Alumni Updates

Send us a message with what you would like to share about your life since graduation from the MSU College of Arts & Letters, and we'll share it with your classmates here.

Sean Burns (BA, Professional Writing, 2013) recently landed a job with Turner Media and the Cartoon Network as a Home Entertainment Trainee. Additionally, his senior Professional Writing portfolio is can be found HERE.

William Barillas (MA, Creative Writing, 1987; PhD English/American Studies, 1994)
is currently a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He has been selected to receive the MidAmerica Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Study of Midwestern Literature from the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature and will be presenting at their annual symposium in May 2013 in East Lansing. Click HERE to read more about this award.

Anthony Elms (BFA, Studio Art, 1992)
currently works as an associate curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia and has been selected as one of three curators for the 2014 Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial. Click HERE to read more about the curator announcement in the NY Times.

Philip Horn (Non-Degree Attended, Theatre)
has served as the executive director of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts since 1993, and has received the Sidney R. Yates Award for Outstanding Advocacy on Behalf of the Performing Arts by the Association of Performing Arts Presenters. During Horn's tenure, the state council has received the highest funding ever while doubling its grant awards. The council was named among the top 50 "most creative, forward-thinking, results-driven government programs" by Harvard's Innovations in American Government Awards. Horn, who was a graduate student in theatre at MSU, created the Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour. He was instrumental in establishing the Center for Arts Management and Technology at Carnegie Mellon University. He has received the Gary Young Award from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and the Excellence in Leadership Award from VSA (the International Organization for Art and Disability). In 2010, Horn was made an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Pennsylvania PTA and received the "Friend of Pennsylvania PTA" award.

Tori-Nichel (Tori Gibbs)(BA, Apparel and Textile Design, 1998)
is a contestant on Season 2 of NBC's "Fashion Star" which premieres on Friday, March 8th. Watch Tori-Nichel's video where she discusses her career path including her beginnings at Michigan State! Also, stay up-to-date on "Fashion Star" and Tori-Nichel's career by following her on Facebook or Twitter.

Amy Sumerton (BA, English, 1999)
826michigan In-school Residency Program Director Amy Sumerton wants all kids to see their value as individuals and as members of their community. Through the small group and one-on-one writing program that she oversees in Ypsilanti schools, kids are encouraged to find their unique voice through writing. Read more about Amy's work HERE.

Christopher Profeta (BA, English, 2003)
recently published his second book, the novel, Life in Pieces. It is the story of an unemployed stay at home dad who opens the paper one morning to find that he is running for congress. Life in Pieces has received praise from critics and audiences alike, and has been called "a well-written book with something to say about growing up and growing old." His first book, a collection of short stories and poems called Skyful of Love, reached #6 on Amazon.com's list of bestselling anthologies. Visit his website here.

Katie Von Till (BA, Theatre and Interdisciplinary Humanities, 1997)
was recently featured in a Oikos Greek Yogurt commercial with John Stamos (she is the blonde!) Also, Katie was recently cast as Disney's Official Voice of Snow White (the 4th since 1937!) Visit Katie's website.

Nick Adkins (BA English, Creative Writing Concentration, 2010)
published a children's picture book, The Great Big Scary Monster. Nick partnered with his sister, Saraya Evenson, on the book's creation, serving as the illustrator. The book was released on July 11th and Nick is currently enjoying sharing this special story with kids everywhere. What's next for Nick? He is already preparing for a 2013 follow-up story - Cat Forest Monster. Click here to read The State News article about Nick's book.

Ann Marie Martens (MFA, Studio Art, 2011)
accepted an artist residency at Kansas State University after completing her ceramics studies at MSU. Her work will be included in an upcoming exhibition called "After the Pedestal" at the Sculpture Center in Cleveland. This exhibition is held in conjunction with the "Sculpture X Symposium #2: State of the MFA" where world-renowned artist Ann Hamilton will serve as the Keynote speaker.

Alexandra Kirsch (BA, Professional Writing, 2010)
completed a specialization in Jewish Studies in addition to her degree. She now works for Planned Television Arts, a division of Ruder Finn, as the social media coordinator. Her job involves coaching authors on social media best practices, ghost writing for authors on various online platforms, reaching out to top-ranked bloggers and online editors/writers for book reviews and guest features, as well as working with the parent company on corporate accounts. Her clients have included such companies as Random House, Harlequin, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, McGraw-Hill, Workman Publishing, and John Wiley & Sons. Ultimately, her goal when working with any client is to bridge the gap between author and audience. "In my spare time," she says, "I blog, cook, and explore New York, sometimes all at once."

Leah Moss (BA, English and Linguistics, 2010)
has launched Detroit's newest magazine, Jack Detroit, a men's lifestyle publication that is about to release its third issue. She analyzed the city's publication landscape and realized that a smart, practical publication for men was a void that needed to be filled. So far, Jack Detroit has had a great reception with some distribution sites selling out quickly. Through start-up capital gained via donations placed through Kickstarter.com and Hebrew Free Loan's new small business division, Moss was able to defy the odds and begin the publication at a very young age. Subscribe to Jack Detroit online and read more about this talented and tenacious dual Arts and Letters graduate in a Q&A in Red Thread magazine.

Kate Wilson (BFA, Theatre–Production Design, 2010)
has accepted a position as a Production Stage Manager at Allenberry Playhouse in Pennsylvania. As a student, she had the opportunity to serve as stage manager or assistant stage manager for several MSU Department of Theatre Productions as well as working with digital design for at least two productions. In addition, she worked in stage management for the Williamston Theatre, Barrington Stage Company, and Cortland Repertory Theatre, the last of which led to a recommendation that aided in her upcoming move to Pennsylvania. Among her first productions at Allenberry Playhouse will be Footloose. More details can be found on her web site.

Matt Boonstra (MFA, Studio Art, 2009)
is one of 11 recipients of the International Sculpture Center (ISC) 2009 Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award who were honored at its annual awards presentation and private reception showcasing their sculpture works at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ. The show opened on October 10, 2009 and runs to January 10, 2010. The work will also be featured in ISC's first annual traveling exhibition and will visit The Salt Lake Art Center in Salt Lake City, Utah (March 13th to May 22nd ) and the Blue Star Contemporary Art Center in San Antonio, Texas (June 3rd to August 15th). sculpture.org link on MatthewBoonstra

Stephanie Koenig (BFA, Theatre, 2009)
is an actress who recently starred as Nelly Gold in Hello! My Baby. The play ran through most of November 2011 and was produced by Goodspeed Musicals at the Norma Terris Theatre in Connecticut. This was a great role for a young actress, hopefully among the first of many great roles for Stephanie in the future!

Janel Schultz (MFA, Studio Art, 2009)
has taught, held several residencies, and worked as a practicing artist in the Chicago area since her graduation from MSU. She recently relocated to New York City to work with artist and MacArthur Genius recipient Julie Mehretu. Janel was a studio assistant for Mehretu while in graduate school at MSU and joined Mehretu's team of assistants in Berlin, Germany as well. For more information on Janel's work, visit janelschultz.com.

Lisa Truax (MFA, Studio Art, 2009)
is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota in Winona, Minnesota teaching foundations, ceramics, and graphic design. She is also included in the "After the Pedestal" exhibition at the Sculpture Center in Cleveland, and her work will be featured in a solo show at the University of Wisconsin in late 2011. To view Lisa's work, visit redreduction.com.

Anthony Keith Giannini (BFA, Studio Art, 2007)
has a piece of his art showing at The Pace Gallery in New York, one of the premier galleries in the world. This exhibition is quite exciting for a young artist so early in his career. Currently a graduate student at Rhode Island School of Design, Anthony's piece, Gather then Mourn, 2011, "questions the role of media generated imagery in creating a contemporary grand narrative." It will be shown alongside a slew of very prominent artists as part of the gallery's Soft Machines exhibit which runs July 14 through August 26, 2011. During his final year at MSU, Anthony was an artist assistant for Julie Mehertu (a visiting artist in the Department of Art and Art History). After graduation, he traveled to Berlin with Julie to help her prepare for an exhibition at the Deutsche Guggenheim. Also while a student at MSU, Anthony was among a small group of students interviewed as part of a video feature on Undergraduate Research on campus. The video provides an opportunity to hear the artist speak about his work.

Cedric Tai (BFA, Art Education, 2007)
is one of 18 recipients of an unprecedented no-strings-attached $25,000 annual fellowship from the Kresge Foundation designed to help keep the Detroit area's top visual artists from leaving the state in search of greener pastures. An artist and teacher – he recently finished his teaching certification in Art K-12 – Tai gives the fellowship's impact on his life a distinctly practical spin. "This allows me to work every day on art," he said. "I'd worried I might have to stop doing that." Tai's paintings are on the reverse side of acrylic plastic, which for him is the perfect medium to work through an experimental process. "My work portrays systems, the way in which the whole is made up of things that are related, interconnected or interacting." More artwork and information can be found on his website, www.cedrictai.com.

Karen Myers (BFA, Studio Art, 2006)
recently accepted a position as Executive Director of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art (HICA) at the College of Charleston School of the Arts in South Carolina. Following her MSU studies in Art Education and Painting & Graphic Design, Karen attended graduate school at Boston University. Following graduate school, she became Executive Director of REDUX Contemporary Art Center in Charleston and began teaching at the College of Charleston. Under her supervision, REDUX expanded their facilities and garnered support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. She is also an active artist, and some of her work can be seen here.

Emily Brozovic (BFA, Studio Art, 2005)
received a prestigious National Silver ADDY Award as the graphic designer of the MSU College of Education 2007-2008 Annual Report. The ADDY Awards, which recognize all forms of advertising from media of all types, are sponsored by the American Advertising Federation.

More information on Emily's award and the great work that earned it for her can be found at the news.msu site and the College of Education site.

UDPATE: Emily learned in April 2011 that she won a Regional ADDY for the College of Education's Annual Report and will now compete at the national level. Congratulations Emily!

Allison Reimus (BFA, Studio Art, 2005)
went on to earn her Master of Fine Art degree from American University in Washington, DC, in 2009. She now lives and paints in Chicago with her work featured in exhibitions and publications, including the prestigious New American Paintings, No. 88, South Edition. She has been active as well with her blog called Jumping in Art Museums. She describes herself as an avid art jumper who, when viewing art or visiting a museum, is compelled to jump out of sheer excitement. As it turns out, many others feel the same way and submit photos to her for inclusion in her blog highlighting the many places and pieces that prompt people to jump for joy. In addition to her blog, her web site is allisonreimus.com.

Ryal Curtis (BA, English, 2004)
has been promoted to senior account director at MMI Public Relations, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based, full-service public relations firm. Curtis joined the firm in 2006 as an account executive and in 2008 was promoted to senior account executive. In this new position, he will handle new business efforts alongside the company president and have an instrumental role in shaping client PR proposals and plans, as well as new client intake. He will be responsible for managing the employee hiring process and growth of the company's internal departments, including video, social media, internships and traffic, and MMI's brand. Curtis and his wife and daughter reside in Raleigh.

Dusty Mitchell (MFA, Studio Art, 2004)
is an artist competing on season two of the Bravo channel show Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, a creative competition with a $100,000 cash prize. As of early December 2011, Dusty, primarily a sculptor, was among the final group vying for the finale and the chance at the grand prize. Dusty teaches art at a public school in Arkansas and is married with one child to whom he dedicates his participation in the television show. Read more about him in Bravo's brief bio.

Paula Ogston (BA, Studio Art/Psychology, 2004)
is currently a doctoral student at Virginia Commonwealth University who started an international sensation with her friends. While vacationing in Virginia Beach, Ogston and friends took pictures of themselves jumping. They posted them on Flickr, and soon afterward their activities were featured on the "Weekend America" radio show. The friends created the website jumpbecause.com, where others can post their jumping pictures. Thousands of people around the world have posted photos, and Ogston is excited that her "goofy fun" pictures are enjoyed worldwide.

Mike Smola (BA, History, 2003)
is the Volunteer and Tour Coordinator at Mission Houses Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii. His work involves recruiting, training, and retaining volunteers, scheduling group tours and educational programs, and conducting visitor studies and program evaluation. Previous positions have included serving as a curatorial assistant at the Michigan State University Museum, a collections intern at the Michigan Historical Center, and an activities leader and building supervisor at the Turner Dodge House and Heritage Center.

Leona Whitney Beatty (BA, Theatre, 2000)
of Los Angeles, California, is currently vice president of development at Mathis Productions at WB/Telepictures, creating new show ideas for Judge Mathis. She describes it as a job she loves and credits MSU with opening her eyes to possibilities in the entertainment industry that she never knew existed. Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Leona had the opportunity to executive produce a college soap opera called Six's Wild. She now holds an MFA in film from Loyola Marymount, a DGA Award for best student film, had a film she directed shown at the Cannes Film Festival and has seven years of experience developing and producing non-fiction television shows with companies that have made hits like Extreme Makeover Home Edition and Intervention.

Teri Slick (BA, Interdisciplinary Humanities, 1997)
began her current position as Director of Student Services for New Century College in December 2010. New Century College, part of George Mason University in Virginia, offers interdisciplinary degree programs (including an innovative first year experience program known as Cornerstones). Teri spent the past ten years primarily in Ohio where she worked in the field of academic advising within several departments through the University of Cincinnati system. She has had the opportunity to advise for a wide-range of academic and career interests that include education, liberal arts, allied health and pre-medicine. In addition to her degree from Arts and Letters, she also earned a Masters in Student Affairs Administration from MSU.

Susan Wilczak (BA, History of Art, 1996)
is an art history lecturer at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. In 2011, Susan curated an exhibit at the Hope College De Pree Art Center entitled "Island Reflections: The Contemporary Art of Curaçao." She first visited Curaçao in January 2010 and was impressed by the island's vibrant, diverse, unique and refined art community. She developed the exhibit to share the art and culture of Curaçao, a small southern Caribbean island just off the coast of Venezuela.

Steve A. Prince (MFA, Studio Art, 1995)
is an alumnus who dedicated one of his most stunning works of art to his late professor, John Scott, titling it "Song for Scott." He attributes his attendance to Michigan State to the late artist, who "had a great influence on my life as an artist, educator, and father..." He has been an artist-in-residence in Santa Catarina, Brazil, and at the Steward School, Richmond, Virginia. Though he has exhibited around the world and won numerous awards, he is also a dedicated educator, having taught privately, middle school, college, and currently at Hampton High School in Virginia.

UPDATE: In 2010, Steve won the Teacher of the Year award in his school district. Read the story and hear his remarks here: http://www.sbo.hampton.k12.va.us/

Michelle A. Scott (BA, Spanish, 1995)
majored in Nursing at MSU in addition to her degree in Spanish, achieving High Honors as a member of the Honors College as well. In 2004, she earned a Masters in Sociology. Currently, she is a registered nurse and CEO of Voices for Health in Newport Beach, California. For her work to overcome language barriers in health care, in addition to her ongoing support of MSU, she was honored with the MSU Alumni Service Award in 2009.

Lane Glenn (Ph.D., Theatre, 1994)
has been named president of Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Following a vote of approval by the State Board of Education on February 1, 2011, Glenn was promoted from his position vice president of academic affairs and will begin his new duties at the college on July 1. He will be only the fourth president in the college's 50-year history. Glenn had served in several academic leadership positions in Michigan, including Oakland Community College, prior to returning to his home state. He and his wife, Kim Chilingirian-Glenn (BA, Theatre, 1995) have two daughters and are active in their community.

George Kinghorn (MFA, Studio Art, 1994)
is director and curator of the University of Maine Museum of Art. From 1999-2008, Kinghorn worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville and served in several positions including Deputy Director & Chief Curator and also as Director. During his time at MOCA Jacksonville he worked cooperatively with architects and designers on the renovation of the six-floor historic building in downtown Jacksonville, assisted with fundraising efforts related to the capital campaign and exhibition sponsorship, managed the opening of the Museum's children's interactive center the ArtExplorium Loft, and curated the series of grand opening exhibitions featuring a roster of national and international artists. As Director he opened the successful upscale bistro restaurant Café Nola, worked with trustees to develop and adopt a comprehensive strategic plan for the institution, and facilitated an array of substantial gifts to the permanent collection. He has organized over 70 modern and contemporary art exhibitions and served as juror for the 2009 Mid-Atlantic edition of the prestigious New American Paintings publication.

Stacie Lewis (BA, English, 1994)
lives in London with her husband, Gareth, and her daughter, May, who was born in early 2009 with severe brain damage. Stacie writes a blog about raising her daughter at mamalewis.wordpress.com and wrote an excellent article for The Guardian's Family section which can be found at here. She manages to tell her heartbreaking story with honest insight and wit that leaves the reader, and the author, with a great sense of hope. Stacie is also the author of the book Taking the Plunge which was published in 2007 in the UK and US, an excerpt of which can be found at www.stacielewis.com.

Nancy Carabio Belanger (BA, English/Secondary Education, 1993)
of Rochester, Michigan, published her first book in February 2009, a 224-page novel for 'tweens (8 to 12-year-olds) called Olivia and the Little Way. The book was the Second-Place Award Winner in the Children's Books category of the Catholic Press Association 2009 Book Awards and received local and national media attention upon its release. Inspired by Saint Therese of Lisieux, the book has a blog operated by the author and is available at local Catholic stores or littleflowerbook.com.

Kristy (Sanderson) Watson (BA, Studio Art, 1992)
has been very busy in the years since her graduation from the College of Arts & Letters! She moved to Texas the same day as her graduation and immediately started working for Gousha Mapping Company as a map designer until 1996 (she has a second bachelors degree from MSU in Geography with a specialization in Cartography). She then began her own graphic design company, Polonyx, LLC, a company she still operates today. In 2000, she invented a urethane horseshoe called Ground Control which is very popular with trail riders and sold worldwide. She is also an artist who has chosen oils as her medium, with works hanging in local galleries. She is married to Todd Watson, an MSU Business alumnus whom she met on an MSU-sponsored ski trip in 1990. Her latest quest is to (re)-learn the clarinet in hopes of joining the Boerne Village Band.

Valerie Mann (MFA, Studio Art, 1991)
is co-owner of WSG Gallery in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she regularly exhibits and sells her work, along with 15 other Michigan artists, of whom several are Spartan alumni. In the fall of 2010, she has a solo exhibit at Muskegon Community College entitled "Self, Awareness", as a part of the Muskegon Area Arts and Humanities Fesitval. Her installation piece Fortunes is a focal piece of the exhibit and will be the topic of her gallery talk at the public reception on October 20, 2010 from 6 - 8pm. Other work in the exhibit is her Evening Bags for the Midwestern Woman series and her most recent work, relief wall-hung pieces inspired by the flora and fauna of National Parks she has visited.

Robert Nosanchuk (BA, Humanities-Interdisciplinary, 1991)
moved to Cleveland, Ohio and was installed as Senior Rabbi of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple. Early in 2010, while living in Northern Virginia, he was named one of the Washingtonians of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine and received an award as Best of Reston from the homeless relief organization Reston Interfaith, in honor of the interfaith initiatives he has led with Imam Mohammed Magid of the Islamic Society of North America.

Keri Witman (BA, English, 1991)
is the marketing director for Cengage Learning. She lives in Cincinnati, but she is also the founder of a group called NYC Women in Publishing. Begun in 2008, the group's mission is to provide "the community of women working in the publishing industry in the New York City area a way to expand their networks and stay connected." From a first meeting with 40 attendees, membership in the group has grown to nearly 350.

Randy Barrette (BA, Humanities/James Madison College, 1989)
took over the reins of the Kentucky World Language Association during the group's September conference held in Lexington, KY. Mr. Barrette was elected to serve a two-year term as president in a meeting of the general assembly. His responsibilities include coordinating and presiding over the annual conference for some 450 members, meeting with local and national politicians to advocate for the teaching of second languages from elementary school through high school, meeting with local and state school board members to press for a minimum requirement of at least two years of study of a second language and culture for all Kentucky high school graduates, and advocating for and planning professional development opportunities for teachers of all levels and languages across the state. He will work closely with the KWLA Executive Board as well as local and state officials to carry out these duties. Mr. Barrette is currently employed as a full-time Spanish teacher for the Menifee County School district and as a part-time Instructor of Second Language Teaching Methods and Spanish for Morehead State University in Kentucky. In addition to his dual MSU majors as an undergraduate, Mr. Barrette also completed a specialization in Social Science, specifically Latin American Studies.

Andrea Salloum (BA, Theatre, 1989)
has served as the Artistic Director for the Kidworks Touring Theatre Company in Chicago for the past 22 years. Kidworks is a non-profit organization that has "reached over half a million children by traveling to schools, libraries, park districts, and museums, offering interactive touring productions, a variety of 'hands-on' drama workshops and long term Artist-in-Residency programs for children pre-K through 12th grade," according to their web site. In addition, Andrea has acted since graduation from MSU in various Chicago theatres and on film and television.

Cory Goodrich (BFA, Musical Theatre, 1988)
is an actress, singer and writer living in Chicago. She has won two Joseph Jefferson awards which recognize excellence in Chicago area theatre, and she is the co-founder of Wagtail Productions, LLC, serving as creator and executive producer of Cory's House. She has had starring roles in theatres across the country, working with such luminaries as George Hearn and Patti LuPone among others. She can also be heard on many voice over and studio singing recordings, and she has also sung live with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Auditorium Theatre's acclaimed Ovations series, and as a soloist at the distinguished Ravinia Festival. She is married to David Barron who is also a graduate of MSU's Department of Theatre. They have two children.

Lev Raphael (Ph.D., English/American Studies, 1986)
published his 19th book since earning his doctorate from MSU and the College of Arts & Letters, a memoir titled My Germany (The University of Wisconsin Press, 2009).Lev, who resides in Okemos, Michigan, offered readings this past spring at the Library of Congress and the Goethe-Institute in Washington, D.C. More information on his books can be found at levraphael.com, and his interview on WKAR's Morning Edition can be heard online here.

Brenda Barrera (BA, English, 1984)
is the Managing Editor of Washington Running Report, which covers Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia, and is in the process of re-vamping the publication. At the same time, she serves as the Creative Services Director for Tidewaters Arts Outreach in Norfolk, Virginia, where she now lives. She describes both jobs as interesting and rewarding in their own way, and they combine her interests of sports, the arts and building healthy communities.

John Trierweiler (BA, Humanities, 1983)
is a marketing and cable executive at Cablevision Systems Corporation in Bethpage, New York. He was recently promoted to executive vice president, product management. Prior to joining the cable industry in 1998, John worked in advertising, product management, sales and marketing. A veteran marketing and cable executive, he joined Cablevision from Time Warner Cable in 2006 where he served as vice president for marketing strategy.

Ellen Bruss (BFA, Studio Art, 1982)
is the owner of Ellen Bruss Design in Denver, Colorado, which she founded in 1990. In early 2011, the company was recognized twice for excellence. The first for the firm was an AltPick Award for their design work on the restaurant Mark & Isabella. AltPick Awards are presented by The Alternative Pick/AltPick.com, one of the nation's leading sources for creative talent that annually celebrates and rewards "all that is great in the world of art." Making it special for Ellen was the fact that her firm won the juried portion of that competition. Around the same time, the firm received formal recognition from Creative Quarterly for its work on the Hammond's Candies cocoa tin.

Peter Stougaard (BA, Studio Art, 1980)
is a co-founder of ActivateTV, a company that can turn any video into a social game, enabling fans to compete with friends while allowing publishers to get more profit from the video views. This innovative company is his passion following an exceptional career as senior vice president of Twentieth Century Fox (a position he held for 12 years) and head of creative, consumer products, for DreamWorks. Among his more recent accomplishments is X-Men Extra, an app highly reviewed by users that he produced for Fox Mobile Entertainment.

Rick Urbis (BA, Humanities – Prelaw, 1980)
followed his bachelor's degree by completing law school. Located in Rochester, Michigan, he is now an attorney doing pro bono work in his community. In his Spartan Saga video, he says that while at MSU he learned "that a lot of people don't have the opportunities that some have, and it's important for us to give back to our community by focusing on those people and doing what we can to make their lives better." View his full Spartan Saga video online.

Jody LaFrance Daniels (BFA, Studio Art, 1979)
headed into the workforce after graduation and spent twenty years in the entertainment industry as a Production Manager for Brass Ring Productions. She then returned to school, the College for Creative Studies, and earned a certificate to teach Art Education. Since then, she has worked at Brandon Middle School in Oakland County, Michigan, as their Visual Art Instructor. Combining a love for the environment with her creative side, Jody has incorporated environmental concepts and ideas into her art room. As a result, she and a colleague were instrumental in having their school achieve the Evergreen status as a Michigan Green School. They are currently working to have their entire school district earn the Michigan Green School seal.

Al Fisk (BA, School Music-Choral, 1978; MFA, Music Education, 1985)
is currently a middle school vocal music teacher in Hazel Park, Michigan, and has been such for the past 30 years. He resides in Rochester with his wife, Bonnie, a physical therapist, and their cat, Bob. He is proud to be a Barbershop quartet judge and has been a Barbershop Harmony Society member since his first graduation from MSU. His quartet sang the National Anthem for the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Pistons and several minor league teams. He has been elected to the Pioneer (Michigan) District Hall of Fame, which he considers the coolest experience he has ever had. Every year he comes back to Michigan State University to march in the Spartan Alumni Marching Band. More information about his Barbershop experiences can be found at http://www.barbershop.org/news-a-events-main/277-nea-national-education-association-features-barbershopper-al-fisk.html.

Micheline Maynard (BA, Humanities – Prelaw, 1978)
is the senior editor for Changing Gears, a public media project that joins the journalistic teams of Michigan Radio, WBEZ - Chicago and WVIZ - Cleveland to explore the reinvention of the industrial Midwest. She spent ten years as a reporter and bureau chief with The New York Times, based in Detroit and directed the Time's coverage of the auto industry bailout as well as other issues across the state. She has written for Fortune Magazine, and has been a staff writer or bureau chief at USA Today, Newsday, U.S. News and World Report, and the Reuters News Service. She began her career as a legislative correspondent for United Press International in Lansing, Michigan, and served as an intern in the White House Press Office. Maynard is the author of four books including her newest, The Selling of the American Economy: How Foreign Companies are Remaking the American Dream, which was published by Random House in October 2009. She also wrote the acclaimed book The End of Detroit: How the Big Three Lost Their Grip on the American Car Market, which foresaw the collapse of Detroit carmakers. Her graduate degree is from Columbia University, and she is an adjunct faculty member at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

Ernest Harden, Jr. (BA, Theatre, 1974)
completed filming the latest Clint Eastwood movie "J.Edgar" about the life of J. Edgar Hoover, the famed leader of the FBI. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar and will be released in late 2011. Ernest plays J. Edgar's personal driver of some 40 years, James Crawford, and it is the latest role in an acting career beginning its fifth decade. From his early appearances on "The Jeffersons" television show to his memorable role in the film "White Men Can't Jump," Ernest has been a recognizable face in television and film since his graduation from MSU. Now in "J. Edgar," a film that is generating a lot of Oscar buzz, Ernest's talent will surely be recognized by another decade of film lovers.

Anne Marie Karlsen (BFA, Art Practice, 1974; Honors College)
is a Professor of Art at Santa Monica College in Los Angeles, California, where she has taught since 1986. She has had numerous Art in Public Places commissions around the US, and some of her work can be seen on her web site at http://homepage.smc.edu/karlsen_anne/#.

Bill Mechanic (BA, English, 1973)
was named producer (along with Adam Shankman) of the 82nd Academy Awards® telecast in 2010. It will be his first major Oscar show involvement. Mechanic is the chairman and CEO of Pandemonium Films and the former chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment. While at Fox, the studio released titles including "True Lies" (1994), "Braveheart" (1995), "Titanic" (1997), "The Full Monty" (1997), "There's Something About Mary" (1998), "Boys Don't Cry" (1999) and "Cast Away" (2000) among many others. Prior to Fox, he served in executive positions at the Walt Disney Company and Paramount. Mechanic's producer credits include 2009's animated feature "Coraline" and the thriller "Dark Water" (2005).

Nancy Haley (BFA, Art Practice, 1972)
was recognized at the 2010 College of Arts & Letters commencement exercises as the most recent recipient of the College's Distinguished Alumni Award. She addressed the graduates at the ceremony during which she was acknowledged for her successful career as an entrepreneur in the apparel industry. Following a career that began in interior design, Haley launched Sun-Daze by Nancy Haley, which later became Sport-Haley before going public in 1992. It was the first lifestyle sportswear line for women golfers. Following a brief retirement, Haley returned to the apparel industry with a new partner, actor-legend Clint Eastwood. The two launched a line called Tehama in 1997 which has achieved great success in sales and reputation. In 2005, Haley was named by Golf Digest as one of "The 40 Most Powerful People in Golf," and she was ranked within the "Top 5 in Fashion." Nancy and her husband, Tony, live in Golden, Colorado, and are the parents of two grown sons, Curtis and Kyle.

UPDATE: View a feature length profile of Nancy on the Spartan Sagas website.

Bill Trevarthen (BA, Justin Morrill College, 1972; Honors College)
is the Executive Director of Michigan Government Television, a public affairs initiative of Michigan's cable television industry providing audiences live and taped coverage of all branches of Michigan government. The organization's mission includes providing officials a direct means of reaching their audience without filter, providing audiences direct access to officials, and creating educational materials for students and educators. Bill is especially proud of two recent MGTV productions, both of which can be received by educators and viewed online along with many other archived videos. "Defining Moments" is the story of Frank Murphy, Fred Korematsu and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and "Oh, Could They But Speak..." deals with the history and importance of Michigan's Civil War battle flags.

In addition to his work with MGTV, Bill served as a member of the College of Arts & Letters Alumni Association Board of Directors as well as other volunteer areas including the MSU Museum.

William Lowe (BA, History, 1971)
is the chancellor of the Indiana University Northwest campus. He previously served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minnesota, a position he held since 2003. From 1997 to 2003, he was vice president for academic affairs at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York. He has served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit and dean of Graduate Studies at Chicago State University in Chicago. He has also held administrative appointments at State University of New York at Cortland and Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio. Lowe is active in research and writing in the field of modern Irish history and has been a Fulbright Scholar. He is an authority on the Royal Irish Constabulary, Ireland's national police force from 1814-1921, and has written articles on the subject.

Gail Guth (BA, Art Practice, 1970; Honors College)
has been a freelance illustrator and graphic designer for 33 years, specializing in natural science illustration. A Battle Creek, Michigan, resident, she designs for several local firms and is currently working on illustrating birds for a field guide. While her primary business is operating Guth Illustration and Design, Gail markets her prints and notecards, does bookbinding, and teaches workshops in drawing (landscapes and animals), watercolors, and beginning Photoshop. In addition, she is the current president of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, an international group of artists who specialize in "art in the service of science."

Jill Wiltse (BFA, Art Practice, 1970)
of Denver, Colorado, and her husband H. Kirk Brown have assembled a unique collection of textiles showcasing rare and hard-to-find patterns. Their passion for this art was shown on MSU's campus when the Kresge Art Museum exhibited Designing Women of Postwar Britain: Their Art and the Modern Interior. In addition, their collection of Hungarian fine art has been exhibited which also included an event with the Hungarian Ambassador.

Larry Neitzert (MA, History, 1980; BA, Humanities, 1969)
longtime teacher and currently an adjunct professor at Baker College, has published a book, Maggie's Farm (Xlibris Corp., 2009), that provides an inside look at MSU during the 1960s. As a student at MSU in the mid-'60s, Neitzert was a typical, small town boy making his way at the big university. In the words of a City Pulse reviewer, "The author has done a yeoman's job of capturing what it was like to be a young man growing up in a time when there were few boundaries and even fewer clear answers to issues like the war in Vietnam. Anyone who was even close to that era will recognize similarities in the book to their own classmates, friends and relatives."

David Stevens (BA, Justin Morrill College, Theatre concentration, 1969)
has had an extensive career in theater since his MSU graduation. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in 1973 from Bowling Green University and spent twenty years in university teaching including theatre history, dramatic theory and criticism, and acting and directing. In addition he has published five books, 25 articles, more than 50 reviews, and has been retired since 1993 from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He then began a second career as an attorney in 1993 and retired from that profession in 2009. His involvement in theatre has included directing over 40 productions, serving as department chair, producing summer stock, and acting in over 75 roles. He is still active in community and university theatre.

Janet (Kloeckner) Halfmann (BA, English and Spanish, 1967; BA Journalism, 1979)
is the award-winning author of more than 30 fiction and nonfiction books for children. Star of the Sea: A Day in the Life of a Starfish (Henry Holt/Ottaviano) was released in spring 2011 to great reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews and is a Junior Library Guild Selection. Other recent titles are Seven Miles to Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story; Good Night, Little Sea Otter; Fur and Feathers; and Little Skink's Tail. After earning a second bachelor's degree in journalism, she wrote for a newspaper in Kansas and then spent twelve years creating coloring and activity books for the Golden Books company in Wisconsin. After connecting with the Creative Company in Minnesota, she was offered a chance to write a series of insect books for children. As Janet says on her web site, "a children's author was born." It was the realization of a long-held dream, one which she enjoys to this day. Her career has included authoring several nature books for Soundprints, which publishes in association with the Smithsonian Institution. Janet now lives in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You can find out more about Janet and her books at her website: http://www.janethalfmann.com.

David D. Anderson (Ph.D., English, 1960)
Distinguished Professor Emeritus from the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Culture, won The Ohioana Career Award, the oldest and most prestigious of the awards given by the Ohioana Library Association. The Ohioana Career Award has been presented each year since 1942 to a native Ohioan for his or her outstanding professional accomplishments in the arts and humanities. A native of Lorain, Ohio, Anderson received his BS degree in 1951 and MA degree in 1953 from Bowling Green State University, and earned his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1960. He was awarded the MSU Book Manuscript Award for his critical biography on fellow Lorain resident Sherwood Anderson in 1961. Anderson began teaching English in 1953 at the General Motors Institute in Flint, Michigan and joined the English faculty at Michigan State in 1956. In 1957 he moved to the Department of American Thought and Language from which he retired in 1993. Past recipients include Arthur Schlesinger, Toni Morrison, John Glenn, Burgess Meredith, Lowell Thomas, and Norman Vincent Peale.

Bob Reising (B.A. with Special Honors, English, 1955)
co-authored (with sportswriter Brett Friedlander) the book Chasing Moonlight which was published in April 2009 and has recently been nominated for the Casey Award as the best baseball book of 2009. The Selection Committee for the award will announce its winner early in March 2010 at a banquet in Cincinnati.

Bob, who also has degrees from the University of Connecticut and Duke University, is a professor of education at the University of the Cumberlands and lives with his wife in Williamsburg, Kentucky. He is the author of two other books as well, Jim Thorpe: The Story of an American Indian and Jim Thorpe: Tar Heel. Bob was a three-year member of the MSU varsity baseball team and returned to campus as a Visiting Scholar in the fall semesters of 2003 and 2004. His career includes nine years in intercollegiate athletics as a baseball coach and football and basketball recruiter.

Chasing Moonlight has been hailed for its portrayal of Archibald "Moonlight" Graham, the doctor and baseball player immortalized in the iconic film "Field of Dreams." Reising and his co-author, Friedlander, shed light on the fascinating character of Graham who, in real life, became a fan favorite in baseball while also managing medical residencies.

Milton Stern (Ph.D., English, 1955)
passed away in July 2011 at the age of 83. From his obituary on (Hartford) Courant.com, "Mickey Stern was an intellectual, a teacher, and a passionate advocate of extending the world of ideas from academia to Main Street. He was an authority on American literature and wrote outstanding books on Hawthorne, Melville and Fitzgerald, his favorite author in his later years. He also was a professor of English at the University of Connecticut for 33 years, and a founder of the Connecticut Humanities Council."

Joanne Eicher (BA, Arts and Letters, 1952)
followed her undergraduate studies by going on to earn an MA and PhD in Sociology and Anthropology from MSU, and she was on the MSU faculty from 1961-1977 in the Department of Textiles, Clothing and Related Art (renamed Human Environment and Design) before joining the University of Minnesota as department head of Textiles and Clothing from 1977-1987. She returned to faculty and was named a Regents Professor in 1995, retiring in 2005. Since "retirement," she has been working as an author for Fairchild Books, NYC (The Visible Self, 2008) and Berg Publishers, Oxford, UK (Dress and Gender, 1992; Dress and Ethnicity, 1995; Beads and Beadmakers; 1998) where she is also a series editor for Dress, Body, Culture which has published a total of 52 volumes since 1994. For several years, Eicher has identified primarily as an anthropologist and conducted extensive fieldwork in the Niger Delta of Nigeria with the Kalabari people on dress and textiles. This directly relates to her latest undertaking: Editor in Chief of the ten volume Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion (Oxford University Press, 2010, in hard copy and also online at bergfashionlibrary.com) which won the 2011 Dartmouth Medal for outstanding reference presented by the Reference and User Services Association.