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UA Little Rock Honors Boyer, Nipp, Krain with 2023 Staff Achievement Awards

Ben Krain, photographer and videography in the Office of Communications and Marketing, has received the Personal Growth Award. Toni Boyer-Stewart, web marketer and analyst in the Office of Communications and Marketing, has received the Ben Fry Service to UA Little Rock Award. And, Ashely Nipp, accountant in the Alumni and Development Office, has received the Service to Community Award. Each winner will receive $3,000 dollars.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has honored three of the university’s outstanding staff members for their exceptional work in the areas of service to the university, community service, and personal growth.

Toni Boyer, web marketer and analyst in the Office of Communications and Marketing, has received the Ben Fry Service to UA Little Rock Award. The award recipient is an individual who is distinctive in service through committees, special events, implementation of creative ideas or support, and encouragement of others.

Ashley Nipp, accountant in the Office of Alumni and Development, has received the Community Service Award. This award recipient has been particularly successful in organizing community events or had major achievements in civic, service, or specialty organizations/events.

Additionally, Ben Krain, photographer in the Office of Communications and Marketing, has received the Personal Growth Award. The award winner is described as an individual whose scholarship, research, or creative talent has been particularly outstanding.

“The three staff members who won these awards represent staff dedication and commitment to our institution and our community,” said Ross Bradley, president of Staff Senate and web and provost office manager. “Their contributions have benefited faculty, students, fellow staff, and our community members in countless ways. Without staff contributions like the ones highlighted in these three staff members, it would be impossible for the institution to meet its goals.”

The three winners will receive a $3,000 award distributed via payroll distributions. UA Little Rock Alumni Association Board of Director members Guy Choate, Becky Flynn, Heidi Harrell, Summer Khairi, and Justin Martin served as judges.

More information about the Staff Achievement Award winners:

Ben Fry Service to UA Little Rock Award

Since joining the university in 2016, Boyer has been an active member of the campus community who is dedicated to giving back and making UA Little Rock a remarkable campus. She started off in the Staff Senate and immediately jumped into leadership roles, serving as secretary and communications officer during her two-year term. She is an active participant in campus events and can often be seen volunteering at events like Commencement, Discover, and BBQ @ Bailey.

As a member of the Sustainability Committee since 2018, Boyer has taken part in many projects that show staff, students, and faculty members how they can take steps to conserve resources, connect with community initiatives, and protect the environment. She has helped select the winners of the UA Little Rock Sustainability Grants, which have brought several innovative and environmentally friendly projects to campus over the years.

She also organizes popular campus events like Sustainability Day, Earth Day, and free giveaways of energy-friendly items from Entergy. Boyer also chairs the Building and Grounds Committee, which promotes beautification on campus, ensures protection of the natural and aesthetic environment on campus, and provides recommendations on plans for new campus construction. She also represents the Building and Grounds Committee on the Trojan Way project committee, a multimillion infrastructure project that will greatly reshape the face of UA Little Rock.

“It’s really great to see Toni recognized for all she does to support UA Little Rock,” said Meaghan Milliorn, director of digital strategy and Boyer’s supervisor. “She’s been very involved in the annual Earth Day events and serves on the Sustainability Committee and the Building and Grounds Committee. She knows that each of us can make a positive impact on campus and that we all have a role to play. She truly has a heart for giving back and supporting the university.”

Additionally, Boyer is a part of the Communications and Marketing Web Team that is in the middle of a major multi year project, the redesign and relaunch of UA Little Rock’s website. She is working to implement a new analytics tool to address user privacy, a major concern of the campus community.

Staff Achievement Award for Community Service

Since joining UA Little Rock in 2018, Nipp has been involved in several organizations and initiatives that are dedicated to community service.

“In her time at UA Little Rock, Ashley has been involved in several organizations to aid in the inclusive mission of the university,” said Samantha Wiley, associate director of advancement services, who nominated Nipp for the award. “It is because of her commitment to ensuring UA Little Rock continues to advance and be all-encompassing for everyone that I believe she is the ideal candidate for this award.”

While first working at the William H. Bowen School of Law, Nipp joined the steering committee of the All IN Campus Campaign, where she encouraged giving among the faculty and staff members of the university. Her enthusiasm led to getting more faculty and staff at Bowen involved in the university’s fundraising initiatives.

As a member of UA Little Rock Staff Senate for the past three years, Nipp has put her skills to use chairing the Fundraising Committee. It was her idea to start holding fundraisers at Chipotle, which has been extremely successful in raising money for one of the Staff Senate’s key initiatives, the Helping Hands Campaign, which provides holiday food baskets for university community members in need.

Nipp is an active member of Safe Zone at UA Little Rock, first serving as the chair of communications and as a member of the group’s Education Committee. The purpose of Safe Zone is to educate the campus community about issues related to individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ and to ensure individuals in the LGBTQ+ community view campus as a safe place.

“Ashley works to distribute information across campus for students, faculty, and staff to know how they can aid in the efforts, become advocates, and create safe spaces so that everyone enjoys their time at UA Little Rock,” Wiley said.

Additionally, Nipp is a member of the Arkansas chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, where she serves on the executive board as vice president of communications. As a university representative in Arkansas philanthropy networks, Nipp uses her position to learn best industry practices to elevate the fundraising efforts of UA Little Rock for the Centennial Campaign, UA Little Rock’s largest fundraising effort in university history.

Staff Achievement Award for Personal Growth

A familiar face around campus, Krain is responsible for capturing the university’s stories and bringing them to life for the campus community through his photos and videos.

“Ben has demonstrated exceptional creativity and talent in capturing the essence of our campus through his lens,” said Angie Faller, news director, who nominated Krain for the award. “His dedication and hard work have undoubtedly made a significant impact on the university community. Ben is truly an artist at heart, and I have seen his work move people to tears.”

An alumnus of UA Little Rock, Krain worked as a photographer for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more than two decades before joining UA Little Rock in 2019. His work has taken him all over the world. In 2022, UA Little Rock held a solo exhibit of Krain’s work called “Encounters,” which featured photographs taken over the last two decades of his career covering events, sports, disasters, and wars.

Krain continues to grow his skill as a fine artist by displaying his work in art galleries every year. In a 2021 exhibit, Krain and Professor Kensuke Yamada were featured in an art exhibit at the Historic Arkansas Museum that converged around the artists’ observations and thoughts surrounding the aloneness of creating during the COVID-19 era. The exhibit, “2020-21 Collectively Alone: Works by Benjamin Krain and Kensuke Yamada,” was curated by the Arkansas Arts Council and reflected on the experiences, moments, and thoughts of beauty and individuality.

In his drive for personal growth and development, Krain is a lifelong learner who is working to learn about the latest photographic equipment, techniques, and trends to improve his craft. One area where he has gained tremendous growth is his videography skills. He has recently been recognized for his talent in creating a video of a UA Little Rock study abroad class that traveled to the Bahamas last year.

The video, “UA Little Rock in the Bahamas,” was recognized this spring with the Merit Award in the Special Video category in the 38th Annual Educational Advertising Awards. The video also received a Silver Award in the Digital Special Video category last fall in the 10th Annual Education Digital Marketing Awards.

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