Mary Skinner

Staff Q & A

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Year of Service: 18 years

Title: Director for the Office of Student Activities

Education: Undergrad – University of Central Missouri – BA in History & minor in English

Graduate – Minnesota State University at Mankato – MA in Counseling and Student Personnel 

Q: How long have you been at the University of Arkansas in Student Affairs? What have you enjoyed most about your time here?

I have worked at the University of Arkansas since September 2001 (18 years this upcoming September).  What I have enjoyed most at the University of Arkansas is working with so many amazing students and staff.  Everyone is so proud to be attending or working at the University of Arkansas and all strive for the best.  Working in the Office of Student Activities (OSA) – I have been able to plan along with student leaders some amazing events and I absolutely love when I hear students talk about how positive the experience was to attend one of the events planned by OSA.

Q: Tell us a little about your role in Student Affairs. What brings you joy in this role?

I serve as the Director for the Office of Student Activities (OSA) and I love working with the students and watching them gain more confidence and become exceptional leaders.  I also enjoy working with my OSA family very much.  Many of us are not from Northwest Arkansas and away from our hometowns and families – my OSA colleagues have become my family.  I am always so honored to have been given the opportunity to serve as the director of such an amazing department. 

Q: What is the greatest misconception people have about Student Affairs and how do you break that?

I think a misconception of Student Affairs is that we only plan fun things for students to attend (especially OSA), but since we are mainly known for outside the classroom programs that students are not learning through the division’s programs and services.  The Division of Student Affairs does so much for students and the campus through leadership opportunities, community service, crisis management, and finding a career (and so much more). 

Q: What do you like to do with your time outside of the University?

Well, I am a mom of two young kiddos (Matthew (6 years old) and Caroline (4 years old) so most of my outside work time is spent making experiences with them.  Many trips to the Amazeum, local splash pads, and playgrounds mostly.  I do love to hike many of our local state parks and being crafty. 

Q: What do you hope students and colleagues will remember about your interactions?

I hope they remember that I was respectful and positive person.  I really try hard to make sure that any student, staff, faculty or visitor to campus has a positive experience either by attending an event, visiting our office, or just needing help getting around campus.  The reputation of this university means a lot to me and I want to make sure that everyone has an optimistic opinion of the University of Arkansas.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add or let our readers know?

A couple fun facts about me are that I met my husband (Stephen Skinner) at the University of Arkansas and we have been married almost 7 years.  We met taking higher education classes towards our doctorates in higher education.  Hoping to finally finishing these degrees in December (we took a hiatus to have kiddos).  I REALLY want my name is senior walk.  I am also originally from the Chicago, IL and root for the Cubbies and Bears!