Our Student Retention Initiatives Team includes both Coaches and Specialists. Our Student Success Coaches provide 1-on-1 support and can help you with time management, test-taking strategies, note-taking skills, tips on how to connect with faculty members, and how to get connected on campus. Our Student Support Specialist is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who provides strategies for managing stress, navigating relationships, conflict resolution, and connections to campus and community resources.
Meet the Team
Laura Casey | Student Success Coach
Ms. Casey is a Student Success Coach with the UA Little Rock Student Retention Initiatives (SRI) team. She recently moved to Arkansas from Kansas City, MO. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and a Master’s in College Student Personnel. Above all, Ms. Casey enjoys helping students find meaning in their college experiences and teaching skills that contribute to students’ success. When not coaching students, she spends her time enjoying music, trivia, good food, TV shows, and entertainment.
Dominque Thomas | Student Success Coach
Mr. Thomas is the Student Success Coach with the UA Little Rock Student Affairs Diversity Initiative (SADI). He was born in Pine Bluff, but raised in North Little Rock. He is an alumnus of UA Little Rock. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and a Master of Arts in Higher Education with a concentration in Student Affairs. He is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity at Southwestern Theological Seminary. In his spare time, he likes to work out, yoga, sit in solitude, read and watch sports. His favorite TV show is Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Mr. Thomas has spent most of his career working in higher education in the capacity of mentorship, instructor, and coach for collegiate students. He enjoys working with students and helping students to be outstanding critical thinkers and problem-solvers.
Gertrude Thompkins, LCSW | Student Support Specialist
Ms. Thompkins is a Student Support Specialist with the UA Little Rock Student Retention Initiatives (SRI) team. She was born and raised in Stuttgart, and is proud to be an Arkansas native as well as a UA Little Rock Alumna. Ms. Thompkins received her Master’s in Social Work from UA Little Rock in 2007 and has 20 years of experience providing counseling and support services for individuals, families, and groups. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor, Ms. Thompkins is knowledgeable about local/state agencies and services and is able to assist with referrals for individual and family needs. She utilizes evidence-based treatment interventions to assist her clients in reaching their goals. Her personal quote is “I enjoy serving the needs of others.”
Lisa Shellito | Administrative Specialist III
Ms. Shellito is an Administrative Specialist with the UA Little Rock Student Retention Initiatives (SRI) team. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Ms. Shellito moved to Arkansas in 2018 and is happy to call the Natural State her new home. Ms. Shellito holds a Bachelor’s degree from Eastern Oregon University in Business Administration with a concentration in Leadership, Organization, and Management (LOM). In her free time, Ms. Shellito enjoys outdoor activities, art, and spending time with family.
Quinshell Smith | Graduate Assistant
Quinshell is a graduate assistant with the UA Little Rock Student Retention Initiatives (SRI) team. She was born and raised in Little Rock. She is an alumnus of UA Little Rock. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Bachelor of Science in Biology, and a Master of Science in Applied Science. Quinshell is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Applied Bioscience. Above all, Quinshell enjoys helping encourage students to reach their full potential. When not working with SRI, she spends her time volunteering, researching, and enjoying friends and family.
Heather A. Reed, Ed.S. | Director of Student Retention Initiatives
Ms. Reed is the Director of the UA Little Rock Student Retention Initiatives (SRI) team. A native of Kansas City, MO, Ms. Reed now calls Arkansas home. As a life-long learner, she has earned an Education Specialist Degree in Education Policies and Leadership Studies – the University of Iowa, Master’s Degree in College Student Personnel – Western Illinois University, and Bachelor’s Degree in English – Truman State University. Ms. Reed has 20 years of experience helping students succeed in college drawing on her time in housing/residence life, learning communities, crisis management, mentoring, judicial affairs, first-year experience, and success coaching. Ms. Reed has served as an Assistant Dean at UA Little Rock and now focuses on building and leading the SRI team. Ms. Reed is passionate about student success/retention and believes in reducing barriers for students to achieve success.
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