Erika Gamboa, the director of the Veterans Resource and Information Center, has been working on campus since May 2004 when she started as a graduate resident hall director. She earned a Masters in Higher Education Leadership and Mental Health Counseling while working full time on campus. She is also a veteran of the United States Army. While pursuing her PH.D. in Public Policy and expected graduate next spring, she is currently teaching professionalism, self-care, and strong communication skills among many other things to everyone on her team.

The Chancellor’s Commission recognized Gamboa this spring on Women as a University of Arkansas Extraordinary Woman. There are two categories, leader and service. She was recognized for her service on campus. According to the Chancellor’s Commission on Women, “An extraordinary woman is a woman who leads by example, is a role model, and is an inspiration for others. She empowers those around her and makes a positive impact on women’s experiences on the University of Arkansas campus, region, state and/or nation in one of the following two categories: leadership or service/volunteerism.”

The Commission on Women chair, Anna Zajicek, spoke about the spring luncheon held to recognize Extraordinary Women on campus. “In Spring 2019, the Commission engaged in an effort to spotlight extraordinary women on the UA campus,” she said. “The inaugural group of Extraordinary Women was recognized during the Commission’s Spring Keynote Luncheon.”

To be recognized as an Extraordinary Woman, one must be nominated. Two students and one staff member nominated Gamboa. “Erika is a wholesome advocate for all students who are transitioning from military life to student life, she acts as a guide and bridge to the overwhelmingly complex transition process that is service member to civilian life,” one student said in their nomination. “She goes above and beyond in every aspect of her duties, helping students with immense patience and grace. She has helped thousands of veterans gain access to higher education and has always been an overwhelmingly positive woman to work with. She is the definition of a strong, empowered woman, and I am honored to know her.”

Another student also wrote a nomination for Gamboa. “Erica is an amazing advocate for veterans on campus and off. She had [sic] led the VRIC exceptionally and created an environment that has helped many veterans assimilate to student life. I honestly don’t know where I would be without her.”

A staff member wrote about their experience with Gamboa and why they chose to nominate her for this award. “Erika has been an advocate to veterans, both male and female. She has also been a mentor to me and several other students and employees in the time she has spent here at the University of Arkansas,” the staff member wrote. “She is a wonderful contributor to our VRIC team, teaching professionalism, self-care, strong communication skills, and more to everyone on our team. Our campus would not be the same without her!”

With these outstanding nominations, it is clear to see why Erika Gamboa was recognized as an Extraordinary Woman at the University of Arkansas. For more information on the Chancellor’s Commission on Women, visit https://uawomen.uark.edu/.