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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.

2018 Recipients

Mrs. Sarah Gietschier-Hartman

Sarah Gietschier-Hartman teaches health and physical education at Clayton High School in Clayton, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis.

She is the 2018 SHAPE America National Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year, the 2018 SHAPE America Central District Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year, and the 2017 Missouri Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year.

She has presented sessions at local, state, and national conferences, and has been a keynote speaker at three national conferences.

Gietschier-Hartman has contributed articles and blog posts to professional publications in the United States and Canada and has been interviewed and featured during several physical education podcasts.

Gietschier-Hartman is a collaborator for PHYSEDagogy, an international team of physical educators dedicated to moving the physical education profession forward through meaningful and relevant public discussion about best practices in the modern physical education classroom. She and the other members of the PHYSEDagogy team organize the #PhysEdSummit, a free online conference for health and physical educators.

Dr. Andrea Luthi

Luthi, now assistant professor in ESU's Department of Physical Sciences, was a Presidential Scholar, the first recipient of the Peterson-Bruekelman scholarship, a Shepherd Scholar, and outstanding senior, and received the Best Student-Faculty Collaboration at the 2008 ESU Research and Creativity Day.

Armed with 213 hours of ESU credits and a 3.97 GPA—her sole "low" grade was a B+ in physical chemistry lab—Luthi began doctoral studies at Northwestern. She received the 2012 International Institute for Nanotechnology Outstanding Research Award from Northwestern, before earning her doctoral degree in 2014.

Luthi worked as a postdoctoral scientist from 2014-2017 at the University of California, San Diego, mentored community college chemistry students, was guest lecturer and instructor at Northwestern and UCSD, and volunteered in outreach events for low-income children in Chicago and San Diego.

Her six publications from graduate and post-graduate work have been cited more than 500 times. In 2017, she received the National Science Foundation femSTEM (females in science) Mentoring Program Research Fund.

She continues to mentor undergraduate students, encourage female STEM students, and volunteers for Enhancing Your Future.

Mrs. Stephanie Whitacre

Whitacre has more than 10 years' experience providing audit and consulting services to charitable organizations, foundations, religious entities, health-care providers, and other membership organizations. She also provides training programs for a variety of firms, and assists clients in identifying best practices, implementing new accounting standards, and internal-control reviews.

As a certified public accountant for BKD LLP in Kansas City, Missouri, she has significant experience conducting audits under Government Auditing Standards and compliance requirements with the U.S. Office of Management and Budget Uniform Guidance.

She holds the Not-for-Profit II Certification through the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Whitacre is a member of AICPA and the Kansas Society of Certified Public Accountants. She was a member of the 2013 KSCPA "20 up to 40" Leadership Program, serves on the board of directors of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Kansas City and is a member of the United Way of Greater Kansas City Young Leaders Society.

2017 Recipients

Andrew Heinicke

Click here to view Andrew's introduction video.

Andrew HeinickeAndrew Heinicke (MS 2008-School Psychology, Ed.S. 2008-School Psychology) has been chosen as the Outstanding Recent Graduate from The Teachers College. As coordinator/school psychologist for the Olathe, Kan., school district, Heinicke quickly became a leader in his workplace and beyond.

He is a member of the executive board and has served as president of the Kansas Association of School Psychologists. He also helped create Kansas School Psychologist Evaluation Protocol (KSPEP), a tool based on school psychology domains of practice and designed for administrators to use in evaluating school psychologists.

Heinicke serves as a board member for Skills to Succeed, a non-profit serving individuals with autism, ADHD, and high anxiety, among other developmental needs; is involved with Indivisible, training the next generation of civic-minded leaders; and led Advocacy Day at the state Capitol, where he and a group of school psychologists met with state senators and others to advocate for the needs of Kansas children.

Heinicke also has contacted U.S. Senator Jerry Moran about the importance of grant monies to finance school-based mental health personnel, especially in underserved areas in the state.

Heinicke has served as site supervisor for Emporia State's practicum and interns and is the program's most-productive training partner.

Ashley Long

Click here to view Ashley's introduction video.

Ashley LongAshley M. Long (MS 2010-Environmental Biology) is the Outstanding Recent Graduate for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She received her doctorate in 2014 in wildlife and fisheries sciences from Texas A&M University in College Station and is a research scientist at its Institute of Renewable Natural Resources.

She is chair of the American Ornithologists' Union's historical committee, is collaborating now with the Department of Defense and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services on a federal study of endangered golden-cheeked warblers, and has worked on numerous projects with other state and national departments and agencies.

Her articles have appeared in 20 publications, six of them stemming from her master's work at ESU.  She has written more than 50 technical reports for state and federal agencies and has presented reports at 30 professional conferences.

She also has led or assisted in 13 grant-funded research projects.

Long has volunteered for ESU's Expanding Your Horizons program, participated in an after-school nature program for Emporia elementary schools, mentors master’s and doctoral students at Texas A&M, and is a member of several professional societies, where she serves on committees to encourage and promote professional development for higher-education students.

John Moyer

Click here to view John's introduction video.

John MoyerJohn Moyer (BSB 2008-CIS), Outstanding Recent Graduate for the School of Business, became the Global Technical Project Manager for Cerner Technology Services of Kansas City in 2015. He manages health information technology solutions projects in the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Canada, and United Arab Emirates.

His responsibilities include operational improvement, code upgrades, building cloud environments, opening data centers in new markets, and building diverse teams with broad technical skills for multiple countries.

Earlier, he was IT Business Development Consultant for Hallmark Cards, Kansas City, and led an effort that resulted in a $12-million-plus cost savings.

Promoted to Technical Project Lead for Field Service Optimization in 2012, he led a project to replace 14,000 mobile devices for 55,000 retail locations in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada using SAP Afaria Mobile Device Management development and implementation. He managed the initiative to rollout corporate email and video to 14,000 field users.

As Hallmark's Project Manager of Field Service Security Remediation in 2014, Moyer was responsible for all phases of a project to enhance security features, including two factor authentication, on Motorola TC55 and Apple iPad mobile devices. Moyer is a Motorola TC55 device expert on Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) platform.

He is currently a member of the Emporia State Information Systems Advisory Council.

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.”

Past Outstanding Recent Graduate Recipients

Andrew Heinicke (MS '08, EdS '08)
Ashley Long (MS '10)
John Moyer (BSB '08)

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)