Graduate College Staff


Dr. Richard Schoephoerster picture

Dr. Richard Schoephoerster

Dean, Graduate College and Research
Phone: (479) 968-0398

  • Ph.D. - University of Iowa (Mechanical Engineering)
  • M.S. - University of Iowa (Mechanical Engineering)
  • B.S. - University of Iowa (Biomedical Engineering)

Dr. Richard Schoephoerster joined the ATU Faculty in 2020. He previously served as Professor and Dean of the College of Engineering at the American University of Sharjah for three years. Prior to that he served as Professor and Dean of the College of Engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso for 8 years. He served at Florida International University from1990-2007 and was the Founding Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Wallace H. Coulter Eminent Scholars Chair.

Dr. Schoephoerster also oversees ATU's research initiatives and sponsored programs.


Kaitlynn Beaird



   Kaitlynn Beaird

Graduate Admissions Officer
Call or Text: 479-888-2421

  • M.A. - The University of Alabama (Higher Education Administration)
  • B.S. - University of West Alabama (Integrated Marketing Communications)

Kaitlynn joined the Graduate College team in May 2020. She is the main point of contact for students interested in pursuing a graduate degree. A first-generation college student, Kaitlynn received a B.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications with summa cum laude distinction and as an honors scholar from the University of West Alabama in December 2017, and a M.A. in Higher Education Administration from The University of Alabama in May 2020. In her free time, she is a freelance graphic designer and enjoys attending concerts, visiting family and friends, and playing with her Australian Shepherd, Bane. 


Sarah Burnett



   Sarah Burnett

Graduate College Administrator
Phone: (479) 880-4323

  • M.A.T- University of Central Arkansas (Secondary Mathematics)
  • B.S.B.A. - Arkansas Tech University (Management & Marketing)

Sarah has worked at Arkansas Tech for the past 6 years in STEM Education. She currently works with K-12 schools to support STEM outreach, supports VEX Robotics across the state, hosts the VEX State Championships, supports STEM initiatives and sponsored programs at the University, and works within the graduate college to manage graduate level degree program requirements. Sarah currently resides in Yell county with her husband, Brent, and two children, Drake and Isabella.

Photo of Ernest Henley 


  Ernest Hendley

Coordinator of Graduate Student Support Services
Phone: (479) 880-4112

  • M.Ed. - University of Oklahoma( Adult and Higher Education)
  • B.S. - Oklahoma City University (Kinesiology)

Ernest previously served as an Advisor and Baccalaureate Contract Coordinator for the College of Professional and Liberal Studies at the University of Memphis (2015-2020). Prior to that Ernest served as Academic Counselor for the College of Arts and Sciences at The University of Oklahoma for 4 years (2011-2015).  He has also served as a Student Program Specialist for the University of Oklahoma in 2010 and 2011.   During that time, he assisted in starting the Graduate Student Ambassador group along with Graduate Student Welcome Week.

His  primary role with be supporting recruiting and retention initiatives that are responsible for growing and maintaining the Graduate College and its students.

Denise Wallis picture

Denise wallis

Direct Assistant to the Dean
Phone: (479) 968-0398

Denise Wallis started working for Arkansas Tech University in 2016. She has recently transitioned to the position of Administrative Specialist for the Graduate College. Her roles include collecting and recording student information to assist them with the graduate school application process and assisting in overseeing graduate assistants.

Denise is a lifelong resident of Pope County and currently resides in Dover with her husband, Randall, and their two sons, Baxter and Kenlee.




Jill Hays picture


Jill hays

Administrative Specialist III/Admissions Coordinator
Phone: (479) 356-2203                              

Jill began working in the ATU Graduate College in 2006. She is the primary admission specialist and is the main point of contact for students who are currently applying to the Graduate College. She has aided the office in system updates and evolving initiatives which improve the application experience for students. She currently resides in Russellville with her puppy Sadie.