Admission Counselors

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Bertita Barrientos

Admissions Counselor
bbarrientosvald1@uca.edu
501.470.8942
Dallas/Tulsa/Oklahoma City

Hello everyone! My name is Bertita and I was born and raised in El Salvador. After I graduated from high school, I decided to move to Conway and attend the University of Central Arkansas. While at UCA, I got the opportunity to be a Resident Assistant and get involved with many student organizations like the Student Activities Board and the Latino Student Association. In December of 2016, I graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration.

I love UCA so much that I decided to stay and pursue a master’s degree, and in May 2020, I graduated with my M.S. in College Student Personnel Administration from UCA.

UCA has been my home away from home for many years now and I am very excited to share with others my experience, the amazing opportunities it has to offer and help students pursue their dreams in higher education at UCA.

Go Bears!

crafton

Lauren Crafton

Admissions Counselor
lcrafton1@uca.edu
501.472.3864
Central Arkansas

Hey guys, my name is Lauren Crafton and I was a graduate from UCA in 2018 with a degree in Communication and a minor in Public Relations. I was born and raised in Colorado and transferred from a community college in Colorado Springs my Junior year to UCA.

During my years as a college student, I heavily served in both High School and College age ministries at a local church in town. This is where I found community and friends that felt like family. This created a home away from home feeling on and off-campus. I loved my college years because I was able to grow in maturity, independence, and as a student.

Accepting the role as an admissions counselor means I get to help make someone’s college process a little bit smoother. It’s a huge step, transition, and change that I wish I had someone who could have helped me figure it out. If UCA is a great fit for a student then I am thankful to be a small piece of someone’s story.

Go Bears!

law

Matthew Law

Admissions Counselor
mlaw1@uca.edu
501.205.9351
Northeast Arkansas/Tennessee

Hey guys, gals, and non-binary pals! My name is Matthew, and I am originally from Northwest Arkansas. After graduating high school in 2017, I made the decision to move to Conway and attend the University of Central Arkansas.

During my undergraduate years, I was involved in many student organizations such as the UCA Young Democrats, Pi Sigma Alpha, and I also served as a Student Ambassador Team Leader for the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services. In May of 2021, I graduated from UCA with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration with a minor in German. As a first-generation student, I was the first in my family to graduate from college!

Reflecting on my time as a student at UCA has shown me that my goal as an Admissions Counselor is to help make a difference for other students. Inspiring others to succeed and further their academic journey is the perfect way to achieve that goal. I’m beyond excited to continue my work within UCA Admissions and help others discover their place in Bear Country, too. As Ella Fitzgerald once said, “It isn’t where you came from, it’s where you’re going, that counts.” Don’t let anything dissuade you from your path to greatness!

Go Bears!

straw

Caitlin Straw

Admissions Counselor
cstraw1@uca.edu
501.472.4825
Northwest Arkansas/Missouri

Hello beautiful humans!

My name is Caitlin Straw and I’m UCA’s Regional Admissions Counselor for NWA and Missouri. I was born in San Diego, CA, and raised right here in Central Arkansas. I attended Conway High School, class of 2012, and then the University of Central Arkansas. I graduated from UCA in 2016 with my Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a minor in Public Relations.

During my time on campus, I was very involved socially and academically, as I loved every opportunity to meet new people and engage with my community! I was a Student Ambassador for the Office of Admissions, a Resident Assistant for the Office of Housing and Residence Life, a member of Lambda Pi Eta Communication Honor Society, PRSSA, and UCA’s knitting club, Knitwise! Also during my time as a student at UCA, I had the opportunity to compete in a national plus-size beauty pageant and I am proud to say I am Miss Arkansas Plus America 2015.

In my free time, you can find me staying up to date on the latest plus-size fashion trends (#bodypositivity), binge-watching sci-fi and supernatural shows on Netflix, and playing with my pups! I am so honored to represent my alma mater as an Admissions Counselor and to help future Baby Bears navigate the admissions process. This job is a dream come true for me and I love getting to share my stories with students across the south. I truly believe UCA offers its students every opportunity to take the experiences they have here and use them to change the world for the better!

Do It Like a Big Bear, y’all!

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Claire Tober

Admissions Counselor
ctober1@uca.edu
501.472.8074
Southeast Arkansas

Hi everyone! My name is Claire and I am originally from Paris, Arkansas. As soon as I started thinking about colleges while in high school, UCA had always been my first choice. So, after graduating in 2017, I made the move to Conway, and have never looked back! I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Counseling Psychology with a minor in Addiction Studies in May of 2021.

Conway has become my home in every sense of the word. I have met my lifelong friends here, continued my education, and have made some amazing connections. At UCA someone is always in your corner cheering for your success. UCA has become a big part of me, so I am very excited I get to help future bears find their home here! I have always joked that I wanted to stay in college forever, so getting to stick around campus for a while longer as an Admissions Counselor is a dream come true.

When I’m not on campus I’m either playing disc golf, attempting to cook something new, or giving too many treats to my dog Lucy.

Go Bears!

swelch

Sydney Welch

Admissions Counselor
swelch4@uca.edu
501.472.1432
Southwest Arkansas/Texas

Hey everyone! My name is Sydney. I was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, and southern Indiana. While in high school, I was on the oldest high school radio station for three years where I discovered my passion for broadcasting. In 2014, I began my college journey at the University of Southern Indiana where I completed my B.A. in Radio and TV Broadcasting. I was involved in many student organizations in offices such as Housing and Residence Life, Student Life, and Undergraduate Admissions. My involvement led me to discover a career in Student Affairs. I graduated in 2018 and went straight into graduate school at UCA.

During my grad school career, I served as the Coordinator for Retention Initiatives in Housing and Residence Life. In my role, I was responsible for the Peer Coaching program within the residence halls. I completed internships with Greek Life, co-teaching Journeys to Success, and Admissions at UCA. I also interned with the University of Louisville for one summer in Campus Housing. All of my various experiences and classes only confirmed my passion for making a college campus a home away from home for students. I graduated with my M.S. in College Student Personnel Administration in May 2020.

I am so thankful I get to continue working for this amazing university recruiting students to make UCA their future home. Every day I tell myself, “Be the person you needed when you were younger.” – Ayesha A. Siddiqi. I love that I get to recruit out-of-state students from a large city because that is a large part of my story and how I got to where I am today.

Go Bears!