In April, the CEHD Alumni Society recognizes rising alumni from across our college who have achieved early distinction in their careers, demonstrated emerging leadership, or shown exceptional volunteer service in their communities.
See the full list of our 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 CEHD Rising Alumni.
When Amira Adawe emigrated from Somalia to Minnesota in 2000, she brought a life-long interest in serving her community. Today Amira, who has a bachelor’s degree in family social science and a master’s in public health, is the manager of Governor Mark Dayton’s Children’s Cabinet. That’s just her day job, however – her work on skin-lightening practices and chemical exposure in the immigrant and refugee communities has attracted national attention. Amira has raised awareness of the dangers of skin-lightening creams, both from the harmful ingredients such as mercury and from their negative impact on women’s self esteem. Amira hosts a weekly radio show in Somali that reaches 80,000 people worldwide, and her personal outreach and connections have made her a valuable consultant for cities across the U.S.
Reem Abdullah Al-Ghanim, who has a master’s in human resource development, wins the award for traveling the furthest to join us. Only by 3,000 miles though! She lives in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia and is a division head at Saudi Aramco, an energy company. CEHD associate Dean Ken Bartlett nominated Reem because of her work to develop women leaders and inspire girls to pursue STEM. Her current role overseeing women’s development and diversity at Aramco is sparking significant change at the company by increasing the pipeline of talented women and fostering women’s career advancement. At a national level, Reem is leading a project to establish a country-wide leadership development institute to train high potential future managers.
Paul Ambrosier a proud graduate of the master’s in education program, and credits the legendary professor JoAnne Buggey as an influence and inspiration. Paul teaches fourth grade English Language Arts at Franklin Elementary School, and is recognized as a mentor for both students and colleagues. He also is a volunteer coach for football, basketball and baseball. One of his former students said he “created motivation for us to remain interested in learning and school.” Beyond his teaching duties, Paul is involved in social studies curriculum writing for the district.
Korina Barry overcame an unstable home life to become a first in her family to graduate college. Today, she brings those experiences to serve children and families. Korina is an Anishinaabe from the Leech Lake band who grew up in south Minneapolis, and earned a bachelor’s and master of social work from the U of M. Today, she is the director of outreach the U’s Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (or “cashew”). Korina works on public policy, manages communications, and sustains relationships with various stakeholders in the child welfare field. Korina has a deep commitment to give back to the Native community. She is a cofounder of KWESTRONG Indigenous Women’s Wellness, a grassroots movement building empowerment through health activities.
Joshua Brewster has a master’s in social work and master’s in healthcare administration from U of M, and is the director of Social Work and Spiritual Care at Michigan Medicine, the academic hospital at the University of Michigan. He oversees 300+ social workers addressing the needs of patients and families. Additionally, Josh has an appointment and responsibilities with the School of Social Work building interdisciplinary collaborations and trainings at Michigan Medicine and with partners in Western Uganda. Despite working for our rival Wolverines, Josh continues to consult for his alma mater, assisting the School of Social Work to develop a concentration in health, disability and aging. Josh remembers calling the U of M during his admissions process from a communist-era phone booth in Bulgaria, where he was serving in the Peace Corps.
Chris Gonzalez earned a PHD in family social science and joined the faculty at Lipscomb University in Nashville as a professor of psychology. Chris says his experience in CEHD’s Family Social Science department was the launch-pad for every single one of his professional accomplishments. Chris soon made an impact at Lipscomb by leading the development of a new master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. He also founded the Lipscomb Family Therapy Center, a mental health clinic open to the public. Chris is an active volunteer in his community, and has led several international service trips. He has established a partnership with a children’s rescue organization in Ghana called Touch a Life, and involves his students in analyzing their program data.
Jennifer Hall-Lande started her career as a special education teacher and later school psychologist. Today, Jennifer is a research associate and faculty of CEHD’s Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, or “LEND”, program at the Institute on Community Integration. She was a LEND fellow as a PHD student in educational and school psychology, and says it put her on her career path to support healthy child development and early identification and intervention for children with developmental delays. Jennifer specializes in autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disabilities, and has a statewide outreach role through the Centers for Disease Control to promote early development screening and intervention.
Meghan Hickey has a bachelor’s in child psychology, and a master’s and PHD in educational psychology from the U of M. Meghan was described as someone who will stand up for what is right and advocate for children and families. She is the Special Education Supervisor for Robbinsdale Area Schools. In this role, she leads and mentors special education teachers and service providers across the district, as well as conflict resolution, monitoring discipline, and supervising an alternative to suspension program. In addition, Meghan supervises practicum students and served as a statewide Specific Learning Disabilities trainer for the Department of Education, and is a member of the Minnesota School Psychologists Association board.
Katherine Hill completed a master of public policy and a master and PHD in social work at the U of M. Her nominator said Katharine “lives her values in all aspects of her work,” and she was granted tenure a year early because of her ability to maintain an active research program while also teaching a high load of classes. Her research focuses on children with disabilities who experience abuse and neglect, and she has done important work to establish community initiatives to assist this group. In addition, Katharine is dedicated to engaging social workers in the political process, promoting the importance of voting and influencing systems to other professionals.
Anne-Marie Kuiper is contributing to economic and educational opportunities for communities of color in the state of Minnesota. She has a master’s and PHD in human resource development and is currently the Director of Strategic Development at Summit Academy OIC, a vocational training institution. She’s especially proud of the program she created that provides students with a GED plus certification to work in construction or healthcare. Graduates have seen their average income increase three-fold because of the high skill levels gained in the program. Anne- Marie is also heavily involved in the community, including helping to establish North@Work, a program focused on moving 2,000 African American men into sustainable employment.
Angélica Montané lives in Lima, Peru. After receiving her master’s in Comparative and International Development Education, Angélica returned to her home country to work toward major educational reforms. As Peru’s General Director of Basic Education, she leads a large and diverse team overseeing preschool, primary, secondary and sports and physical education in Peru. Angélica’s accomplishments include implementing curricula to meet the differing needs of rural and urban schools and piloting a new preschool curriculum. These initiatives have improved learning and addressed class, ethnic and gender-based equity issues. In addition to the everyday work of policy and program implementation in the Ministry, she has responded to various crises affecting Peruvian educational systems, including flooding and national strikes. Angélica says CIDE helped her make more sense of Peru´s education policies by contrasting it with others across the world.
Angela Narayan has a master’s and PHD in our top-ranked child psychology program, and is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Child Psychology at the University of Denver. Angela also directs the PROTECT Lab, which studies the transmission of parenting behaviors and family dynamics across generations. She looks at how early adversities in parents’ histories and current family environments can affect psychological wellbeing. She is currently leading a project to study how young parents expecting a baby can be protected from the effects of their own childhood adversity and its impact on their parenting skills and romantic relationships. Angela’s career has been focused on serving communities in need, families with higher rates of poverty, mental health problems and acute stress levels. She is drawn to stories of people who overcome adversity, and recalls traveling to her father’s home country of India and meeting adults who had faced hardship as youth but were now successful.
Josh Pauly is using his master’s in education to promote literacy and close the opportunity gap. Josh is the executive director of Books on Wings, a nonprofit that provides culturally relevant books to underserved students in grades K-3 in an effort to advance educational equity. He also founded PeopleSourced Policy, a nonpartisan organization working to increase access and engagement in the local political process. He also has countless volunteer involvements and recently was recognized for his service with the Islamic Resource Group. Previously, Josh taught in the Minneapolis Public Schools, where he started an after school book club for male students called “Real Men Read.” Josh’s work draws on his own background growing up in a single parent home and being a first-generation college student working to afford tuition.
Kelly Roysland Curry represents what has become a rare commodity in college sports: women coaching women. Kelly earned a bachelor’s in sport management and a master’s in applied kinesiology while playing on the 2004-2007 Gopher basketball team. Kelly was a four-time letter winner, leading the Gophers to the NCAA final four and winning several individual recognitions, including academic All-Big Ten. She returned to her alma mater for a few years as assistant and interim basketball coach, and then was hired as head coach at Macalester College. Kelly is the youngest female coach and second youngest coach in their conference. The Scots doubled their previous win total in just her second season. Kelly is committed to mentorship of emerging women leaders, and has been involved with the TeamWomenMN professional networking group for many years.
After completing a master’s in applied kinesiology, Nicholas Simonelli joined The Power House at Highland as a performance coach. He quickly became a leader in the company by creating a unique education program for new hires and current staff. His work as Director of Education provides a consistent, high-quality investment in The Power House coaches and keeps them ahead of changes in the fitness industry. He also oversees daily programming for the entire gym, which serves around 200 athletes per day. Outside of work, Nick has a passion for ultimate Frisbee as a volunteer youth coach and player. He is captain of one of the most successful professional ultimate teams in the country, traveling the world for tournaments and helping to legitimize the sport. Nick says CEHD helped him look at human movement with more depth and complexity than ever before, and introduced him to people who inspired him to strive for more.
Christopher Sipple earned his Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development just a year ago, and is currently the Associate Vice President of International, Intercultural, and Service Engagement at the University of Findlay in Ohio. His work can be characterized as “hands on” in trying to internationalize his campus. He leads study abroad trips, promotes faculty development opportunities, and engages with the senior leadership of his university to institutionalize global engagement. Chris is excited about helping others realize that their cultural lens is not the only valid lens with which to view the world, and continually seeks out new experiences that challenges his comfort zone.
Renáta Tichá is a leading researcher and advocate in the field of special and inclusive education as well as adult services for individuals with disabilities. She has a master’s and PHD in educational psychology, and today plays an important international role as the Director of the Global Resource Center for Inclusive Education at the U of M Institute on Community Integration. The GRC collaborates with entities around the world to improve education policies and practices. She has secured several federal grants to work with universities in five countries and brought many students to the U.S. to experience special education in this country. She is recognized for her expertise in progress monitoring, inclusion education, and service delivery for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Sara Witmer is an Associate Professor of School Psychology and Co-Director of School Psychology Programs at Michigan State University. She has a master’s and PHD in educational psychology, and is known for her work on how to use assessment and accommodation to enhance instructional decision making for students with disabilities and English language learners. Sara also stands out for her commitment to projects that provide not only professional development and mentoring, but remove financial barriers for graduate students.