Schneider Steps Up During Time of Crisis

Cade Schneider grew up surrounded by family who fulfilled their desire to help others by working in the health care industry.

“I knew that I wanted to be the same way in terms of helping others, but I didn’t want to go into the medical field,” said Schneider, a Paris native who graduated from County Line High School. “I wanted to take a whole new approach.”

He found his way to help others by studying emergency management at Arkansas Tech University, and he found his opportunity by serving an internship with Dardanelle Mayor Jimmy Witt during the historic Arkansas River flooding of 2019.

Witt called the ATU Department of Emergency Management seeking assistance from a student in the program. Schneider, a May 2019 graduate of ATU with a Bachelor of Science degree in emergency management, happened to be standing in the department office when the telephone rang.

“I thought that the opportunity was rare when it presented itself,” said Schneider. “After giving it a bit of thought, I started quickly realizing the importance of this opportunity and the possibilities in the future with emergency management coming from the experience. I was about to get real experience in an emergency operations center and see how things are run.”

As the scope and severity of the disaster expanded, Schneider went from watching to actively participating in the mitigation efforts.

“It quickly changed from just handling communications to being (Witt’s) right-hand man in making sure his requests were getting done and handling connections and assets that were available,” said Schneider. “I know that being around when everything was happening and seeing how a good leader takes charge during disasters will really help in my future.”

Schneider developed social media posts that became the information conduit between the City of Dardanelle and its citizens during a time when reliable, accurate information was paramount. He also managed the flow of information going to and coming from the mayor’s office by ensuring that Witt was able to reach the most critical personnel at the most critical times.

“All through my college career, I heard the saying that communication is key,” said Schneider. “Now, I truly know what that means. If there is no communication between regions or even within our operation, nothing can or will get done. Communication is about finding a solution to a problem and then relaying that solution to other regions so when the time comes, they too can fix their problem in the same way.”

It was a real world, real-time laboratory that allowed Schneider to apply and confirm the lessons he learned in the ATU Department of Emergency Management.

“I learned how to communicate effectively so others can understand better and faster,” said Schneider when asked to reflect upon the most valuable aspects of his ATU education. “I also learned how people normally react during stressful times of a disaster, and I was able to incorporate that in how we communicated over a social media platform. I learned in the department how to listen and understand when someone steps up during a disaster and takes lead in a certain area. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. No one is the best at everything. Lead when you can, and follow when others take lead in order to get the best results.

“Also, I learned how to be personable when communicating and leading,” continued Schneider. “By being personable, it shows people that you care and take pride in what you are saying. This helps create trust and credibility. If you are not personable and just go straight by the books, it comes off as you’re only there to get the job done and you don’t care about anything else. People don’t like that and will not take you seriously if you are like that, especially when they are most vulnerable. I also learned how to network. This came to my benefit because while I was in school, I networked as much as I could whenever possible. Then, when I was helping Mayor Witt, I was able to utilize those connections, which helped and added needed resources and assets to our list.”

Arkansas Tech has conferred more than 1,100 emergency management degrees since developing its program in the late 1990s. In addition to the bachelor’s degree in emergency management, ATU also offers a Master of Science degree in emergency management and homeland security.

In 2005, ATU became the first institution of higher learning to have its degree programs accredited by The Council for Accreditation of Emergency Management Education.

Visit to learn more about the ATU Department of Emergency Management.

Photographed (from left-to-right): State Rep. Mary Bentley, Dardanelle Mayor Jimmy Witt and 2019 Arkansas Tech University graduate Cade Schneider.

Stone Named Top 10 at Miss Arkansas

Arkansas Tech University student Kelsey Stone of Russellville finished top 10 in the 2019 Miss Arkansas competition, which concluded on Saturday night at Robinson Center Auditorium in Little Rock.

Stone, 22, earned a $3,000 scholarship from the Miss Arkansas Scholarship Foundation in recognition of her top-10 finish.

It marked the second consecutive year that Stone has finished in the top 10 and the third consecutive year she has placed in the top 15 at Miss Arkansas.

Stone was crowned Miss Arkansas Tech University 2017, Miss Natural State 2018 and Miss Arkansas Valley 2019. Her parents are Kim and Dee Stone.

ATU students Madeline Adams of Jonesboro, Kara Dickens of Cedarville, Danielle Duggan of DeQueen and Payton Marshall of Belleville were also among the 44 candidates who participated in the 2019 Miss Arkansas competition.

First Generation Students Preview Life at ATU

More than 50 high school students representing 34 Arkansas communities participated in the inaugural Arkansas Tech University First Generation Institute on Thursday, June 13, and Friday, June 14.

Participants interacted with current ATU students, discovered the academic opportunities available at Arkansas Tech, experienced life as a college student, learned how to finance their education, toured the ATU campus and gained insight on becoming involved in campus life.

“It’s honestly been the best experience I’ve ever had on a college campus,” said Douglas Davis, an ATU First Generation Institute participant who will be a senior at Ozark High School during the 2019-20 academic year. “Normally when we come to a college campus, we just get a run down on where stuff is. Here, they take you through the dining spaces and the buildings. They teach you how to view your schedule online, how to make your schedule and how to make connections with people. I’m just so glad to have had this experience. Arkansas Tech is No. 1 on my list. It’s a tight-knit community, and you get the big-college campus experience while being able to feel like a family.”

ATU First Generation Institute participants came from Batesville, Beebe, Benton, Bentonville, Centerton, Conway, De Queen, Dermott, El Dorado, Eudora, Fort Smith, Havana, Hot Springs, Huntington, Little Rock, Lockesburg, Locust Grove, Lowell, Marion, Monticello, Mount Ida, Nashville, North Little Rock, Ogden, Ozark, Pine Bluff, Rison, Rogers, Russellville, Searcy, Siloam Springs, Star City, Texarkana and Van Buren.

State Sen. Breanne Davis of Russellville was the closing speaker for the institute on Friday afternoon. She shared her personal story of persistence that allowed her to graduate from ATU, earn a position on the Russellville School Board at age 26 and be elected to the Arkansas State Senate at age 35.

“We can’t guarantee outcomes for ourselves,” said Davis. “I may get beat in whatever it is…but what I do know, in everything I approach, is that no one will out-work me. When people are discouraging you or saying harsh things to you, they don’t know what you are capable of. People who are doing great things…people who know how to work through adversity, work hard and not give up…they have been pulled back and pulled down in life. They’ve had hard things they’ve had to live through. It shows us our own resilience.

“Not many people can see the lesson or the good through the hard times,” continued Davis. “If you are one of those people that can see that on the other side of it you will be different and better, then you are one of the lucky few.”

Nineteen ATU students, each of whom also identify as first generation college students, served as facilitators for the high school students during their two-day visit to Arkansas Tech.

The ATU student facilitators for the institute were Shelby Fitts of Conway, Austin Gilmore of Little Rock, Katie Griffith of White Hall, Alida Gutierrez of Dardanelle, Rosa Gutierrez of Dardanelle, Carter Howard of Harrison, Kyle Howley of Mansfield, Makayla King of Conway, Colton Little of Gentry, Jahaziel Martinez of Russellville, Mayenssi Montiel of Dardanelle, Evan Mosier of Batesville, Jenna Reid of Queen City, Texas, Anna Russell of Fort Smith, Abi Sasore of Dunleer, Ireland, Tyler Schmidt of Mansfield, Wendy Sierra of Russellville, Shane Smith of Fort Smith and Lexi Wright of Clarksville.

“I hope that your path leads you back to become a student at Arkansas Tech,” Dr. Mary B. Gunter, chief of staff at ATU, told the high school students assembled for the institute. “I’ve been a part of Tech for 21 years now…and why I have stayed at Tech is because of students like you. You bring the same passion that I had when I was that first generation student. We care about you. What I have found, and what I have witnessed, is that we give you great opportunities to be successful.”

Visit to learn more about Arkansas Tech University.

Workshops at ATU Serve K-12 Art Educators

Twenty-nine participants representing 26 schools at the elementary, middle school, junior high and high school levels attended the 2019 Windgate Summer Art Launch for Arkansas Educators June 10-13 at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.

The art teachers received instruction in topics such as shibori dye techniques, handmade paper, papercut design, bookbinding, watercolor, sculpture, art entrepreneurship and Adobe Illustrator.

Program participants also created original works of art and presented them to their peers at the conclusion of the week.

Representatives from Atkins, Bentonville, Cedarville, Clarksville, Concord, Crossett, Cutter, Dover, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Greenbrier, Jacksonville, Scranton, Siloam Springs, Warren and West Memphis traveled to ATU to participate in the workshops.

The professional development program, which was founded in 2018, is made possible through a grant from the Windgate Foundation.

“We are grateful for the support of the Windgate Foundation that made it possible for us to offer these workshops the last two years,” said Jessica Mongeon, assistant professor of art at ATU.

Learn more about the ATU Department of Art.

2019 Windgate Summer Art Launch | 6/11/19

Summer Drive for Cupboard June 10-18

Arkansas Tech University Staff Senate on the Russellville campus is conducting a drive during summer 2019 to help meet the needs of the Green and Gold Cupboard.

Members of the ATU community are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to drop-off locations in the Administration Building, Brown Hall, Doc Bryan Student Services Center, Facilities Management, Rothwell Hall, South Hall and Tomlinson Hall from June 10-18.

Monetary donations may be dropped off at Administration Building room 209.

The items most needed by the Green and Gold Cupboard include canned chicken, baked beans, canned fruit, applesauce, raisin bran, corn flake cereal, crackers, snacks, small bags of chips, peanut butter crackers, cheese crackers, fruit snacks, rice cereal treats, popcorn, pudding cups, peanut butter, jelly, condiments, salad dressings, cooking oil, sugar, flour, shelf stable milk, pasta, pasta sauce, ramen noodles, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes and boxed meals.

For more information, contact an ATU Staff Senate representative by visiting

The pantry is located at 1019 N. Arkansas Avenue. The Green and Gold Cupboard is available to all current Arkansas Tech students, faculty and staff in need of assistance.

Hours for summer 2019 are 4-6 p.m. Mondays and noon-2 p.m. Thursdays (excluding holidays).

Learn more about the Green and Gold Cupboard.