The University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville announces Jalisa Milligan, of Cave City, as the college’s 2013 Outstanding Alumni. Jalisa will represent UACCB during the Arkansas Association of Two-Year College (AATYC) annual conference in October.
After working at White Rodgers in Batesville for 13 years, Jalisa took an opportunity to pursue her education full time when the company offered severance packages to some of their employees in 2000. Jalisa enrolled fulltime at UACCB with assistance from Ms. Judy Lassiter and a non-traditional grant that she was awarded. Her goal at that point was to obtain an associate degree in accounting. However, after completing her first semester and doing well in her academics, Jalisa made the decision to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a teacher.
One of Jalisa’s instructors at that time was Ms. Debbie Frazier (now Chancellor), and she provided additional encouragement and guidance that Jalisa needed to move ahead. After graduating with her associate’s degree, Jalisa transferred to Arkansas State University on a scholarship where she graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education in December of 2003. After teaching two years at Cave City elementary, Jalisa went back to ASU and completed a master’s degree in elementary education.
Although Jalisa says she is very proud of her degrees, her biggest professional accomplishment was becoming Nationally Board Certified in 2009. Not only did Jalisa pass her boards on the first try, she did so in one year.
“Education is one of the few things that can never be taken away,” Jalisa states. “I am a first generation college graduate and I am very proud of my accomplishments. However, I could not have done so had I not received my educational foundation at UACCB.” Her advice to others who have similar goals is “work hard and take every opportunity to utilize the many resources that are available. I never gave up on my dream once I set my mind to it and anyone else can do the same thing.”
Jalisa is in her 10th year of teaching third grade at Cave City and says she truly feels her purpose is to inspire and teach children. Jalisa’s husband Rick works for the Highway Department. She also has two sons; Brandon who recently completed his master’s degree in accounting and is working at a firm in Little Rock; and Taylor who graduated this past May from Cave City High School and is in an electrician apprenticeship program in Conway. Along with travel, Jalisa is interested in continuing to pursue future educational opportunities.