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Alumni Updates – Fall 2019

1960s

Randy Zook (’64) was selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition of the Arkansas 250, a list of influencers and newsmakers compiled by Arkansas Business Publishing Group. He is president and chief executive officer for the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.

Richard Payton (HPE ’67) was posthumously inducted into the Lake Hamilton School District Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 15, 2019. He coached at Lake Hamilton from 1978-85 and was director of athletics there from 1985-2007. Richard died in July 2018.

1970s

Jerry Clay (HPE ’73) was inducted into the Lake Hamilton School District Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 15, 2019. He coached and taught in the district from 1988-2016 and led the Wolves to two state championships and 10 conference titles as their head high school football coach.

1980s

Kyle D. Parker (POL SCI ’80) was selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition of the Arkansas 250, a list of influencers and newsmakers compiled by Arkansas Business Publishing Group. He is chief executive officer and president for the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education.

1990s

Jim Smith (ACCT ’91) was selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition of the Arkansas 250, a list of influencers and newsmakers compiled by Arkansas Business Publishing Group. He is a founding partner at Smith Hurst law firm in northwest Arkansas.

Dr. LaRee Johnson (PRE-DENT ’92) was appointed oral clinical examination committee board liaison for the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.

Allen McDill (’92) was inducted into the Lake Hamilton School District Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 15, 2019. Allen was a four-year letterman in baseball at Lake Hamilton High School and conference most valuable player as a senior. After playing collegiately at Texarkana Community College and Arkansas Tech University, he was drafted by the New York Mets in the 1992 Major League Baseball amateur draft. He went on to pitch for the Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox.

Jami Anne Balkman (ELED ’96) was named a 2018 volunteer of the year by the City of Alma. She gives of her time to benefit the Crawford County Library Board, Friends of the Alma Library, Airedale Book Express summer bookmobile and the local free meal program.

Chaun Harper (CHEM ’97)

Chaun Harper (CHEM ’97) was named senior vice president and chief manufacturing officer for Mary Kay Inc. beauty brand. {4}

Dr. David Ciesla (BIOL ’98) was appointed to the examination committee for the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.

Dr. Candra Brasel (RS ’99 & Ed.D. ’19) was hired as assistant superintendent for the Jasper School District.

Cody Jones (MGMT/MKTG ’99) was elected to the Farm Credit of Western Arkansas Board of Directors.

Dr. Jeremiah Shinn (NSCI ’99) was hired as vice president for student affairs at Louisiana State University.

2000s

Sharleen DaBreo (EAM ’01) earned the title Member of the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of her emergency management leadership in the British Virgin Islands.

Jason Orlicek (ECON ’02) was named senior vice president loan manager for Signature Bank of Arkansas in Springdale.

Blake Rickman (PSY ’05) was hired as vice chancellor for university advancement at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. He also serves as executive director of the UAFS Foundation.

John Rossmaier (ELEC ENGR ’06) joined the ASSET Engineering firm in Canton, Miss.

Dr. Joe Gilgour (M.S. CSP ’07) took office as president at Mineral Area College in Park Hills, Mo., on July 1, 2019.

Adena Strickland White (JOUR/SPH ’07)

Adena Strickland White (JOUR/SPH ’07) was elected president for the Arkansas chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

J.R. Davis (JOUR ’08) was selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition of the Arkansas 250, a list of influencers and newsmakers compiled by Arkansas Business Publishing Group. He is director of communications for Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Jonathan Collins (BPS ’09 & M.S. EMHS ’13) was named energy manager in the Arkansas Tech University Office of Facilities Management.

Rachel Storment Jones (SPH ’09 & M.S. CSP ’14) was hired as communications coordinator for the Russellville School District.

Seth Villines (HIST EDU ’09) was hired as principal for the public schools in Kingston.

2010s

Dr. Kayla Sapkota (BUAD & SPAN ’10) was hired as a business instructor at Arkansas State University-Beebe.

Nancy Lee McNew (MGMT/MKTG ’13) was hired as vice president of economic development by the Economic Development Alliance for Jefferson County.

Dylan Edgell (ECON/FIN ’16) was hired as a program manager at The Conductor, a public-private partnership that seeks to spark innovation, entrepreneurship and economic empowerment in central Arkansas.

Skyler Wierman (COMM ’16 & M.L.A. COMM ’18) wrote a play entitled “All the White Reasons” that was invited by the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival for performance at its 2019 Region VI one-act readings.

Christine Sain (A.A.-GS ’17, A.S.-CJ ’18 & SOC ’18) was hired as sales manager for Brookdale Senior Living of Russellville.