University of Arizona: SALT Center

SmartNews December 2017 – Winter Edition

Introducing Our New Director

In November, 2017 the SALT Center welcomed its new Director, Gabrielle Miller, Ed.D.  She brings a wealth of experience, along with a vision and passion for seeing students who learn differently succeed in school and in life.  We asked Gabrielle to share a little about herself and here’s what we learned:

What is something that you feel is important for people to know about you on a personal level?
It’s all summed up in one of my favorite quotes from Marcus Aurelius:

“The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.”  

What attracted you to the SALT Center?
I have had wonderful opportunities over the course of my career. However, the SALT Center’s incredible contribution to meeting the needs of undergraduates who learn differently, its reputation as a world leader and the opportunity to work with colleagues across the UA community who are committed to student success couldn’t be missed. 

How has your career prepared you for this position?
My professional roots are in special education– as a teacher, administrator and a researcher.  Most of that time was with the Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI), one of the world’s leading clinical and research institutions for children with multiple and complex disabilities. The relationship between KKI and The Johns Hopkins University enabled me to not only complete my graduate studies but work in the graduate school of education training teachers and earn an appointment as ranked faculty at JHU.

Following my years in the university/clinical world I was incredibly fortunate to spend ten years in the nonprofit world, working with philanthropic leaders with tremendous understanding and commitment to systematic change.  Working with and learning from them helped me to understand the needs of communities and stakeholders across the nation.

I am delighted to ‘come home’ to a wonderfully robust and caring community at the at the University of Arizona, work in a field that I love, and continue to advance the vision and mission of the SALT Center launched by Eleanor Harner so many years ago.

What excites you most about working with our Students, our Team and our Campus Colleagues?
The opportunity to be continuously and energetically curious…and learn. My sincere hope is that from this learning I can draw on my professional experiences to strengthen the SALT Center’s impact on student success, and meaningfully contribute to the UA’s commitment to bold thinking as a world leader for undergraduates who learn differently.

What are some of your favorites…

When you need to recharge?
Reading, gardening, watching classic movies and my favorite–spending time with my family.

Favorite food? 
I am Italian and Costa Rican, so pretty much anything….except sushi

Favorite authors?    
Agatha Christie, Alexander McCall Smith, John Mortimer, PG Wodehouse

Favorite music?      
Depends on my mood—very eclectic. I love Mozart as much as The Kinks…and anything by Irving Berlin

Favorite vacation spot?  
Tucson, AZ….and now I’m a resident!!

Favorite comic book character?  
Uncle Scrooge—I love his adventures through history!!

The SALT Center team is looking forward to working with such a dynamic leader, and cannot wait to see what the future holds under Gabrielle’s leadership.  Please join us in welcoming her to the SALT Center program.

Alumni Returning to Help Students Make Transition Into Workplace

For most students approaching graduation, the prospect of finding a good job and then flourishing in the workplace can prove to be a formidable task, and for students with learning or attention differences, the undertaking can prove to be exceptionally daunting. In order to help guide and inspire students preparing to enter the workforce, we provide an incredible opportunity each year called the SALT Center Alumni Forum. This annual event brings together a panel of former SALT Center participants who are now professionals in their respective fields and who are eager to help share their experiences and advice with current students preparing to transition into the next phase of life.

The event includes various sessions which include networking, small-group discussions, a Q&A alumni panel discussion, and a free lunch. Attendees receive firsthand advice from alumni on managing learning differences in the workplace, discovering their passion, and excelling professionally. Students who have attended past events report coming away with a newfound confidence and enthusiasm about tackling life after college.

The SALT Center Alumni Forum is organized each year with the assistance of a group of dedicated former students who volunteer to serve as members of the SALT Center Alumni Board.

The next SALT Center Alumni Forum will take place on Saturday, February 10th, 2018 from 10am-3pm. All students enrolled in the SALT Center are encouraged to attend. Alumni presenters in attendance will represent a number of career fields including education, business, media production, retail, and engineering. Students who would like to attend are required to register ahead of time and can contact their Learning Specialist for more information.

Follow this link to watch a video about the SALT Center Alumni Forum.

Family Weekend Highlights

Recently, we hosted our Annual SALT Center Family Weekend Celebration & Awards Ceremony.  The theme for the evening was “A Night for the SALT Center to Shine,” which was fitting given all of the shining moments that comprised the event.  The lights illuminating the tables and the ceiling could not out-shine the light in the eyes of the students, past and present, who were featured throughout the night.

This year’s event was special for many reasons. For starters, it was our 25th Annual Family Weekend event and we welcomed our new Director, Gabrielle Miller, Ed.D., to her first SALT Center appearance.  We were also privileged to have Pat and Bruce Bartlett, Amy and David Davidson, Jocelyn Combs, and other notable friends of the program in attendance as special guests.  The Bartletts have been long-time supporters of our program, and Amy Davidson is the daughter of the late Eleanor Harner, who founded the SALT Center. Amy’s husband, David, was also one of the original tutors for the program.  This was Jocelyn Comb’s first visit with us since she established the Michelle Combs Endowed Fund, and we were thrilled to have her present.

During the ceremony, we were pleased to salute the following individuals for their unique contributions to the program: Dr. Ken Marsh with the Director’s Award, Mr. Paul Miller with the Alumni Award, and Mrs. Julie Darling with the Community Service Award.  Dr. Marsh served as the supervisor to our clinical psychology interns for five years, and helped pioneer the in-house psychology services offered today.  Mr. Paul Miller was one of many original SALT Center students who worked with program founder Eleanor Harner, and now serves as a champion of the SALT Center in his role as an Associate Director in the UA Office of Admissions.  Mrs. Julie Darling serves as Treasurer of the Pet Partners of Southern Arizona, and coordinates visits to the SALT Center for therapy dogs and their handlers.  Julie and her dog, Molly, always brighten the day for students when they come to visit.

Recognized as the 2017 Michelle Combs Awards winners were Helena Yomantas and Tyler Topping for their goal-oriented drive, as well as adventurous and energetic spirits.  In addition, 18 other students enrolled in the program were recognized for their academic and personal successes that demonstrate the SALT Center spirit of excellence, perseverance and commitment.  For the second year in a row, we also acknowledged some of our outstanding tutors who help students achieve success.  Nine tutors in all were selected by students for recognition.

The evening was rounded out by a show of appreciation for some of our scholarship donors in attendance.  Scholarships make a dramatic impact in the lives of our students during their time at the University of Arizona and well beyond.  We are so grateful to our generous friends of the program who help make the SALT Center accessible to so many students, and, in so doing, allow them to shine at the University of Arizona.

It was a festive night complete with live music, great food, and inspiring stories of personal journeys and successes.  As we look ahead to the coming year, we are grateful for our strong foundation and legacy, and we are proud of the great work that is done daily by staff and students, alike.  We are looking forward to a bright future as we continue to support University of Arizona students on their journey of achievement in higher education.

If you would like to partner with us in this meaningful work, please consider making a contribution using the link at the end of this publication.  As always, we thank you for your continued support of our students and our program.

Congratulations to Our Fall 2017 Graduates

At the end of each semester thousands of students graduate from the University of Arizona with a well-earned degree in hand. From among this select group, we are especially proud to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of the students enrolled at the SALT Center who have reached this life changing milestone. It is our mission to inspire students with learning and attention challenges in their pursuit of higher education and we are therefore honored to have been able to partner with these students along their path to success. They have proven that they can accomplish their goals and we will be expecting great things from them.

The December 2017 Graduates have earned the following degrees:

  • Bachelor of Arts – Communication
  • Bachelor of Arts – Economics
  • Bachelor of Arts – Philosophy
  • Bachelor of Arts – Sociology
  • Bachelor of General Studies – Economy and Industry
  • Bachelor of General Studies – Social, Behavioral, & Human Understanding
  • Bachelor of Science – Animal Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science – Literacy Learning & Leadership

Become a Part of Our Legacy

The SALT Center is a fee-based non-profit serving UA students who learn differently. We strive to balance our fiscal needs with fee rates and scholarships that make our services accessible. We also rely on the support of generous friends who want to see our students and our program succeed.

To learn about our giving opportunities, visit our website at the button link below.

Discover Giving Opportunities

UA Parents & Family Association

Interested in connecting with other UA parents, families, and administrators at campus events? Then consider joining the UA Parents & Family Association.
Get Connected
For up-to-date information on the SALT Center, visit our website by clicking our logo below.

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