In honor of Women’s History Month, Walton College is highlighting a few exceptional women who exhibit one or more of the Walton College’s EPIC values. Similar to the Chancellor’s University of Arkansas extraordinary woman, “she empowers those around her and makes a positive impact on women’s experiences” in our college.
Read what the nominators wrote about these EPIC (Excellence, Professionalism, Innovation and Collegiality) women.
Women of Walton
What can’t she do?That’s what everyone asks once they’ve worked with Carolyn on a project. In her role as Director of Special Events and Projects, she’s involved in so many different “arrangements” in a semester that they are impossible to list. And she makes every one of them look like they’ve gone off without a hitch. Amazing.
Dr. Lacity is a tremendous positive influence on all her colleagues within the Walton College as well as the ISYS department. She handles both opportunities and challenges with a friendly and calm attitude while making sure that people around her are doing well. The way she handled the canceling of the BCOE Annual Conference due to COVID-19 is a recent example.She makes the staff in ISYS, who have been stretched due to our being short of one employee, feel better about their jobs. Finally, the faculty colleagues within the department, across levels, appreciate her approachable and warm style.
If you know Molly, you know why she is nominated.She is well-known for supporting her students and her colleagues, and her exceptional teaching is legendary not only within our College, but campus-wide. Any time I have asked for help the answer is “yes”, and it’s never a cursory answer but a head-long charge into doing things better than anyone expects.There is no one like my friend and colleague, Dr. Rapert.Her impact is immeasurable not only for her students but to those of us lucky enough to get to work with her.Thank you for the opportunity to nominate her.
I can’t imagine not having Kim as a colleague – she is a difference-maker on so many levels. She is steadfast, encouraging, and consistently student-centered.She serves her colleagues so fully with her generous heart.Kim and I recruit together for a study abroad program.She is very process oriented and is always looking for opportunities to provide additional information to students in a more compelling way.She naturally thinks about incremental improvements that make the process better for everyone.One of the kindest and most generous people I know.
Adriana is dedicated to helping students achieve global impact which helps the Walton College expand their reach from Arkansas to the world.Under her leadership, global experiences have dramatically increased.She promotes diversity by creating unique study experiences. Grants to faculty increase inclusivity. Adriana is a top researcher and professor in her field of supply chain having won many awards.When I think of Adriana she has achieved so much professionally, but what makes her stand apart is her care for everyone she encounters. Adriana exemplifies that kindness matters.
No other faculty member that I know gets mentioned more by students than Stephanie when it comes to directly impacted their study choices.Stephanie started the WISE student association (women impacting supply chain excellence) and brings student from across the country together on our campus for an annual event. This directly advances the standing of our program in the market, while placing our college front and center in efforts to advance female leadership in supply chains -for really good business reasons- no wonder Stephanie is named in the top 100 most influential women in supply chain
1) Having heard her career story (she has already been a speaker for Women of Walton) and her encouragement to seek and accept opportunities to learn and grow and do.
2) Her desire for excellence in everything she does. She evens says “I don’t like making mistakes” about taking a wrong turn trying to drive people somewhere! (which she also graciously volunteered to do).
3) Her encouraging and understanding manner that encourages learning and growth in every conversation.
4) How well she serves as Asst Dept Chair, calmly figuring out class scheduling according to student and faculty needs.
Autumn has impacted countless students, faculty and staff through her everyday interactions, special projects and positive attitude. For many years, she managed Walton’s Block Party, Help-A-Hog info desks, recruitment efforts, Staff Senate representation, advising services and Soup Day.On a personal note, she advised my son and it was a game changer for him. She is friendly, positive and truly cares about students, staff and faculty. She is one in a million and epitomizes our EPIC values. For many, she has been the face of Walton.
Carolyn has been invaluably supportive to me since I began teaching in the Walton College. She has inspired me by her excellent preparation to teach, her confidence which permeates all aspects of her work, her willingness to answer questions, her dedication teach and guide students well, and her boldness in pursuing new opportunities. She is both frank and warm in interactions with students, providing straight answers along with support.I feel grateful to have Carolyn as a colleague in Walton College. Our every interaction inspires me to grow.
JaLynn is the “go to” person for the Department of Accounting.She held my hand as I transitioned from instructor to course coordinator. It seemed almost daily I would have a question: textbooks? rooms? who is that person? who do I ask for this? why did I get such and such email? EVERY SINGLE time I had a question, she made time for me. During that time, she would answer my question and go above-and-beyond, explaining related details that helped me out so much. JaLynn spends her days lifting up others!
Deb has been an inspiration to me since I came to the Walton College.I’ve worked with Deb, mostly with Arkansas high school students in social entrepreneurship. Her care and passion for student success always inspires me. She is always thinking of ways to benefit and inspire students and cares deeply about seeing students succeed and find community when they arrive on campus.I deeply admire her student-facing work and I want to recognize the impact she has had on me and our students. She is also a badass female role model. She has empowered and inspired me as a female in the Walton College.
Sandra Cox Birchfield
In addition to being a super admin for the marketing department, Sandra has been the author of our EPIC Spotlight articles for several years now.She has written about faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends with style and sensitivity no matter if it has been an academic triumph or a personal tragedy.Her article on Dub Ashton is the most popular Spotlight we’ve ever published (and was picked up by Arkansas Newswire and has been submitted for publication in Arkansas magazine). And if you haven’t read her sensitive article about Remembering Sara Hudson, do it now.
Dr. Karen Boston is an EPIC Woman of Walton.She has institutional knowledge unlike anyone else; she has demonstrate effective leadership across multiple offices (UGPO, Career Services, Communications Lab, Student Success; Career Readiness); she has mentored many colleges; she is an active citizen in our community (Chamber of Commerce, Junior League).We are fortunate to have women like Karen as role models in our College.
Julie sets an example in how to be a razor-sharp clinical faculty that teaches a staggering number of classes at top quality, while maintaining a research and service reputation that is truly impressive. She must have a time machine, as I do not see how she fits so much into her days.I have heard only positive things about her from students, but I mainly view Julie as raising the bar on my own job, and on what it means to be a clinical faculty. She’s truly an asset to the college, and she is setting a great example for both students and colleagues.
Sarah is a great example of a female leader in Walton College.She pushes the envelope in prioritizing student outcomes / impact, and she is a visionary thought leader in the region when it comes to innovation and entrepreneurship.Sarah has transformed the OEI team by creating a sustainable strategy and empowering the staff and students that work on the team. She is inspirational to everyone who meets her. She challenges the status quo and is constantly pushing the University at large to think differently and more innovatively. I admire her leadership and persistence!
Lori Foster could be described as the “glue that holds the college together.” Lori is the epitome of professionalism and brings experience, kindness, knowledge, and intelligence to all meetings and business interactions. She is highly organized and maintains a wealth of knowledge and discretion.One thing I specifically appreciate about Lori is her responsiveness, and thoughtfulness of those responses. Despite her very busy role supporting the dean, Lori takes time to help others get their work done. She goes out of her way to help others achieve success. Lori is an outstanding Walton Woman!
Tanya Russell is a true inspiration as a leader, co-worker, and just all-around person.Over the last couple of years, I have witnessed firsthand her dedication and sacrifice to the college and more specifically to her direct reports. She relentlessly provides motivation for us to do our best work, challenges us to tackle something new, advises when we are unsure, and most importantly trusts and supports us.One of the things I admire most is her level head and calmness in tough situations. She is the epitome of an EPIC team member and one that is respected by all who know her.
Meredith does a fantastic job of lifting up women within the Walton College.I started in my role in April 2019.She was one of the first people to connect with me and make me feel welcome.She has always been someone I can go to for mentoring, guidance, or just general questions like what’s your favorite local coffee place.I appreciate how she has included me in meetings and events and always looks for ways to serve and help others to strengthen our college.I have seen her do this not only with me, but with several others.Her positivity and genuineness have made an impact on me!
Kindness and grace.I have never met anyone in my career who shows the kind of extraordinary kindness and grace that Sandy shows to her staff, university colleagues, and to the entire Walton community. Her own example of kindness and grace is replicated throughout her team, and in my opinion the number one reason the Walton Technology Center is so appreciated by the people we serve.I could not ask for a better manager, colleague, and friend then the one I’ve had for the past 10 years in Sandy Kizer. She is truly a remarkable leader who has served this college and university well!
I nominate Erin Rongers as a Woman of Walton for the college for many reasons.She comes to work with a smile & a positive attitude daily. She is the most welcoming person on our staff. Her motto is “the glass is always half full” & her positive light is reflected on others. She is able to look at the bright side of things & makes sure every person’s voice is heard. She treats her peers with respect & emmulates our values, — EPIC to a “T!”She is proud to work for Walton & a great representative for the college when she is meeting with alumni & donors across the US. A great colleague & friend!
Catherine is one of the most positive and impressive colleagues I have the pleasure to work with. Her good nature is uplifting and inspiring to everyone around her. Her innovative ideas have led to the launch of impactful student-centered initiatives like Walton’s S.A.M. Talks.Catherine has an incredible ability to take on a huge array of projects at one time, and execute them flawlessly, and I know that so many of us rely on her to keep the team running. And she does all of this while being an amazing mom to two kids under the age of 3!
Emily started at GEO (Global Engagement Office) as an administrative assistant last year and very quickly she became engaged in strategic decisions and challenging issues at GEO. After the assistant director left, Emily took the initiative to take over a number of responsibilities related to managing faculty led programs and scholarships, handling coordination with the Study Abroad Office, faculty leaders, associate deans, and external constituents.Emily is extremely professional, driven, and dedicated. Moreover, Emily is truly passionate about international education and promoting internationalization at Walton.
Cari is the first to step in and offer help whenever anyone is in need.She has a tremendous amount of knowledge about Walton and about university processes which she freely gives to whomever can use it.She has helped UGPO (Undergraduate Programs) out of a tight spot more than once, helping us manage our front office needs while we looked for a new hire.Personally, Cari inspires me to do my best.She has committed to going back to school while working full time and taking care of her family.Her dedication and excitement make me so proud of her. Cari inspires me to reach for the stars, even when it gets hard.
Sarah Jensen is an incredible woman who deserves to be highlighted. Sarah took on the role as the faculty leader for the new Walton study abroad Chile program and although the program has been cancelled, she worked tremendously hard at recruiting and making sure she took care of her students needs. This is no small feat as creating a new program is very detailed work.Not only was she creating a newprogram, but she also received her Ph.D. while teaching classes! Sarah is simply a joy to be around and will go out of her way to help someone. Her hard work and determination does not go unnoticed.
I’m only supposed to have an (as in one) example? How is that possible with Jessi, whose positive impact has been felt by so many in the college and in the community?I could choose her work with Women of Walton to provide fellowship and mentorship to female faculty, staff, and grad students. Her work with the Walton Food Pantry to make sure the food insecure do not suffer? Perhaps her work with the HS Social Innovation Challenge, which helps Arkansas high school students become stronger, more confident communicators?Her willingness & energy to empower and strengthen others is unmatched.
Dr. O’Leary-Kelly is the standardother women in the Walton College should aspire to reach.She epitomizes integrity and always shows compassion for others. She is able to make hard decisions and communicate them directly.It is hard to imagine a woman who has had a more positive impact on the Walton College or the University of Arkansas.