2016 CoLA Outstanding 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.

Tennille Ali

BA, Social Work, 2004

Tennille Ali received her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Wright State University in 2004. After graduation, Ali began her career with Montgomery County Children Services as a caseworker for both intake and on-going services. In her current role as child welfare supervisor she oversees alternative response workers and family support workers

Ali has provided field supervision to the University Partnership Program (UPP) since 2012. UPP is a partnership between the university and the county Public Children Services Agency (PCSA), which is designed to further enhance the training of students in the field of child welfare and partially reimburse students who become employed by a PCSA. Ali was a part of the University Partnership Program as a student, completing her internship at Clark County Department of Jobs and Family Services.

Ali is committed to WSU, UPP, and the development of young professionals entering social work, especially those called to child welfare. Ali is a member of the UPP Advisory Board and the Social Work Alumni Society. Additionally, Ali received her Master of Social Work from University of Cincinnati in 2008.

Pablo Banhos

BA, International Studies and Political Science, 2006 MA, International & Comparative Politics, 2009

Pablo Banhos earned a Bachelor of Arts in both Political Science and International Studies, as well as a Master of Arts in International and Comparative Politics.

While at Wright State University, Banhos started his career in higher education philanthropy which set a solid foundation for where he is now.  As Director of Major Gifts at Ohio Wesleyan University, Banhos leads a team of seven fundraising professionals who build relationships with alumni, parents, and friends of Ohio Wesleyan with the goal of securing philanthropic support for the students, faculty, staff, and programs. Banhos’s most recent notable accomplishments include raising nearly $10 million for Ohio Wesleyan and providing leadership to an Advancement team which has currently raised $105 million toward a $200 million comprehensive campaign goal.

Because of donor generosity at Wright State University, Banhos was able   to achieve his dream of swimming and receiving an education from an American university. His personal accomplishments at Wright State and beyond make him an enthusiastic higher education professional who raises money to provide a similar education for deserving students. Banhos, his wife, and his one-year-old son reside in Columbus.

Bryan J. Bucklew

BA, Political Science, 1992

Bryan Bucklew is President & CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association (GDAHA), representing 28 hospitals in west central and southwest Ohio. Under Bucklew’s leadership, GDAHA was recently recognized by the Dayton Business Journal as the Non-Profit Organization of the Year and Business of the Year. 

In 2016, Bucklew led an effort to create Ascend Innovations – a for-profit center to develop medical devices and processes in partnership with key community partners. Prior to joining GDAHA, Bucklew was the Vice President of Public Policy & Economic Development for the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce. He started his career as the District Director for U.S. Congressman Tony Hall.

Bucklew is active in the community having served as Board Chair of the Aids Resource Center of Ohio, National Chair for the Conference of Metro Hospital Associations, a member of A Special Wish Advisory Board, Board Chair for the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority, and past Community Chair of the Culture Works campaign. Bucklew received his Bachelor of Arts from Wright State University and his Master of Arts in Public Administration from the University of Dayton. He has also been    an adjunct professor for Wright State and University of Dayton. Bucklew lives in Springboro with his wife, Karen Sollars, and their children Jenna, Meghan, Sam, and Zoey.

Parris Carter

BA, Sociology, 1997 ME, Student Affairs in Higher Education-Administration, 2004

Parris Carter is the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at Howard University where he evaluates and redirects the university’s services and programs. Prior to his current appointment, Carter was the Executive Director of Student Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville where he oversaw all areas of student life, coordinated retention efforts, and served as a senior team member for the institution. Before arriving to Pitt-Titusville, he was the Dean of Students at Wilberforce University for almost a decade. His role at Wilberforce entailed a broad range of student leadership and program development work.

Carter completed his Doctorate program in Higher Education at Union Institute & University. Carter graduated from Wright State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Master of Education in Student Affairs in Higher Education. While at Wright State, he was highly involved in the Student Union Administration Office and represented undergraduate and graduate students on various institutional committees.

Carter is a member of several organizations, including Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., NASPA—Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, Student African American Brotherhood (SAAB), and the American College Personnel Association. He enjoys spending time with his wife Nina, daughter Nya, and sons Parris Jr. and Princeton Elijah.

Andrew Dailey

BFA, Art, 2005

Andrew Dailey earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Wright State University in 2005 and continued his education by earning his Master of Fine Arts from Miami University in 2009. Both of Dailey’s degrees include concentrations in painting and drawing. He is currently the Cultural Arts Program Supervisor at Rosewood Arts Centre in Kettering, Ohio. Dailey is a proud father to his two children, son Liam and daughter Phoenix.

Dailey creates and exhibits his art in several shows each year. Recent exhibitions of note include Connections 2014, Ladislav Sutnar Gallery, University of West Bohemia, Pilsen, Czech Republic; Genus Machina, Drawings by Andrew Dailey in 2013, The Carnegie, Covington, Kentucky; Contemporary Realism Biennial in 2012, Ft. Wayne Museum of Art, Ft. Wayne, Indiana; and International Painting Annual: Exhibition in Print published by Manifest Gallery and Creative Research Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dailey’s recent accolades include Special Way Award, 2014; Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, 2011; and Jeanne Bowman Ellenstein Purchase Award, 2009.

William Davis

BFA, Selected Studies, 2010 BA, Liberal Studies, 2010 MA, Humanities, 2014

Will Davis earned his Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Selected Studies in 2010.  He also earned a Master of Humanities in 2014. He is the creator and manager of the New Media Incubator, a collaborative effort between the Motion Pictures program and the Department of Communication.  The New Media Incubator is designed as an innovative space where students will be able to engage with creative practitioners from a variety of media industries including television, radio, social media, online marketing, and storytelling.

Previously, Davis created and managed Wright State’s celebrated Student Technology Assistance Center (STAC) for thirteen years. He continues to create award-winning work at WYSO Public Radio, where he teaches, produces, and edits for the popular Community Voices and Veterans’ Voices programs. Davis is interested in makerspaces, the stories created in them, and how these stories give meaning and value to our lives.  He is also an Instructor in the Department of Communication at Wright State. 

Alex G. Elkins

BA, Political Science, 2007 MA, International & Comparative Politics, 2013

Alex Elkins is making significant contributions as both a lead analyst at one of our country’s most important intelligence agencies as well as ranking as one of Political Science’s most popular adjunct instructors.

Alex currently serves as a Senior Analyst and Team Lead in the Space Programs and Projections Flight, National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.  There, he is responsible for leading and coordinating research, analysis and the production of accurate and actionable intelligence concerning foreign space programs and capabilities for the US Department of Defense, military leaders, policy makers, and the US Intelligence Community. 

Alex has received multiple awards and commendations at NASIC, including being named the Rookie Analyst of the Year (2011), as well as multiple “Civilian of the Quarter” commendations.  Around the community, he is very generous with his time and skills, including serving as the Co-Chair of the Wright State Model United Nations Alumni Board and a Director at the Dayton Model United Nations Conference. 

Alex completed his B.A. in Political Science from Wright State in 2007 and in 2013 he earned his M.A. in International and Comparative Politics. As a student he was a delegate to Wright State’s National Model United Nations Program, and he participated in numerous education abroad opportunities, including in Japan, Germany, Poland and China.  

Heidi Giberson

BFA, Acting, 2010

Heidi Giberson is a New York State native who has been performing in the professional theatre industry since she was 10 years old. She earned her degree in acting with a musical theatre emphasis from Wright State University in 2010. Upon graduation, Giberson joined the national tour of Cats and also toured with the TOTS productions of The Sound of Music and Fiddler on the Roof

After a year in New York City, Giberson joined the long running Off Broadway production of The Fantasticks, and not long after that she landed Laura Osnes's understudy of the title role in Cinderella on Broadway and can be heard on the Cinderella original cast recording. A year later Giberson joined the original revival cast of Les Misérables on Broadway as a Cosette understudy. Over the years she has worked at several regional theaters in multiple roles.

Giberson still says that one of her favorite experiences to date is playing Maria in West Side Story at Wright State during her sophomore year. None of this would have been possible without her professors and her incredibly supportive friends and family.

Joseph Hesseman

BM, Music Education, 1999

Joseph Hesseman is a graduate from the U.S. Armed Forces School of Music in Norfolk, Virginia and received his Bachelor of Music Education from Wright State University. Hesseman was an original founding member of the Wright State Chamber Orchestra and in 2006 he was recognized as one of the University’s outstanding performing music alumni.

Hesseman has over 30 years of experience performing in professional orchestras and bands. Some of his professional credits include performances with the Cleveland Pops, Cincinnati Pops, Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Ballet, and 31 years in the Springfield Symphony. Hesseman has also performed with Wright State’s Faculty Woodwind Quintet and Trio, Wittenberg University Faculty Ensembles, and Festive Musique.  He has professional credits with numerous jazz, country, and pop artists, as well as world renowned composers.

A distinguished retired military band veteran, Hesseman has performed thousands of concerts throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. He was honored as a two-time recipient of the George S. Howard Citation of Musical Excellence for Military Concert Bands award. Hesseman has been educating for fourteen consecutive years, with all his young bassoonists winning superior ratings at OMEA Solo and Ensemble Adjudicated Events. In 2009, he formed the Centerville Junior High “Bassoon Hero Ensemble” who were invited to perform at the 2010 Wright State Double Reed Day. Hesseman currently serves as a music instructor in the Centerville School District and at Wittenberg University.

Bakari Lumumba

BA, African & African American Studies and Sociology

Bakari Lumumba was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio and graduated from Colonel White High School for the Arts in 2001. Lumumba graduated from Wright State University in 2015 with degrees in African and African American Studies (AAFS) and Sociology. Lumumba is a former Chemical Operations Specialist with The Ohio Army National Guard as well as a former Instructor and Academic Enrichment Coordinator at Wilberforce University. He is also the proud father of two beautiful children, Amir and Zaina.  Lumumba is currently pursuing master’s degrees in African Studies and Public Administration at Ohio University.

His favorite quotes are:

If you lack confidence in self you are twice defeated in the race of life, but if you have confidence you have won the race before it has even begun! - Marcus Garvey

The battlefield is everywhere, there is no sheltered rear. - Paul Roberson

William Lutz

BS, Urban Affairs, 2000 MPA, Urban Administration, 2002

William Lutz graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in Urban Affairs from Wright State University. Since that time, Lutz has served as a planner for the City of Troy, became the first Township Administrator in Bethel Township, and then moved on to serve residents of Piqua as their Economic Development Director.

Mr. Lutz was awarded his Master of Public Administration degree in 2002 as he continued to develop his professional career. Since 2014,  Lutz has served as the Executive Director of New Pathways, a nonprofit organization whose mission focuses on assisting residents with basic needs and creating a community that supports stability and fosters transformation. Lutz continues to make a positive difference in our region.

Ildikó Marcus

BA, Latin, 1979 BS, Nursing, 1979

Ildikó Marcus graduated from Wright State University in 1979 with a double major in Latin and Nursing. The child of Hungarian immigrants, she grew up bilingual, and began her college career at The Ohio State University in 1973. When the opportunity arose for her and her former husband to purchase a Domino’s Pizza franchise, Marcus moved with him to Fairborn. As the business prospered, she was mindful of her parents’ advice that “no one can ever take an education from you,” so she transferred to Wright State. Marcus excelled in her academics and soon turned her BSN into a long and varied nursing career, initially working in the ER at Children’s Medical Center, and later working in the outpatient ambulatory center at Greene Memorial Hospital. While her children were young she also volunteered as a nurse in their school.

Marcus has long believed that the pursuit of higher education is of the utmost importance. Her children are evidence of this belief: elder daughter Andrea has a Doctor of Jurisprudence, and younger daughter Lauren has a Master of Business Administration. Marcus strongly feels that the humanities bring the spark that is the essence of a well-lived life. To that end, she is very supportive of Wright State’s College of Liberal Arts, having served on the Dean’s Leadership Board since 2006. Marcus lives with her husband Dan Coughnour and their two cats in Xenia Township, Ohio.

Christopher Moore

MPA, Public Administration, 2005

Christopher Moore graduated with his Master of Arts in Public Administration from Wright State University in 2005. Since graduation, Moore’s career has steadily progressed from an Engineering Field Supervisor, to an Operations Superintendent, and in 2011 he became the Service Director for the City of Springfield. Moore has also been actively engaged in giving back to the community by serving as Vice-Chair of Keep Clark County Beautiful and as a volunteer at On-the-Rise, a nonprofit organization that teaches life, social, and employment skills to at-risk youth.

Moore is an engaged learner who poses thought-provoking questions, critically analyzes situations, synthesizes relevant concepts, and demonstrates excellent leadership skills. He possesses the values, leadership, and ethical integrity that are at the core of excellence in public service today.

Linda Morgan

BA, Women’s Studies, 2010

Linda Morgan graduated from Wright State University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies. Linda began her college career six years earlier at Northern Virginia Community College after working for twenty-five years in private business. When she transferred to Wright State she had the opportunity to take an Introduction to Women’s Studies course where she learned the phrase “personal is political,” resulting in her passion for the study of feminism. 

Currently, Linda is putting her degree to good use working as the Administrative Specialist for the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) Program, the same program she was a part of while at Wright State. She has been instrumental in helping to establish the first WGSS Scholarship through an annual Quilt Show on campus known as “Celebrating Quilt Stories.” In addition, Linda is continuing her education at Wright State by combining her passion for women’s studies with her interest in history  by working on her Master of Arts in History with an emphasis on “War and Society.”

Samantha M. Rippey

BA, Criminal Justice, 2009

Samantha Rippey earned her Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Wright State University in 2009. After graduation, Rippey worked for Wright State’s Substance Abuse Resources & Disability Issues program as a Community Case Manager and group facilitator. She later moved to Wright State’s Center for Healthy Communities where she was credited with creating the “Lunch-n-Learn” educational program.

In 2012, Rippey accepted an Economic Support Specialist position with Montgomery County Job and Family Services. She then received a promotion in the Investigations Unit where she helped with cases of welfare, food stamp, and medical fraud. In 2014, she took a position with the Montgomery County Juvenile Court Intervention Center. In March of 2015, Rippey received a promotion as the Intervention Center’s Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) Coordinator. The SBIRT Coordinator’s role is to decrease alcohol and other drug use among court involved youth in Montgomery County. In May of 2015, Rippey earned her Master of Criminal Justice from Tiffin University and is in the process of applying to Master of Social Work programs.

Laura Skidmore

B.A., Modern Languages; M.A. Spanish (Hispanic Linguistics)

Laura Skidmore received a B.A. in Modern Languages from Wright State University in 2001 and an M.A. in Spanish (Hispanic Linguistics) from the Ohio State University in 2010. She was a Rotary International Ambassador to Spain in 1998-1999.

She has used her language skills in a variety of positions, including as an entrepreneur, a private Spanish coach for professionals, a teacher in public and private schools, a university instructor, and a translator.

Laura often works with entrepreneurial and non-profit ventures. She previously served as Executive Director at the Dayton International School and as President of the school’s board of directors. She is currently working with the non-profit group Mothers Out Front to launch their efforts in Ohio. Mothers Out Front mobilizes mothers, grandmothers and their allies to ensure a livable planet for all children.

Laura lives near Yellow Springs, Ohio with her family.

Read Laura's tips for Modern Language students (PDF).

Steven Carl Smith

BA, History, 2004

Dr. Steven Carl Smith is a 2004 graduate of Wright State University, where he studied history and political science. In 2013, Smith earned a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Missouri. Upon completion of his graduate studies, Smith relocated to Providence, Rhode Island to become Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Providence College.

Smith’s first book, An Empire of Print: The New York Publishing Trade in the Early American Republic, is under contract and will be part of the Penn State Series in the History of the Book. Smith was a 2012-13 Andrew W. Mellon Material Texts Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s McNeil Center for Early American Studies and has received fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Antiquarian Society, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the New York Public Library, the New York State Archives & Partnership Trust, the New York State Library, and the New York State Historical Association. Smith was also named the 2012 Malkin New Scholar by the Bibliographical Society of America and has published essays in The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, the Maryland Historical Magazine, and Literature in the Early American Republic.

Beth Grimm Whelley

MA, English, 1997

In Beth Whelley’s work, she uses the critical thinking skills sharpened through her graduate work at Wright State University to help clients understand their communication challenges so they can tell their story        on their own terms, while also keeping the audience in mind.

Whelley has a 25-year background in corporate communications, public relations and marketing communications (including strategic planning), crisis communications, presentation and media coaching, and community outreach and affairs. She is an experienced facilitator and currently leads Fahlgren Mortine’s media training practice area.

Before coming to Wright State, Whelley earned her undergraduate degree from Miami University. Whelley is a current member of Wright State’s College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Leadership Board. She is also active in the Dayton community, serving on the Board of Trustees for Sinclair Community College, the Dayton Art Institute Associate Board, and the Miami Conservancy District. Previous community service includes serving on the Board of Governors for Leadership Dayton and leading reading groups for 7th and 8th grade students at the Dayton Early College Academy. Whelley has been honored as a Dayton YWCA 2011 Women of Influence, a 2013 Dayton Daily News Ten Top Woman, and a 40-Under-40 in the Dayton Business Journal.

Dennis Wilson

BA, Communication Studies, 2016

Dennis Wilson holds bachelor’s degrees from Wright State University in Communication Studies and Select Studies as well as an Associate of Arts from Sinclair Community College. At Sinclair Wilson became an advisor for the National Society of Leadership and Success program and has expanded the program to over 800 members. Additionally, he completed more honors classes than any other student in the then 125-year history of Sinclair College.

As an undergraduate student Wilson served as the Vice President for the College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Student Advisory Board. He also developed a Select Studies project and thesis called The Living Resume, which focuses on social media in leadership development. The Living Resume has been developed into a first-year class curriculum in which he will teach. Wilson is currently a graduate student in the Master of Humanities program and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Theta Kappa and the National Society of Leadership and Success. He is also the new Director for External Affairs for Student Government and will continue his service to Wright State as a President’s Ambassador. Wilson is also a lifelong musician and father.

David Womeldorff

BA, Selected Studies, 1979 MA, Applied Behavior Sciences, 1989

David Emerald Womeldorff is co-founder of the Bainbridge Leadership Center, where his passion is supporting individuals, teams, and organizations in leading and working from an outcome-focused and passion-powered orientation. His principals and frameworks are based on over 30 years of   experience working with a wide range of individuals and organizations.

Writing under the pen name of David Emerald, he is the author of The Power of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic), a best-selling book about Self Leadership.  David is currently creating an e-learning program entitled 3 Vital Questions™: Applying the Power of TED* to Work and Life for organizational and individual use.

Womeldorff also serves as an Executive Coach and is faculty on the Executive Integral Leadership Program at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business. His TED* framework is also included in Notre Dame's Management and Leadership Certificate e-learning program.

Womeldorff earned his Applied Behavioral Science degree from Wright State University in 1989. Ten years prior to that, he designed and earned his own undergraduate degree called Community and Communication at Wright State. He now resides on Bainbridge Island, Washington with his wife and business partner, Donna Zajonc, MCC.