Woods Briefs

Woods Briefs: Spring 2021

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

William Woods Students, Faculty, and Staff

Zach Dowdle, WWU Assistant Professor of History, recently won the 2021 Lawrence O. Christensen Article Award for best article published on a Missouri-related historical topic for his article: “Preventing a ‘School of Nullification;’ Politics, Slavery, and the Presidency of the University of Missouri, 1839-1856,” which appeared in the Missouri Historical Review in 2020.  

William Woods Alumni

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

Suzanne Morr Humphreys ’83 and her husband, Greg, moved to the beautiful Upstate of South Carolina in 2018 after she served in Children’s Ministry for 8 years. Greg and Suzanne are the Owners and Innkeepers of Sunrise Farm Bed and Breakfast, a country retreat, in Salem, South Carolina.

Caitlin Cook ’20 is currently on a waiting list for a seat in the veterinary school at the University of Missouri, where she has been accepted. During the time awaiting her spot, she start propagating and selling plants, worked as an assistant riding instructor at the Saddle and Sirloin Club in Kansas City, Missouri, worked as a Spanish teacher at the Heritage Homeschool Academy, and worked in public health as a bilingual disease investigator for COVID-19.

Nancy Canestrari Williams ’76 has 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 https://lightbournecreative.com, and published her first book last year, “A Crocus in the Desert,” a devotional book for women suffering through infertility.

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.

Former longtime WWU International Cooking/Nutrition professor Dr. Sharon Kay Payton passed away January 4, 2021, at 81. Dr. Payton taught at William Woods from 1971 through 1985, alongside her husband Dr. Gerald Payton, who taught Geology over the same time period. During her career, Dr. Payton also worked as a food product developer and researcher for national brands such as Food Innovations, Gerber Baby Food and Borden Foods. She is survived by her husband Dr. Gerald Payton and two daughters who both attended WWU, Jennifer Payton ’84 and Kathy Payton Kupka ’86. 

Amy Miller ’98 will have one of her paintings, The Good Father, featured in an upcoming exhibit, 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 will open in Cape Girardeau, MO on March 5th, 2021 at The Arts Council of Southeast Missouri. It will be on display here until March 27, 2021.  Next it will travel to Columbia, MO to The State Historical Society of Missouri for exhibit April 9 through May 15, 2021.  Next will be Post Art Library and Spiva Center for the Arts in Joplin, MO from May 29 through July 17,2021.  From there is will go to Hannibal, MO at the Hannibal Arts Council July 23 through September 6, 2021.  Lastly The Albrecht-Kemper Museum in Saint Joseph, MO September 17 through November 7, 2021.

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. Brunelle received her bachelor’s degree from WWU and also earned Master of Social Work degree from Boise State University.

Cathee Wolford ’04 is selected as Executive Director of the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and will begin her role on May 4, 2021. She is the first woman to lead the MCDHH staff will 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.