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.

2015 Recipients

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

Cory Falldine
BSB 2006-Computer Info Systems
MBA 2006-Business Administration
Emporia, Kan.

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
BSE 2008-Elementary Education
MS 2013-Instructional Design & Technology
Garden City, Kan.

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
MS 2009-Microbial and Cellular Biology
Chenggong, Kunming, Yunnan, China

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.

2014 Recipients

Sean Balke
Wichita, Kan.
MS 2006-Psychology

As president and chief operating officer of Craig HomeCare, Sean Balke leads a regional organization with 11 offices in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. His company provides pediatric nursing care in patients’ homes, allowing medically fragile children to thrive at home and providing much-needed relief and support to families.

Balke advanced from a career in human resource and operational support consulting to lead Craig HomeCare by putting to practical use the research skills and knowledge base he learned at Emporia State, finding ways to improve and advance the company’s operations to fulfill the mission and improve the quality of life for both their patients and their employees.

A lifelong Kansan, he maintains ties with Emporia State’s Student Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology by hiring students in the program to conduct mission critical projects such as client satisfaction surveys and statistical data analysis, along with offering internship opportunities in his business to students in the program. Additionally, he teaches classes at Friends University, mentoring those students and promoting ESU graduate programs as next steps in their academic careers.

Heather Braum
Lawrence, Kan.
MLS 2008-Technology Librarianship

While working on her Master of Library Science degree at Emporia State, Heather Braum started working for the Northeast Kansas Library System in 2007, serving in various technology-related roles including technology support and digital and technical services. Currently the NExpress Coordinator and Resource Sharing Librarian, she leads the NExpress regional shared catalog project, a library consortia of more than 40 public and school libraries in the Northeast Kansas region, sharing more than 1 million items with residents of Northeast Kansas.

With lifelong passions for learning and sharing, Braum has presented at numerous regional, state, and national workshops and conferences on a wide variety of topics including innovation, social media, open source software, lifelong learning, and open education resources.  She has taught the Information Technology for Library and Information Professionals course for Emporia State’s School of Library and Information Management.

A lifelong Kansan and a third-generation librarian, she was the 2010 Kansas Library Association New Professional of the Year.

Maggie Fletcher
Wichita, Kan.
BSB 2005-Accounting

After graduating from Emporia State University, Maggie Fletcher put her accounting degree to use at Flint Hills Resources, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, Inc. Serving in various challenging roles as an accounting analyst, a project cost accountant and a tax accountant, Fletcher worked at a Flint Hills-owned facility in Corpus Christi, Tex.

In 2008, she transferred back to Flint Hills’ corporate headquarters in Wichita, and is now responsible for preparing and reviewing multiple types of tax returns ranging from new acquisitions to existing entities.

Fletcher and her family are members of NewSpring Church in Wichita, where she volunteers as a kindergarten teacher on weekends. She is also active in the Salvation Army Angel Tree project through Koch Industries.

Lea Gimenez-Duarte, Ph.D.
Washington, DC
BS 2004-Economics

Lea Gimenez-Duarte currently works as an economist in the Poverty Global Practice of the World Bank, the world’s leading international development organization. Her dissertation received the Elizabeth V. Stout Dissertation Award of Lehigh University, her degree granting institution.

Lea’s academic research has focused on the effect of family structure and shocks on wellbeing and long term outcomes. Her job market paper, “Parental Loss and Children’s Wellbeing,” was accepted for publication in the Journal of Human Resources, a top ranking field journal in economics.

She has also co-authored and contributed to several journal articles, policy notes and reports in the area of economic development for Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Colombia, Paraguay and the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States.

Her research interests are in economic policy, poverty, health and human capital.

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)