SAA Alumni

Alumni of the SAA program are making a difference in the lives of many students and we want to share those stories with our current and perspective students. The positive impact you are making within your professional field is inspirational.

hear from our graduates


Tracey Hale, Arkansas Tech University

"I have been in California for my son's graduation from the Marine Corps boot camp and while there I met a couple of university employees from other states who were all grad students enrolled in a similar SAA program. We discussed the classes and the material covered and it was very similar. Everyone seemed to have a positive attitude about how the programs have influenced them in their current positions and given them a better understanding of students and the various university departments. It was really cool to talk to other students in these programs and know that the education I am getting from ATU is so closely aligned with what other schools offer."

Chasity Huchingson, National Park Community College

"I would recommend the SAA masters program to anyone! I learned a plethora of information concerning students that I can apply to my job each and every day. The instructors are very caring and there to assist you in all your needs no matter what they may be. I recently received a promotion within my office that I would not have gotten had I not had my masters. I am grateful for this program and to all the instructors!"

Victor F. Saldivar, University of the Incarnate Word

"The SAA program prepared and developed me to attain the career path I desired after graduation. The education I received through the SAA program put me in a position to not only have a passion for what I do, but also to receive recognition at work and conferences. Dr. Underwood and the rest of the SAA staff really supported me from start to finish. Four years after graduation, the support and knowledge that comes from the program staff is what keeps me in contact with them still today."

Valerie Breashears, Arkansas Tech University

"Upon completing my SAA degree at Arkansas Tech I felt very confident and competitive with other young professionals in the field. In my first professional position I was able to work with several other recent graduates and noticed immediately how well prepared I was to work with students. If you want a well rounded curriculum with hands on practicum experience, then this is the program for you."

Kevin Farrell, Purdue University

"Arkansas Tech's Student Affairs Administration program has allowed me the opportunity to implement what I am learning throughout my daily career and use it in the class structure. The instructors were supportive, educated about the field, and offered not only professional advice but also personal experiences. I hesitated with doing the program and working a full-time position, but ended up looking forward to doing the work and learning how to be more effective in my job instantly."

David Hamilton, University of South Florida

"I have a bit of a unique perspective of the SAA department as I completed both my undergraduate and graduate degrees at Arkansas Tech University. While I have to credit my undergraduate experience with teaching me who I am in the world, I believe that my time in the SAA program taught me how to make an impact on the world. I wouldn't be who I am without that knowledge. It was great to watch the growth that has occurred over the last few years. The atmosphere of the courses was great. I really do appreciate the time and energy put in by the faculty and staff to guarantee that anyone who wants to be, will be, successful in the program. Also, the quality of students allowed us all to grow together, personally and professionally, and helped us to push each other to that next level that makes SAA graduates a hot commodity in the collegiate environment."

Shanna Turney, Arkansas Tech University

"When I began the SAA program, I was scared to death of what the future might hold for me. I had just received my bachelors degree from Tech and truly loved the undergraduate program I was leaving. I had so many friends there, the faculty and staff could not have been more supportive and I wondered if I would find this connection in my new program. I had always been encouraged to follow my heart, wherever it may lead me; so while I was letting it lead, I was a bit skeptical about what working with a new program meant. On my first day, all of my fears were wiped away as I started the SAA program because not only do the faculty and staff in the SAA department teach how important it is to connect with students; they lead by example. I am very grateful for the hands-on experience I received while obtaining my degree and feel as though I am truly prepared for whatever job I may hold in the future. Without this experience, I would have never found my true calling in the career world and I would never have had the courage to accept my first job in Student Affairs! Thank you to all the faculty and staff who made my dream possible!"

Joseph Gilgour, Mineral Area College

"I am currently president of Mineral Area College in Park Hills, MO.  I can honestly say I would not be where I am today without Arkansas Tech University.  I lived in a rural area with no access to graduate studies and the online program through ATU was perfect for my schedule.  Graduate course work through ATU helped me understand my calling in life and my passion for student success and higher education."

Brennae Benda Wright, University of texas at dallas

"I have been at UT Dallas for 6.5 years currently and started in an entry level events coordinator position with our university events team. Through some reorganization at the university, I was able to gain experience in fundraising and alumni relations from which after a couple of years as an events coordinator, I made the switch to an assistant director of the annual giving team. While a part of annual giving, my knowledge of the inner workings of a university (gained from SAA) was vital in fostering relationships across campus with several offices and in turn allowed my team to become better fundraisers for our students and the campus. I have had the opportunity to become the director of annual giving and most recently take on the director of alumni and annual giving programming responsibilities and I attribute much of this growth to my education and ability to both know the different offices and their value to campus and the Dallas-Fort Worth community as well as first-hand understand the importance higher education plays in our society. My education and experience as a graduate assistant with campus life and athletics, while at Tech, I believe gave me an edge to not only succeed in my field, but also lead a team to do the same."

Nichole Edwards, Arkansas tech university 

"My experience in the Student Affairs Administration program was amazing! It was such a hands on program that taught me so much and really prepared me to work closely with students in an advising capacity. It gave me the opportunity to not only learn in the classroom but outside of the classroom as well. My GA position was with the SAA department and I was able to really learn and network with the faculty through not only contact in the classroom but in the office as well. As a GA I taught sections of the Intro to College Success course and worked with variety of student from various backgrounds which was such a benefit when I started as an advisor for SSS. My practicums with Academic Advising and the Dean of Students both gave me invaluable experience. With advising I got experience with incoming students and parents and the official process of advising. My practicum with the Dean of Students gave me insight into the inner workings of Student Affairs (which was very different from my GA since it was more academic based). I was able to see the hiring process from beginning to end on multiple hiring committees and was allowed to be part of the interview process. I also saw the student conduct and also programming from Student Affairs. The projects that were incorporated in to the classroom, while I didn’t know it at the time, were very realistic and great preparation for working in the field. This program played a major role in my success, through the connections and network I built with other students in the program, the professors, and student affairs staff across the campus. I am still in contact with many individuals that I completed the program with, and can still rely on the faculty to reach out and talk to anytime."

Danielle Jolie, University of Arkansas-Fort Smith

"I remember my 'senior freak out' moment in undergrad when I realized my planned next step was not the right path for me. Luckily, I had campus mentors that recommended I look into the SAA program. I remember scheduling a meeting with Dr. Underwood to discuss what the program entailed. She started the conversation by asking me what questions I had, to which I replied with 'EVERYTHING.' Within the first few minutes of our conversation, I immediately knew the SAA program was the perfect path for me. The SAA program challenged me to grow personally and professionally. I cannot praise my experience and faculty enough as they lead by example as models of outstanding SAA professionals. My experience with the program felt more like a gathering of family and friends rather than a lecture in a classroom. The curriculum is relevant, applicable, and beneficial regardless of division or department one's higher ed path leads them. I can easily tell the difference between a professional who went through the SAA program at ATU versus another institution. I will always recommend this program to anyone interested in working in higher education.  

Shirley Shao, Fudan University Shanghai, China 

"I miss those days and the courses I spent at Arkansas Tech University. After working in higher education in Shanghai for 3 years, I want to thank the faculty and staff members within the program for giving me opportunities and guidance. It has made a profound impact on my career."

KEVIN FARRELL, PURDUE UNIVERSITY

"Arkansas Tech's Student Affairs Administration program has allowed me the opportunity to implement what I am learning throughout my daily career and use it in the class structure. The instructors were supportive, educated about the field, and offered not only professional advice but also personal experiences. I hesitated with doing the program and working a full-time position but ended up looking forward to doing the work and learning how to be more effective in my job instantly."

Get Connected

One way we will keep up with alumni is by sending an annual email requesting updated information, if there is information to update. The information will be used for promotional materials for our program. In the meantime, please remember to share any career updates and/or accomplishments by sending us an e-mail with your new information:

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Visit the Arkansas Tech Alumni web site for more information on upcoming alumni events, the career center, and to network with other Tech alumni.

ARKANSAS TECH ALUMNI ASSOCIATION

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