University of Arkansas at Little Rock Chancellor Christina Drale, Edie Stewart, assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management, and Kathy Oliverio, director of military student success, were recognized for their efforts to support military service members this month.
Kaycee Greenwood, assistant director of military student success and a doctoral student in education at UA Little Rock, nominated Drale, Stewart, and Oliverio for the Service Member Patriot Award.
Members of the National Guard or Reserve or their spouses can nominate individual supervisors and bosses for support provided to the nominating Service member and their family. The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide range of measures including flexible schedules, time off, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed.
Greenwood serves as a master sergeant with the Air Force Reserve. She joined the Air Force in 2007 and served in active duty until 2018 when she was ready for a career change from maintaining military aircraft.
“It wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life,” Greenwood said. “I had received a master’s degree in higher education administration and knew I wanted to work at a university. If I stayed in the military for 10 more years, I knew the field would have changed too much to use my degree.”
After leaving active duty, Greenwood was hired as an assistant registrar at the University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College. She loved her internship with Kathy Oliverio, UA Little Rock’s director of military student success, so much that she immediately applied for the assistant director position at UA Little Rock when it became available earlier this year.
“The Military Student Success Center is a one-stop-shop for our military students,” Greenwood said. “Some of these students have no experience with college, and they come into the office completely lost. It’s really rewarding to help them find their place in college.”
Greenwood decided to nominate Drale and Stewart for the award because the university has provided so much flexibility and support for her work with the Air Force Reserve and her classes.
“I’ve had no problems with taking off work for drill weekends,” Greenwood said. “Edie helped so much in the military center that it’s unbelievable. I couldn’t ask for a better university. I am so appreciative of Edie, Kathy, and Dr. Drale for their help in my career and studies that I wanted to nominate them for this award.”
The three were recognized by the Employer Support of the Guard and the Reserve, a U.S. Department of Defense program, with other Patriot Award recipients during a ceremony at Little Rock Air Force Base Nov. 3. Sen. Jane English presented the awards.
“I was so proud to receive this award,” Stewart said. “I am so grateful for our military service members and veterans. Their sacrifices, including those of their families, is something we need to be thankful for every day.” Stewart added, “ My dad was a Navy Vietnam veteran, and my son Matt graduated from the Naval Academy and just started flight school in Florida, so service members have a special place in my heart.”
Stewart said that it’s important to provide support for military students and employees like Greenwood who have sacrificed so much for the country.
“Kaycee really understands the background of military students,” Stewart said. “She connects well with students and can put herself in their place. As civilians, we don’t understand the difficulties of military life, but Kaycee can understand their sacrifices in a way only a service member can. We appreciate Kaycee and Kathy and everything they do for our students and our country.”
Drale, whose favorite part of the experience was taking a ride on a C-130 military aircraft around central Arkansas, said the award showcases UA Little Rock’s commitment toward supporting military students.
“I was very honored to receive the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Patriot Award,” Drale said. “I think the award really goes to the UA Little Rock staff and faculty who are working with military students every day and trying to make sure that they have the support that they need. We are very proud to be a military-friendly campus and to have the Purple Heart University designation. I was happy to accept the award on behalf of everyone at UA Little Rock who ensures that our military students thrive. And it was pretty cool to take a ride in a C-130 too!”