Outstanding Recent Graduates

The Outstanding Recent Graduate award recognizes an outstanding recent graduate from each of the undergraduate colleges and schools at Emporia State University. Selection for this award is based on criteria determined by each school/college and the stipulation that the recipient be no more than 10 years past graduation at Emporia State University. This award is sponsored by the ESU Alumni Association.

2016 Recipients

Jason Baker

Click here to view Jason's introduction video.

Jason Baker (BSB 2008—Accounting, MBA 2009—Accounting)
is this year’s Outstanding Recent Graduate from the School of Business. In just six years, Baker’s career has already seen him advance from staff accountant to chief executive officer. Baker currently serves as the CEO of Scott Cooperative Association in Scott City. Prior to becoming chief executive officer, Baker served as Scott Cooperative Association’s controller for three and a half years.

As the controller, Baker managed the daily accounting and financial operations for the company. Baker began his career as a staff accountant/auditor for Lindsborg, Vogel, Pierce, Faris, Chartered in Hutchinson. Before joining Scott Cooperative Association, Baker served as a staff auditor/assistant vice president at Western State Bank in Garden City. Baker is also a CPA, earning the highest score on the CPA examination in Kansas for the January-February examination period in 2011.

“Baker is an example of the exceptional students from small-town Kansas who come to Emporia State University and thrive,” said Dr. John Rich, interim dean of the School of Business. “Jason excelled at all aspects of college life – academics and leadership – and made an exceptional contribution to the university community.”

“He has continued his high level of achievement and leadership since graduating. His career potential is unlimited. We are very proud of Jason as he is truly an outstanding recent alum.”

Lindsey Razafsky

Click here to view Lindsey's introduction video.

Lindsey Razafsky (BSE 2008—Elementary Education)
is this year’s Outstanding Recent Graduate from The Teachers College. Currently, Razafsky is a second-grade teacher at John Diemer Elementary School in Overland Park. From 2014-16, she collaborated with faculty from Emporia State to conduct research on new teacher application procedures, data of application numbers and reeducation rates of new teacher applications that have occurred in Kansas. Razafsky also served as a lead trainer on multiple teacher training projects to help teachers in her district find innovative ways to increase pedagogical impacts they can provide to all learners in their classrooms.

Razafsky successfully utilized the Shawnee Mission Schools’ recent one-to-one iPad initiative and has integrated innovative new strategies in all of her content areas to improve her students’ technology capabilities as future thinkers and learners utilizing new technology pathways. Furthermore, Razafsky is the leader of John Diemer Elementary School’s Just Say No Club and rewrote the Shawnee Mission School District Daily Math Program for second grade to align with the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

“Razafsky is a teacher of teachers within her district and an up and coming expert in Mindsets,” said Early Education, Early Childhood and Special Education associate professor Dr. Matt Seimears. “She currently serves as a teacher trainer for the program Mindsets and has utilized Mindsets to improve her pedagogical teaching philosophies.”

Mindsets is a system discovered by psychologist Carol Dweck that seeks to increase motivation and productivity by teaching people how to develop a growth-focused mindset.

“Additionally, Razafsky uses student-based heutagogical learning strategies, modeling many of the Mindset ideologies that help many in the field of education to help others become successful thinkers,” Dr. Seimears said.

Dr. Yaokun "Angel" Yang

Click here to view Angel's introduction video.

Dr. Yaokun “Angel” Yang (MM 2009—Piano Performance)
is this year’s Outstanding Recent Graduate from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She currently serves as a piano professor for Liaoning Normal University in Dalian, China. In her role as piano professor, Dr. Yang instructs 20 piano-major undergraduate and graduate students per semester in Applied Piano, and she teaches a Western Culture Music (Bilingual Education) course on the undergraduate and graduate levels. Dr. Yang has won numerous awards during her professional career, including first place in the Fifth Music College Teachers National Competition supported by the National Music Education Department of China.

During her time in the United States, Dr. Yang won seven major performance awards. Since 2014, Dr. Yang has also had several published articles in major music journals. She continues to be a powerful advocate for women musicians and academics in China and has been responsible for many talented Chinese students attending school at Emporia State.

“Dr. Yang was one of the most gifted students we’ve ever had the delight of working with in the music department,” said Dr. Allan Comstock, Department of Music chair. “From the moment she arrived in Emporia, we knew she was destined for great things.”

“She has been wildly successful in her career, both as a pianist and in her role of international development with Liaoning Normal University. Best of all, she is a delightful human being. We could not be more thrilled that she was chosen for this incredible honor.”

2015 Recipients

Click here to view the 2015 Outstanding Recent Graduates introduction video.

Cory Falldine
Cory F. Falldine is this year’s Outstanding Recent Graduate from the School of Business. As Emporia State University’s associate vice president and chief information officer, Falldine is responsible for ensuring that students, faculty, and staff have access to technology resources to achieve personal and professional goals while at Emporia State. He is a member of the Kansas Board of Regents Information Technology Council and currently serves as a member of the board of directors of the Kansas Research and Education Network. He is an active member of EDUCAUSE and has presented workshops at both the regional and national level.

Tiffany Jervis
Tiffany Jervis is this year’s Outstanding Recent Graduate from The Teachers College. Tiffany is a corporate training administrator for Sunflower Electric Corporation. She guides development and implementation of company-wide training. Before joining Sunflower Electric in May 2013, Jervis was a sixth grade teacher in Garden City. While teaching, she served on the budget committee for the school. She provided technology training for teachers after school and presented at various technology conferences across the state. She is a member of the Finney County Young Professionals and the Kansas Energy Workforce Consortium and a board member of the Southwest Kansas Live on Stage.

Dr. Yunqi 'Chloe' Zhao
Yunqi (Chloe) Zhao, Ph.D., is this year’s Outstanding Recent Graduate from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She a mentor and advisor to graduate students at the Kunming Medical University in Chenggong, Kunming, Yunnan, China. Zhao has published eight journal articles in premier journals and is one of three authors of “Harnessing Biomaterials in Nanomedicine: Preparation, Toxicity, and Applications,” published by Taylor & Francis Publishing (Oxford, UK). Also, she has a patent on a medicine for the treatment of prostate cancer. She received the prestigious Genentech Research & Development Outstanding Student Award, conferred to only 10 Ph.D. students in the United States. Zhao organizes a biology/chemistry camp for middle school students in Kunming.


Past Outstanding Recent Graduate Recipients

Jason Baker (BSB '08, MBA '09)
Lindsey Razafsky (BSE '08)
Yaokun "Angel" Yang (MM '09)

Cory Falldine (BSB '06, MBA '06)
Tiffany Jervis (BSE '08, MS '13)
Yunqi 'Chloe' Zhao (MS '09)

Sean Balke (MS '06)
Heather Braum (MLS '08)
Maggie Fletcher (BSB '05)
Lea Giminez-Duarte (BS '04)

Emily Aronis (BS '06)
Michele Burke (MLS '06)
Ashton Ludden (BFA '09)
Jeremy Rusco (BSB '06)

Leah Childers (BSE '03, MS '05)
Cory Haag (BSB '02)
Howard West (BSB '05, MS '07) 

Leslie (Nigro) Freeman (BSB '02)
Jennifer (Schiffelbein) Lasseter (BS '01)
Carol Levers (MLS '01)
Darcy Seitz (BSE '06) 

Aaron Bauck (BSB '01, MBA '02)
Royce Kitts (BIS '06, MLS '08)
Ben Pilat (BFA '05)
Derrick Richling (BSE '04, MS '06) 

Megan (Chalfant) Burgess (BS ‘05)
Mark Schmelzle (BSB ‘99, MBA ‘00)
Jodie (Kimball) Leiss (BSE ‘03, MS ‘06) 

Jared Larson (BA ‘02, BA ‘02)
Jeremy Luby (BSB ‘03, MBA ‘04)
Todd Wheat (BSE ‘01), MS ‘04) 

Rob Curley (BIS ‘01)
Jeff Johnson (BSB ‘97, MBA ‘99)
Michelle Moore (BSE ‘96, MS ‘03) 

Bob Fitzpatrick (MS ‘03)
Rapheal “Joey” Hamilton (BSB ‘95)
Vandy Blue Spikes (BS ‘97) 

Ken Hamby (BSB ‘95)
Brian Obermeyer (BS ‘94, MS ‘96)
Faith Scott (BSE ‘96) 

Cynthia Price (BA ‘00)
Darin Selby (BSB ‘99, MBA ‘00)
Stacy (Cox) Shipley (BSE ‘95, MS ‘99) 

John A. Blaufuss, Jr. (BSB ‘94)
Benjamin Butler (BFA ‘97)
Marcie (Hamilton) Frederickson (BSE ‘97, MS ‘01) 

Jarod W. Allerheiligen (BSB ‘96)
Megan McGaffin Dillingham (BA ‘96)
Lisa (Pendergast) Gates (BS ‘94, MS ‘97) 

Brian E. Cathers (BS ‘92)
Kenneth L. Harmon (BSB ‘95)
Jeffrey P. McAdoo (BSE ‘94, MS ‘98) 

Mario Bonilla (BSB ‘94)
Shawn M. Brewer (BS ‘91, MS ‘93)
Jeremy Kohomban (BS ‘89) 

Sarah (Gleason) Cook (BS ‘92)
Kristi (King) DeMint (BSB ‘94)
Dawn Ella (Brawley) Rust (MS ’89) 

Kim Pember (BSB ‘88, MBA ‘89)
Everett Spellman (BS ‘91, MS ‘93)
Donna Stuber-McEwen (MS ‘87) 

Brad Minear (BSB ‘83)
Lisa Wagner (BSE ‘87)
Daniel Wann (MS ‘87) 

Deborah Huth (BS ‘88)
Craig Kuckelman (BSB ‘91)
Joan (Carley) Brewer (BSE ‘91, MS ‘94) 

Audie Baughman (MBA, ‘86)
Darla (Hodges) Mallein (BSE ‘80, MS ‘94)
Alain-Phillippe Durand (BA ‘92)              

Marjorie McHenry (MS ‘87)
Richard Morrell (BSE ‘79, MS ‘82)
Jan (Biles) Steinert (BSB ‘80) 

Karen (Burns) Meenen (BSB ‘83, MBA ‘85)
Janet (Pepperdine) Smith (MS ‘89)
Nedra (Kneeland) Reynolds (BS ‘81, MA ‘84) 

Kimberly (Krebs) Beardslee (BS ‘82)
V. Ann (Scheve) Mayo (BS ‘82, MS ‘85)
Kim Penner (BSB ‘80) 

Marlin Berry (MS ‘82)
Kurt Breitenbach (BSB ‘79)
Charles Greenlief (BS ‘83)