Celebrating alumni accolades, accomplishments, and achievements
Tuesday, October 10, 2023


Catherine Dugan (BA ‘76, MA ‘80) is completing her 38th year at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Dugan developed and ran student and later, parent orientation programs, the Major and Career Exploration Center, and staffed, developed and runs Disability Access and Advising services, as well as total university withdrawals over her years at IUP. Dugan credits her Iowa experience and the (then) Student Development Program, under Al Hood and Marlin Schmidt), housed in Counseling Psychology, were among the BEST decisions she has made in life.


Shannon Bisgard (BS '90) retired as Linn-Mar School District superintendent.

Valerie Garr (MA '95) was recognized in September 2023 by the African American Museum of Iowa as a “History Maker.” She is currently director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and coordinator of supplemental instruction and tutoring at the UI College of Nursing; as well as an adjunct faculty in the College of Nursing and University College. She has been at Iowa for 35 years, 15 of those in the nursing. Garr is also a certified diversity executive and recently became a licensed qualified administrator for the Intercultural Development Inventory Assessment tool. 

Cindy Lovell (PhD '99) recently co-authored a new textbook called “The Big Book of ESOL Activities: Preparation for Educators, Administrators, and School Counselors.”

Scott Mertes (MA '97, MA '97) was recently promoted to Provost of Mid Michigan College and received Distinguished Alumni Awards from Waubonsee Community College and Winona State University.

Paul Numedahl (MS '97, PhD '99) is the new principal at Ames High School in Ames, Iowa.


Amy Bartachek (MA '01) is the director of career services for graduate and professional programs at the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business.

Tiffany Flowers (MA '00, PhD '15) and Alicia Leggett are the co-editors of the Journal of Literacy and Urban Schools. 

Kristi Leonard (MA '00), the assistant dean of students at Central College in Pella, Iowa, won the National Wellness Institute’s William B. Baun Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Wellness Institute’s National Wellness Conference in Cincinnati.

Baegbeom Park (PhD '01) is the former vice minister of education in South Korea, who is now retired and living in Reno, Nevada.

Kelly Schieltz (MA '06, PhD '13) received the New Researcher award from APA Division 25.

Wendy Shoemaker (MA '00) graduated in May 2023 from the University of Kansas with her doctorate (EdD) in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

Susan Summers (MA '02) has been a vocational rehabilitation counselor at Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services in Iowa City for 18 years.

Belle Vukovich Kenoyer (MA '01) is the associate director of the Peter T. Paul Entrepreneurship Center at the University of New Hampshire


Widad Abdalla (PhD '19) started a new job as a statistics lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Loyola University Chicago.

Echo Amos (MA, CER '17) joined the UI College of Education as the project manager of recruitment and placement coordinator for the Multidisciplinary Pathways to Recruit, Train, and Retain School Mental Health Providers in Iowa (MPath) U.S. Department of Education grant program.

Tess Barker (PhD '11) is the new executive director of the Association for Student Conduct Administration in College Station, Texas.

Candyce Briggs (EDS '10, PhD '12) joined the UI College of Education as a visiting assistant professor in school psychology in the Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations.

Janice Byrd (PhD '16) was appointed as member-at-large of DEAI and will be a member of the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES ) Governing Council.

Brett Caskey (MA '17) works as the associate dean for student success at Colorado Northwestern Community College.

Chelsey Gates (MA '14) joined the UI College of Education as a postdoctoral research scholar in the Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations.

Emily Green Daub (BA '11) is among six Golden Apple teacher award recipients for 2023.

Kate Kedley (CER '14, PhD '17) was recently promoted to associate professor in the Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Education Program at Rowan University in Rowan, New Jersey. She received a grant from Rowan University to spend summer 2023 in Honduras documenting human rights reports and providing expert testimony for LGBT migrants.  Kedley continued the ongoing work of an NGO co-founded with others in Honduras.  Kedley’s research is currently supported by the Spencer Foundation to document children’s translanguaging experiences in Philadelphia. 

Laila McCloud (PhD '19) is assistant professor of higher education at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. She was named a 2023 ACPA Emerging Scholar Designee and received the 2022 NASPA Region IV-E Robert Shaffer Award for Academic Excellence as a Graduate Faculty Member.

Lisa Mellecker (IED '11, BA '11) joined the UI College of Education’s Department of Teaching and Learning as an elementary education visiting instructor.

Eric Moy (EdS '17) started a new position as an undergraduate advising director at Stanford University in California.

Leslie Prideaux (MA '12) is the University of Iowa Center for Advancement’s new assistant vice president for alumni engagement

Buffy Quintero (MA '11) has joined the UI College of Education as a visiting instructor in art education in the Department of Teaching and Learning.

Tevin Robbins (MA '15) was promoted to an associate director  in the UI Tippie College of Business’s Undergraduate Program Office in February 2023. He also received the UI Diversity Catalyst Award, and he will complete the Tippie MBA program in December 2023.

Kelsey Ryder (MA '14) received the UI 2023 Lola Lopes Award for Undergraduate Student Advocacy.

Kem Saichaie (PhD '11) was named co-editor of the Journal of First-Generation College Student Success. He is the director of learning, teaching, and assessment/interim educational analytics lead in the Center for Educational Effectiveness in the Office of Undergraduate Education at University of California, Davis.

Ryan Specht-Boardman (MA '16), is a Competency-Based Education Consultant at the Competency-Based Education Network, who won the 2023 Frandson Award for Literature from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association for his book “New Models of Higher Education: Unbundled, Rebundled, Customized, & DIY.”

Cassie Storlie (PhD '13) was elected to serve as the 78th president of the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision.

Sarah Storto (BA '13) is entering her 11th year of teaching and currently teaches first grade at Cherry Creek Schools in Aurora, Colorado.

Brooke Strahn-Koller (PhD, '12) joined the UI College of Education as the new clinical associate professor in the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies, working with the EdD program.

Tessa Sutton (IED '19) was appointed as the new visual arts Teacher at the Bronx High School of Science in Bronx, New York.

Mark Sulzer (PhD '15) was promoted to associate professor of English Education at the University of Cincinnati.

Khadidra Washington (CER '18, PhD, '22) began working as an assistant professor in the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, Maryland in Spring of 2023.

Haley Wikoff (PhD '19) won one of two Illinois School Counselor Educator awards.

Leah Zimmerman (BA '11, PhD '22) joined the UI College of Education as a clinical assistant professor in special education in the Department of Teaching and Learning.


Nicole Amatto (PhD '23) is an assistant professor of English language arts and literacy at California State University, Channel Islands.

Carly Armour (PhD '23) is the new graduate student success administrator at the UI College of Public Health in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health.

Lauren Bettle (MA '23) is the Building Learning Coordinator at Carlisle Middle School in Carlisle, Iowa.

Kelsey Chingren-Lockhart (BA '16, IED '16, MA '23) teaches language arts at Northwest Junior High School in Coralville and is beginning her PhD courses in the Literacy, Culture, and Language Education program in the UI College of Education.

Patience Duepa Kannah (BA '22) is the administrative services coordinator for the UI College of Education’s Belin-Blank Center.

Marina Durinova (PhD '23) joined the UI College of Education as a postdoctoral research scholar in the Department of Teaching and Learning.

Elizabeth Gevock (MA '23) is an elementary teacher at Mount Pleasant Christian School in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, teaching kindergarten and first grade. 

Darrin Hetrick (PhD '21), is an assistant professor of applied linguistics at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.

Kayla Jackson (MA '20, PhD '23), is the new assistant director of the Center for Evaluation and Assessment in the UI College of Education.

Shinji Katsumoto (PhD '23) joined the UI College of Education’s Departmental of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies as a postdoctoral research scholar.

Gina Martin (PhD '21) won the regional North Central Association for Counselor Education and Supervision(NCACES) award for Outstanding Supervisor.

Katheelyn Montes (BA '23), teaches Spanish at Waukee High School and Middle School.

GoMee Park (PhD '21), is an assistant professor of education at the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley.

Zoie Schares (MA '22) moved into a new role with the UI College of Education’s Department of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies as the senior project manager of the USAID-funded activity, Private Sector Partnerships to Strengthen Higher Education Iowa Consortium.

Robert Taylor (MA '23) is in his eighth year of teaching at Solon High School in Solon, Iowa, and is now approved to teach dual credit courses.

Dawn Thomas (MAT '23) received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Award to Israel for 2023-24.

Peggy Valdes (PhD '20) is the director of the McNair Scholars Program in the Office of Student Success at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Jason Walls (MA '23) is a career advisor at Michigan State University.

Yafei Ye (PhD '21) is an assistant professor at Zhengzhou University, in Zhengzhou, Henan, China.

See more from the the 2022-23 Annual Report.