IOWA Magazine | 09-03-2018

Class Notes Fall 2018

7 minute read


Christine Lawson, a doctor of pharmacy student, received a Gateway to Research Award from the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education.

Kate Santangelo, a senior studying biomedical engineering, is a member of the 2018-19 Midwest Regional Leadership Team for the National Association of Engineering Student Councils.


Micah Fields (18MFA) received the 2018 Oxford American Jeff Baskin Writers Fellowship, which supports the writing of a debut book of creative nonfiction.

Jacob Kirpes (13BBA, 13BSE) is a business strategist and engineer with TPG Companies in Des Moines.

Jesse Kreitzer (15MFA), a filmmaker in Marlboro, Vermont, received the 2018 National Arts Strategies Creative Community Fellowship and the LEF/Flaherty Film Seminar Fellowship.

Esteban Londono (18BSE) became the first UI student to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental engineering, a program that debuted in 2017.

Sajan Goud Lingala (13PhD) is an assistant professor of biomedical engineering in the UI College of Engineering.

Christopher Samuel Moore (10BS), who received the 2017 PhD Prize from the International Astronomical Union, recently joined the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Dina Nayeri (13MFA), a novelist and activist, is the recipient of the annual Paul Engle Prize presented by the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization to a writer who betters the world through the literary arts.

Penni Ryan (13BLS), director of continuing education and alumni affairs for the UI College of Dentistry, earned the Iowa Dental Association's President's Award.


Paul Avey (05BA), an assistant professor of political science at Virginia Tech, has received an International Affairs Fellowship for 2018-19 from the Council on Foreign Relations.

Bobby Buckner Bentz (04MPH, 04MHA, 18PhD), an executive account manager for Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, has been named to the Business Record's "40 Under 40" list in Des Moines.

John H. Boyd (00BA) is an associate at the law firm Swanson, Martin, and Bell in Lisle, Illinois, and serves as a hearing officer for McHenry County, Illinois.

Joseph "Jody" Buckwalter V (05PhD) is an orthopedic surgeon at UI Hospitals and Clinics.

Jennifer Croft (03MFA) won the Man Booker International Prize, the world's premier award for translated fiction, for her Polish-to-English translation of Flights by Olga Tokarczuk.

Virginia Cronin (03BA) is a business law attorney at the firm Henningson and Snoxell in Maple Grove, Minnesota.

Christina Freese Decker (02MS, 02MHA), executive vice president and COO of Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has been named to Modern Healthcare's Top 25 COOs list.

Jessica Reese Faith (06BA, 06BBA, 09JD) is a senior legal editor at Thomson Reuters Practical Law, which is based in Eagan, Minnesota.

Jarrett Hothan (09BA) is a scriptwriter for Demo Duck, a Chicago-based video production company.

Shelly Buster Maharry (01BA) is the executive director for the Iowa City-based Community Foundation of Johnson County.

Jacob Norman (09BA), a Spanish teacher at Mallinckrodt Academy of Gifted Instruction, has received a St. Louis Public Schools Educator of the Year award.

Mary Sellers (07MBA) is U.S. president of United Way Worldwide.

Teresa Wu (01PhD) is a professor of industrial engineering and editor of IIE Transactions on Healthcare Systems Engineering at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.


Doug Boysen (98MA, 98JD) is president and CEO of Samaritan Health Services in Corvallis, Oregon.

Jack Feng (93MS, 95PhD), vice president at Commercial Vehicle Group in Columbus, Ohio, has been named a 2018 fellow by the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers.

Eric Griffin (95MA, 98PhD) of Jackson, Mississippi, recorded a new album titled Somewhere Over Doniphan with the band DB Griff.

Morgan Hanson (96BA, 99JD) is chair of litigation practice for Cohen and Grgisby, a Pittsburgh-based law firm.

Brion Hurley (96BS, 99MS, 12CER) is a business performance improvement consultant in Portland, Oregon.

Han-Suk Sohn (95MS, 04PhD) is an associate professor at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Tzu-Liang "Bill" Tseng (99PhD) is a professor and chair of industrial, manufacturing, and systems engineering at the University of Texas-El Paso.


Richard Breon (80MA), president and CEO of Spectrum Health, has been named 2018 Business Person of the Year by the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Dan Brown (81BA, 83MA), a musician in Iowa City, has recorded a new album titled Somewhere Over Doniphan with the band DB Griff.

Jocelyn Chateauvert (84BA, 89MA, 90MFA) exhibited her sculptured paper at two recent European art shows: Paper Biennial at Museum Rijswijk in the Netherlands and Global Paper 4 in Deggendorf, Germany.

Shira Greenfield (83BA, 85MA), a mental health counselor, received a 2018 Women of Distinction Award from McHenry County Magazine at a ceremony earlier this year in Lake in the Hills, Illinois.

Walter Herzog (85PhD), a kinesiology professor at the University of Calgary, received the Killam Prize awarded to Canadian scholars who make significant contributions to their fields.

Kirk Mellecker (80BGS) and his wife, Diane, made a gift commitment to create the Mellecker Family Head Men's Tennis Coach Fund, the first endowed coaching position at the UI.

Heidi Sease Nebel (89BS), an attorney and managing member at the Des Moines-based law firm McKee, Voorhees, and Sease, has been appointed by the USDA to the National Plant Variety Protection Board.

Jack Perry (88BLS) is the founder and CEO of Syncbak, a Cedar Rapids-based tech company that works with television networks, stations, and studios to stream media online.

Rajat Jay Sehgal (86BBA), executive vice president of the Sehgal Foundation in the U.S. and a trustee of the SM Sehgal Foundation in India, will receive the UI's 2018 International Impact Award in November from International Programs.

Hertha D. Sweet Wong (83MA, 86PhD), associate professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of Picturing Identity: Contemporary American Autobiography in Image and Text, recently published by the University of North Carolina Press.


Gregory Cole (77BA, 80MA), president of NCMIC Finance Corporation of Des Moines, received an Outstanding Alumni Award from Des Moines Area Community College.

Mike Crawford (76BBA), founder and president of MCC, a Dallas-based marketing and communications firm, has been inducted into the American Advertising Federation's Southwest Advertising Hall of Fame.

Francis Hamit (72BGS, 76MFA) published an article titled "Stolen Valor," excerpted from his memoir about the Vietnam War, in the August issue of Vietnam Magazine.

Mark Jennings (73BS), former UI associate athletics director for donor and patron services, received a 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Athletic Development Directors.

Susan Neely (78BA) is president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers.

Scott Prill (74BS, 77MS) is the author of From the Realm of Time, a historical fiction novel and the sequel to Into the Realm of Time.

Mark Stodola (71BA) is finishing his third and final four-year term as mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas.


Joseph Gaylord (67BA), former executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee, is among the 2018 inductees to the American Association of Political Consultants Hall of Fame.


Shirley Nichols Sparks-Greif (55BA) is the co-author of "A Family-Centered Program to Break the Cycle of Addiction" in the June 2018 edition of Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services.

Shirley Brown Wyrick (58BA, 76MA, 83MFA), an Iowa City-based artist, was presented a Vinnie Ream Medal by the National League of American Pen Women for her sculpture titled Free Flow.

Faculty & Friends

Michèle Crider, international opera singer and professor at the Mozarteum in Austria, received an honorary Doctor of Musical Arts degree this past spring from the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Ibrahim Demir, UI assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and associate faculty research engineer at IIHR—Hydroscience and Engineering, received the Outreach/Media Award from the Association of State Floodplain Managers.

Richard Fosse, a UI lecturer in civil and environmental engineering, has been named a 2018 Top Ten Public Works Leader of the Year by the American Public Works Association.

Margaret Gamm has been named the new head of UI Special Collections.

Donald Letendre, dean and professor in the UI College of Pharmacy, has been named a fellow of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and was honored recently at the society's meeting in Denver.

Walter E. Lytle, a former UI student, is a senior vice president and wealth management advisor with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and was recently named to Forbes' "Best-In-State Wealth Advisors" list.

Margaret McCaffery, an advocate for cancer patients with husband and UI men's basketball coach Fran McCaffery, has been elected to the American Cancer Society Board of Directors.

Angela Onwuachi-Willig, a former professor in the UI College of Law, has been named dean at the Boston University School of Law.

Marilynne Robinson, novelist and professor emeritus for the Iowa Writers' Workshop, received an honorary Doctor of Letters from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

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