2012 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.


Tony Alexander

'88 B.S. Geography

Tony M. Alexander graduated from Wright State University in 1988 with a B.S. in Geography. Following graduation from Wright State, Tony worked in the area of Geographic Information Systems. Tony received his Juris Doctorate in 2000 from The Ohio State University College of Law.

Tony currently practices law in the Dayton area in the fields of business law, business litigation and works with companies that are struggling financially. Tony is an attorney with the firm of Burton Law, LLC.

Tony serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of The Foodbank, is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Cancer Society of Montgomery County, a member of the Board of Directors of the WSU Alumni Association and chairs its Marketing and Membership Committee.

Tony is married and has one son. Tony's wife, Kathleen, is also a graduate of Wright State. Tony and his family reside in Kettering.

Randy Beane

'93 B.A. Urban Affairs

Randy Beane is a 35 year veteran of the Dayton Police Department and holds the rank of Lieutenant. During his tenure with the Dayton Police Department Randy has held several different positions such as Homicide Sergeant, District Commander, Special Weapons and Tactics Commander, Communications Bureau Commander as well as many other assignments. Randy has attempted to give back to his community by being active within the community he serves. He has been the President of the Dayton Fraternal Order of Police for the past 8 years and has served on several State FOP committees. Recently Randy was awarded the 2011 State FOP Member of the Year. This organization reduces crime and incivility of youth in the Dayton area by providing athletic programs as well as other activities to those youth.

Randy is proud that he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree with a major in Urban Affairs in 1993 from Wright State University. This was accomplished after many years of attending part time.

Randy has been married to his wife, Christen, for 30 years and they met in the Police Academy. Christen is a Robbery Detective and they have three sons and one daughter. All three sons have chosen to follow in the footsteps of their parents by becoming law enforcement officers.

Regina Bier

'87 Anthropology

Regina Bier graduated from the College of Liberal Arts with a degree in Anthropology in 1987. In 1991 she started her career in law enforcement and is currently a detective with the Kettering Police Department. As a detective she works in the areas of crimes against the family, children and the elderly. She is also involved in crime scene investigation and underwater evidence recovery.

Regina became involved in the Wright State Scuba Diving Program in 1986. She continued her diving education to the level of course director, with the National Association of Underwater Instructors. In 1994 she started as an adjunct instructor with Wright State in the Department of Kinesiology and Health. Regina is now the Program Coordinator for the WSU Scuba Program. She has developed the program to educate students up to the level of Scuba Diving Instructor. In 2010 she started an underwater education internship program with the Newport Aquarium in Newport, Kentucky. With the combination of her work in underwater education and underwater crime scene investigation, Regina was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame in 2011. She was awarded the National Association of Underwater Instructors Outstanding Service Award for her contributions to underwater education in 2011 and she was selected in 2012 as one of the Top 25 Women to Watch in the Miami Valley by the Women in Business Networking Organization.

Catherine Crosby


Catherine "Katy" Crosby is currently the Acting Executive Director of the City of Dayton's Human Relations Council. Her responsibilities include assisting with managing day-to-day operations and overseeing the Council's civil rights, contract compliance and special programs. The Council investigates and adjudicates discrimination complaints, implements procurement programs that provide opportunities to minority, female, and small disadvantaged business enterprises and provides business development assistance to minority, female and small businesses.

Katy serves as a member of the Ohio Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, an appointed position. She was named Wilberforce University's 2011 UNCF Distinguished Young Alumni and received the 2010 WSU Alumni Achievement Award. She previously served as the central region vice president of the National Urban League Young Professionals and former president of the Dayton chapter. She was selected as one of 32 individuals serving as a DaytonCreate catalyst and is one of the founders of updayton. She is also one of 50 individuals selected as part of the inaugural class of Ohio's Political Leaders Fellows program sponsored by the Center for Progressive Leadership. She has been a leader in the young professional community, facilitating opportunities for young professionals to take on leadership roles within their organizations and the community at large. Her community involvement has earned her a number of recognitions in addition to those previously mentioned.

Katy is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and currently resides in Dayton, Ohio. She has a BS in Accounting from Wilberforce University and a Master of Public Administration from Wright State University. She has a beautiful energetic daughter named Eryn. She is currently a board member for the Wright State University Foundation Board of Trustees, Miami Valley Child Development Center, House of Bread and Omega Community Development Corporation. She is also a member of The Dayton Foundation’s Marketing Committee. She has also served as a Board member for Parents Advancing Choice in Education (PACE), Innerwest Community Development Corporation, the Dayton Urban League and the Miami Valley Teen Council.

Cherri Crothers

'73 B.A. Political Science

Cheri Crothers graduated in 1973 with a B.A. in political science. She was a founding member of Wright State's first Model UN team, advised by Byron Wang and Ken Kotecha. Representing Japan, the USSR, the UK, the USA and Italy, Cheri and her teammates earned Outstanding Delegate awards each year from 1969-73. In 1974, Cheri moved to Isfahan, Iran, beginning a long international career, as well as her association with the American Association of University Women. In Iran, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Guam and South Korea, Cheri was active in the American expatriate community in a variety of capacities, including coordinating voter registration, working on political campaigns, and working in the Hague High School Model United Nations program. After her return to the United States, Cheri worked on the 2000 John McCain campaign as an outreach coordinator, and switched to the Democratic Party in 2001. She has worked as a precinct captain in Rhode Island, and as a media specialist and precinct training director in numerous campaigns. Cheri joined the Tucson, AZ, Pima County Central Committee (2004-2009) where she was a grass roots organizer for Hillary Clinton, and was in charge of the AAUW program to teach girls in middle and high school how to run for elected office. Since June 2009, Cheri has served on Clark County's Democratic Central Committee, and is Secretary of the Truman Kennedy Democratic Club and the Women’s Issues Group (WIGS). Her engagement in civic life and public affairs exemplify the essence of an engaged citizen, and the department is extremely proud to acknowledge her service and leadership as a political science alumna.

Abdourahmane Dia

'07 M.A. International and Comparative Politics, B.A. Communication Studies

Abdourahmane Dia (MA ICP '07) joined the Master of Arts Program in International and Comparative Politics after completing the B.A. program in Communication Studies at Wright State. Prior to his studies in the United States, Abdou had completed training in Media Management at the National Institute of Audio-Visual Studies in Paris, France, and studied journalism at the Cesti School of Journalism in Dakar, Senegal. His thesis, "Military Leaders-Turned Civilian Head of States and Democratization in West Africa" assessed the political and economic performance of executive leaders in Nigeria, Mali and Ghana. He studied the impact of leadership transformation on democratization, testing models of development and democratization and pointing to the challenges and achievements of civilian transformation in contemporary contexts.

Abdou currently serves as a producer with the BBC World Service in Dakar, a post he has held since February 2010. He helped open the BBC’s first office in Senegal. He is responsible for researching, writing, editing and producing broadcast programs for the French language service of the BBC. His most recent major assignment was to travel throughout Senegal to cover the recent Presidential elections in his home country. He is hoping to travel to the US in the Fall of 2012 to report on the US presidential election for the French speaking BBC audience. Working with the BBC has been a "dream job" for Abdou, who put his career in journalism on hold to travel to the US and earn bilingual credentials in journalism and international affairs. While studying at Wright State, Abdou taught French language at the Richard Allen Middle School, and served as a freelance contributor to AfricanGlobalNews.com.

Terrie Hottle

'97 B.A. Urban Affairs, '99 M.A. Applied Behavioral Science

Terrie Hottle earned her undergraduate degree in Urban Affairs specializing in criminal justice in 1997. Two years later she earned a Master of Arts in Applied Behavioral Science. Upon graduation she was employed by WSU in the Center for Urban and Public Affairs as a Research Associate. In 2003, she became a site supervisor for the Boonshoft School of Medicine, Center for Interventions Treatment and Addictions Research working on a five year federal grant to study drug abuse in rural Ohio counties. After the grant ended, Terrie became a federally contracted program manager for the Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration where she earned two letters of commendation.

In 2008, Terrie began her career with Lincoln College of Technology as the Criminal Justice Department Chair for the Tri-County campus in Cincinnati, Ohio. After two years as the chair, she was promoted to the assistant academic dean for the Dayton campus. This past November, she was promoted again to the academic dean. Terrie has been married to her husband Dave for 12 years, who is also a WSU Alum. They share a 10 year old son Jackson and she is the step-mother to 20 year old Austin who is currently attending WSU.

Carole Kerber

'82 B.F.A. Sculpture Concentration, '85 M.Hum.

In 1963 Carole Kerber graduated from the Good Samaritan Hospital School of nursing and worked as an operating room nurse for fourteen years. In 1977 she entered Wright State University with the intention of earning a BSN degree, but shifted her focus to art and received a BFA in 1982 with a concentration in Sculpture. Carole was the first person in her family to obtain a college degree and went on to earned a Master of Humanities from Wright State in 1985. Since that time Carole has taught Art Appreciation, Art History, Drawing and Sculpture courses at numerous area Community Colleges. Since 1986 she have been active in a variety of local community activities, such as Altrusa International, Troy Main Street, Troy Hayner, Cultural Center, 4-H, Mayor's International Council, Odyssey of the Mind, Southwest Historic District, Troy City School Programs, WSU College of Liberal Arts Advisory Committee and the Stouder Foundation Distribution Committee.

According to Carole, one of the most important lessons she learned at Wright State was to seize the opportunities people create for you. Later she learned that creating opportunities for others to improve and retain community quality of life was an even more important lesson. It was then that thinking globally, but acting locally became her mantra.

Though her post-graduate school career evolved into a three-way path, and Carole says she is still unsure of "what I want to be when I grow up", she has been busy putting those lessons to work. As an artist and an educator, a community volunteer and a caregiver, wife, mother and grandmother Carole is satisfied she is making a difference and a positive contribution.

Gwendolyn Kestrel

'93 B.A. English, '96 M.A. English

Gwendolyn Kestrel received her B.A. (summa cum laude) and M.A. in English from Wright State University. While at WSU she was already writing and designing games, and since graduating Gwendolyn has turned her passion into a successful career in the gaming industry. Gwendolyn has spent a decade with Wizards of the Coast, the world’s largest publisher of tabletop games, as a writer, editor, designer and manager. Her projects included Star Wars: Ultimate Adversaries, two Harry Potter trading card games, and dozens of Dungeons and Dragons credits.

While working for Wizards of the Coast, Gwendolyn also earned an M.B.A. and began graduate work at University of Washington in games and education. She has also taught Game Design Processes for ITT Tech. She is currently employed as an analyst at Microsoft. She is a fine example of how a creative drive and a liberal arts degree can forge a successful career.

Harmon Remmel (Mel) Menker

'85 B.A. Religion

Harmon Remmel (Mel) Menker graduated (magna cum Laude) from WSU in 1985 with a degree in Religion, having completed an associate of Arts degree at Sinclair. He has continued his education at a variety of institutions, including United Theological Seminary, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies, and other places. He earned a Masters of Pastoral Counseling degree from Andersonville Theological Seminary and is currently completing a Doctorate in the same program.

He has used his education to serve both church and community, while pastoring at various parishes in Ohio and Maryland for over 30 years. He sees his work as threefold: teaching, preaching, and counseling, and is constantly looking for new ways to help people.

His extensive community service includes: working in mental health, providing hunger relief, counseling for deployed military, and coaching athletics. He has been involved in all levels of mental health, from counselor, to trainer, to supervisor, to board member. He directed a Harvest for the Hungry Program and served on the board of trustees of a regional Food Bank. He has been a soccer coach for school and community teams, from youth soccer to college sports and was named JUCO Region xx Men’s Soccer coach of the year in 2003.

His selection as the outstanding alumnus from the Departments of Religion, Philosophy, and Classics recognizes his extensive service, his commitment to education, his creativity in finding new solutions to old problems, and his considerable talents, both personal and academic.

Joseph Mount

'78 B.M. Music Education

Joe Mount earned his B.M. in Music Education at Wright State University ('78), and an M.A. in Arts Administration at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music ('86). While in Cincinnati, he studied horn with Michael Hatfield, principal horn of the Cincinnati Symphony. He earned an MM in Horn at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Joe worked as a management fellow for the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Milwaukee Symphony and Cincinnati Composer's Guild, and accepted a position in 1986 as the Director of Outreach at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, a position he still holds. At UNCSA, Joe manages a variety of statewide and community outreach programs, and also manages the student Career Services office.

An active professional musician, he is a hornist in the Winston-Salem Symphony, the Greensboro Symphony, the Carolina Chamber Symphony, and the Giannini Brass. He is a founder and artistic co-director of the Carolina Summer Music Festival.

Joe lives in Winston-Salem, NC with his wife Martha, a physician assistant (and fellow hornist). He has three children: Michael, Katherine and Eric.

David Pearson

'04 B.A. Criminal Justice

David A. Pearson graduated from Wright State University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice. He completed an internship at the Dayton Police Department in the SWAT and Detective Sections his junior and senior years. David attended Wright State full-time while holding down full-time employment at the Mall at Fairfield Commons Security division and playing semi-professional baseball.

After graduating, David continued working security and, also, gained employment at Community Blood Center as a Central Supply Technician. In May 2005 he was hired by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections as a Corrections Officer at Warren Correctional Institution in Lebanon, Ohio. In 2006, Officer Pearson was invited to join the institution's local Special Response Team (S.R.T.) and in 2009 was named a squad leader. His achievements include Officer of the Month, April 2009 and 2011 Warren Correctional Institution's 2011 Officer of the Year. In 2011, he was invited to join the S.T.A.R. Team (Special Tactics & Response), which is a nationally-known tactical squad.

Officer Pearson is a current instructor for the Ohio DR&C in S.R.T., Chemical Munitions, Monadnock PR-24/Expandable Baton, Unarmed Self-Defense, Cell Extraction, Use of Force, Firearms, ASHI First Aid/CPR. Officer Pearson created an 800 page program on Security Threat Groups (Gangs), which he has taught for the Ohio DR&C, at Wright State and Xavier University. He is a certified Gang Expert through the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission.

David has been married to his wife, Sara, since 2005, and they have a son, Reed (age 2). They currently reside in Hamilton, Ohio. They enjoy making yearly trips to Tennessee and taking Reed to the zoo among other places.

David has not forgotten Wright State University and what it has done for him. He credits WSU for allowing him to expand his way of thinking "outside the box". Example of this include his creation of a simple Excel program that tracks gang-affiliated inmates who come into the institution on a monthly basis. To show his appreciation to the university, David has brought his expertise on gangs to WSU as a guest lecturer.

Sharif Rasheed


Sharif says his mother has always been his inspiration. Time and time again she created something out of nothing, not one time allowing him to see the struggles she went through on a daily basis. Sharif has seen his mother turn 15 cents into a dollar but hardly a dime was spent on herself. She turned her circumstances into a master's degree and to this day, still inspires Sharif to be the best he can be in any situation that life hands him.

Along with that, his father's ideology and drive to end inequality will always motivate Sharif to keep moving forward. "He never concerned himself with people's perceptions and never hesitated to discuss his beliefs. He made you hear him. He was a true radical, a man who inspired me to never sit idle but instead to open my mouth and initiate change."

With a family like Sharifs', you would have thought he’d have been born and bred into a movement but instead, in 2006, he was a business management major at Cincinnati State community college. His grades were poor and he had lost all interest in college and higher education. Around that same time Sharif was coming into his own and began to take interest in race and ethnic issues in social environments. He signed up for class: sociology 201, exploring race and ethnicity and would have to admit, sociology saved his life. It inspired him to get involved, educate himself more and inevitably, open his mouth and make a change. The next day Sharif switched his major to sociology and 6 months later transferred to Wright State.

Sociology at Wright State challenged his thoughts and motivated Sharif in ways he never could have imagined. Professors Dr. Weinzimmer, Dr. Orenstein and Dr. Kim all opened his eyes to new things and he truly thanks them for that.

Today, Sharif works at a halfway house with drug addicts. He is a life skills counselor and supports youth in developing and implementing individual plans for independence including housing, employment, education, and life skills goals. It is a job that has not only challenged Sharif but provoked him to see things differently.

His experience while enrolled at Wright State University has encouraged Sharif to bring about change and to inspire people to be the change they want to see. Recently he lectured at Wright State and discussed the major issues surrounding the Black American, including stereotypes, slavery and the media’s bias. It is his goal to continue this conversation inside and outside classrooms or wherever he may go. Sharif currently writes and lectures about race and equality.

Joel Shier

'06 B.F.A. Theatre Design and Technology

Joel Shier graduated, magna cum laude, from Wright State University's Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures in 2006. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Design and Technology, with a concentration in Lighting Design.

After graduation, Joel moved to New York City and has been working steadily ever since. His list of accomplishments as a recent graduate is a testament to his abilities and work ethic. At this point in his young career, Joel has managed to move up through the ranks in the New York theatre lighting world quite rapidly and impressively.

He has worked on numerous Broadway productions as an associate or assistant lighting designer. Broadways shows that he has served on the design staff for include the following: Follies, The Addams Family, Wonderland, The Little Mermaid, Lestat, and Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me. He is currently serving as the associate lighting designer for the musical stage version of Ghost, which will begin preview performance in the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway in March of this year.

Joel has also served as an associate or assistant lighting designer on a number of national tours, including Wicked, Sweeney Todd, Storytime Live!, Bowfire, and Thomas and Friends: Live Onstage. He has worked as an associate lighting designer for the last four years on Broadway Bares, the annual Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS benefit production held at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC.

Joel has worked with Tony-award winning and nominated lighting designers, such as Kenneth Posner, Natasha Katz, Paul Gallo, Hugh Vanstone, and Paul Miller, among others.

His young career as a lighting designer is also impressive, including NYC designs for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, the Drama Desk nominated production of Fugitive Songs, Urinetown, White Noise, and Moonlight Room.

Sheri Sword

Organizational Communication

Sheri Sword joined your Better Business Bureau’s team in 1996. As an integral member of the senior management team, she's responsible for the development of the organization's communication strategy and contributes to its organizational strategic planning process. She directly manages communications activities that promote, enhance and protect the organization's reputation. Sheri is responsible for the development, integration, and implementation of a broad range of communications activities including: social media, publication design, event planning, media relations and more.

Her work has received multiple honors from organizations, such as Public Relations Society of America, International Association of Business Communicators and Council of Better Business Bureaus. She is a current member of the Leadership Dayton Class of 2012. She was also honored with Dayton Business Journal's 40 Under 40 Award in 1999.

John North, BBB president and CEO, stated "Sheri is an asset to your BBB and the entire community. Through effective communications and marketing strategies, she’s made your BBB more visible and relevant than ever. Sheri has saturated all local media outlets, including social media, with our message to ensure your BBB remains a trusted resource. Her vision, creativity and innovation are essential to her success. Your BBB congratulates Sheri and is proud to share this Miami Valley gem with the WSU Department of Communication."

This organizational communication graduate volunteers her time and skills to a variety of area organizations, including Public Relations Society of America, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, Germantown Gators Swim Team and more.

Karin VanZant

'88 B.A. Social Work, '08 M.P.A.

Karin VanZant is the co-founder of Think Tank. Think Tank's mission is to research, motivate, educate, create, consult and coach communities and organizations to solve the toughest social problems. In 2011, Think Tank became the headquarters for the National Circles® Campaign after having directed the training and capacity building for over 2 years on behalf of Move the Mountain Leadership Center and Circles® founder Scott Miller. The National Circles Campaign builds learning communities that promote individual and community economic stability, healthy relationships and diverse leadership. The Circles® Campaign is active in over 70 communities in 23 states and Canada.

Ms. VanZant is also a national certified trainer for aha!Process in "Bridges Out of Poverty", "Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin' By World", Family Development Specialist Trainer, Seven Habits for Highly Effective Teen and Technology of Participation (TOPS) Group Facilitation and Strategic Planning. In addition to leading the National Circles® Campaign and building local partnerships at Think Tank, Ms. VanZant also teaches at Antioch Midwest University in the Human Services Department.

Ms. VanZant is a member of Enon United Methodist Church, a graduate of Leadership Clark County Class 2006 and the Community Action Leadership Academy Class 2003. She has served as a Board Officer for Clark County Habitat for Humanity and is an Officer for the Clark Shawnee Touchdown Club. Other volunteer activities include being an Ally of the Clark County Circles® Campaign, Junior Achievement, SOCHE Navigating Your Career Committee and member of the Governor's Anti-poverty Taskforce in 2006.

Ms. VanZant has lived in Clark County, OH her entire life, is a two-time graduate of Wright State University – 1998 BA Social Work and 2008 Masters Public Administration. She married her high school sweetheart and has been married since 1995. She is the proud mom of a teenage son, who is by far the best credential she could ever hope for.

Martin West

Martin West received his undergraduate degree from Miami University and his master's degree from Wright State University. Following an internship at the Ohio Historical Center in Columbus, he was director of the Geneva Historical Society and museum in New York. He was director of Fort Ligonier, a museum and reconstructed/restored British fort of the French and Inidian War, for thirty years from 1981-2011, when he retired. Martin served on the Advisory Council of George Washington Scholars at Mount Vernon, Virginia, and has been an adjunct history lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh and St. Vincent College. He testified before the U.S. Congress for historical preservation. West received the Meritorious Service Medal from the Pennsylvania National Guard for history advocacy. Several of his publications are:

"The Best Passage Through the Mountains: Braddock's Road in the War for Empire," in An Uncommon Passage: Traveling through History on the Great Allegheny Passage, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009

"Clark's 1780 Expedition" in The Life of George Rogers Clark: Triumphs and Tragedies, Praeger, 2004

Annotation and Editing of Washington's Autobiography in George Washington Remembers: Reflections on the French and Indian War, Roman & Littlefield, 2004