UA Cossatot Honors Employee Service
October 23, 2018
The University of Arkansas Cossatot honored staff and faculty members for 5, 10, and 20 years of distinguished service during the college’s October Faculty/Staff Meeting. Recipients are Christine Vertiz, Susanne Ward, Erika Buenrrostro, and David Sirmon.
Vertiz, a resident of De Queen, has been with the college for 20 years. Before joining UA Cossatot, she worked 25 years in the poultry industry until her young daughter’s battles with cancer forced her to leave work. Her own health then declined, landing her in a nursing home for two years. During that time, Vertiz started classes at UA Cossatot while also working as a part-time tutor. She completed her Associate of Arts degree and then Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Vertiz is now the college’s Testing Coordinator. She loves making students feel a little more at ease as they come in to take an exam. Always wearing a smile, Vertiz strives to make a difference in whatever way she can, just as she feels the college has made a difference in her life.
Ward is a lifelong resident of Ashdown and has been with UA Cossatot for 10 years. An alumni of the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Education, she began her service as the Disability Coordinator and transitioned to Director of Student Services in 2017. She completed the Little River County Leadership class in 2010 and the Arkansas Community Colleges Leadership program in 2018. During her time as Disability Coordinator, Ward assisted students with disabilities in overcoming obstacles and accomplishing their academic and career goals. As Director of Student Services, Ward works to improve retention and attainment by ensuring all student serving departments work together for a better student experience. She continues to add value through her commitment to students and their success.
Buenrrostro, a resident of De Queen, has been with UA Cossatot for 5 years. She began her time at the college as a college recruiter, continuing to focus on Hispanic recruitment. Buenrrostro’s efforts, along with a college wide effort, lead to the college being named as a Hispanic-Serving Intuition (HSI) by the US Department of Education for the year 2017-2018. This made UA Cossatot the first and only HSI in the state of Arkansas. Buenrrostro now serves as the new Center for Student Success Coordinator, providing workshops, study space, mentoring, and food assistance on campus and community outreach in the college’s service areas. She has also served as Colts Club Soccer Sponsor, Student Diversity Association Sponsor, and now Rotaract Co-Sponsor. Her energy and care for students continue to push the college to increase student success.
Sirmon, a resident of Dierks, has been with the college for 5 years as a Workforce Development Coordinator. Sirmon leverages his previous managerial experience within the poultry industry and 12 years as a retail business owner to assist companies and their employees in becoming more competitive through quality, cost-effective training. He also manages a variety of activities involving the placement of graduates, students, and community members into identified employment opportunities---including the college’s Virtual Career Center at www.cccua.edu/getajob and Arkansas Career Readiness Certifications recognized by multiple area employers.