marriage, Drew and I were able to build our first home together. What a fun and exciting time! We stayed in the midst of the planning and decision-making for the duration of its construction, and we had such a good time picking out all the little details that made the house so much more “us.” Once settled, it didn’t take us long to realize we were ready to expand our little family. That’s when we brought Mollie home. She’s a long haired miniature daschund, and she is our baby!

She is the sweetest little thing, and we just love her to pieces!

There is no denying the quality of education I received as a student at UA Fort Smith. It has completely prepared me for the career field I chose, and I use what I learned there each and every day. I am so grateful for a university so close to home, and one that allowed me to get the education that was right for me!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ashley Beasley '10

The Arkansas River Valley has always been my home. I love the history and strong sense of community that can be found in this area. After graduating from Southside High School, I decided to continue my education at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. This simple decision has impacted my life profoundly.

I graduated in May of this year with a degree in Organizational Leadership. The quality of education that I received at UAFS was exceptional. Professors genuinely care for each and every student and they work hard to ensure that classes are both challenging and engaging. Each day that passes makes me appreciate my college experience more and more. College also gave me the confidence that I needed to pursue my dreams outside of the classroom.

The Career Services Department helped me find a great job with a local company. I am currently the marketing manager for Cobblestone Homes in Fort Smith, Arkansas. I love my job because it exposes me to many different facets of the business world. One day I might be brainstorming ideas for an advertising campaign and the next day working with QuickBooks to manage our accounts payable and receivable. I am very proud of the work that I do for Cobblestone Homes. They are an exceptional company with an exceptional product. I am also happy to say that my husband and I are the proud new owners of a home built by Cobblestone Homes. The company builds much more than just a great home they build communities. Visit our website at to learn more.

My college experience also taught me the importance of giving back to the community. As a result, I have been very active in the Junior League of Fort Smith for the past two years. The Junior League is an organization of women committed to improving our community through volunteerism. I am currently a chairperson on the Holiday Market planning committee. The Holiday Market is our biggest event of the year and all proceeds are donated to the Children’s Emergency Shelter and our various community projects. This is a great event that supports an even greater cause.

My experience at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith provided me with many rewarding opportunities. As I continue grow in my personal and professional life, I will always fondly remember my college experience. The last four years have been an amazing journey. Not only did I graduate from a great college, but I fell in love with and married my best friend.

My husband and I recently celebrated our one year anniversary. My greatest dream is to continue to live, work, and build a family in this part of Arkansas. Of course, I will always remember that these dreams were possible, in part, because of the education that I received at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mitch Minnick '08


On June 2nd, 2007 I married my best friend, Brockette, one year prior to our “scheduled” graduation. It’s a funny thing getting married while in college. My mother and mother-in-law both had the “wait until you graduate” attitude. They were afraid we would get married and forget about that last year of college and just start living our life together.

Our Wedding Picture

Low and behold, in May of 2008 (that’s right, the “scheduled” graduation date) Brockette and I both graduated from UA Fort Smith with Bachelors of Science degrees in Marketing!

Brockette and I at Graduation

Also in June of 2007 I had been hired as the Property Manager at Sebastian Commons, the student apartments at the University. I had worked there since the spring semester of 2005 as a “part-time” employee, but it was a little more hectic juggling Senior-level classes, a full-time job, AND a new marriage; but I wouldn’t change the sequence of events even if I could. Brockette and I went to Myrtle Beach for our honeymoon and also got to take a trip to Seattle in July of 2007 for a Student Housing Conference; life was good.

The months of June 2008—September 2008 were the first months of married life, post graduation. It was very strange coming home from work, NOT having schoolwork to tackle, BIG adjustment. Brockette and I did our best to enjoy young married life (vacations, visiting family, and spending time together). Then our first curveball—baby on the way! (I love baseball and a GREAT curveball is a BEAUTIFUL thing)

Still managing the operations at Sebastian Commons, I had a vision of staying with the University for many years to come, but I did not think living in student housing was the place for our expanding family! Curveball number two—house hunting—we found one rather quickly; closed the last week of February and moved in over Memorial Day weekend—TWO (2) days before Brockette was scheduled to be induced (WE DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS TYPE OF TIMING)!

Luci Ava arrived early evening on May 26, 2009 weighing in at 5 lbs 12 oz. I like to think of her as a “Daddy’s Girl” and I think even my lovely wife would grudgingly agree. I hear these attitudes come in stages, so I’ll enjoy this stage as long as I can—which means she is SPOILED, and I am A-OK with that!

Me and Luci

Curveball number three also came at the end of May; a job offer from the Fort Smith Housing Authority, to be a Housing Development Officer. Sadly my time as a University employee was ending. I started at the Housing Authority the first week of July 2009 and love my job. It has quickly evolved; to the point that I am now the Development Officer, focused on Housing and Economic Development.

OK, RECAP! I love my family, I love my job, and I love the opportunities that my time at UA Fort Smith has given me thus far—both educationally and professionally.

My Family

Friday, August 6, 2010

Ashley Buster '09

I graduated in May 2009 with a Bachelor of Science - Marketing. Upon graduation I married in June 2009 and began an extensive professional journey. 

Our Wedding June 6, 2009

Throughout my college years at UA Fort Smith, I worked at ABF Freight System, Inc as an intern. In October 2009, I became an Inside Sales Representative for the company and in March 2010 was promoted to an Account Manager in Birmingham, AL where my husband and I currently reside. Making the move from Fort Smith to Birmingham was definitely a challenge, but the experience in itself has been positive.

Moving to Birmingham!

Thanks to the Student Life at UA Fort Smith, I met wonderful friends and became a member of the Delta Gamma Sorority, which is a fantastic support system worldwide.

Now that I’m not a college student- I have found some free time! My husband and I enjoy traveling, spending time with our families, our 2 dogs – Roxie & Sadie, and spinning.

Cozumel, Mexico May 2010

My education from UA Fort Smith enhances my life daily. My job consists of selling a “service” and I often refer to my skills learned in Professor Peerbolte’s class, Selling Strategies. Although that class currently applies to my job the most, the entire business program truly prepared me for a successful business career. I’m a proud alum and looking forward to being a lion for life!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Stephanie London '06

I graduated from UA Fort Smith in 2006 with a degree in English, but my heavy involvement in student organizations is what really helped me get to where I am today. I loved being so involved with Campus Activities Board, Cub Camp, and so much more. Toward the end of my senior year, during a trip to Walton Arts Center with our Emerging Leaders Program through Student Activities, we met with several staff. In doing so, I learned of an event assistant position that was open. Soon after I decided to apply and was awarded the position. I served as an event assistant in the Production Department of Walton Arts Center working backstage at large productions, booking events, and helping coordinate special events.
One year of working at Walton Arts Center was a great experience, but I really wanted to stay in Fort Smith so when I was offered the position of Student Activities Event Coordinator at UA Fort Smith, I quickly accepted.

I absolutely love working back at my alma mater! I get to plan events and work with students every day. The best part about my job is seeing how much students grow throughout their time at UA Fort Smith. I’ve also had the opportunity to travel with students to places like Orlando, Washington D.C., and more.

Taking students to the National Conference on Student Leadership in Washington D.C.

Student Affairs staff acting as targets (literally) for a water balloon fight at Island Party

One of my favorite memories as a staff member at UA Fort Smith was being a namesake for Cub Camp 2009. As a founding member of the organization when I was a student, it is exciting to see the changes and impact this activity still has on incoming freshman. Being asked back as a namesake was a great honor.

Getting pied in the face as Cub Camp 2009 Namesake for London’s Lava Loving Lobsters

I am also the Vice Chair of Young Emerging of Fort Smith (YEL). Having been a part of this networking organization for young professionals in the area for the past few years has been a great experience and I love serving in this voluntary role. We have leadership and professional development events, as well as social networking opportunities like taking a group to see the Arkansas Naturals play baseball.

During a YEL trip to see the Arkansas Naturals

In my personal life, I enjoy reading (English degree in me) and spending time with my family and boyfriend of three and half years, John. We live in Fort Smith with our little family - a 2 year old “chiwennie,” half Chihuahua, half dachshund, that we adopted named Macy.

The now very spoiled Macy

Friday, June 18, 2010

Kevin Bowen '04, '09

I graduated from the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith in 2004 with an Associate’s of Applied Science – Radiography degree, where I served as the president of the Lambda Nu Honors Society, and then obtained by my Bachelor’s of Science Imaging Sciences-Management degree in 2009. About six months before I graduated in 2004, I was offered a position as a radiologic technologist in the emergency department at Sparks Regional Medical Center. This job was the beginning of what has been a very successful career.

In 2005, I was approached with a job offer to work as a computed tomography technologist at the Medical Center of McKinney in McKinney, Texas. This was a great opportunity for me, but it would come at the expense of moving away from my entire family. After a lot of deliberation and prayer, my wife and I decided to accept the position, which turned out to be the best career decision of my life (so far). I began my career at MCM as a staff technologist, and I have since become the manager of our outpatient imaging services. I also serve as the chair of our outpatient product line committee, where I have headed up numerous projects including building and opening a new outpatient imaging center, and more recently, our ACR accreditation program.

UA Fort Smith completely prepared me for my career, and I cannot think Dr. Nancy Hawking enough for pushing me to better than what I thought I could be. She has been, and still is, a true inspiration to me!

Business Trip to LA

Me and the family

In May of 2004 my life was changed forever when my wife, Amanda, decided to take my hand in marriage. She has been there for me and supported me throughout my career, and I cannot thank her enough for that. Without her, I would not be anywhere close to where I am today. My wife and I now have two beautiful boys, Braxton and Ethan, to help keep our lives busy…as if we needed any help.

My oldest son Braxton

My youngest son Ethan

Our evenings are now filled with baseball practice, soccer practice, swim parties, and bedtime stories.

Me and Braxton at his baseball game

 I cannot wait to see what will unfold in the next chapters of our lives!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lacy Hopper Allen '06

I always knew that I wanted to attend the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. When I received the Chancellor’s Leadership Council scholarship in 2002, I knew that I was destined to get my education there. My original plans were to get my degree in biology and go to medical school. Although my love for science did not change, I fell in love with the teaching profession.

I graduated in the fall of 2006 with my degree in middle childhood education. Graduating in the fall gave me a semester to pursue a dream that I had for years. I applied for a College Internship at Disney World and set off on a new journey. It was one of the best experiences that I have ever had and gave me an opportunity to meet people from all over the world. Working for Disney allowed me to learn more about myself and gain an interest in communication and diverse cultures.

Earning my Disney Ears!

When my internship was complete, I moved home and received a position in the Fort Smith School district teaching seventh grade math at Darby Junior High. I have been teaching there for three years now and am currently going to school through Arkansas Tech University to receive my Masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. Darby is a very diverse school, and I love the fact that I can apply everything that I am learning into my career everyday.

I also teach for an after school program called Ranger Recon at Darby Junior high. It is an awesome program where our students can learn math, literacy, cooking, karate, art, and much more. Building trust and getting to know my students is very important to me, and I enjoy getting to impact their lives even outside the classroom.

My sister and I

Last June I married my wonderful husband, Jack Allen. We just bought a home in Fort Smith in December and have been having fun remodeling it. In my spare time you can catch me gardening in my yard, visiting my family, or singing along to whatever is playing on the radio. My husband and I also enjoy traveling. We visited Cozumel and Belize last year after our wedding and will be going back to Disney World this June to celebrate our one year anniversary.

Jack and I

I believe that God has prepared me in several ways to live the life that I am now living. All of the training and experiences at UA Fort Smith have helped to mold me into the person I am today. UA Fort Smith’s education program definitely prepared me for this profession and I am thankful for that!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Breanne Gustin '08

The day after receiving my Bachelor of Arts in English from UA Fort Smith, I drove to Dallas to get on a plane for the very first time – to the Philippines! My husband had lived there for two years as a missionary so I really wanted to go. We got to do several awesome things, like hike Mt. Makiling, go behind Pagsanjan Falls, eat at a floating restaurant, and feed monkeys. Although it was an amazing experience, I returned very grateful for my apartment that had air conditioning, a comfortable bed, and a real shower.

My husband and I in the Philippines

After returning from the Philippines, I worked part-time until my husband finished prerequisites for pharmacy school. After being so busy with school and extracurricular activities, I now had the difficult task of keeping myself busy! I got addicted to reading and started running regularly, and I got a super adorable friend to play with. Our dog, Marley, added a lot of fun to our lives and is just so darn cute!

Me and Marley

A year after graduating I started job hunting in Weatherford, Oklahoma where my husband hoped to attend pharmacy school. I applied for a position at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, and within a week I was hired as an Administrative Assistant to the Dean of the College of Professional & Graduate Studies. Our office is very busy, and I do a lot of paperwork, reports, and projects for the Dean as well as manage the graduate school applications. I get to spend a lot of time corresponding with students and applicants. Now instead of being the student worker, I have a few of my own. I love working for a university!

One week after moving to Weatherford, my husband was accepted into the pharmacy school. It was meant to be! Also meant to be was the addition of Patchy to our family. We love our dogs!

Marley and Patchy

These days I keep busy with work while my husband works on obtaining his PharmD, and we really like our friendly town. Exploring western Oklahoma has been fun, though I am still not used to the wind. I still enjoy reading and running, and I have also taken up sewing. My husband and I hope to add to our family soon, only this time with one without fur. My years at UA Fort Smith were some of the most fun and exciting, and my education and experiences with organizations and student activities definitely had a positive influence on my life. I am happy to support the SWOSU Bulldogs, but I will always be a Lion at heart!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Kristi Thomas '05

I graduated from UA Fort Smith in 2005 with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Since I graduated in the fall, I assumed I would have to substitute in schools until the new school year rolled around. Well, one of the school districts I was working in needed a long term substitute to finish out the year. So, I worked as a fourth grade teacher in Mountainburg from January 2005 until May 2005. After my time was finished there, I moved to Tate Elementary in Van Buren where I taught third grade for two years.

In the summer of 2008, I attended ESL (English as a Second Language) Academy through Henderson State University where I obtained my ESL endorsement. That following school year, I moved from teaching third grade to teaching a pre-kindergarten classroom of four year-olds. Talk about a change! I have been in that classroom for two years now and I absolutely love it! Trust me…there is never a dull moment!

Throughout my career I have been asked to go to several workshops all across the United States. Last year I went to Rochester, New York for a pre-kindergarten writing conference. That trip was short, but we had a blast! Also last year, I went to Dallas, Texas for a national conference for pre-kindergarten, which was very educational! The most fun I have had was when a group of us went to Baton Rouge for a math conference. Our conference was five days long, but we had a little free time. While we were there, we went on a swamp tour where we got to hold all kinds of critters!

I'm on the far right
Outside of my career, I enjoy reading and singing. I am also very active in my church. Here recently I became engaged to Michael Bray, who is a current UA Fort Smith student.

The proposal!
Michael and I are the youth leaders at Van Buren Freewill Baptist. We also enjoy singing and worshiping the Lord together.

Michael and I

UA Fort Smith prepared me for all these great opportunities that I’ve had in my life. Starting from when I was a University Ambassador my sophomore year, all the way until my senior year, when I was the Assistant Director of Staff and Training for the first ever Cub Camp. The sense of leadership was instilled within me during my years at the university. That has helped me more than anything I can imagine. If I had not had these opportunities, I might not be where I am today. Thank you to all the professors who have helped me have this great life!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Megan Raynor '05

It’s hard to believe I’ve been out of college for five years. I graduated in May 2005 with a Bachelor of Science-Business Administration. Since my time at UA Fort Smith, I’ve been able to travel, find the ideal job, and purchase my first home.

With my family after my graduation

Being out of school allows me more time to spend enjoying my favorite leisure activities-reading and spending time with my family and friends. Traveling is at the top of my list, as well. My graduation gift to myself was a trip to Mexico. I enjoy the peace and quiet the beach and ocean offers. Another big trip I was fortunate enough to take was to Rome and Venice. Being away from Fort Smith when I travel makes me realize how much I love living here. It’s not too big or too small, just right for me!

At the Coliseum in Rome-April 2006

While going to school, I worked for the Accounting department at Sparks Health System. A little over a year after I graduated, the perfect job opportunity fell in my lap. I was told Hanna Oil & Gas Company had an opening in their Accounting department and needless to say, I have called it my “work home” ever since. At Hanna, I make sure the billings are sent out each month, I analyze our financials, assist with accounts payable and accounts receivable, and the list goes on! I enjoy the constant challenge my job brings. It’s hard for me to believe that this August I’ll have been here for four years, and I plan to be here many more!

 Busy at work!

June 2008 I took a big step and purchased my first home. I continue to be grateful that I was able to do this at what I consider to be a young age, and I truly love being a homeowner.

Hanging out with some of my favorite people! I’m on the far left

Some other notably fun chapters in my life have included participating in the Citizens Police Academy (2005), the Citizens Academy (2007) and the Citizens Fire Academy (2008). These were all great experiences. I definitely gained a greater respect for the people and departments that work together to run our great city of Fort Smith.

I am currently involved in the 2009-2010 Leadership Fort Smith class. I have met a lot of wonderful people and am sad it is coming to an end soon. However, each end is a new beginning and I look forward to the next chapter in my life.