UACCM Employees, Student, Alumni Recognized

Two UACCM employees, a current student, and graduate were all recognized recently during the Arkansas Community Colleges (ACC) fall conference in Little Rock. ACC is a non-profit association representing all twenty-two public community colleges in Arkansas. The ACC member colleges serve more than 80,000 students annually and award over 15,000 college credentials each year, including associate degrees and short-term training certificates. The organization holds a conference awards ceremony to present awards to the outstanding alumni, academic all-stars, outstanding faculty, and outstanding staff members selected by each two-year college. 
(Left to Right): UACCM Alumni of the Year Emily Young and Academic All –Star Charis McKay
Emily Young was recognized as UACCM’ 2018 Outstanding Alumni of the Year. Young is a 2003 graduate of UACCM’s Visual Communications program and is the co-owner/manager/designer of the popular Dog Ear Books in Russellville where they not only sell books but also host open mic nights, author signings, kids’ activities, and much more. In March 2018, Young also opened The Garage Arcade, which features retro arcade games for all ages, as well as a full-service coffee shop. Young uses her energy and creativity to further benefit her community as a board member of Main Street Russellville, Leadership Russellville, the Downtown Association, and the Russellville Dog Park.  She is an organizer for 1 Million Cups, and she received the Best New Downtown Retail Award from Main Street Arkansas in 2018.
Charis McKay was recognized as UACCM’s 2018 Academic All-Star. McKay is pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree in Drafting.  The Academic All-Star award is designed to honor excellence in academics and leadership at the state’s community colleges. Applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.25 and possess a minimum of 12 credit hours in pursuit of an associate degree. Each of the state’s twenty-two community colleges presents an All-Star scholarship to one student annually, and the state’s public four-year universities also offer an academic transfer scholarship to those All Stars who plan to eventually pursue a bachelor’s degree.
McKay is a UACCM Student Ambassador, Drafting Club president, and a member of the international honor society Phi Theta Kappa, the National Technical Honor Society, and SkillsUSA. She plans to work as a drafter while pursuing an engineering degree and dreams of designing and building small, inexpensive homes for low-income families.
(Left to Right): UACCM Faculty Member of the Year Kara Jones and UACCM Staff of the Year Kim Darling
Kara Jones was recognized as UACCM’s 2018 Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year. Jones has been an Education instructor at UACCM since 2011.  She received Master in Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in Education from the University of Central Arkansas and has continuously modeled a commitment to teaching and learning inside and outside the classroom for students who also aspire to become teachers. She serves as a Phi Theta Kappa honor society advisor, National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Peer Reviewer for national accreditations, and a curriculum consultant. Additionally, she teaches for the UA Early Care and Education Projects and is a dedicated and tireless community volunteer, even spearheading the creation of a free food pantry on campus. In addition to being selected as the Outstanding Faculty of the Year, Jones was recognized as the Educator of the Year at the recent Morrilton Area Chamber of Commerce Banquet.
Kim Darling was recognized as UACCM’s 2018 Outstanding Staff Member of the Year. Darling, UACCM’s Director of Adult Education, rejoined UACCM in 2010 after previously serving the college in another administrative capacity beginning in 1994. Darling holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Central Arkansas and a Bachelor of Science degree from Arkansas Tech University. 
In her role as Director of Adult Education, Darling oversees UACCM’s adult education centers located in Morrilton, Perryville, Clinton, and Conway.  The UACCM community is very grateful to have Kim Darling leading the adult education team.  In the words of Darling’s colleagues who nominated her, “She is the perfect example of a great leader” and she “teaches by example, and her energy inspires every teacher.”

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