Forty Under 40: Donna Graham

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,500 views 

Class of 2020 Forty Under 40 Donna Graham Director of Employer Relations, Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Donna Graham has always felt connected to the University of Arkansas.

Her family attended the UA, and the Little Rock native moved to Fayetteville to earn a bachelor’s degree in apparel studies. She was a manager at a retail store in Rogers while studying for a master’s degree in human environmental sciences. She earned the degree in 2012. Now, she’s working on a doctorate in education.

In 2013, she started her current role after faculty members encouraged her to apply for the new position.

“I’m a liaison between the university’s Career Development Center and specifically Bumpers College,” Graham said. “I have counterparts in the other colleges, and we work … to connect industry to students, making sure students have jobs, internships and exposure to professional development opportunities.”

She’s worked with hundreds of companies domestically and internationally to determine their hiring needs.

“It’s a win-win because students are looking for jobs and internships,” she said.

In her role, she revived the Bumpers College career fair with record levels of employer and student attendance and organized the Dean’s Partnership Council. The advisory group engages leaders in industry, faculty, and administration to develop high-impact learning activities to enrich students’ lives and excel in careers that advance food, family and the environment.

In 2019, she helped lead a statewide tour for Bumpers College leadership and introduced Dean Deacue Fields to stakeholders, alumni and prospective students in 10 cities. Amid the pandemic, she has managed the transition of the Dean’s Partnerships Council from in-person to virtual.

In September, Graham started Semi-Charmed Wife and sells handmade jewelry and shoes at shops in six states and online. She supports Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas.