Collier-Youngblood new executive director of ASMSA Foundation

6 months ago

Marta Collier-Youngblood is the new executive director of the ASMSA Foundation at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts.

Collier-Youngblood joins ASMSA after serving as a corporate and foundation relations officer for the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas. She previously served as manager of business development for the National Institute for Standards in Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership Project in the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions program.

She also served as education director of the National Science Foundation EPSCorProject at the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority from 2011-2015. During this time, she served as the Authority’s liaison to ASMSA’s Board of Visitors.

Collier-Youngblood’s service on the board allowed her to become familiar with ASMSA’s mission. What she saw taking place inspired her. “I always wanted to work at ASMSA from the first time I attended a Board of Visitor’s meeting,” she said.

As executive director, Collier-Youngblood will be responsible for operating the school’s Foundation, fundraising for the school and developing a robust relationship with alumni.

She succeeds Vicki Hinz, the former director of institutional advancement who retired at the end of June. Hinz led the school’s Office of Institutional Advancement for five years, ending her tenure with the largest year of fundraising in the school’s history — more than $630,000 in gifts.
Collier-Youngblood worked alongside Hinz for about a month before Hinz’ retirement. Collier-Youngblood said that time was extremely valuable, allowing her to gain a better grasp of ASMSA’s standing in Garland County and across the state.

“I have learned that the perspective of ASMSA with Garland County residents has improved significantly from past years. They light up when talking about the campus. I sense this real sense of pride that I hadn’t experienced in this volume before,” Collier-Youngblood said.

“I’ve never had an opportunity to come into a job and spend this much time with the outgoing person. She’s helped make the transition much more manageable. She’s introduced me to many of the friends of the school and helped validate me with them. She has helped me integrate into the Hot Springs community.”

Collier-Youngblood said she plans to use the connections she made across Arkansas during her previous employment in state agencies to ASMSA’s advantage. She understands the needs of students in districts throughout the state, how each region differs and how they fit into ASMSA’s mission she said.

“I don’t have an affinity for just one area of Arkansas. I have an affinity of all of Arkansas. I can speak all five dialects of Arkansas,” she said.

ASMSA is nearing completion of the Creativity and Innovation Complex, the first new academic building to be constructed on campus. ASMSA opened in 1993 at the of the former St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hot Springs, using the former hospital facilities for classroom, administration and residential living spaces. The Student Center — which houses residential living, the cafeteria and the library — opened in August 2012.

Collier-Youngblood said it is important for the campus to continue to develop and expand as possible. A part of her fundraising efforts will target gifts to allow the school to do so, she said.

“I want to help direct resources to campus. It’s very exciting to see the CIC nearing completion. It’s evidence of a lot of hard work. But we certainly have the opportunity to enhance the physical presence of the campus. We need to think about what this campus looks like as people turn from Bathhouse Row to see our school,” she said.

Another focus of her work will be to help develop a strong connection with the school’s more than 2,300 alumni. She is eager to work with alumni who want to develop a strong alumni association that provides opportunities for current students to interact with graduates who can serve as mentors.

“[Alumni] are some of our best ambassadors. It’s not just about money. It’s about relationships. I want to build and maintain relationships between the school and its alumni. I want to provide different ways they can be engaged in the school, such as providing mentorships for the students,” she said.

As part of that effort, Collier-Youngblood is planning four regional alumni meetings over the next six months. There is also an alumni gathering planned for July 19 in Little Rock. The gatherings will provide a casual, laid-back atmosphere for alumni to reconnect with each other and the school.

“We are unique in the state that our alumni are very young when you think about it,” she said. “Many of them are just tipping over 40. Some may now be sending kids to college or they are still paying back college loans. We can’t be like everyone else.”

Collier-Youngblood said she will rely on her previous experience of building an alumni network for Tougaloo  College in Tougaloo, Miss. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the college in 2002. Through various methods, she was able to establish the first young alumni online community for the school to increase alumni engagement. She wants to incorporate that experience to help with the establishment of a strong alumni association for ASMSA.

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