Alumni Notes

December 18, 2014

Melody Arabo was named 2014-15 Michigan Teacher of the Year. Arabo, B.A. ’01 (Education), M.A. ’04 (Curriculum and Teaching), joins several MSU alumni who have been honored with the recognition. Arabo teaches third grade at Keith Elementary School in the Walled Lake Consolidated School District.

Sian Beilock, Ph.D. ’03 (Kinesiology), was appointed vice provost for academic initiatives at the University of Chicago. In her new position, Beilock will work with deans, chairs and faculty to coordinate and implement academic programs that go beyond a single division or school.

Danny Birmingham, Ph.D. ’13 (Curriculum, Teaching and Educational Policy), received the 2014 Outstanding Doctoral Research Award from the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST). Birmingham was honored for his research with urban youth about their science learning experiences in community settings. He is now a faculty member at Loyola University Chicago.

Judi Brown Clarke, M.S. ’95 (Physical Education and Exercise Science), received the MSU Department of Kinesiology’s 2014 Professional Achievement Award for her distinguished career as an athlete, student, professional and community member. Brown Clarke is the diversity director for the National Science Foundation’s Bio/Computational Evolution in Action CONsortium (BEACON), which is based at MSU.


The president of the College of Education’s Alumni Association, Mark Dziatczak, M.A. ’04 (Educational Administration), was appointed assistant superintendent of secondary instruction for the Troy School District in July. He previously was principal of Troy High School.

Sarah DiMaria, B.S. ’12 (Mathematics – Secondary Education), is one of 32 teachers to be awarded a 2014 Teaching Fellowship from the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation. The five-year program empowers teachers through professional development opportunities, mentoring and grants, and includes a financial stipend.

High school English teacher James Frye, M.A. ’14 (Teaching and Curriculum), received the New Teacher of the Year Award for Newton-Conover City Schools in Newton, N.C. This award is given annually to the first-year teacher deemed most outstanding in the district.

Elizabeth Goulette, B.A. ’05 (Spanish – Secondary Education), completed her doctorate in foreign and second language education at SUNY Buffalo in May 2014. She also accepted a position in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at Georgia State University. 


Christine M. Hammond, Ph.D. ’94 (Educational Administration), was appointed president of Mid Michigan Community College in June 2014. Prior to her new position, Hammond worked with North Central Michigan College and Michigan State University’s initiative in Dubai.

Mark Julien, B.A. ’01 (English – Secondary Education), M.A. ’06 (Curriculum and Teaching), and Mark Miazga, B.A. ’00 (English – Secondary Education), were two of 40 secondary teachers honored for their excellence in education as recipients of the Milken Educator Award. Julien, an English teacher and basketball coach, works at Henry Ford II High School in Sterling Heights, Mich. Miazga, also an English teacher, works at Baltimore City College High School in Maryland. Both received a no-strings-attached prize of $25,000.

Deborah Loewenberg Ball, B.A. ’76, M.A. ’82, Ph.D. ’88 (Curriculum, Teaching and Educational Policy), was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, whose membership includes Nobel Prize and Pulitzer winners, in October 2014. Loewenberg Ball is dean of the University of Michigan School of Education.

Sarah Lubienski, Ph.D. ’96 (Curriculum, Teaching and Educational Policy), was appointed interim dean of the Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in July, following two years serving as associate dean. Lubienski is also a professor of mathematics at the university.


Mary McVee, M.A. ’94, Ph.D. ’99 (Curriculum, Teaching and Educational Policy), has received the Mid-Career Award from the American Educational Research Association’s Division K. The award recognizes a significant set of research achievements on issues in teaching or teaching education. McVee is an associate professor and director of the Center for Literacy and Reading Instruction at the University of Buffalo.

Alumna Sheba Onchiri, Ph.D. ’11 (Educational Administration), recently became the academic advisor and student support specialist of the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at MSU. Previously, Onchiri was an adjunct professor at Davenport University and also worked with St. Vincent Catholic Charities.

Sarah Trimner, B.A. ’01 (Political Science), is a Wisconsin finalist for the Presidential Teaching Awards in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Trimner, a third-grade mathematics teacher, is one of four Wisconsin teachers to be nominated for the prestigious honor, administered by the National Science Foundation on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Leigh Graves Wolf, Ph.D. ’11 (Educational Psychology and Educational Technology), joined the national board of the MSU Alumni Association as part of the recruitment and retention committee. Graves Wolf is an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education at MSU.

In April 2014, June Pierce Youatt, B.A. ’73 (Secondary Education), M.A. ’76, Ph.D. ’83 (Curriculum), was appointed provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at MSU. The position provides leadership for matters that affect academic programs, research and outreach.