ATU Veterans Upward Bound Announces Staff

Three individuals have been hired to serve as the staff for the new Veterans Upward Bound program at Arkansas Tech University.

Kristie Wilson is the first director of Veterans Upward Bound at ATU, while Alan Parsons and Allison Sims are serving in the role of academic advisor.

Wilson (photographed, center) holds a bachelor’s degree from Henderson State University and a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock. Her work experience includes eight years in the Veterans Upward Bound program at Henderson State and service in the Army National Guard.

An alumna of the Upward Bound program, Wilson has a total of 16 years experience working in higher education.

“Our primary mission will be to prepare veterans to succeed academically,” said Wilson. “We will serve as a support system for our participants in an array of services, equipping them with the tools necessary to be successful and transition from military to civilian life/career. I am married to a combat veteran and I have two children. I recently relocated to Russellville after accepting this position. I’m excited to be here at Arkansas Tech and have the opportunity to give back in service to TRiO and those who have served our great country.”

Parsons (photographed, left) earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas and a graduate certificate in advising from Arkansas Tech. He is on pace to earn a master’s degree in college student personnel from ATU in May 2018. Parsons, a nine-year veteran of active duty with the U.S. Army, was a graduate assistant in the ATU Department of Public Safety before accepting his academic advising position with Veterans Upward Bound.

“My wife, five kids and I moved here for the CSP program, and we fell in love with Tech and the Russellville area,” said Parsons. “I am very glad to have found a job to get to stay here. This position means a lot to me because it provides me the opportunity to give back to other veterans.”

Sims (photographed, right) received a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Arkansas Tech. She is daughter, granddaughter and niece to a veteran. Sims has worked as an education specialist coordinator in the Veterans Upward Bound program at Henderson State and as a graduate assistant in the Office of Veteran Services at ATU.

“This job allows me to combine my passions of working with veterans and working in a TRIO program,” said Sims. “I love knowing that I have helped someone succeed, especially someone who has served our country. Arkansas Tech is my home, and I feel honored to be an employee here serving the veterans and service members in this area.”

Arkansas Tech was notified in fall 2017 that it had earned a federal grant to offer Veterans Upward Bound, which will provide student success resources to 125 veterans at ATU each year. It is the fourth TRIO program at Arkansas Tech, joining the existing Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math and Science and Student Support Services programs.

The grant for Veterans Upward Bound at ATU is for five years. Grant funding for the first year is $263,938, and the anticipated funding from the U.S. Department of Education from Sept. 1, 2017, through Aug. 31, 2022, is more than $1.3 million.

According to the U.S. Department of Education website, Veterans Upward Bound is designed to “motivate and assist veterans in the development of academic and other requisite skills necessary for acceptance and success in a program of postsecondary education.”

Fewer than 60 universities and colleges in the United States were selected to host a Veterans Upward Bound program for the 2017-22 cycle.

Veterans Upward Bound at ATU will serve veterans and service members who live or drill in a region that includes the counties of Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Franklin, Johnson, Logan, Perry, Pope, Sebastian and Yell.

Students wishing to apply for the Veterans Upward Bound program at ATU may send e-mail to

Learn more about the U.S. Department of Education Veterans Upward Bound program at