Alumni Notes

October 17, 2023

The Michigan Lottery recognized two alumni — Allison Altenberger-Olson, B.A. ’13 (Special Education – Learning Disabilities) and TCRT ’14 (Elementary Education), and Stephanie Livingston, TCRT ’99 (Secondary Provisional), M.A. ‘02 (Curriculum and Teaching) and TCRT ’05 (Secondary Professional Education) — with Excellence in Education awards. The weekly award acknowledges outstanding efforts by Michigan teachers, rewarding the instructors and schools with a prize and educational funds. Altenberger-Olson received further recognition as the first Mason Public Schools teacher to win the award when the city declared Nov. 30, 2022 “Allison Altenberger-Olson Day.” 

Bill Barnes was named superintendent of schools of Grand Ledge Public Schools in August 2022. Barnes’ selection by the Board of Education honored his work as the district’s assistant superintendent for academic services as well as his 17 years in public education in mid-Michigan, including eight years as Charlotte High School’s principal and time as an educator at Charlotte High School and Eastern High School in Lansing. Barnes has earned multiple degrees from the College of Education, including TCRT ’10 (Secondary Professional Education), M.A. ’10 (K-12 Educational Administration) and Ed.D. ’15 (Educational Leadership).

Sian Beilock, Ph.D. ’03 (Kinesiology), became the first woman elected president of Dartmouth College. Beilock began her historic journey as the 19th president at Dartmouth in June 2023 after six years as president of Barnard College at Columbia University.

Judith Brown Clark smiling wearing a dark jacket and light blue top.

Former United States Olympic athlete, Judith Brown Clarke, M.S. ’95 (Physical Education and Exercise Science), was appointed to the Board of Directors of the National Fitness Foundation in 2022. Brown Clarke’s peers further recognized her by selecting her to serve a two-year term as chair of the Board. Brown Clarke’s work supports and strengthens the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition and its mission and taps into her years of expertise on senior management teams. Daily, she dedicates herself to the development and execution of strategic initiatives for diversity as vice president for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer at Stony Brook University and Health System. 

As CEO of Communities in Schools (CIS) of Michigan, Mallory DePrekel, B.A. ’10 (Elementary Education), will oversee an apportionment of the $133.5 million gift donated to CIS. DePrekel’s work at CIS Michigan aims to break down systemic barriers to opportunity and access for under-served and under-resourced students. A member of the inaugural Urban Educators Cohort Program, the College of Education Alumni Board welcomed DePrekel as one of its newest members in July 2023.

Stefan J. Fletcher smiling wearing a dark suit jacket, white shirt and burgundy tie.

The Association of College and University Policy Administrators (ACUPA) elected two-time Spartan graduate, Stefan J. Fletcher as chair-elect to the Board of Directors. Fletcher, Ph.D. ’16 (Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education), also joined the college’s Alumni Board of Directors in 2022. His dedication and service to MSU extends even further in his new role as secretary and chief of staff to the MSU Board of Trustees, which he started in January 2023. Previously, Fletcher worked for eight years in University of Wisconsin system. 

Amanda Flores smiling wearing a dark jacket with pink earrings and a shirt with pink details.

The WKAR broadcasting services team welcomed Amanda Flores, Ph.D. ’22 (Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education). as senior director of diversity, equity and inclusion in July 2022. Flores’ work supports the station’s strategic inclusion efforts as well as the needs of its employees and the communities served. Previously, Flores focused on increasing access to undergraduate research opportunities for MSU students in the Office of Undergraduate Research. Before embarking on her journeys at MSU and WKAR, Flores spent years championing diversity initiatives in places of higher education across the nation. 

Connie Tingson Gatuz was named the associate vice president for student life at the University of Michigan in March 2022. Tingson Gatuz previously served as the vice president for student affairs and mission integration at Madonna University. A three-time alumna of MSU — including an M.A. ’95 (College & University Administration) and Ph.D. ’09 (Higher, Adult, & Lifelong Education) — Tingson Gatuz will provide leadership and vision for the student experience at the university.

Adam Greteman smiling in front of a shelf of books. Greteman is wearing a blue shirt and glasses.

The Spencer Foundation awarded Adam Greteman, Ph.D. ’11 (Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education), a Large Research Grant on Education in 2023 for Generating Queers: The Transformative Work of LGBTQ+ Intergenerational Dialogues. The project is a collaborative effort that developed from Greteman’s volunteer work at the Center on Halsted, where the dialogues occur. Each fall, a new cohort gathers bi-weekly to strengthen the connections between multiple generations of LGBTQ+ Chicagoans. Greteman is an associate professor of art education at the School of Art Institute of Chicago. 

Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education graduates Amal Ibourk, Ph.D. ’15 and Won Jung Kim, Ph.D. ’21, represented Michigan State University in the inaugural cohort of the 2023 SciComm Identities Project (SCIP) Fellows program. The program is a collaboration between MSU’s Knight Center for Environmental Justice, University of Rhode Island’s (URI) Metcalf Institute and URI’s Science and Story Lab. It is comprised of pre-tenure faculty of color. 

In addition, the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) recognized a paper co-written by Ibourk and MSU Teacher Education Assistant Professor Clausell Mathis and Roxanne Hughes (Florida State University) with the Research Worth Reading award. 

The International Society of the Learning  Sciences recognized Won Jun Kim as a 2023 emerging scholar. Kim is an assistant professor in the School of Education and Counseling Psychology at Santa Clara University.

The National Council of Supervisors in Mathematics (NCSM) named Lateefah Id-Deen, GCRT ’14 (Urban Education) and Ph.D. ’15 (Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education), the 2022 Kay Gilliland Equity Lecture Awardee for her presentation: “I want to teach this social justice math lesson: Exploring ways math leaders can support teachers who want to teach math for social justice.” In addition to her work as an assistant professor of mathematics at Kennesaw State University, Id-Deen is affiliated faculty at The Urban Education Collaborative of Cato College of Education at University of North Carolina-Charlotte. 

MSU honored Karen, B.S. ’63 (Physical Education), and Gerald (Jerry) Kolschowsky with the Philanthropist Award at the annual Alumni Grand Awards in September 2022. The gala celebrates the daily impact of exceptional Spartans on the world. The award specifically recognized the Kolschowskys’ major, ongoing financial support and leadership to MSU, namely through the Tanzania Partnership Program (TPP), of which they are co-founding benefactors. TPP is the inaugural initiative of the University’s Office of International Studies and Programs’ Partnership for Sustainable Community Development, which promotes community-based sustainable development while combating hunger and poverty. Karen, a former cheerleader, is the co-founder, current director and former president of the family foundation. Tim, also a co-founder, currently serves as president.

Two-time Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education graduate, Kevin Leonard, M.A. ’05 and Ph.D. ’13, became interim director of MSU’s Native American Institute (NAI) in October 2022. Previously, Leonard was assistant director of diversity, equity and inclusion at MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine where he updated the college’s DEI strategic plan. As part of his 20-year career at MSU, he dedicated his time in the Office of Admissions to building relationships with tribal communities to inspire increased applications to the university from prospective Native American students. Leonard further serves the diverse communities of MSU as president of EAGLE (Education Anishinaabe: Giving, Learning and Empowering), as executive board member of CoREM (Coalition of Racial and Ethnic Minorities) and as a member of Native Faculty/Staff Association.

In October 2022, Lesa Louch joined the MSU Office of Enrollment and Academic Strategic Planning as assistant provost, where she manages enrollment services’ One-Stop shop and the accreditation and curriculum catalog office. Louch holds three degrees from the College of Education: B.A. ’00 (Education), M.A. ’02 (Curriculum and Teaching) and Ph.D. ’13 (K-12 Educational Administration).

Once again answering the call to serve, Vickie Markavitch returned from retirement to serve as interim superintendent of Oxford School District. This is her fifth superintendent role over her storied career in public education. Markavitch, B.A. ’66 (Special Education) and Ph.D. ’91 (K-12 Educational Administration), began her appointment in January 2023.

Hilda Mejia Abreu, Ph.D. ’13 (Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education), received an MSU Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award for her work at the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) in 2023. The award recognized Mejia Abreu’s work developing CVM’s first-ever DEI Strategic Plan. As associate dean for admissions, student life and inclusivity at the college, Mejia Abreu actively incorporates DEI initiatives into all facets of institutional work and student life at CVM. 

Megan Murray, M.S. ’22 (Kinesiology), was named the cross country and distance running coach at Georgia Southern University in July 2022. Murray was a two-year member of MSU’s track and field team before graduating. 

Ohio University named David Nguyen, Ph.D. ’16 (Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education) as dean of University College. Nguyen began his role in June 2022, expanding his previous responsibilities as associate professor of higher education and student affairs and interim associate dean for research and graduate studies. 

Shawna Patterson-Stephens smiling. She is wearing a dark shirt and a necklace with pearls.

Student Affairs Administration graduate Shawna Patterson-Stephens, M.A. ’07 was an American College Personnel Association (ACPA) 2023 award recipient, earning the Harold E. Cheatham Innovative Practice Award. The award recognizes both the impact of her work on student communities as vice president/chief diversity officer in the Office for Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Central Michigan University as well as the innovation employed to achieve impactful results. In addition, in 2023, Patterson-Stephens co-edited a book: “Advancing Inclusive Excellence in Higher Education: Practical Approaches to Promoting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging” (Information Age Publishing).  

MSU Rowing named Stacey Rippetoe, M.S. ‘06 (Kinesiology), head coach, making her the fourth individual to hold the role. Rippetoe boasts 26 years of experience in the sport, primarily in coaching and recruitment – most recently at University of Rhode Island and Boston University, where she built championship programs. Rippetoe returns to a legacy of community engagement in East Lansing, having created the Lansing WeCanRow chapter in 2002, the first satellite chapter of the rowing program for breast cancer survivors, which inspired the creation of the Pink Ribbon Crew.

Danielle Sanderson Edwards smiling. She is wearing a dark shirt.

Danielle Sanderson Edwards, Ph.D. ’21 (Education Policy), joined the faculty of Old Dominion University as an assistant professor in fall 2023. Prior to her appointment, Sanderson Edwards was a postdoctoral research assistant at Brown University. She was also co-recipient of the New Scholar Award from the Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP) in 2021. 

Loukia K. Sarroub represented University of Nebraska-Lincoln as a 2022-23 Department Executive Officer of the Big Ten Academic Alliance. Sarroub, Ph.D. ’00 (Curriculum, Teaching and Educational Policy), is in her second year as chair of the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education in the College of Education and Human Sciences. Since joining UNL in 2001, Sarroub earned a College Distinguished Teaching Award and a UNL Parents’ Recognition Award. 

University of Missouri wrestling coach Brian Smith B.S. ’90 (Physical Education & Exercise Science) earned back-to-back honors as the 2022 and 2023 Big 12 Coach of the Year, totaling three instances that he’s won the award. Smith led the Tigers to a 2021-22 Big 12 Tournament Championship and boasts the highest winning percentage in Mizzou wrestling history. Smith also won five consecutive MAC Coach of the Year honors from 2013-17. Smith shared his expertise as a speaker at the 2022 MSU Summer Coaches School.

Iwan Syahril smiling. He is wearing a dark suit jacket, white shirt and dark red tie. He also is wearing glasses and a cap that is black.

Iwan Syahril, who earned a dual Ph.D. in Curriculum, Instruction & Teacher Education and Education Policy in 2016, was appointed as director general of early childhood education, primary education and secondary education at Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan (Ministry of Education and Culture Republic of Indonesia). Syahril formerly applied his student-centered approach to education as the director general of teachers and education personnel, overseeing policy for three million educators in the fourth-most-populous nation in the world. After graduating from the College of Education, the former Fulbright scholar established the Center for Education and Policy Studies in Indonesia.

Committee Members

Davena Jackson smiling. She is wearing a blue necklace with a light pink shirt.
Joanne Marciano smiling. She is wearing a dark shirt and glasses.

Davena Jackson and Joanne Marciano were named to the English Language Arts Teacher Educators (ELATE) executive committee. ELATE is part of the National Council of Teacher Educators (NCTE). Jackson, Marciano and fellow committee member Keisha L. Green are responsible for the governance of ELATE and coordinate the affairs of the group’s conference. Jackson, GRCT ‘17 (Urban Education) and Ph.D. ‘19 (Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education), is an assistant professor at Boston University. Marciano is an assistant professor in the MSU Department of Teacher Education.