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Janita Hemphill Wells (BS) was named a 2017 Each Moment Matters Honoree by the Presbyterian Communities and Service Foundation in Dallas, Texas. The awards program supports the Faith Presbyterian Hospice program in Dallas.


Joe B. Swift (BBA, Business Administration) was named a distinguished alumnus by North Dallas High School. At UTA, he was a member of the Sam Houston Rifle Team and was named a distinguished military graduate. He retired from the U.S. Army as a colonel in 1994 and from Bell Helicopter as a logistic engineer in 2004. He is a 2011 inductee into UTA's Military Science Hall of Honor.

"UTA provided the foundation that I needed to improve my own life so that I can improve the lives of others. Maverick for life!"
—Idiono Edem
('11 BSN, Nursing) Care Coordinator, Blue Cross Blue LILLIE Shield of Texas


John S. Garth (BS, Geology) retired as a field office geologist for the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management in southern Idaho. The Twin Falls, Idaho, resident previously worked as a petroleum geologist for Conoco, Tesoro Petroleum, and Bright & Company in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana onshore and offshore, and Alberta, Canada.


James W. Trietsch (BS, Mathematics) retired as executive director of operations, finance, and contracts from Abilene Christian University after 31 years.


Steve Smith (BBA, Management Information Systems) was named a sales associate with RE/MAX DFW Associates in Flower Mound, Texas. He is retired from Tarrant County, where he was chief information officer.


Diana Ault (BBA, Marketing) was elected to the board of directors of Hotel Brokers International and serves as board president. She is an associate broker with Scoggin Blue LLC, based in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and has managed the brokerage firm's Dallas office since 2002.


Jean McSweeney (MSN, Nursing) received the Women's Cardiovascular Health Professorship from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, where she is associate dean for the College of Nursing Research and a professor of health behavior and health education in the College of Public Health.


Mark Harris (BS, Architecture), principal founder of markharris ARCHITECTS, has received three project awards from the 2017 Rethinking the Future Sustainability awards program that recognizes distinguished and innovative architecture, with specific emphasis on sustainable design. He had multiple projects featured at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, the world's oldest international event for art and architecture.


Susie Franscini Davis (BBA, Marketing) has joined McBee, an independent health care services and consulting firm, as director for the south central United States.

"Love my alma mater. Thank you for broadening my world, for the support of UTA's outstanding faculty, and for the privilege of teaching tomorrow's communica-tion leaders."
—Kay Pinkerton
('95 BA, Communication; '06 MA, Mass Communication) Founder and Strategic Consultant at Pinkerton Communications LLC


John Calhoun (MCRP, City and Regional Planning) retired as a heritage planner for the city of Windsor, Ontario.


Paul Henley (BBA, Management) accepted the position of fire chief of Corsicana, Texas. He was battalion chief for the city of Frisco and a captain for the Garland Fire Department.


Margot Weyandt (MSSW, Social Work) is the author of My Shield and Portion Be, the second in her Gour Ghost Passage series on Amazon. The Trego, Wisconsin, resident also paints the covers for her books.


Joli Livaudais (BS, '98 MS, Psychology), assistant professor of photography at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, was featured with her artwork on

David Lubin (BS, Interior Design) is co-managing director of IA Interior Architects in Dallas, Texas. Previously, he was an associate principal at HKS for corporate interior design.


Tom Lindquist (BBA Management) has been named CEO of Allina Health and Aetna Insurance Co. Previously, he served as president of Molina in South Carolina and as president of AccentCare in Texas.

Kamil Mufti (MS, Physics; MS, Mathematics) is the new imam at the Islamic Centre of Longview, Texas. He previously served as a resident scholar and imam at the Islamic Foundation of Peoria, in Illinois.

Karla Ramberger (BSN, Nursing) was named chief nursing officer of Las Vegas' Sunrise Hospital and Health Care. Previously, she was chief nursing officer at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

Jeff Russell (BS, History) was named Denton Independent School District director of student and campus support services. He is a former principal of Decatur High School.


Keith T. Walsh (BBA, Marketing) was named assistant general counsel and legal executive director of payment and technology programs for the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.


Stephanie Lassanske (MSSW), a Tyler Junior College professor of social work and sociology, was appointed to the Social Work Field of Study Advisory Committee by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.


Rachel Lopez (MSSW) is the founder and president of the nonprofit Hispanic Forum of Mesquite. She is senior care manager with Broadspire and works and advocates for individuals with disabilities.

George Nnanna (MS, '02 PhD, Mechanical Engineering) was selected as dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. Previously, he taught at Purdue University Northwest in Westville, Indiana.

Chris Shao (PhD, Business Administration – Marketing) has been appointed dean of Tarleton State University's College of Business Administration. He previously taught at UTA, Midwestern State University, and Southern Arkansas University.


Mike Hamlin (BA, Criminal Justice) was named the new Grapevine police chief. He was assistant police chief and previously served 30 years with the North Richland Hills Police Department.

Sajeeb Wazed Joy (BS, Computer Engineering) is information and communications technology adviser to Bangladeshi President Sheikh Hasina.


Hernan Rizo (MBA, Business Administration) was named new chief financial officer for Green EnviroTech Holdings Corp. in Jamestown, California. Previously, he was CFO of The CFO Group and Tatum CFO Partners.

Janelle Shepard (BSN, Nursing) was appointed to the Texas Woman's University Board of Regents by Gov. Greg Abbott. The Weatherford, Texas, resident is senior director of population health for Texas Health Resources. She has served on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct.


Charles Williams (MBA, Business Administration) has been appointed to a three-year term on the South Carolina Hospital Association Board of Trustees. He is president and CEO of the Regional Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina. Previously, he served in health care administration at Tenet Healthcare Corp. in Dallas, Texas and JPS Health Network in Fort Worth, Texas.


Heidi Allison (BAIS, Interdisciplinary Studies), owner of Sugar Bee Sweets bakery in downtown Arlington, Texas, is a recipient of the 2018 Arlington Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year Award.

Jodi Vicars-Nance (MSSW, Social Work) is running for Denton City Council Place 5. She is the admissions and placement coordinator at the Denton State Supported Living Center, which is a large intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

"My education prepared me by helping me understand the core of motivation for individuals and adapt to changing priorities seamlessly without the audience seeing how hard you work for them."
—Kerry Kovatch Horton
('06 BFA, Theatre Arts Design) Human Resources Manager at Summus Health Care


Lock Khemkeo (MSSW, Social Work) was named executive director of Avalon Memory Care, a new community in McKinney, Texas. Previously, she worked at Grace Presbyterian Village, Premier Residences of Dallas, and Walnut Place.


Hamad M. Hamad (BS, Biology) has been promoted to principal at Dallas, Texas-based law firm Caldwell Cassady & Curry. Since 2015, he has been honored as one of the state's top young lawyers on the Texas Super Lawyers Rising Stars list by Thomson Reuters.

Michael Marquez (MS, Accounting) was named interim chief financial officer of Tearlab Corp. He previously served as senior director of finance and director of financial planning and analysis at Tearlab.


Leciana Gabor (MS, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies) has published a free ebook on for elementary education teachers titled Classroom Success Through Creativity. She is a retired teacher and academic coordinator for Dallas Independent School District.

Patrick Lee (MPA, Accounting) was appointed vice president of strategy at PharmaCord. Previously, he led the product and business development efforts for CVS Health's institutional pharmacy business and served as senior vice president of strategy and investor relations for Omnicare Inc.


Shannon Carpenter Bearden (MArch, Architecture) was named to the Dallas Business Journal's "40 Under 40" list.


Felicia Bolton (BS, Broadcast Communication) was named a morning show anchor for WNCN CBS 17 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Previously, she anchored the weekday morning news at WMC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Memphis, Tennessee.

Casey Crear (MPA, Public Administration) has been chosen as new performance auditor for Oregon's Lane County.

Kevin Rubén Jacobs (MFA, Art), who successfully launched two art galleries in Berlin, was profiled in D Magazine's February 2018 edition. Previously, he operated Olive Francis Gallery and was curator of The Goss-Michael Foundation in Dallas, Texas.

Michaela "Mickie" Watson (BSN, Nursing) was named a 2017 Each Moment Matters Honoree by the Presbyterian Communities and Service Foundation in Dallas, Texas. The awards program supports the Faith Presbyterian Hospice program in Dallas. Watson is the trauma program manager at Texas Health Resources.


Baldwin Brown (MS, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies) was named inaugural principal at I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and Visual & Performing Arts in Fort Worth. Most recently, he was principal of J. Martin Jacquet Middle School and part of the leadership team that opened the all-male P.L. Dunbar Young Men's Leadership Academy in 2012.

Clay Cody (MS, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies) has been named the new assistant athletic director for the Lewisville Independent School District. He had been the head coach for boys' basketball and a social science teacher since 2012.


Mark Bauer (BA, Journalism) rejoined American Lawyer Media as managing editor of The National Law Journal and Texas Lawyer in Washington, D.C. Previously, he worked with Active Network and ALM Media Properties LLC in Dallas, Texas.

Kevin Douglas (MBA, Business Administration) has joined Southern Shores Real Estate Group LLC as a sales agent based in the Summerville, South Carolina, office.

Steven Duong (MCRP, City and Regional Planning), an urban designer with AECOM, was given the Urban Pioneer Award by the Greater Dallas Planning Council.

Deval Pandya (MS, Aerospace Engineering; '13 PhD, Mechanical Engineering), a data scientist in advanced analytics at Shell, has been selected to join the prestigious World Energy Council's Future Energy Leaders program. He is a mentor at the Houston Technology Center, a business accelerator that assists Houston-based emerging technology companies by providing in-depth business guidance, access to capital and professional services, and education.

Shivani Patel (BS, Aerospace Engineering), an engineering manager at Houston-based GoEngineer, explained how a light saber is ripped apart and what caused an explosion in the most recent Star Wars movie for Design News.

"My experience at UTA definitely has stayed with me and played a key role in my work." —Brent Weatherall ('04 BS, Computer Science and Engineering) Software Engineer at Microsoft


Rebecca Cox (MPA, Public Administration) has been named the new executive director of CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, of Denton County. Previously, she was the vice president of Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, where she built collaborations between over 40 community programs to provide homes to homeless individuals, families, and unaccompanied youth.

Matthew McNeal (BS, Marketing), a singer-songwriter in Fort Worth, Texas, has released a new album, Good Luck.

Brandon Thurston (MS, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies) was hired as the new principal at Liberty-Eylau Elementary School in his hometown of Texarkana, Texas.

Jay Wilbanks (BS, Economics) has been named director of project management at National Roofing Partners.


Hoger Villegas Gaona (BS, Aerospace Engineering), an airman first class, was accepted into the Air Force's officer training school and the pilot training program.

Paul J. Wilkerson (BSN, Nursing), a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, is a heavy truck platoon leader with Avalanche Co., 725th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry. He is serving in Afghanistan.


Peter Dean (EMBA, Asian Business Studies) was named special project manager at Adolfson & Peterson Construction in Richardson, Texas.

Lisa Nguyen (MBA, Accounting) was selected as Top CEO of the Year for 2018 by the International Association of Top Professionals for her outstanding leadership and commitment to her industry. She is CEO of Unified Cosmetics, founder of Refined Spa and Beauty Bar, founder of LN Consulting Group LLC, a real estate investor, and owner of Hibachi 97.


Bilal Caliskan (MCRP, City and Regional Planning) received a student project award from the Midwest Section Texas APA board. His thesis was "Factors Making a Street a Vibrant Place: Comparing Street Users' Vibrancy Perception between Main Street, Fort Worth, Texas, USA and Inonu Boulevard, Sivas, Turkey."

Shatera Monroe-Robinson (MSSW) is a candidate running for the Jasper Independent School District Board of Trustees in Jasper, Texas. She is a service and transition coordinator for Burke, a comprehensive mental health and developmental disability service provider.

Kevin Park (BS, Architecture) was selected to participate in the American Institute of Architecture Students CRIT Scholar fellowship program. Recipients receive a grant for their research projects and are matched with a mentor conducting research at an architecture firm.

Thomas Wyatt (MBA, Accounting) has joined Tax & Business Services as a tax associate. He previously worked at JTaylor and Pier 1.

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