Eric Blair, ’01, has been hired as the vice president of enrollment and marketing at Jewell. He had served at Park University since 2002 in a variety of roles, including most recently as associate vice president for enrollment management. He and his family reside in Lawson.
Laura Smith-Everett, ’01, was named by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly to the Coordinating Council on Early Childhood Development Services. She is an ELL teacher for the Shawnee Mission (Kansas) School District. In November 2019, she was elected to a four-year term on the Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees, beginning in January 2020. She and her family reside in Shawnee, Kansas.
Gus "Jack" Wetzel, III, ’01, has been appointed to the Hawthorn Bancshares, Inc., board of directors. He had served on the board of directors of Hawthorn Bank, one of Hawthorn Bancshares’ subsidiaries, since 2017. Jack is the president of Meadows Construction Company and Meadows Development Company, both of Clinton, Missouri, where he resides.
Dr. Brooke Whitworth, ’01, received the 2019 Outstanding College Science Teacher Award from the Mississippi Science Teachers Association. Brooke has worked an assistant professor of science education at the University of Mississippi since 2017. She was nominated for the honor, which recognizes those who make an impact on their students and the field of science education, by two of her graduate students at Ole Miss. She also received a $1.37 million research grant from the National Science Foundation for her project, Science Coordinators Advancing a Framework for Outstanding Leadership Development (SCAFFOLD). She resides in Oxford, Mississippi.
Suvir Dhar, ’02, has been named to the St. Louis Business Journal’s “40 Under Forty” list for 2019. He is a Simmons Hanly Conroy shareholder focused on mesothelioma litigation. Suvir volunteers with The Little Bit Foundation and is a board member for both La Salle Middle School and the United Way, Southwest Illinois Division. He and his family reside in St. Louis.
Jill (Esely) Durnin, ’02, will be inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in December as part of the 2019 “Filbert Five” team. The Filbert Five is a men’s and women’s basketball team chosen each year to honor the late Gary Filbert, a successful Missouri basketball coach who later directed the Show-Me State Games. Jill was honored for her time at Jewell, where she holds the school record for points and was named an All-American twice. She is the assistant principal at Camdenton (Missouri) Middle School and resides in Linn Creek.
Crystal Howard, ’02, has joined Husch Blackwell in Kansas City as a partner in its tax practice group and its Financial Services and Capital Markets industry team. She advises a variety of business types on all aspects of federal income taxation and at all stages of the business life cycle.
Dr. Christopher Strelluf, ’02, had his new book, “Speaking from the Heartland: The Midland Vowel System of Kansas City,” published by the American Dialect Society and Duke University Press in December 2018. He works as an assistant professor of linguistics at the University of Warwick in Coventry, and he and his family reside in Kenilworth, United Kingdom.
Darren Prenger, ’03, COO of ECCO Select Corp., was named the 2019 Emerging Philanthropist of the Year by Nonprofit Connect. He was nominated for his philanthropy and board service with nonprofits including the YMCA of Greater Kansas City, FIRE Foundation and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City. Darren and his family reside in Parkville.
Carrie (Vanderford) Sanders, ’03, accepted the role of director of community engagement and impact at Edgewood College, where she has been serving on faculty in the Social Innovation and Sustainability Leadership Graduate Program. Carrie is also the founder and CEO of Hope Community Capital, a national consultancy that connects community development projects with financing, and investors and organizations with opportunities to cultivate sustainable, inclusive and thriving communities. Carrie resides in Middleton, Wisconsin, with her husband, Scott, and their three children.
Dr. Gregory Bohner, ’04, earned a Ph.D. in counseling and student development from Kansas State University in December 2018. His dissertation title was “The Relationship Between College Counselor Work Responsibilities and Burnout.” Greg currently serves as the director for disability services at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, where he resides with his family.
Eric Bunch, ’04, was elected to represent the fourth council district on the Kansas City (Missouri) City Council and took office in August 2019. He is the co-founder and director of strategic initiatives for BikeWalkKC. He and his family reside in Kansas City.
Dr. Amy Smith, ’04, earned a Ph.D. in music therapy from the University of Kansas in May. In the fall, she will begin her role as an assistant professor in music therapy at Sam Houston State University (Texas).
Dr. Alan Wegener, ’04, opened Richards & Wegener, Optometrists, with Dr. John Richards in October 2018 in Liberty. Alan also serves as treasurer for the Missouri Optometric Association. He and his wife, Emily (Wommack) Wegener, ’05, and their three sons reside in Kansas City.
Dr. Zachary Frey, ’05, was selected to serve on the board of directors for the Nebraska Academy of Family Physicians. He is currently the medical director of primary care services at Mary Lanning Healthcare. He, his wife Lindsay (Wiegel) Frey, ’04, and their two children, Emerson and Madelyn, reside in Hastings, Nebraska.
Alexis (Riney) Small, ’05, was named the Whitman Master Teacher through the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. She received a grant to create a curriculum about the War in Europe, and she traveled to Normandy, France, with 30 students from across the country to teach about D-Day. She resides with Ryan Small, ’04, and their children in Smithville, where she works as a history teacher at Smithville High School.
Dr. Michael Strickland, ’05, was awarded a five-year, roughly $650,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to research the effects of agricultural antibiotics on soil food webs and the ecosystem. Michael is an assistant professor at the University of Idaho’s Department of Soil and Water Systems. The project will also develop training for graduate students and visit middle schools in nearby towns to teach soil health and teach them to collect soil samples.
Josepha Haden Chomphosy, ’06, was named the executive director of the WordPress open source project in January 2019 for Automattic, the parent company of WordPress, Longreads and more. She had recently worked with the WordPress Foundation, focusing on educational initiatives dedicated to diversity in technology and the introduction of open-source ideals on a global scale. She resides in Kansas City.
Dr. Gayla Huffman, ’06, was elected as director of the Society of Pediatric Nurses board. She is also the chair-elect of the organization’s Program Planning Committee and the education and professional development program manager at Children’s Mercy Hospital. She resides in Kansas City.
Heather Jones, ’06, was hired in January 2019 as executive director of Iowa Sister States, a nonprofit that manages Iowa’s nine official international partnerships. Heather had previously served as deputy campaign manager for the campaign of Deidre DeJear, the first African-American nominated by a major party for statewide office in Iowa. Heather resides in Des Moines, Iowa.
Sean Riordan, ’06, is a research assistant professor at Children’s Mercy Hospital and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is currently researching brain damage caused by severe hyperbilirubinemia in babies and the resulting brain damage known as kernicterus. He and his wife, Rachel (Butz) Riordan, ’06, reside in Lenexa, Kansas.
Elizabeth Walsh Yoder, ’06, was named to the de Beaumont Foundation’s inaugural 40 Under 40 in Public Health list. The national list showcases leaders who embody collaboration, creativity and innovation, while also highlighting solutions and innovations in the field of public health. Elizabeth, a public health statistician for the Kansas City (Missouri) Health Department, was the only recipient chosen from Kansas and Missouri.
Karianne (Wagner) Waterland, ’06, and her husband welcomed a son, Warren Russell, on Sept. 28, 2019. The family resides in Smithville.
Betsy Bramon, ’07, is an interdisciplinary social entrepreneur. She works with Facebook’s Content Policy Team to make the new community standards responsive to the diverse and complex needs of people around the world. Previously, she ran a social impact consulting practice, Kronia Collaborative, spent seven years in human rights, gender and technology-related policy and programs at the U.S. Department of State, and worked more than six years in non-governmental organizations. She splits her time between Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.
Dr. Lindsey Chappell, ’07, is an assistant professor of English specializing in 19th century British literature at Georgia Southern University. She earned a Ph.D. in English from Rice University in 2017 and resides in Savannah, Georgia.
Adam Hill, ’07, has been named president and COO of the Scarbrough Group of Companies in Kansas City. Adam began at Scarbrough, a logistics provider, as an account representative and he most recently served as the executive vice president. His career with Scarbrough began through a college internship while at Jewell. He and Dr. Tiffany (Keller) Hill, ’07, reside in Parkville.
Patrick James, ’07, received a master’s degree in medial dietetics and completed an internship at Saint Louis University in August 2019. He is a registered dietitian with Touchpoint Support Services at Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg, Kansas, where he resides with Andrea (de Regnier) James, ’07, and their family.
Dr. Lisa (Bush) Lauck, ’07, earned an Ed.D. in educational leadership from Baker University in April 2019. Her dissertation title was “Grade Distribution and Perceptions of School Culture and Climate In a New Secondary School.” In addition to completing her degree Lisa was recently published as a contributor to "Herstory: Woman in American History" a publication created by National History Day Foundation in conjunction with History and Lifetime. The publication is a collection of lesson plans about great American Women. Lisa teaches 8th grade English language arts and coaches cheer and dance in Excelsior Springs. She resides in Liberty with her husband, Jake Lauck '07, and their 3-year-old daughter.
Daniel Stricker, ’07, has been selected as president of Ascension Post-Acute Services. He had served as chief operating officer for Ascension Living and was named one of the Catholic Health Association’s “Tomorrow’s Leaders” in 2016. Danny and his family reside in Des Peres, Missouri.
Lilia Toson, ’07, has been named one of 40 Under 40 attorneys by the National Bar Association. The awards recognize those young lawyers who “exemplify a broad range of high achievement in the legal field, including in advocacy, innovation, vision, leadership and overall legal and community involvement. Lilia is the assistant attorney general in the New York State Office of the Attorney General in the Health Care and Civil Rights bureaus. She and her family reside in Brooklyn, New York.
John Barber, '08, of Kansas City, was promoted to vice president, general counsel and compliance officer at UGA Finance, after joining the organization in 2017 as its in-house counsel. He received a Juris Doctorate from Florida Coastal School of Law and has previously practiced in the private sector for two law firms. He is licensed to practice law in Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas.
Christopher Carr, ’08, has been appointed chief diversity officer at the Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason University. He previously served as senior director of programs for the National Society of Black Engineers. He resides in Washington, D.C.
Sarah (Rahal) Wahrer, ’08, is working on a master’s degree in nursing in clinical nurse leadership at Montana State University. She works as a nurse at Bozeman Health.
Noah Nash, ’09, has joined the Kansas City office of Lathrop Gage as an associate on the insurance recovery and counseling team. He worked as a catastrophe claims adjustor for a large insurance carrier before going into law. In 2019, he earned his juris doctor from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he also served as lead articles editor for the UMKC Law Review. He resides in Liberty.
Alex Saxon, ’09, was cast as “Ace” in the CW series “Nancy Drew.” He recently finished a role on the ABC drama “The Fix” and has played recurring characters on “The Fosters,” “Finding Carter” and “Ray Donovan.” He is based in Vancouver, Canada, while filming “Nancy Drew.”
Sarah Taylor, ’09, earned a master’s degree in international advocacy and leadership from Avila University in December 2018. She resides in Kansas City, Mo.
Jon Ubbenga, ’09, has been hired as an assistant baseball coach at Tarleton State University (Texas). He had served as head baseball for two seasons at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School in Oklahoma City.