Vice-President for Communication
Vice-President for Diversity
Private Institution Representative
Melissa Jackson is a native of Osceola, Arkansas, but currently resides in Jonesboro. After high school, Melissa attended the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, but did not complete her studies there. She later attended Arkansas Northeastern Community College where she earned her Associate of Arts Degree in 2003 before transferring to Arkansas State University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Oral Communication and Theatre Arts (2004), Master of Arts in Communication Studies (2005), and Specialist Degree in Community College Education (2006). After graduation, Melissa joined the Wilson Advising Center in 2006 as an Academic Advisor and currently serves as the Center’s Director.
Melissa joined the Arkansas Academic Advising Network (ArkAAN) in 2006, and later joined the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). She has served ArkAAN as a member of the executive board in the roles of VP for Membership (2009), President-Elect (2011), President (2012) and Past President (2013). She also served as the Chair of the Proposals Committee for the 2012 Region 7 NACADA Conference held in Rogers, AR. Melissa finds her job to be intrinsically rewarding because it provides her an opportunity to make a difference. She sees advising not only as an opportunity to share information with the intent of guiding students along their academic journey to graduation, but also as an opportunity to empower students to become responsible for their learning along the way for continued success beyond graduation. In addition to her primary role at Arkansas State University, Melissa serves as an instructor for the College of Media and Communications. Other responsibilities that add credibility to her ability to render reasonable service include her service as Faculty Advisor for the Campus Gospel Choir United Voices, Chair for Advisor Award Recognition Committee, Coordinator of the University Academic Intervention Program Restart, University Admissions and Credits Appeal Board, Multicultural Center Advisory Board Member, and Chair of the University Academic Advising and Retention Council. She is currently working to complete her dissertation and obtain a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. In Melissa’s spare time, she enjoys singing, decorating and spending time with her family.
Chassidy Cooper is a native Arkansan. She received her bachelor’s degree in history from Sewanee-the University of the South, master’s degree in higher education from UA Little Rock and recently completed her doctoral program in Leadership Studies at University of Central Arkansas
Chassidy serves as an Academic Advisor and First Year Experience Instructor at UA Little Rock. Previously, she served as Supplemental Instruction (SI) and Academic Probation (AP) Coordinator at UA Little Rock. In all of these roles, her goals have been to increase the retention and graduation rates of UA Little Rock students. Her previous participation and current involvement in Arkansas Commitment, a non-profit program designed to institute a corps of talented, young minority persons throughout central Arkansas to serve as future state leaders, is the catalyst for her desire to continue to serve in Arkansas. Leadership, mentoring, and advising are major aspects of her life. She is a huge advocate for academic advising, academic support programs, and helping all students achieve success inside and outside of the classroom.
In 2012, Chassidy joined the Arkansas Academic Advising Network(ArkAAN) and the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). Previously, she served as the four-year institution representative for ArkAAN. She has also presented multiple times at regional NACADA and ArkAAN conferences. Having worked in higher education for seven years now, “it is my obligation to lead and serve those organizations that have afforded me so many benefits and opportunities. The future is bright for ArkAAN, I hope to continue to serve with amazing people, build lasting professional connections, promote the advising profession, and to increase awareness of the organization’s presence around the state and beyond."
Jill Wheeler earned her undergraduate and both of her graduate degrees from the University of Arkansas. She received her Bachelor's of Science in Business Administration in Marketing Management in 2004. She went on to earn a Master's in Higher Education in 2007, a second Master's of Science in Counselor Education in 2010.
Jill is the Associate Director of Honors Studies for Fulbright College Honors Program. She joined Fulbright Honors in January 2012 after 5 1/2 years of academic advising in the Fulbright Advising Center. While there she worked with students of all majors in Fulbright College. Jill was Assistant Director of Program Development and her responsibilities in addition to academic advising included heading the colleges recruiting efforts along with supervising the Fulbright College Ambassadors. She is an active member of both the Arkansas Academic Advising Network (ArkAAN) and National Academic Advising Council (NACADA) where she is the current chair of the Webinar Advisory Board and served as a member for several years prior to being appointed as chair. She has presented at the state, regional and national level through these two organizations. She was named "Outstanding Academic Advisor" by ArkAAN in 2010 and her co-presentation on student veterans won Best of Region 7. Prior to the Advising Center she was the Assistant Director of Admissions in the University's Office of Admissions.
A native of Brinkley, AR, Jill now calls Northwest Arkansas home with her husband Michael, their two little girls Emma and Ava and their fur baby Gabby. She loves to walk with her family around campus and gets excited about all things Razorback. Her favorite part of her job is that every student is different and each one of them brings something special to the advising session. Helping students discover their passions and how a Fulbright major fits them continues to make her smile daily.
Jenny Ruud is the Assistant Director of the Academic Advising Center at the University of Central Arkansas. Jenny has worked in the advising center since moving here from the NYC area in 2008. Prior to coming to UCA, she worked as the Coordinator of Freshmen recruitment at Marymount Manhattan College and an Admissions consultant and the Director of Alumni Relations at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. She also has a background in Public Relations and Advertising, working for 6 years as the PR and Advertising Associate at Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette (now CSFB), also in NYC. She holds a BFA from the New School University in New York.
In her spare time, Jenny teaches piano and voice for the Red Curtain Theatre in Central Arkansas, performs and directs in the Central Arkansas area, is an avid reader, loves traveling, and is a volunteer with Arkansas Hospice in LR. Her favorite activity is spending time with her 4 year old twins, husband and family.
Daniel Jordan joined the Fulbright Advising Center at the University of Arkansas in January 2013 as a Graduate Assistant, and started his full-time position in January 2014. As a 2014 graduate of the U of A’s Master’s in Higher Education program, Daniel knows the importance of working with students to accomplish their goals—whether the goal is graduation or simply discovering on-campus resources. A 2011 graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University, Daniel led his peers in Student Government Association while completing his BA in Anthropology.
Daniel married the love of his life, Leah, in 2010, and when not watching quality TV dramas or playing board games with friends, they hang out with their pretty awesome dogs, Hank and Pearl. Daniel and Leah are thrilled to welcome their daughter, Lillian, to the family this October!
Daniel’s ultimate goal in life is for students to remember this positive, self-affirming mantra: “You’re smart! You’re prepared! You’re gonna do great!” Daniel has held leadership roles in his undergraduate, graduate, and professional roles as a student and professional, and is eager to help grow ArkAAN involvement around the state. Daniel has been an active member of ArkAAN since 2013, when he was a graduate student, and has presented at ArkAAN and Partners for Student Success conferences.
Hello there! If you’re reading this, let me say, I’m happy to meet you! And in case you wanted to know a little bit about me, here it goes. I graduated from Lincoln University-Missouri with a Bachelor’s in Secondary Education in 2010. While in undergrad, I had the opportunity to serve in various student leadership positions. Campus Activity Board-Chair, Orientation Leader Board, and Campus Queens, just to name a few. My time as a student leader taught me the value of a proper schedule, and how important it is for students to form a connection with their campus. Being a student leader laid the foundation for my passion in higher education. I received my Masters in Student Affairs in Higher Education in 2015 from Northwestern State University- Louisiana. My experience as a graduate student further cemented my resolve to work and thrive in Higher education. My goal, is to not only help students reach their academic and life goals, but to help them realize their true potential. In many ways, I consider myself a living resource for students, no different than the library, or even the internet. It’s my goal, to enhance the college experience, so my students have a clear and comprehensive path toward graduation, and beyond. I’m happy to serve as ArkAAN’ s VP for Diversity, and hope to have some good things coming your way soon.
Amelia Jaeger has been with the University of Central Arkansas Academic Advising Center since 2016. She currently serves as an Education Counselor for the College of Natural Sciences and Math as well as Transfer Services. Amelia received her BA in Sociology from the University of Arkansas in 2015, and recently completed her MS in College Student Personnel Services and Administration at the University of Central Arkansas. She loves working with all her students and helping them find their niche. Having been a Transfer Student herself, she feels right at home advising her Transfer Students. “Each day is a new day in the Advising Office, and like our students, no two days are the same. I love being able to help students find a route to what they are passionate about. All students, but especially transfer students have a huge place in my heart and I am so thankful to work with them.”
Amelia enjoys traveling, crochet, and fishing. Her newest hobby has been playing with her new niece, Evelyn, who has recently moved to Mountain Home with Amelia’s sister and brother-in-law.
Finally, “I hope this position on the board will allow me to learn more about how other schools advise and make it easier for Transfer Students to transition to new campuses.”
Tyler joined the ArkAAN board as treasurer in 2018. He is an advisor at the University of Arkansas-Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. He joined the Fulbright College Advising Center (FCAC) in January 2014. Tyler is the primary advisor for Chemistry, Geosciences, Mathematics and Physics students.
Originally from Siloam Springs, Arkansas, Tyler finished his Masters of Public Administration with a concentration in Higher Education Administration in December of 2015 from the University of Arkansas. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Legal Studies also from the University of Arkansas in May 2013.
When Tyler isn't working, he enjoys spending time and playing games with friends and his girlfriend, Ginny. He also enjoys cooking and baking.
Adrian Everett is a native of McGehee, Arkansas. Currently, he is the Associate Director/Transfer Student Services Coordinator for Arkansas State University Wilson Advising Center. He has been a higher education professional since 2013. He completed his Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with emphasis in Secondary Education, General Science, and Health/Physical Education in August 2011, and his Master of Science in College Student Personnel Services in May 2013 both from Arkansas State University. As a student at A-State, his greatest accomplishments include being selected as Student Government Association President, traveling to Europe as a Global Student Leader, and delivering the Commencement Speech during his undergraduate graduation ceremony.
His main passion is spending time with his wife, Annie and their daughter, Kaleigh. He loves supporting the Red Wolves Athletic program and being a fan of NBA superstar LeBron James. Adrian’s special talents include being a chef in the kitchen and grill master when cooking outdoors. He is the owner of Big A’s BBQ Catering! His main goal in life is to be a positive role model, family man, and an inspiring individual to those he meets throughout his lifetime. He is looking forward to continuing to develop in the higher education profession and serving ArkANN as the four year public institution representative. Outside of his main job responsibilities, Adrian is currently serving as A-State Staff Senate Vice President.
Aaron Abbott grew up in Northeast Arkansas. He attended Williams Baptist College where he earned a BA in Christian Ministries. After graduating in 2007, Aaron began working in the admissions office at Williams. He earned his MS in College Student Personnel from Arkansas Tech University in 2012. Around the same time, he moved to Northwest Arkansas an began working at John Brown University recruiting students for JBU’s degree completion program. In 2014 he made the jump from admissions to advising at JBU, and began to work with students in JBU’s online programs. Aaron now serves as the Director of Graduate and Online Undergraduate Enrollment Management at JBU, where he oversees admissions, and the advising team for JBU Online. He is also a doctoral candidate in Higher Education at the University of Arkansas.
Aaron loves working in advising because he gets to see students change their lives. “Many of the students I work with are coming back to school after having been away from high education for a while. They’re back to complete a life goal, find a better job, or even to be an example to their children. It’s awesome to be a part of the journey and to see them complete it.”
Aaron and his wife, Chelsea, live in Springdale and have three children: Carobeth, Benton, and Banks. Aaron enjoys spending time with his family and their labradoodle, Shep. He also enjoys photography and referring junior high and senior high football.
Nik Rowan is the Assistant Director for Advisor Development in the Fulbright Advising Center at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. She has a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University in theatre and English. She also has a master’s degree in composition and rhetoric from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
Born in Wyoming, Nik has lived in Fayetteville since 2012 and is a doctoral candidate in higher education. On her campus she is a member of the Graduate Student Dean’s Advisory Board and a member of the University of Arkansas Diversity Leaders Team. She also served for four years on the All University Academic Integrity Board. She currently serves as Arkansas's liaison to NACADA and is a member of the NACADA Region 7 Steering committee. In her free time she has grown to enjoy riding her bicycle around town and spending time outside with her dog, Noelle.
4-Year Public Institution Representative
Vice-President for Membership
President Elect & NACADA Liaison
Executive Board Members 2018-19