4 award winners from ASUMH to be honored in state-wide showcase

Photos: (from left) Rick Hastings, Stephanie Beaver, Geoff Smith and Jesse Wilcoxson

Arkansas State University-Mountain Home (ASUMH) will have four award winners recognized by the Arkansas Community Colleges (ACC) association at its 32nd annual conference Monday and Tuesday.

The Outstanding Faculty & Outstanding Staff Recognition Ceremony at 12:30 p.m. Monday will be conducted through a live video launch on Arkansas Community Colleges’ website, www.arkansascc.org. Being honored from ASUMH are Outstanding Faculty Rick Hastings and Outstanding Staff Stephanie Beaver. Outstanding faculty and staff members are chosen by their peers during an election each year.

When a faculty member loves his students like Rick Hastings does his welding students at ASU-Mountain Home, the enthusiasm is contagious. Hastings followed his wife to her hometown of Mountain Home from Memphis and worked as a welder and supervisor at a commercial construction company and local industry before coming to ASUMH as a welding instructor.

When Hastings joined the faculty at ASUMH, the welding program grew from six welding bays to 24 and serves a burgeoning number of students from local high schools to post-secondary. Under his direction, students have brought home 18 medals in three years at SKILLS USA competition. Hastings’ leadership has led to student involvement in many community projects – making gates for the public library, signage for Mountain Home’s new downtown entertainment district and a commercial-grade smoker for Mountain Home High School.

Hastings says he is passing on a trade that makes a huge impact on the world and how society runs, as more than 50% of the nation’s industry is based on welding. Hastings says his students are his inspiration, and he is happy to be recognized for his contributions to their education!

When Stephanie Beaver was hired as a recruiter for ASUMH, she was in Ireland, serving as an au pair for two school-aged children. It was her work at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville as a graduate recruitment assistant and as a Veterans Resource and Information Center intern, however, that made her sure she wanted to return to higher education.

Beaver worked as ASUMH’s recruiter from September of 2018 to January of 2020, when she became the admissions coordinator, overseeing the Admissions Office and Testing Center. Beaver has been a true stand-out, as she has worked to create and adjust processes in order to ensure a smooth admissions experience for students. She has represented ASUMH with enthusiasm and positivity to both prospective and current students alike. She serves on the board of directors for the Schliemann Center for Women’s Health at Baxter Regional Medical Center.

The Outstanding Alumni & Academic All-Star Student Recognition Ceremony will be held at 12:30 p.m. and will be presented the same way as Monday’s ceremony. Being honored from ASUMH is Outstanding Alumnus Geoff Smith and Academic All-Star Jesse Wilcoxson. These two honors are selected by a committee at ASUMH each year.

Geoff Smith’s efforts during the COVID19 pandemic were just one of the many reasons he was chosen as ASUMH Alum of the Year. Smith is a 2007 graduate of ASUMH and the University of Phoenix, where he received a bachelor’s degree. Smith co-founded MH Cares, a volunteer-based organization that responded to a local need to keep restaurants propped up and local citizens fed during the COVID19 pandemic.

Smith and Kirk Brown, who also formerly attended ASUMH, helped raise more than $26,000 to provide more than 5,000 meals from locally-owned restaurants in Mountain Home. The group fed first responders, local front-line workers and those who lost jobs or needed food.

They also helped facilitate Easter baskets for children and resources from the local Salvation Army. Smith is humble and deflects praise, but he and his friends deserve the recognition for all they did for the community in a time of need. Smith was especially interested in including ASUMH in this project and held the first food distributions on the college campus. Smith is a financial advisor for Edward Jones in Mountain Home. He and his wife, Tami, have two young children, 4-year-old Jude and 2-year-old Quinn (2).

Jesse Wilcoxson is an over-achiever in the classroom and beyond. ASUMH’s Academic All-Star’s passions include running obstacle races, camping on the river and spending time with his wife and two daughters. He graduated from Cotter High School and plans on attending A-State in Jonesboro to finish his bachelor’s degree in education. His hope is to one day become a history teacher (and win more obstacle races).

Arkansas Community Colleges (ACC) is a non-profit association representing all 22 public community colleges in Arkansas.

Arkansas Community Colleges (ACC) was established in 1989 as a professional development association through a grassroots effort of community college faculty to share ideas, resources and techniques to better meet the education and training needs of students.

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