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Graduating Student Spotlight on Valerie Plate

Valerie Plate
Valerie Plate

Valerie Plate, a business major from Little Rock, will graduate this semester with her bachelor’s degree about 14 years after first starting college.

She started college right after graduating high school in 2000, but took a break and got a full-time job with the state of Arkansas in 2006.

In 2018, Plate earned her associate degree from the University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College on a 2+2 program with UA Little Rock. This semester, she will earn her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in human resource management.

While at UA Little Rock, Plate’s favorite experience has been serving on the executive committee of the Human Resource Society, where they have professional development speakers and participate in community service. She’s also a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the Society for Human Resource Management, and the Central Arkansas Human Resource Association.

She is thankful to her mentors, Karen Leonard, professor of management, and Shannon Gwinn, director of the Center for Student and Career Services in the School of Business, for motivating her to stay in school after the tragic loss of a family member and after being diagnosed with a serious health condition of her own.

“I went through a personal tragedy a few years ago,” Plate said. “I was ready to quit and be done for a while, but they were very supportive and encouraged me to keep going. If I have an issue or problem, those would be the first two people I go to.”

After graduating this semester, Plate will begin the Master of Business Administration program at UA Little Rock in the spring 2021 semester.

“UA Little Rock has been very enjoyable, and I look forward to coming back to get my graduate degree,” Plate said. “The one piece of advice I would give is don’t be afraid to go to your professors for help or assistance. The professors I’ve had truly do care about making sure you are doing well and can succeed to the best of your ability. If it wasn’t for Professor Leonard or Shannon Gwinn, I don’t know if I would be graduating.”

Once she completes her MBA, Plate’s dream job is to work in human resources at a pediatric hospital or clinic. In her job with the state, she helps people get teaching licenses and wants to continue working with children.

“I love working with kids, and I want to make sure that they have the best staff possible to take care of them,” Plate said.