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Spring 2010 | By THiNK Staff. Photo by $photocredit.value.

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LOUISE EVANS (MS, Psychology; PhD 1995, Clinical Psychology) received the Corann Okorodudu International Women’s Advocacy Award from the Society for the Psychology of Women (Division 35) at the American Psychological Association’s annual convention. She also is a recipient of the CLA Distinguished Alumni Award.

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DENNIS C. BLIND (BS, Health and Kinesiology) was inducted into Purdue’s Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame. He played on the basketball and baseball teams from 1952 to 1955.

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ERICH BARNES (BS, Health and Kinesiology) was inducted into Purdue’s Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame. He was a member of the football team from 1955 to 1957.

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LARRY PERSILY (BA, Communication) was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as federal coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects.

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MAX ARMSTRONG (BA, Radio and TV) retired from WGN Radio after almost 32 years in broadcasting. He is now the director of broadcasting at Chicago-based Farm Progress Companies, the largest agriculture media company in the United States.

EILEEN (LOUIE) LASKOWSKI (BA, Creative Arts; MA 1981, Fine Arts) was chosen as the 2009 Tippecanoe School Corporation (Indiana) teacher of the year.

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ROBERT E. BURKETT JR. (BA, History) joined the National Arbitration Forum as an independent and neutral arbitrator and mediator. He continues his practice, the Law Office of Robert Burkett, in Indianapolis.

DEBORAH (ROTH) NEW (BA, Communication) serves as director of communications for Action for Healthy Kids, the nation’s leading nonprofit and largest volunteer network fighting childhood obesity by working with schools to help kids learn to eat right, become active every day, and become ready to learn. 

STEVEN G. COX (BS, Health and Kinesiology) is the principal of Beech Grove High School. He recently was elected to the IHSAA Board of Directors representing District II Class 3A schools.

BRIAN LIBBY (PhD, History) published Storm Approaching, the first novel in his Mercenaries series. Learn more at www.blibby.com.

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MIKE HIGBEE (BA, Political Science) has been named managing director of Strategic Partners Urban Development Group in Indianapolis.

KIM A. WILCOX (MS, Audio and Speech Science; PhD 1980, Speech Pathology/Audiology), provost at Michigan State University, has been named a Diversity Champion by the American Speech- Language-Hearing Association.

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KATHRYN MEALS (BA, Communication) joined Valassis Communications in New York City as a strategic sales executive.

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HATTA AZAD KHAN (MA, Directing) received multiple award nominations in the 21st Annual Malaysian Film Awards for his film, Wayang.

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TIM VARNAU (BA, Fine Arts) received an ARTI Award by the Arts Council of Indianapolis for his contributions and graphic design services to numerous arts organizations in central Indiana. He has owned and operated Varnau Creative Group, a graphic communications company, since 1996.

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SUE DORON (BA, Communication) was named media director for Echo Point Media, a division of Young & Laramore in Indianapolis.

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MARSHA REGINA JONES (BA, Communication) published her debut novel, Love Begins with Truth, with Xlibris Publishing.

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TJ ADCOCK (BA, Communication) has been named director of global trade compliance for Alcoa Inc. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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THOMAS PEARCY (MA, History) accepted the position of joint historian in the United States Department of State and the Central Intelligence Agency, where he will help ensure that department historians have appropriate access to all relevant CIA materials as they complete individual volumes of the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series.

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CARA CHAMBERLAIN (MA, Creative Writing) published her first book of poetry, Hidden Things, with Foothills Publishing. G. JOSEPH (JOE) LILOVICH (BA, Health and Kinesiology) was inducted into Purdue’s Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame. He was a member of the wrestling team from 1983 to 1988.

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ANITA ROSS (BA, Communication; MFA 2004, Theatre) was named director of the Black Hawk Children’s Theatre in Waterloo, Iowa.

MICHAEL SCHIFERL (BA, Public Relations) is executive vice president of Chicago-based Weber Shandwick, the world’s largest public relations firm.

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KENDA MARIE RESLER FRIEND (BA, Communication) is the corporate communications leader for Dow Agrosciences AgrI Institute, Indiana’s premier leadership development and people-capacity building organization that facilitates the robust network of agricultural and rural leaders.

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WILLIAM R. FORSTCHEN (MA, PhD 1993, History) is a New York Times bestselling author who wrote One Second After, an apocalyptic novel that depicts life after an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack. Forstchen is the author of over 40 books, including the “Lost Regiment” series.

JOSEPH H. WEBSTER (BA, Political Science) was named managing partner of the law firm of Hobbs, Straus, Dean Walker, LLP in Washington, DC.

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JOSEPH GERZEMA (BA, Communication) is the national sales manager for Fox Sports Detroit.

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PAAIGE TURNER (MS Communication; PhD 1998, Organizational Communication) was appointed associate provost for community engagement at Saint Louis University.

JULIE VEACH (BA, Foreign Languages and Literatures), acting chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau at the Federal Communications Commission, was appointed to work on the development of a national broadband plan as part of the Omnibus Broadband Initiative.

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JUDD CHOATE (MA, PhD 1997, Political Science) became the state of Colorado’s elections director.

LAUREN GALLAGHER (BA, Communication) was promoted to senior manager of Consulting Services for Ariba Inc. in Pennsylvania.

SHELESE M. WOODS (BA, Political Science) received an Integrity Award from the inspector general for the United States Department of Health and Human Services for her prosecution of several health care fraud matters. She is an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.

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KAREN PICKART BALSBAUGH (BA, Communication) became an adult probation officer in Carroll County, Indiana.

AMY FORGETTE (BA, Communication) earned the CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) designation demonstrating expertise in meeting management. 

BRENT GOODMAN (MFA, Creative Writing) published his first full-length poetry collection, The Brother Swimming Beneath Me, by Black Lawrence Press/Dzanc Books.

JENNIFER PING (BA, History) is a principal at Tabbert Hahn Ping Global Strategies in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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RACHEL ARMBRUSTER (BA, Communication), executive nonprofit strategist, launched Armbruster Consulting, a planning and advisory company that focuses on yielding revenue and awareness for organizations doing good works.

MAIREAD BYRNE (MFA, Creative Writing) had her fourth poetry chapbook, State House Calendar, published with Dusie Kollektiv.

JASON TETZLOFF (PhD, History) was appointed dean of Liberal Studies/General Studies at St. Cloud Technical College in St. Cloud, Minnesota. He will supervise general studies programming and the changes over the next year as the college becomes a comprehensive community college and offers its own transfer and associate degrees.

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FRED ARROYO (MFA, Creative Writing) published his first novel, The Region of Lost Names, with the University of Arizona Press as a part of its “Camino del Sol” Series.

AMBER KINSER (PhD, Communication) was promoted to full professor and chair of the Department of Communication at East Tennessee State University, where she was awarded the 2009 Distinguished Faculty Award for Service.

MARTIN WALLS (MFA, Creative Writing) published his third book of poems, The Solvay Process, (Tiger Bark Press). He is a past winner of the Witter Byner Fellowship from the United States Library of Congress.

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JEFF BODZEWSKI (BA, Communication) accepted the position of vice president at MS&L Worldwide, a leading global communications firm based in Chicago. ANDREW CASSANO (BA, Theatre) was named director of the Schaeffer Performing Arts Center at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania.

AZURA D. COLLIER (BA, Communication) serves as the manager of integrated media for the Alumni Office at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. 

ANDREW SCOTT (BA, English) launched a new venture, Andrew’s Book Club, which features monthly picks of the best University Press, Independent, and Big House short story collections.

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BROOKE HARDEBECK (BA, Communication) and ALISHA KUCKARTZ (BA, English, 1995) opened Golden Steps Studio for the Performing Arts in West Lafayette.

DAVID CHO (MFA, Creative Writing) was named assistant professor at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

DENISE FERGUSON (PhD, Communication) was appointed chair of the Division of Communication at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana, and was named to the state’s Commission on Public Relations Education.

loeb theatre

Constructed in 1958, Loeb Playhouse opened with a production of Caesar and Cleopatra and remains a source of lasting memories for numerous Department of Theatre alumni and faculty members.


The Department of Theatre will recognize and honor alumni and professors who have had a profound impact upon Purdue Theatre and the professional theatre during Legacy Weekend activities on October 1-3, 2010. The inaugural group of 16 honorees are:

Mark Andrews* (BA 1971, Speech) Stephen McKinley Henderson* (MA 1977, Theatre) Stuart Howard * (MS 1964, Theatre) Erling (Gene) Kildahl (Professor Emeritus) M. Wayne Lamb (Professor Emeritusdeceased) Sam Marks (MS 1941, Liberal Arts; Professor Emeritus-deceased) Dorothy Mennen* (MA 1964, Theatre; Professor Emerita) Dale Miller (Professor Emeritus) Tom Moore* (BA 1965, Theatre; HDR 1995, Liberal Arts) Jim O’Connor (Former Professor) Van Phillips (Professor Emeritus) David Potts * (BA 1972, Theatre) Peter Schneider* (BA 1972, Theatre; HDR 2000, Liberal Arts) Ross Smith (Former Professor-deceased) Joe Stockdale (Former Professor) Rick Thomas (MA 1980, Fine Arts; Professor)

For more information, please visit www.cla. purdue.edu/theatre and click “Upcoming Events” or contact the Department of Theatre at (765) 494-3074 or theatre@purdue.edu. *Indicates College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Alumni Award recipients.

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STEVEN CHARLES EDWARDS (MFA, Creative Writing) will publish his first creative nonfiction book with the University of Nebraska Press this year. The work resulted from his 2001 PEN/ Northwest Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Residency, which afforded him the use of a backcountry cabin in southwestern Oregon for seven months.

SARA FETZER (BA, Communication) is the marketing director of the Wisconsin Alumni Association in Madison, Wisconsin.

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CARSON CUNNINGHAM (BA, PhD 2006, History) published American Hoops: U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball from Berlin to Beijing (University of Nebraska, 2009). He is a visiting assistant professor of history at DePaul University, Chicago. During his undergraduate years, Cunningham played guard for Purdue’s basketball team, and then played for the Continental Basketball Association.

KATHRYN (KATIE) DOUGLAS (BA, Communication) was inducted into Purdue’s Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame. She played on the women’s basketball team from 1998–2001.

KATIE TRESSEL (BA, Communication) works as the volunteer and community outreach director for the Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless in Alexandria, Virginia.

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RUSS BRICKLEY (MFA, Creative Writing) coordinates the Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

AARON MICHAEL MORALES (MFA, Creative Writing) will publish his first novel, Drowning Tucson, with Coffee House Press later this year.

LAUREN REISING (BA, Communication) joined the College of Science at Purdue University as an associate director of development. YU SHIBUYA (MFA, Creative Writing) made his screenwriting debut in 2009 with the Japanese movie Gunjo (Fox-Japan).

ELY SHIPLEY (MFA, Creative Writing) won the 2007 Barrow Street Press book prize for his first book of poems, Boy with Flowers, published in 2008.

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JAMES SEIKEL (BA, History) oversees the Port Isabel Historical Museum, the Treasure of the Gulf Museum, and the Point Isabel’s Historic Downtown District as the director of historical preservation for the city of Port Isabel, Texas.

AMY O’CONNOR (BA, Communication) was named the 2009 College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Outstanding Teacher at North Dakota State University.

AMANDA SMITH (BA, Psychology; MS 2006, Health and Kinesiology) began her own business, Metamorphic Fitness, offering personal training geared toward women in Lafayette, Indiana. 

MICHELLE SUTTEN (BA, Communication) accepted the position of missions support specialist with the United States Customs and Border Protection.

KATERINA TSETSURA (PhD, Communication) was elected vice chair of the Public Relations Division of the National Communication Association.

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ANTHONY FAIOLA (PhD, Communication) was appointed executive associate dean of the School of Informatics at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. He will be responsible for all teaching, research, and community functions, as well as faculty and staff in the school.

SARAH GREEN (MFA, Creative Writing) won a 2009 Pushcart Prize for her poem, “Chances Are, Lafayette, Indiana,” which was originally published in the Gettysburg Review.

KARRAH A. MILLER (BA, Communication) received the 2009 Diversity in Practice Award from Indiana Lawyer magazine. The award recognizes attorneys, law firms, judiciary, corporations, law students, and others for “extraordinary efforts in pursuing and creating a culture of diversity and inclusion within their institutions.” Karrah is president of the Black Law Students Association at the Valparaiso School of Law and was recognized for her leadership in numerous on- and off-campus events.

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JOEL MUNOZ (BA, Foreign Languages and Literatures) was appointed leader of the Lafayette (Indiana) Commission on Latino and Hispanic Affairs.

CHRISTOPHER S. SIPLE (BA, Psychology) was promoted to petty officer first class in the United States Navy while serving aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan.

AMY SPILLMAN (BA, Communication) is the director of advertising and marketing for NORTH Magazine, a high-end community lifestyle magazine in Indianapolis.

SARAH WHITE (MFA, Creative Writing) is a visiting assistant professor at Purdue North Central in Westville, Indiana.

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TODD ADCOX (MFA, Creative Writing) and REBEKAH SILVERMAN (MFA, Creative Writing) launched Artifice, a magazine “devoted to fiction and poetry award of its own artifice.”

CHRISTOPHER BRINK (MFA, Theatre) accepted a full-time staff position as production manager and lighting designer at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina.

ANDREW CARLSON (MFA, Theatre) performed in The Tempest and Love’s Labour’s Lost at the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, Minnesota. He will return in summer 2010 to perform in Othello and The Comedy of Errors.

LAURA DONNELLY (MFA, Creative Writing) was named editor of Third Coast, one of the nation’s premier literary magazines, published by the English department at Western Michigan University.

BETH GAUCK (BA, Communication) recently completed her first deployment as a public affairs officer in the United States Navy aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.

DAN MEISNER (BA, Theatre) and SUZANNE MILLER (BA 2005, Theatre) co-founded the Ka-Tet Theatre Company in Chicago. Their first show, Road, directed by Purdue Theatre professor Richard Stockton Rand, received high critical acclaim and praise.

CAITLIN MICK (BA, Theatre) was hired as the floor manager for Victory Gardens Theatre at the Biograph in Chicago.

JENN ZABRISKIE TIMMERMAN (MS, Health and Kinesiology) was named clinical research coordinator for the University of Texas Medical Branch on Galveston Island, Texas.

ALLYSON WELLS (BA, Communication) was promoted to grant administration director at Damar Services Inc., a nonprofit that provides services to children and adults with developmental disabilities in Indianapolis.

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GRAHAM BODIE (PhD, Communication) was selected as a 2009 Louisiana State University Rainmaker, which honors individuals who are nationally and internationally recognized for innovative research and creative scholarship, compete for external funding at the highest levels, and attract and mentor exceptional graduate students.

SEAN SCOTT (PhD, History) accepted a position with the Papers of Abraham Lincoln project at the Lincoln Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois.

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ABIGAIL HOYE (BA, Communication), STEFANIE KREVDA (BS, Political Science), and ROSS MCMULLIN (BS, Political Science), received the Indiana Governor’s Fellowship, a competitive yearlong program providing recent college graduates with experience in various state agencies.

SHELBY NEWPORT (MFA, Theatre) joined the theatre faculty at the University of Michigan-Flint. She also teaches freelance costume technology classes.

TALOR POPE (BA, Communication) was promoted to coordinator of fan development for the St. Louis Cardinals in Missouri.

KINNARI SEJPAL (MA, Communication), along with her family, opened Shaukin Indian Fast Food in Lafayette. She is a marketing coordinator for Purdue Marketing and Media.


tylor castagna marshall lewis

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RALPH TAYLOR (BS, Health and Kinesiology) was appointed president of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame for 2009–10. Taylor is an international resource advisor for African Community International, which partners with local organizations as well as newcomer communities in Indianapolis to create a more welcoming environment for the city’s growing international community. He also serves as color analyst for Purdue men’s basketball and was selected in 1995 as one of the top four fan favorites in Purdue basketball history.

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VANESSA CASTAGNA (BS, Psychology) has been appointed to the board of directors of Carter’s Inc. A respected retail leader and executive for 36 years, Castagna is the former chairwoman of Mervyn’s Department Stores and also serves on the boards of Levi Strauss & Co. and Speed FC Inc. She has been listed among Fortune magazine’s “The 50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for four consecutive years, as well as two years on Forbes magazine’s “The 100 Most Powerful Women” list.

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CAPRICIA MARSHALL (BA, Political Science) was named by President Barack Obama as chief of protocol for the United States Department of State and will hold the rank of ambassador during her tenure of service. Marshall has had an extensive career in the public sector, serving as special assistant to First Lady Hillary Clinton and later as deputy assistant to President Bill Clinton and social secretary to the White House. She has also worked as a consultant to a number of nonprofit and private-sector organizations.

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MELISSA LEWIS (BA, MS, Health and Kinesiology) was named an Outstanding Young Alumna by the Purdue Alumni Association. The award recognizes alumni age 32 and younger who have given outstanding service to the University, the association, or a local alumni club. Lewis is a member of the College of Liberal Arts Alumni Board and serves as director of the Indiana Academy of Family Physicians Foundation. She also serves on the boards of the Indiana Public Health Association and Indiana Medical History Museum.

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