Woods Briefs Fall 2021

Woods Briefs: Fall 2021

News and notes about William Woods students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Updated continuously throughout the semester.

William Woods Students, Faculty, and Staff

Macie Edwards, a freshman at William Woods, received a $1,000 scholarship from Co-Mo Connect Powered by Co-Mo Electric Cooperative, as part of the organization’s Operation Round Up program. A native of Tipton, Missouri, Edwards is one of 34 college students from the state of Missouri to receive the scholarship this year.

Zachary Dowdle, WWU Assistant Professor of History, authored a chapter in the book A Fire Bell in the Past: The Missouri Crisis at 200, Volume II: “The Missouri Question” and Its Answers, published today by theUniversity of Missouri Press. The title of Professor Dowdle’s chapter is “A Geography of Free Soil: The Legacy of the 1820 Compromise, Political Conflict, and the Decline of Slavery in Missouri.” Here is a link to the book’s website:  https://upress.missouri.edu/9780826222497/a-fire-bell-in-the-past/

William Woods Alumni

Gerda (Brien) Cristal ’55 wrote two children’s books that are available on Amazon. One title is “A Bunny Named Easter” and the other is “Elizabeth’s Story.” 

Susan (Williams) Laffler ’56 and her husband Joe Laffler live in Chautaugua, IL and are very proud of their 13 grandchildren. Susan says she keeps in frequent touch with her WWU suitemate Patsy Bain Wolf, discussing fond memories.

Sue (Gillis) Safire ’64 passed away July 20, 2021 from Cortico Basal Degeneration Disorder. Her mind was completely functioning, but it had stopped sending signals to her body and nervous system. This information was brought to us by Stephanie Miller ‘64.

Sarah “Suzi” (Tedrick) Yarbrough ’66 welcomes her sixth grandson into the world as her own son (father of the new baby) returns home from serving in the Arabian Gulf.

Susan (Graef) Hassemer ’68 and her husband built a house in Colorado (moving from New Mexico) to be closer to their son. She is a retired teacher and Don is a retired family practice physician.

Virginia ‘Ginny” Lumb ’68 says she keeps in touch with her WWU friends, including Barb Tantum Turner, Susan Finlayson McGaskill, Libby Noland Olson, and Mary McClellan.

Stacy Kotrba ’68 passed away on April 26, 2021. She was a flight attendant for many years, a cat-lover, and enjoyed gardening.

Pamella (Ulrich) Christensen ’68 wrote a book titled “The Gift of God’s Word.” She is an active music teacher and this year celebrated her 53rd wedding anniversary with her husband Bruce.

Jill White Roberts ’69 is writing a blog that can be found at godin5hours.com.

Mary (Donnellan) Leao-Martin ’69 is currently living in Santa Clarita, CA with her four rescued puppies. She says she stays in touch with her WWU Bartley Hall dormmates Gaye Scheimeier Wolfe and Ginny Wong Moore. They are blessed with four grandchildren.

Ginny (Wong) Moore ’69 is currently living in Voorhees, New Jersey. 

Bonnie Reisner ’70 is currently living in her hometown of Manitowoc, WI and enjoys retirement and entertaining family and friends.

Susan (Gardes) Kendall ’70 and her husband Steve relocated from Atlanta to Richmond, VA to be closer to family.

Stephanie (Heiwig) Godke ’73 is an Executive Chef at Mississippi River Distillery and Cody Road Cocktail House and teaches cooking lessons on an NBC affiliated station in Daveport, IA. She and her husband Jim celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary this year and are very proud of their five grandchildren.

Debbie (Fulk) Hay ’75 is proud to introduce her first grandchild into the world, Cara Annabella Doogan, on August 4, 2021.

Linda (Hupp) Buccini ’76 retired this year from AT&T after 30 years of service to the Bell System. She is now living in Basking Ridge, NJ and has two grandchildren.

Nancy (Canestrari) Williams ’76is now retired after a decade of teaching public relations in the Communications Dept. at Milligan College (now Milligan University), a sister institution to William Woods. She continues to write as a PR/communications specialist, posts a weekly blog at lightbournecreative.com, and published her first book last year titled, “A Crocus in the Desert,” a devotional book for women suffering through infertility. She and her husband, Mark, live in Johnson City, TN, and have two adult children.

Cindy (Burgess) Long ’79 lives in Cedar Park, TX and is the Chief Executive Officer of the Samaritan Center for Counseling and Pastoral Care, Inc, in Austin, TX.

Valerie Whitcomb ’83 is a volunteer at a local center for horse rehabilitation to which she applies her equestrian knowledge gained from her years at WWU.  She also uses her English degree in translating for software and hardware documentation published on websites.

Suzanne (Morr) Humphreys ’83 and her husband, Greg, moved to South Carolina where they are innkeepers of Sunrise Farm Bed and Breakfast, a country retreat in Salem, SC.

Edie (Ahal) Thibodaux ’84 joined the staff of William Woods University in January 2021 as an Admissions Counselor for Eastern Missouri and Southeastern states.

Lisa (Owsley) Freeman ’86 and husband Philip Freeman, (Westminster College 1986) had a very eventful 2020. Their son, Austin, had a baby, Porter, on January 28, 2020; their son, Hayden, returned home from a three year-long global adventure; their daughter, Savannah, graduated from Western Kentucky University; and their daughter, Hampton, got married.

Belinda May ’87 and her husband moved to Whidbey Island, WA, although she still travels almost weekly for her federal practice based out of DC, and he is a captain for Southwest Airlines. Belinda is a Partner in Dentons US LLP Consumer Products and Products Liability/Regulatory group. Most recently she was named Co-Chair of Dentons’ Diversity and Inclusion initiative for Disabilities & Accessibility in the workplace.

Martha Long, JD, CIE, MCM ’88 received the Chartrand Communications Award, which is given to Insurance Regulatory Examiners Society (IRES) members who have made a significant difference to IRES through their actions and have actively demonstrated their support of the organization, helping to build support and membership. Martha served as the President of IRES September 2018-August 2019. 

Tina (McKinney) Stopher ’89 is a Mortgage loan officer and Branch Manager of Citizens National Bank in Mount Erie, Illinois. She is now a grandma of a beautiful little girl, Mara Stopher.

Becky Jacobs ’90 started a new job with Biorigin US in Louisville, KY, as Accounting Manager in March of 2021. Biorigin is a Brazilian company using biotechnological processes to produce natural ingredients for flavor enhancement, sodium reduction, an extension of food life, nutritional enrichment of rations and improvement of animal health. On June 19, 2021, she married Rick Schoen of Corydon, Indiana, a Lanesville, IN native, farmer, and collector and restorer of Allis-Chalmers tractors and equipment.

Kendall Brune, PhD, MBA, FACHCA ’95 was appointed to Board Chair of the Arise Veteran Foundation and awarded a $750,000 USDA/NIFA Grant. Dr. Brune was also appointed Associate Professor, Family Medicine at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN.

Rebecca (Yates) Nelson ’96 took over the role of Equine Facilities Manager at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH in June of 2021. She is a graduate of WWU’s Equine Science Program (‘96) and Master of Education (‘16) in equine education.

Judy (Kahler) Hill, RN, MBA ’98 and her husband are both retired and currently reside in Ashland, MO.  

Amy Miller ’98 had one of her paintings, “The Good Father”, featured in the Missouri Arts Now Exhibition. The exhibit is composed of 60 works from artists living throughout the state of Missouri in order to illustrate the vibrant arts culture in the state.  The traveling exhibit opened in Cape Girardeau, MO on March 5th, 2021 at The Arts Council of Southeast Missouri. It was also featured in Columbia, MO at The State Historical Society of Missouri, Post Art Library and Spiva Center for the Arts in Joplin, MO, the Hannibal Arts Council.  and The Albrecht-Kemper Museum in Saint Joseph, MO.

Michelle (Stephens) Kemp ’99 earned her doctorate this year.

Derek Hux ’01 recently received the honor of being voted Best Attorney in Callaway County for the 5th year in a row. He has accepted the position of Deputy Court Administrator for the 13th Judicial Circuit of Boone and Callaway County. He is married to Lindsey Mertes Hux ‘04.

Gary Wheeler, MBA ’02 is the CEO and Executive Director of the Missouri Soybean Association/Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council & The Foundation for Soy Innovation.

Lindsey (Mertes) Hux ’04 has started her own business, Joyfully Blue, which has allowed her to contract with the Super Sam Foundation: Fighting Childhood Cancer, as their Managing Director. She is married to Derek Hux ‘01. 

Cathee Wolford ’04 was selected as Executive Director of the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and began her role on May 4, 2021. She is the first woman to lead the MCDHH staff officially. Ms. Wolford earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from William Woods University and master’s in social work (MSW) from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in social work through Tulane University. She has been a member of the Board for Certification of Interpreters (BCI) since 2012, and has served as the chairperson since 2018. Ms. Wolford has also assisted with planning for the Missouri Interpreters Conference and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Empowerment Symposium and participated on the selection committee for the Hearing Aid Distribution Program (HADP) since it was established in 2019. 

Kristina Baum ’04 is now Vice President of Public Affairs at Qorvis Communications after finishing her service as Communications Director at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President.

Nathan Reid ‘05, ‘07 and Bethany (Campbell) Reid, (’05) welcomed a baby boy, Micah Victor Reid on May 8, 2021. They now have 5 children with Micah joining the Reid Family: Easton (6), Emerson (4), Alaythia (4), Eliyanah (2)

John Mulford, PhD ’05 has been named the Deputy Superintendent of Operations of Meramec Valley R-III Schools for Springfield Public Schools. Prior to serving three years as superintendent at Meramec Valley R-III School District, Dr. Mulford was the superintendent of the West Plains R-VII School District for five years. His career in education began as a high school mathematics teacher in West Plains, where he also coached baseball, football and track. Dr. Mulford later served as a middle school assistant principal, high school principal and assistant superintendent.

Lindsay (Tipton) Oudit ’05 and her husband, Gregg Oudit ‘07 live and work in Oklahoma City, OK. Lindsay worked for a time after graduation in an administrative capacity for the horse racing industry. Gregg worked as an accountant in the Oil and Gas industry while Lindsay pursued her passion for the horse industry.  These jobs led to a discovery of a passion for business so, while working full time, both earned their Masters of Business Administration from Oklahoma City University. Both Lindsay and Gregg have managed several high-level contract negotiations for the US Air Force, while traveling extensively both domestic and abroad, all while pursuing the United States’ interests.  Lindsay spent the majority of her career guiding United States foreign partners in building their Air Forces abroad. While building their careers, they had two boys, Liam 11 and Garren 5, both of whom love to ride horses, everything about airplanes, and their family.  Both Lindsay and Gregg are very fond of their time at the Woods, walking away after graduation with the skills to pursue a professional life, but also, walking away with each other.

Emylee (Klosteman) Key-Crowley ’05 earned her SHRM-CP in June of 2020 and started a new job at UT Health East Texas as an HR Coordinator in March of 2021. 

Rachelle (Glynn) Whitfield ’05 is now an Army Emergency Relief Specialist with the Department of Army in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Pamela (Kelly) Richardson ’06 recently moved to Charleston, South Carolina to lead Boeing’s diversity and inclusion efforts as a Senior Equity, Diversity and Inclusion executive.

Janielle (Arens) Robinett ’06 is a proud homemaker in Lake Sherwood, MO with her husband of 10 years and three daughters. 

Kimberly (Gilbert) Heintz, MBA ’07 moved to Washington with her son (who, incidentally, was born while she was completing her MBA at WWU) in June, 2021. She has been hired as a mental health therapist/intern by Innercept, LLC in Coeur d’Alene, ID.

Jacque Mecklenburg ’08 has a new granddaughter named Charlotte Elizabeth as of June 2020. Jacque retired from Oswego School District #409 as Assistant Principal in June of 2021. She is also proud to announce the marriage of her son.

Donicia (Raines) Goheen ’08 now works as a receptionist at Missouri State University after retiring from teaching 1st and 2nd grade for 34 years.

Megan Eldridge ’09 moved to the St. Louis area after being appointed as City Clerk for the City of Wildwood, Missouri. in April 2020. Megan also recently obtained certification as a Missouri Registered City Clerk through the Missouri City Clerks and Finance Officers Association.

Stacie (Bonte) Weffelmeyer ’09 welcomed new baby Gavin Charles Weffelmeyer on June 7, 2021.

Breck (Frerking) Dumas ’09 is proud to announce that his Williams Woods MBA recently helped him land a job as a reporter at FOX Business and is working remotely in Columbia, MO.

Jerone Lester ‘10, ‘13 and Sally Bohlinger ‘13, ‘15 welcomed Henry Jean-Wayne to the world on October 17, 2020.

Jonathan Grice ’11 will lead the way at Blue Springs South High School, as the new Athletic/Activities Administrator during the 2021-2022 school year. He was promoted from the assistant role that he served in for several years. 

Jamie (Sandbothe) Webb ’11 was promoted to Information Systems Service Delivery Manager, North America for ABB Inc. as of August 2021.

Mary Hull-Lovett ’11 obtained a new job as Staff Chaplain at Baptist Health Medical Center in North Little Rock, AR.

Erin Troast ’11 just graduated Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Kansas Army National Guard. Erin is currently a Client Representative at NetSmart.

Anna Farha ’12 has a new job as a Training Specialist at Oklahoma State Department of Health July of 2021. Anna is currently a WWU Alumni Board Member.

Olivia (Nicholson) McGaugh, MSW, LCSW ’12 and Blake welcomed little Pierce McGaugh to the world on June 21, 2021.

Heather (McCasky) Parent ’12 gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Roger Rowan Parent on May 6, 2021.

Laura (Frasher) Tuttle, EdD ’13 Just finished her certification for K-12 Building Level Administrator and is now living in Decatur, AL. 

Sally Bohlinger ‘13, ‘15 and Jerone Lester ‘10, ‘13 welcomed Henry Jean-Wayne to the world on October 17, 2020. 

Jessie Brunelle ’13 was recently appointed Primary Therapist at Outback Therapeutic Expeditions, a treatment program for troubled teens and their families located in Lehi, Utah. Outback Therapeutic Expeditions is a licensed wilderness therapy program that assists teens with various areas of difficulties such as depression, anxiety, trauma, family conflict, engagement in dangerous behaviors, and more.

Alexis (Guth) Sparks ’13 and her husband Steven welcomed baby Lincoln Charles Sparks on February 7, 2021.

Alix (Fiorino) Sasse ’14 worked her way up the advertising agency ladder- ending up at one of the largest agencies in the world, working with top brands like Sams Club, Kay Jewelers, Rolex, and David Yurman. This experience allowed her to launch her own small business, an equine-niched marketing and business consulting agency called The Social Bit.

Darus Brondel ’14 took a new position as a Loan Officer with Accord Mortgage, a local mortgage broker in Jefferson City. In addition to his full-time job, he will also be an assistant basketball coach at Jefferson City High School. 

Lindsey (LeCuru) Thomas ’14 and her husband, Seth, celebrated their 4th year of marriage this year and are expecting their second child this fall.

Danielle Beaver ’14 accepted a new position at the Ocala Equine Hospital in Ocala, Florida.

Cruz Buchanan ’15 accepted a new position at Carl Zeiss Meditec as the Southeast Regional Director of Sales.

Jessica (Ratliff) Gordon ’15 currently works as the curriculum director for Greenville R2 schools. Since August 2020, she has earned her Ed.D in Curriculum & Education through Northcentral University. Her dissertation is titled “An Exploration of Choice-Based Instructional Strategies: A Phenomenological Study” and can now be found on ProQuest. 

Randy Henderson ’16 has been promoted to General Manager at Linen King in Midwest City, Oklahoma after completing the MBA program, and has just started a Cleaning business called JanTech LLC.

Billie Henry ’16 is working as a high school science teacher in a rural community while also coaching cross country. Billie is also in the process of fostering/adopting a little girl!

Alyssa McManus, MBA ’16 accepted her dream job as Social Media & Marketing Assistant for B&B Theatres corporate office in February 2020. 

Ashley (Bauer) Phillips ’16 was married to Allen Phillips on August 15, 2020 in a small wedding in their backyard in place of a grand destination wedding due to the pandemic.

Nola (Weller) Martz, Ed.D, ’16 worked for 15 months as a visiting assistant professor for the University of Missouri’s Department of Public Health Master of Public Health program in the School of Health Sciences and public health consultant to University Extension after completing her Doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2019. Nola accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Nursing with Truman State University in August 2020 where she continues teaching rural public health nursing and pharmacology courses.

Emily Murphy ’16 started a new position at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa as an Academic Advisor for online and Tulsa MBA students in January 2021. In addition to advising students, she also assists with admissions and promotion of the program around the city of Tulsa.

Jessica Doran, MD, ’17 married Kaleb Doran in October 2020.  She also graduated from Mizzou’s medical school with her M.D. and is now a resident in pediatrics at Mizzou.

Kalen Barrows ’17 graduated from the University of Denver with a Master’s Degree in Social Work in August 2021. She currently works as a Home-School Communicator for Columbia Public Schools.

Justis (Kemp) Smith ’17 is graduating with an MBA this fall. As a course assignment, she had to create a mock business to build upon through the course. After creating a business plan for an online clothing boutique based in Callaway County specializing in plus size clothing and going over the financial statements, she decided to make the mock business a reality, and in June 2021 launched The Pink Herring Boutique; an online clothing boutique serving Callaway County and beyond.

Jordan (Ross) Hunter ’17 is currently a Business and IT Adjunct Faculty at North Arkansas College, as well as a Business Adjunct Faculty at College of the Ozarks. Jordan also obtained his Health, Life, and Accident Insurance Agent License in Missouri in May 2021. He and his wife, Janissa, will be celebrating their 2nd year of marriage this year.

Izayah Donnelly, M.Ed, RAA, ’17 became a Registered Athletic Administrator through the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) after finishing his Master of Education – Athletic Administration in 2020. He took a position as an Executive Assistant for the Missouri State High School Activities Association where he assists in the sports of basketball, soccer, and softball. In his position, he corresponds with all Missouri high school athletic directors about rule changes and any updated information that is needed for the state championship series. He also oversees and administers operations for all three state championships. Last, but not least, he married Danielle Donelly in August of 2020.

Heather (Durbin) Cooke ’17 is the Instructional Designer in the Learning and Design Center at the University of San Diego.

Julianna Thrasher ’18 accepted a position as Licking Missouri Elementary School principal.

Brittany (Jones) Short ’18 married Kemp Short ‘18 in June of 2021 and moved to Seaford, VA where she is now working at Riverfront Riding Center as a trainer, instructor, and barn manager.

Brittney Engelbrecht ’18 loves her job at the Emerald Coast Autism Center where she does 1:1 ABA therapy.

Brent Lange ’18 moved back to Missouri in February 2021 to start his music career in beautiful Branson, MO, and is currently working on his first self-recorded southern gospel album titled I Believe in the Cross.

Noelle Homes ’18 currently works part-time at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center as a guest instructor. She helps create crime scene scenarios for the student officers to respond to and then give feedback. Noelle is engaged and scheduled to be married this fall.

Kena (Grider) Lundy ’19 graduated with her MS from the University of North Florida and is now an ASL Interpreter & Educator with a National Interpreter Certification.

Koral Campbell ’19 just started her PhD training at the University of Michigan to earn her doctorate degree in Molecular and Cellular Pathology.

Caitlyn Ney ’19 recently bought her first house.

Crystal (Riddle) Cull ’19 and her husband had a baby girl in November 2020. Crystal started a new position with BJC at Missouri Baptist Hospital inpatient services in Internal Medicine.

Jimmy Cain ’20 will be the Assistant Athletic/Activities Administrator at Blue Springs South High School during the 2021-2022 school year.

Megan Tolias ’20 is engaged to be married with plans on having the wedding this coming December. She is currently working on her master’s degree in Criminal Justice at Arizona State University. She is very proud of a poem entitled “The Hole” published in a book this year. This is her 5th poem published.

Caitlin (Cook) Franklin ’20 has been accepted into the MU Veterinary school. Since graduating from WWU, she has done numerous things like work as a Spanish teacher, work as a bilingual disease investigator for the hospital and health department, working as an assistant riding instructor, as well as growing and selling plants to raise money for veterinary school.

Amber (Hawn) Graziano ’20 married Shannon Graziano ‘18 gave birth to a little girl in October.

Sydney Bullock ’20 has been working at ProDeZigns in Eldon, MO as a graphic designer since October 2020 and is loving every second of it. She stays busy designing wraps for things like vehicles, boats, trailers, fuel tankers, guitars, etc. At her job, she also produces banners, signage, and other marketing services. Sydney also got engaged in December on the beautiful beach of Magens Bay in St. Thomas, USVI.

Allie Tate ’20 has been utilizing her Psychology degree while working at Burrell Behavioral Health as a Community Support Specialist over this last year. She is very excited to announce that she has been accepted into the ‘21-‘22 cohort at Central Methodist University to pursue her Master’s of Science in Clinical Counseling.

Adriane Koty ’21 will be teaching 5th grade in the Jefferson City School District this coming school year.

Leah Easley ’21 started working for the Missouri Department of Conservation this summer with the title of Resource Science Aid for RAM (Resource Assessment and Management).

Claire McDonald ’21 is currently a resident in Columbia, MO and attending her first year of veterinary school at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. Additionally, she is working part-time in the clinical pathology lab at the Veterinary Health Center located at the university.