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Alumni News

2011 | 2010 | 2009-02

Fancena Purchase-OwensFrancena Purchase-Owens, B.S. '97, M.A. '04, has been selected as Member of the Year by Princeton Global Network. She is also on the Business Advisory Board for ITT Technical Institute in Wyoming, Mich.

Annette YancyAnnette L. Yancy, 1984 Counseling and Personnel, received the Louisiana State University 2011 Advisor of the Year Award. In her personal statement for consideration of this award, Yancy said, "My passion to serve students to the best of my ability is fulfilled daily at LSU... it is not my job, but my pleasure to serve each student efficiently with a side order of compassion."

Carla Zidarevich received her bachelor's in Textile and Apparel Design in December 2006. Since then, she has been working as a Technical Designer in Target's PD&D division at their headquarters in Minneapolis. Specializing in home products including bedding, kitchen textiles, table linens, and seasonal product, she has received two promotions and traveled throughout the U.S. and China meeting with vendors and developing products. Carla was quoted saying "I wouldn't have had my start without the education I received from Western."

Jessica Butcher (2005), a registered dietician, is a health coach for HelloLife, LLC, an applied life science and technology company specializing in health and wellness, headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Jonathan Lenze (2005), a certified Athletic Trainer (2008) is currently working on his master's degree at The University of Wyoming and will be completing his master's degree and thesis research at The University of Montana.

Trevor Davidson (2003) is the eighth grade head football coach and a first-year teacher for Mill Creek Middle School in Dexter, Mich.

Congratulations to WMU alumnus Matthew McCullough (BA '02, MA '09), a social studies teacher at Loy Norrix High School in Kalamazoo for receiving an Excellence Award for Educational Excellence at MEA's Human Rights & Excellence Award Banquet on April 29. The award is reserved for educators with a demonstrated commitment to educational excellence and a concern for the improvement of education focusing on the student.

Cory Cunningham (BS '00, MA '08), is the varsity football coach for the South Haven (Mich.) Rams at L.C. Mohr High School.

Julie Camp (1992) was elected to serve on the Kellogg Community College board of trustees. Her six-year term begins July 1.

Dr. Gerald Juhnke (1991) currently directs the doctoral program in counseling at The University of Texas at San Antonio. Although he's authored eight academic books, he just authored his first novel titled, ABDUCTED: Dr. Wade Stone San Antonio - Stone Oak.

David Barry (BA '87, MA '90, EdD '02) will be the new superintendent of Zeeland, Mich. Public Schools starting July 1.

Amy Kendryna (1984) is the principal at Spring Trail Elementary School in Carol Stream, ILL.

John Howk (1980), a teacher at Jefferson Elementary School in Grand Rapids, Mich., recently received the Michigan Council for Exceptional Children's Teacher of the Year Award. 

Katherine (Langusch) Taelman (2006) has been married four years and has a 2 year old daughter. She is in her 4th year of teaching at the Academy of Business and Technology in Melvindale, Mich. She teaches 7th and 8th grade social studies
and high school Economics.

Christy McDowell (1998)graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education in 1998. After teaching 8th grade Language Arts for 10 years at Bangor Middle School, Christy is now back at WMU working on her Ph.D. in the English Education department through the English Studies Department.

Dr. Marvin Hall (1991) published a book called Back To The Basics: The Essence of Communication in Relationships by publishing

Penny Smeltzer (1978) was honored in January by the Communities Foundation of Texas as this year's recipient of their O'Donnell Texas AP Teacher Award. Penny also received a check for $30,000 — one of the nation's largest prizes available to public school teachers! This prestigious award is presented annually to an AP teacher at a Texas public high school who has made remarkable contributions to he teaching profession and community. Smeltzer, an Advanced Placement Statistics teacher at Westwood High School in Round Rock, Texas, received the award from U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Linda Powell (1970) recently retired from Portage Northern H.S., and is currently teaching at WMU in the FCS Department working with CTE students and CTE interns.

James E. Menchinger (1962) retired after 40 years at Gull Lake and Portage Northern High Schools. He serves as a Coordinator of Teacher Interns for WMU. Currently James is the assistance forensics coach at Portage Northern.

Dr. Gerald Juhnke, Professor and Doctoral Program Director at The University of Texas at San Antonio, published his 7th book, "Suicide, Self-injury, and Violence In the Schools: Assessment, Prevention, and Intervention Strategies." The book was published by Wiley & Sons.