2005 Program Distinguished Alumni

College of Liberal Arts graduates exhibit many fascinating paths to success. Each year we celebrate the accomplishments of our alumni at an Outstanding Alumni Awards Ceremony.

 

Robert Brooks, Ph.D.

'71 B.A. Anthropology

Dr. Robert Brooks received his B.A. in Anthropology from Wright State University in 1971 and his Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky in 1986. Originally from Ohio, Dr. Brooks is the State Archaeologist of Oklahoma and also serves as part-time Assistant Professor in Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma. His research interests are in Eastern U.S. and Plains prehistory, ethno-archaeology, sedentary societies, archaeo-logical theory, geographic and economic models, and Plains and Southeastern Indians.

Robert is the past President of the National Association of State Archaeologists and State Network Coordinator of the Committee on Public Education, Society of American Archaeology. He also works on a variety of issues concerning resource management and protection of places of traditional value to Native Americans in Oklahoma.

Wanda Coalson

'78 B.M. Music

Nancy Feld and Wanda Coalson met in the Department of Music at Wright State where they were studying piano with Dr. Barbara Foster. After graduating over 25 years ago, they remained friends and began to explore four-hand piano literature together. For over twenty years, they have given performances ranging from lecture recitals for professional piano teacher organizations to entertaining for the Opera Guild and the Wright Patterson Foreign Liaison Officer's Ball. In 2001, they were invited to perform in Bonn, Germany and received outstanding newspaper reviews there. Wanda and Nancy performed at Wright State University for the Steinway Dedication Series to a sold out audience, and in April of 2004 they played at the Wright State ARTSGALA.

After graduation, Wanda continued piano studies with Barbara Foster, and later with Barbara Wasson. She presided as Beavercreek Piano Teacher's Chairman for the National Guild of Piano teachers, and was also a guild Adjudicator for over 20 years; judging in both piano performance and composition. Wanda chaired a campaign to purchase a piano for the Beavercreek Community Room and was a panel member for Wright State 's Careers in Music, representing the Private Studio Teacher. Wanda has given workshops at Wright State and for OMTA on setting up group teaching in the studio. Her studio has consisted of as many as fifty students, all ages and levels.

Besides duet playing, Nancy has studies fortepiano with Richard Fuller in Vienna and has performed on her harpsichord and fortepiano for the Dayton Bach Sociey, a Mozart Symposium sponsored by the Ohio Arts and Humanities Council, the Dayton Chamber Society, and at the Dayton Art Institute. She has combined her degrees in Art (1969, BA, University of Iowa) and Music to give lecture performances on Impressionism, and has recently been a presenter in symposiu at the Inn at Honey Run in Eastern Ohio, first on Impressionism (2004) and then on the Italian Renaissance (2005). She has also been a guest lecturer in a course entitled “The Psychology of the Arts” at the University of Dayton. Nancy maintains a private piano studio of about twenty students.

Mark T. Conrad, Ph.D.

'88 B.A. Philosophy

Dr. Mark T. Conrad, a native of Troy, Ohio, graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in philosophy from Wright State in 1988. He received an M.A. in philosophy from Miami University in 1990 and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Temple University in 1995. Mark is currently an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. He is co-editor of and a contributor to “Woody Allen and Philosophy” and “The Philosophy of Film Noir.” Mark is the author of several scholarly essays in recent Continental Philosophy; he is also the author of a novel entitled Dark as Night and his second novel is forthcoming.

Jenny Crusie

'86 M.A. Professional Writing and Women's Literature

Jenny Crusie is a New York Times bestselling author of romance novels, who has also published a book of literary criticism on Anne Rice, published under the name of Jenny Smith. She attended Wright State as Jennifer Smith while teaching in the Beavercreek public school system as an elementary and junior high art teacher. Jennifer earned a master's degree from WSU in Professional Writing and Women's Literature. Her master's thesis was titled “A Spirit More Capable of Looking Up to Him: Women's Roles in Mystery Fiction 1841-1920.” While at Wright State, she published an article entitled “De-mystifying Feminist Criticism: A Response” with Mary Beth Pringle and Judi Roller.

In 1993 Harlequin accepted Jenny's first novel, Manhunting, Five more Harlequins followed, including Getting Rid of Bradley which won the RWA Rita Award for Best Short Contemporary, Strange Bedpersons, What the Lady Wants, Charlie All Night, and Anyone But You. Jenny also wrote two category novels for Bantam's Loveswept line, The Cinderella Deal and Trust Me On This. During this time she put the Ph.D. on hold to earn an M.F.A. in fiction from The Ohio State University; her thesis was titled Just Wanted You to Know, and consisted of several short stories and the proposal for a mainstream novel titled Crazy For You.

In the fall of 1995, Jenny began to write single title novels for St. Martin 's Press, which include Tell Me Lies, Crazy For You, Welcome to Temptation, Fast Women, Faking It, and Bet Me. Today, in many ways, Jenny has come full circle. She is currently collaborating on a novel with Robert Mayer called Don't Look Down, putting into practice everything she studied about the differences in the way men and women write fiction.

Charlie Ehle

'96 B.A. International Studies

Charlie Ehle graduated from Wright State University with a B.A. in International Studies in 1996. Since leaving Dayton she has made her career in Africa. In Angola, for the non-governmental organization Development Aid from People for People, Charlie helped to build the national school infrastructure. During her time in this country that was still undergoing a civil war, she taught basic health and hygiene to second graders, as well as English to seventh grade students. Charlie went on to serve in the Peace Corps in Mali from 1999-2001, where she organized, executed, and evaluated various community health programs. There she also continued to teach health, hygiene, and English to seventh, eighth, and ninth grade children. For her outstanding work in this capacity, she was selected by the Peace Corps as its regional representative at the West African Gender and Development Conference in Cotonou, Benin. Charlie went on to receive her M.A. from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in 2004, specializing in humanitarian aid and development. Charlie is currently employed by Catholic Relief Services, where she serves as an advisor on refugee protection for a number of complex humanitarian emergencies. Although she is currently busy working to provide assistance to Darfur's refugees in eastern Chad, Charlie also played a role as an advocate for returnees in the recent peace deal resolving Sudan's other, decades-long civil war.

Nancy Feld

'84 B.A. Music

Nancy Feld and Wanda Coalson met in the Department of Music at Wright State where they were studying piano with Dr. Barbara Foster. After graduating over 25 years ago, they remained friends and began to explore four-hand piano literature together. For over twenty years, they have given performances ranging from lecture recitals for professional piano teacher organizations to entertaining for the Opera Guild and the Wright Patterson Foreign Liaison Officer's Ball. In 2001, they were invited to perform in Bonn, Germany and received outstanding newspaper reviews there. Wanda and Nancy performed at Wright State University for the Steinway Dedication Series to a sold out audience, and in April of 2004 they played at the Wright State ARTSGALA.

After graduation, Wanda continued piano studies with Barbara Foster, and later with Barbara Wasson. She presided as Beavercreek Piano Teacher's Chairman for the National Guild of Piano teachers, and was also a guild Adjudicator for over 20 years; judging in both piano performance and composition. Wanda chaired a campaign to purchase a piano for the Beavercreek Community Room and was a panel member for Wright State 's Careers in Music, representing the Private Studio Teacher. Wanda has given workshops at Wright State and for OMTA on setting up group teaching in the studio. Her studio has consisted of as many as fifty students, all ages and levels.

Besides duet playing, Nancy has studies fortepiano with Richard Fuller in Vienna and has performed on her harpsichord and fortepiano for the Dayton Bach Sociey, a Mozart Symposium sponsored by the Ohio Arts and Humanities Council, the Dayton Chamber Society, and at the Dayton Art Institute. She has combined her degrees in Art (1969, BA, University of Iowa) and Music to give lecture performances on Impressionism, and has recently been a presenter in symposiu at the Inn at Honey Run in Eastern Ohio, first on Impressionism (2004) and then on the Italian Renaissance (2005). She has also been a guest lecturer in a course entitled “The Psychology of the Arts” at the University of Dayton. Nancy maintains a private piano studio of about twenty students.

Janice Gabbert, Ph.D.

'70 B.A. Classics

Dr. Janice J. Gabbert graduated summa cum laude from Wright State with a B.A. in Classics in 1970. She received her M.A. in Ancient History in 1972 and her Ph.D. in ancient History in 1982 from the University of Cincinnati. Jan started teaching at Wright State in the Department of Classics in 1978 and retired from full-time teaching in December 2003 having risen to the rank of Professor of Classics. She also served as Chair of the Department of Classics from 1986 until her retirement. Dr. Gabbert is the author of a scholarly monograph on Anigonus II Gonatus (a political biography), a textbook on classical antiquity, numerous journal articles and encyclopedia entries. She continues to teach in the department as Professor Emerita.

Connie Garrison

'89 B.A. Urban Affairs

The Department of Urban Affairs and Geography selected Connie L. Garrison to be our 2005 Alumnus of the Year. Connie Garrison's achievements clearly reflect the mission of our department and university which is to serve the educational needs of our communities. In 2004, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching named Connie Garrison as the Ohio Professor of the Year. This honor is a footnote to a life's work in the public service which began as a police officer with the City of Miamisburg in 1974. In 1987, Sergeant Garrison retired from the police force and began to advance her education at Sinclair Community College. After completing an associate degree in Criminal Justice at Sinclair, Connie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Affairs in 1989 from Wright State University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Dayton in 1992. For the next three years she served as Assistant City Prosecutor for the City of Springfield. Sinclair Community College was fortunate to hire Connie as a full-time faculty member in 1996. The Department of Urban Affairs and Geography is proud to recognize Connie's personal and professional successes and feel very fortunate to have played a part in her service to our communities.

Virginia Gimenez

'02 B.A. Communication

Virginia Gimenez is a native of Uruguay. After receiving an associate's degree in social communication in 1997 in her home country, she attended Wright State University and graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in mass communication in 2002.

Since graduation, Virginia worked in several local video production projects, she also worked as a translations project manager and as director of the interpreting division for a local translation and interpreting company. In 2003 she returned to Wright State to become the College Technology Coordinator in the College of Liberal Arts. In this position, she works with Faculty Resources to meet their technology needs, providing training, support, and computer maintenance for the entire college.

Since her undergraduate years, Virginia has been involved with several nonprofit organizations in the area, doing all sorts of volunteering jobs from mentoring to interpreting. Virginia is currently seeking a master's degree in public administration at Wright State and hopes to enter the world of nonprofit administration in the near future.

Michael Good

'68 B.A. Government

Michael Good is an original. He began taking courses when the Dayton Campus of The Ohio State University and Miami University welcomed its first students in 1964. Mike was a member of the original senior class of what had become Wright State University by June 1968 and among the first to receive a degree from Wright State University rather than one of our institutional parents. He was also among the last to do so since the Department of Government soon became the Department of Political Science. Mike was the first graduate from our department to earn a doctoral degree in, what else, political science. Beginning his academic career at Ohio Wesleyan University, Mike rose to full professor and department chair before taking the position of director and resident chair of political science for Syracuse University's European school in Florence, Italy , in 1990. In 1996, he was named president of John Cabot University in Rome, Italy , where he served until 1999. Mike returned to the United States that year as dean of The College of Arts, Letters and Social Sciences, California State University, Hayward. Completing four years as dean in 2003, Dr. Good assumed his current position of professor of political science at Cal State, Hayward.

Douglas Hickey

'95 B.A. Sociology, '97 M.S. Applied Behavioral Sciences

Douglas Hickey graduated cum laude from Wright State University with his B.A. in Sociology in 1995 and his M.A. in the Applied Behavioral Sciences program in 1997. Mr. Hickey is currently employed as a Police Officer with the City of Franklin where his responsibilities include protecting and serving the citizens of Franklin by conducting routine patrols of the city, investigating crimes and maintaining order. He has completed the Ohio Peace Officer's Training Academy in Sex Crimes Investigation, Sexual Assault, and Behavioral Analysis of Violent Crime.

Jean Koeller

'82 B.F.A. Art and Art History

Jean Koeller received a B.F.A. with a concentration in painting from Wright State in 1982 and a M.F.A. from Parsons School of Art and Design in 1987. She is an accomplished painter, with an enviable exhibition record of one-person exhibitions and a regular presence in group shows. Her work appears in many prominent regional collections, including that of the Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts in Columbus and Kettering Hospital. The extraordinary quality of her work has been recognized by an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship and two Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District Individual Artist Grants.

But Jean's expertise extends beyond painting and drawing. She is also the Visual Resource Curator at the University of Dayton where she has brought the collection from 2,000 to 75,000 slides. She is presently engaged in moving the collection into the digital age by initiating UD's first digital image data base and setting up a workable system for classroom use, including a training program. She serves informally as the local expert on digital imagery; whenever anyone has a question about programs, procedures or the all important issue of image quality the solution is always "call Jean!"

In addition to her two careers as painter and curator, Jean adds a third: teacher. She has taught drawing and painting at several local institutions and also in Study Abroad programs in France and Italy.

Karen Lahm, Ph.D.

'95 B.A. Sociology, '97 M.A. Applied Behavioral Sciences

Dr. Karen Lahm graduated from Wright State University with her B.A. in Sociology in 1995. She then obtained her M.A. from WSU in the Applied Behavioral Sciences program in 1997 and her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Kentucky in 2001. She is currently an assistant professor in the Behavioral Sciences Department at Capital University. Her areas of specialization include criminology/deviance, corrections and penology, women and crime/corrections, and quantitative methods. She has been active in presenting her scholarship at professional conferences and has published research articles in leading criminology journals.

Derek Petrey

'92 B.A. Modern Languages

Derek Petrey was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. He attended WSU for the last three years of his Bachelor of Arts in Modern Languages and since graduating has been passionately working with language. Derek has taught Spanish and Portuguese languages, literatures and cultures since 1993 when he started his post-graduate work at the Ohio State University. He defended his dissertation in August 2000 and has had experience teaching at various institutions across Ohio. Sinclair Community College hired him in a tenure-track position in the Fall of 2003 and since then he has created a series of successful Spanish language courses for the professions, including Spanish for Law Enforcement, Health Care, and Social Work. David has also received one of 1,000 national NISOD (National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development) awards for excellence in instruction for 2004.

David enjoys poetry and music of all kinds, and loves international travel, having visited Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Guatemala and a few countries in Europe. He still attends the church he grew up in, Eastmont United Methodist, where he chairs the Staff-Parish Relations Committee and sings in the choir.

Barbra Teater

'99 B.A. Social Work

The fact that Barbra Teater has been awarded the Social Work Alumna of the Year only six years after her graduation speaks volumes about her motivation, abilities, persistence, and dedication to her academic and professional career. Since graduating from WSU in 1999, Ms. Teater received her Masters of Social Work from the Jane Addams School of Social Work at the University of Illinois campus in Chicago. She received this degree in one year! In 2001, Barbra was accepted into the doctoral program in the College of Social Work at The Ohio State University. She successfully completed her competency exams in 2004 and is scheduled to complete her dissertation by the summer of 2006. Barbra has been a child and family social worker for Montgomery County Children's Services, St. Joseph Children's Treatment Center, and the Children's Medical Center. She recently presented two scholarly research papers at the Council of Social Work Education's Annual Program Meeting in New York and the Social Policy conference in Charleston, South Carolina; the paper she presented is currently under review by The Social Policy Journal. Barbra has taught social work courses at OSU and is currently an adjunct professor with the Social work department at WSU. Her numerous honors include research assistantships and scholarships at WSU and OSU, Outstanding Social Work Student of the Year, BSW Student of the Year for the Dayton chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and the 2005 OSU Board of Trustees Student Recognition Award.

Byron Thomas

'02 B.A. African American Studies and Sociology

Byron Thomas graduated from Wright State University with degrees in African American Studies and Sociology. Prior to completing his bachelor's degrees, Byron had spent three years in the U.S. Army receiving an honorable discharge in 1986. He worked in a variety of occupations before earning his associate's degree in communication from Sinclair Community College in 1995 and obtaining a position at Key Bank. In 1999, he returned to Sinclair and received dual degrees in African American Studies and Sociology in 2000. After completing his studies at WSU in 2002, he continued on to Indiana University in Bloomington where he will defend his thesis this month. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University . His research interests include social inequality and stratification issues and he has presented his research at various national conferences. He published a review of Nation-Building, Propaganda, and Literature in Francophone Africa by Dominic Thomas in the Journal of African and Asian Studies in 2003. Byron has served on the founding committee for the Herman C. Hudson Graduate Symposium and was President of the African American and African Diaspora Graduate Society.

Jim Volz

'75 B.A. Theatre Studies

Jim Volz holds a B.A. in Theatre Studies from Wright State University, is a Ph.D. graduate from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and former Managing Director of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. He is one of America 's leading theater consultants with over three decades of work with theater, dance, music museum and arts center management. From coast to coast, all who have worked with him praise him highly.

Jim has produced over 100 professional productions and authored several books, including Shakespeare Never Slept Here, and the recent How to Run A Theater. He has also published over 100 articles on management, arts criticism, and Shakespeare in the Oxford University Press' Theatre Research International, Hollywood 's Drama-logue, New York 's Backstate, as well as for national and international publications.

Most people know Jim as a theater critic/columnist for Back Stage Magazine, as President of Consultants for the Arts, as Editor of the Shakespeare publication, quarto, or as a Professor at California State University, Fullerton. He is also a voting member of the prestigious Tony Award's Regional Theatre Award, serves on the National Advisory Council for the Institute of Outdoor Drama based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and sits on the Board of Trustees for California State University. Jim has also served as a strategic planning/time management program presenter for the National Association of Schools of Music, the National Association of Schools of Dance and the National Association of Schools of Theatre.

Claudia Watson

'75 B.A. History, '85 M.A. History

Claudia Watson directs the Mongtomery County Historical Society Research Center which includes the NCR Archives, a nationally and internationally significant collection of over three million items. The NCS Archive contains a remarkable collection of 8 x 10 glass plate negatives documenting manufacturing, retail, urban life, international sales, and progressive reforms in the early 20th Century as well as the equipment and oral histories from the crucial World War II code-breaking project at NCR. Claudia has shared the rich resources of these collections with the public through exhibits and publications. She is the author of Seizing the Light: The Photography of Dayton's Albert Kern (2004) and Dayton Comes of Age: The City Through the Eyes of John H. Patterson (2002). She has actively promoted historical awareness and engagement in the Miami Valley through public programs, lectures, and workshops.