Alumni Making News: Memphis Flyer 20<30, Clinton Foundation, Award Winners & More

coverstory_20under30_p3a3365_michalyneasterMichalyn Easter (History ’13) was selected to The Memphis Flyer’s ”20<30: The Class of 2017,” an annual list of 20 young Memphians who are making a difference. Michalyn is a recipient of a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York, and is currently a history teacher at Overton High School. she is the founder of the nonprofit Our Grass Our Roots in North Memphis, an organization designed to inform the community of resources and opportunities, resist gentrification, assist progressive developments, and advance individuals in the Memphis area.

Derrick Brown (MAT ’13) was a recipient of the 2016 SPARK Award, which recognizes individuals and organizations making a difference in our community. Derrick is an instructional resource teacher at Riverview Middle School and the founder and CEO of The Academy Memphis, which serves as an advocate to bridge students with special needs to higher education. The SPARK Award ceremony aired on WKNO on December 12 and is available online.

Kyra Sanchez Clapper (History ’13) recently passed her Comprehensive Exams for her Modern European History doctorate at the University of Memphis, and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, François Michael Mansour!  Her doctoral dissertation on early French Romanticism and the writings of François-Rene de Chateaubriand builds on her earlier research for her dual Master’s degrees in French and History from the U of M.

Lauren DahlkeLauren Dahlke (Psych ’15), has been awarded a Van Vleet Memorial Doctoral Award at the University of Memphis. This is a university-wide fellowship – the top offered by the University, and two awards were made this year. Each doctoral-granting department nominates candidates, which then compete at the university level.

While at CBU, among other things, Lauren did an extended internship in the Department of Psychology at St. Jude Children’s Hospital and was involved with several studies in the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. She represented CBU at numerous research conferences, including two international venues–one of which was the 2016 International Symposium on Lasallian Research. Lauren entered the UM Master of Science Program in General Psychology last year, and this year she applied and was accepted to the Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology. This award is a tremendous honor for Lauren.

Sister Mary Juliana (MSEL ’05), Principal of St. Croix Catholic School in Stillwater, MN, was named Educator of the Year for 2017 by the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce. You can read more about her and her extensive work in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.

Christopher Peterson (Philosophy ’10) and Dr. Emily Holmes (Religion and Philosophy) co-authored a chapter: “Race, Religion, and Justice: From Privilege to Solidarity in the Mid-South Food Movement” that will be published in Food Justice in US and Global Contexts: Bringing Theory and Practice Together, ed. Ian Werkheiser and Zachary Piso (Springer, 2017).

You can read more about Chris’s thoughts on our food system and his life as a farmer on his blog Farmlosophy and on Loch Holland Farm’s Facebook page.

SaraSwisherHeadshotSara Swisher (English ’16) has been accepted into the Master’s program for Public Service at The University of Arkansas’s Clinton School for Public Service. The Clinton School is the first to offer a Master’s degree in Public Service, and gives students the knowledge and field experience to further their careers in the non-profit, governmental, volunteer, and private sectors. Upon Sara’s entry into the Clinton School, she will complete an international project in the summer of 2018. She is looking forward to this new and unique experience and furthering her career in non-profit management and policy. The Clinton School is a natural step forward from her service as an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) with the City of Memphis, during which she served as a Food Policy Coordinator at Memphis Tilth, which cultivates collective action for an economically sustainable, socially equitable, and environmentally sound local food system. Sara developed the Food Policy Program, one of Memphis Tilth’s seven programs, which has the mission to advance policy and practice within Shelby County and Memphis in order to promote food security and access.

CBU’s Education Department Receives High Marks On TN Educator Preparation Provider Report Card

CBU’s Education department was lauded for its involvement with Shelby County Schools, particularly Maxine Smith STEAM Academy and Crosstown High School, in the “Memphasis” commentary column by Dan Conaway in The Daily News on February 17. Entitled “Publicly Advancing,” the column quoted President John Smarrelli and closed with Conaway’s comment that “CBU isn’t retreating into ivy-covered towers or private classrooms; they are publicly engaging in their city and committing their expertise to improve it.”

Additionally, according to the TN Educator Preparation Provider (EPP) report card, CBU’s Department of Education earned outstanding marks. We are 1 of 6 schools scoring a 4/4 in candidate performance and a 3/4 in overall performance, employment, and provider impact.

EQuAL-posterIn other news, the Education department will start a new MAT fast track cohort in June (left). Our LANCE program is welcoming three new teachers in the fall who will be teaching at Promise Academy, Resurrection Catholic School, and St. Paul’s, in addition to our two continuing second year teachers who will remain at Promise Academy and St. Paul’s.

On April 25, the Education department presented awards for Outstanding Alumni to Shawn Morgan (Mathematics with Licensure), Derrick Brown (MAT), Matt Campbell (MED), Heather Valdez (MED), John Bordelon (MED & MSEL), and Kristi Baird (MSEL). Awards for Outstanding Education Partner were presented to two of our adjunct supervisors, Katie Stanton and Barbara Greebon. The Ellen Faith Chair’s Award for Outstanding Alumi went to Colleen Boyette (Human Development with Elementary Licensure).


Dr. Samantha Alperin (left), Colleen Boyette (center), Mac Faith (right)

The Outstanding Alumni Awards are given to undergraduate, MAT, MED, and MSEL alums who have shown outstanding teaching in their schools and have connected at the alumni level with our department. The Outstanding Partner Awards are given to adjuncts, school districts, or others who have partnered with our department to create professional development or other opportunities for our teaching candidates to interact with them (e.g., university supervisors, STEAM, SCS, municipalities,TFA, etc). The Dr. Ellen Faith Chair’s Award for Outstanding Alumni is in memory of Dr. Ellen Faith and is given at the chair’s discretion to the alumni exhibiting all domains of the Education Department Mission: Servant Leader, Effective & Reflective Practitioner, Champion of Individual Learner Potential, and Builder of Vibrant Learning Communities.

You can keep up with the Education Department on our Facebook page.

SOA Alumni Making News

Not a StrangerCBU alum Dennis Foley (’82) wrote and produced not a Stranger, a drama about a down-and-out, 50-year-old former high school teacher with a dark secret who befriends three 12-year-old boys, and helps one come to grips with his father’s death. Problems arise when police suspect the teacher of wrongdoing. The film was directed by and stars James Russo (pictured left).



Our Grass Our RootsMichalyn Easter (History ’13), a recipient of a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York, has returned to the Memphis area to teach high school Social Studies and to unite education with community activism in the city. She is the founder of Our Grass Our Roots, “a grassroots, non-profit movement to assist in transforming the North Memphis neighborhood into an economically sustainable, community focused, cultural capital that will be the grounds for fighting gentrification and citizen displacement, involving the community, structures and businesses already present, and nurturing the individuals within the community to help make Memphis a better place.”

Danielle Hobbs (Psychology ’13) was recently named Embarker of the Week by The New Memphis InstituteEmbark is bringing together and shaping Memphis’ next group of young professionals. Our Embark alum are high-performing twenty-something change-makers who work together to make a meaningful mark on our city. We recognize those Embarkers making ripples in their professions and communities.

Bryan Williams (MAT ’03) was named as one of Memphis Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40.

David Vaughn (Psychology ’12) and Kara Jones (Psychology ’12) were joined in marriage on Oct. 22.

Alumni Making News

James Johnson (History ’13) has been working for three years on joint JD/MBA degrees at Samford University in Birmingham, and anticipates graduating from both programs in May. Afterward, he will take the Alabama Bar exam and seek employment as in house counsel to a business or for a firm that does contract, real estate, and corporate law work for business firms.

Julia Kueter (History ’14) has been selected LV of the Month by the Lasallian Volunteers. Julia is a second-year LV serving in St. Louis and had this to say about serving as an LV: ”I never thought that I would build such strong friendships with people who live across the country. I know that being Lasallian will remain core to who I am.” More on Julia at his link »»

Chris Oxford (Religion and Philosophy ’15, with a concentration in Philosophy) is now at University of Memphis law school.

Dean Shauger (English ’12) was sworn-in to the Delaware bar on Wednesday, December 9, 2015. Mr. Shauger joins the Corporate & Business Litigation group at Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP. “DJ” earned his J.D. (2015) magna cum laude, Order of the Coif from Villanova University School of Law; and B.A. (2012) summa cum laudein English from Christian Brothers University.

An Exploration of Autism

Lois PrislovskyPsi Chi (the National Honors Society in psychology) and STARS (Students Tackling Autism Related Syndromes) hosted a talk by Dr. Lois Prislovsky, titled “I Might Be You: An Exploration of Autism and Connection,” on Thursday, September 24 in Spain Auditorium. Dr. Prislovsky graduated from CBU in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She earned her M.S. in General Psychology from the University of Memphis and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Tennessee. Dr. Prislovsky then completed over 138 hours of post-doctorate studies in assessment, cognitive psychology, Lindamood-Bell reading therapy, DIRFloortime methods for strength/relationship approaches to understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and advanced certification in Ericksonian hypnosis. Her other areas of expertise include learning disabilities, multi-skills training for Autism Spectrum clients, anxiety management, and ADHD coaching. She has authored several nationally published articles on ASD, ADHD, and Anxiety.

Together with her Mule and Muse Productions business partner, Barb Rentenbach, a non-verbal woman with autism, Dr. Prislovsky wrote I Might Be You: An Exploration of Autism and Connection. Rentenbach and Prislovsky have another book coming out this fall entitled Neurodiversity: A Humorous and Practical Guide to Living with ADHD, Anxiety, Autism, Dyslexia, Homosexuality, and Everyone Else. Dr. Prislovsky serves as the executive director of the Greater Living Institute GLI (non-profit designed to serve individuals with disabilities), president of Psychoeducational Network (private practice), and president of Mule and Muse Productions, LLC.

Alumni Making News

The Rev. Herbert Ene (MEd ’10) has joined St. Benedict at Auburndale High School (SBA) as a full-time chaplain. He joins Spiritual Affairs Director Hannah Keegan in the school’s Spiritual Affairs Office. You can read more about his appointment in the Bartlett Express.

Megan Wortham MurdockFour CBU alumni have been named to the Memphis Business Journal’s “Top Forty Under 40″ for 2105. Among them is the SOA’s Megan Wortham Murdock (ECC ’05), who is the marketing manager at CBIZ MHM.

7_dylan_web4Brother Dylan Perry (Religion & Philosophy, ’10) was honored with the Distinguished Young Alumni award at CBU’s Bell Tower Gala on November 14. Perry is the associate director of the Lasallian Volunteers for the De La Salle Christian Brothers. He earned a Master of Public Service from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service in 2013. As part of his studies he worked with Little Rock Urban Farming to create the Southern Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, Soil for Life (in Cape Town, South Africa), and with the Arkansas Governor’s No Kid Hungry Campaign. Perry was accepted into postulancy as a Christian Brother in July of this year. Postulancy is a period of time to learn to integrate faith, service, and community and to discern one’s call to the Brothers’ life. He currently resides in Washington, DC in the Martyrs of Turon Community.


Alumni Spotlight: Nathaniel Celeski

Karl Space 1On Saturday, November 14, at the invitation of School of Arts History alum Nathaniel “Nate” Celeski, Dr. Karl Leib traveled to Oxford, MS to speak with the Ole Miss Space Law Society, a formally recognized club at the University of Mississippi School of Law. The Society seeks to build relationships among individuals interested in air and space law who are connected to the Law School. The Society offers its members, and the Law School student body at large, exposure to contemporary issues in air and space law, and opportunities to meet professionals specializing in air and/or space law through regular meetings, social events, and educational opportunities.

“I joined the Ole Miss Space Law Society,” Celeski said, “because I gained an interest in space politics when taking Dr. Leib’s Honors class Political History of the Space Age. I’ve always had a curiosity about space and astronomy in particular, so his class piqued my interest. Dr. Leib’s energy and curiosity for the subject really struck a chord with us fellow space geeks,” Celeski stated, “so he was the most fitting scholar I could think of to do us the honor of being our first guest speaker at our very first event.”

Dr. Leib’s speaking engagement took place on the historic Oxford Square at the Growler, a local craft beer bar. In his talk, Dr. Leib established a basic foundation of space law knowledge, explored intriguing questions policy makers are facing, and will be facing in the not-so-distant future, regarding international space politics.

Dr. Leib reports, “More players are becoming active in space and activities such as tourism and mining are on the horizon. More countries, and more private actors, are developing space programs. International law for space must change to meet these new realities in order to promote commercial space activities and to avoid conflicting national or private claims to space-based resources.”

Celeski said, “I took his class around the same time I decided to take the LSAT and see if law school would be a good plan for me. As it turns out, Ole Miss offers a certificate program in Air Sensing and Space Law, so I plan to earn that certificate while working on my JD over the next two years. Upon graduating, I intend to pursue space law in some capacity, as it is an increasingly necessary field in a growing industry.”

Lastly, Nate wants everyone to know that “Dr. Leib did fantastic, and we were incredibly fortunate to have him come down! I’ve certainly missed him and everyone back home!”

Testimonial: Behavioral Sciences Alumna, Bridget M. Nuechterlein

Bridget M. Nuechterlein, who graduated from CBU in 2009 with a degree in psychology, and is now serving as an Evaluation Specialist at The Evaluation Center, School of Education & Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver recently touched base with the School of Arts to say thank you:

The psychology program at Christian Brothers University has provided me with the necessary tools to successfully further my career in psychology. With its emphasis on research, I adapted well into my graduate program, earning a master’s degree in educational psychology with a focus in research and evaluation. The supportive faculty in the psychology department developed a sequence of research courses that outlined the first two semesters of my graduate program. I entered these courses with previous experience in writing literature reviews and developing research designs with appropriate analysis techniques. I also had a deep understanding of statistical analysis software and knew how to interpret an output. This research sequence exposed me to research methodology and statistical analysis at an early stage. I did not realize how “research minded” I was until I began my graduate program and realized my first few courses were review while my classmates were learning something brand new. I was asked to be a teacher assistant (TA) because of my previous exposure to the material. I credit CBU for my early success in graduate school!



SOA Students Making News

The CBU chapter president of Phi Alpha Theta, Eddie Gallarno, announced that three new members were initiated last month into the National Honorary History Society. Amy Rohling, Mustafa Hmood, and David Ruiz-Padilla are the society’s newest members.  All three students are CBU History majors. Amy is from Nashville, Mustafa is from Iraq, and David is from Horn Lake, Mississippi.

The Commissioning Ceremony for the 12th Cohort of the LANCE (Lasallian Association of New Catholic Educators) and LEaPS (Lasallian Educators and Professional Scholars) was held September 23 in Stritch Chapel. Seven new members were commissioned to join the current six members in their second year. The LANCE teachers are placed in schools in the Catholic Diocese of Memphis, and our first LEaPS teacher is in the Shelby County Schools. They live in community on the CBU campus in the Avery apartments and are working on their master’s degrees in Education. The newly commissioned teachers are Elizabeth Ellman (MAT), Elizabeth George (MEd), Amber Lipford (MAT), Alexandra Odegaard (MEd), Clarence Say (MAT), Angelica Schutz (MAT), and Emma Voelker (MAT).

Derrick Brown, MAT Special Ed – teaches at Riverview Middle and has opened ‘The Academy’ an after school center for students in the Riverview area who need academic help and mentoring.

Lady Buc outside hitter Alexis Gillis (Visual Arts ’17) was named the GSC Defensive Volleyball Player of the Week. Gillis collected 3.25 digs per set, 39 in all, for the Lady Bucs last week, adding 38 kills, five aces and four blocks as well.

Twee Le, B.A. Liberal Studies, was accepted to Teach For America in Memphis.

Latoria Lewis (History ’11) is a now first-year law student at Faulkner University School of Law in Montgomery, AL.

Anthony Maranise, OblSB (Religious Studies ’11, Catholic Studies ’17) published an article entitled, “He visto la faz de Dios” in the September issue of La Palabra Entre Nosotros.

Emily Phillips (Studio Art ’15) was selected as a recipient of a $1000 award from the River Arts Festival, which was presented on May 30 at the Jay Etkin Gallery during the River Arts poster unveiling.

Lady Buc defender Gabrielle Pilgrim (English ’17) was named to the Capital One Academic All-District Team (Soccer) for the South Region. She has played 14 games, starting 13, and she carries a perfect 4.0 GPA in English.

Ashley Williams (Liberal Studies ’15) was named CARL of the Year. CARL stands for CBU Advising Registration Leader. The program is available to students who are interested in helping their peers have a fullfilling CBU experience.

Student Spotlight: Michael MacMiller

MMC_pic2Michael MacMiller, a senior psychology major with a minor is sustainability studies, has certainly made the most of his four years at Christian Brothers University. He has organized and reinvigorated a number of student organizations, worked to clean-up McKellar Lake and city parks, donated his hair to Locks of Love in honor of his uncle who passed away from cancer (which meant not cutting his hair for a year), served as a mentor for Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and worked tirelessly to promote sustainability initiatives and events on campus.

Most recently, this semester he and three other students (Shanice Oliver, Sara Swisher, and Johnathan Mosley) co-founded CBU’s chapter of the Food Recovery Network, a program that “unites students on college campuses to fight waste and feed people by collecting the surplus unsold food from their colleges and donating it to hungry Americans.”


Within just the first month of the program they have coordinated with campus dining and other student organizations to recover over 300lbs of food which they have donated to the Memphis Union Mission, the Juvenile Intervention and Faith-Based Follow-Up, the St. Vincent DePaul Food Mission, and FirstWorks, a non-denominational, faith-based, non-profit organization that strives to meet the needs of inner city children.

Michael is also a co-founder of the Student Sustainability Coalition (SSC), for which he has served as President during the past two years. The SSC was created three years ago from one of the many student-lead projects born out of Dr. Ben Jordan’s Intro to Sustainability class. The SSC’s mission is to promote the advancement of sustainable projects on campus and in the community, serve as a campus voice for sustainability issues, and engage with and promote sustainability within other student organizations.

“Michael is one of our key student difference-makers in recent years,” says Dr. Jordan. “He stands out at CBU for his leadership and his ability to encourage other students to get involved in campus and city vibrancy projects. He’s a great ambassador for CBU and its Lasallian mission.”

As Michael explains, Dr. Jordan and his sustainability class were the inspiration for his future endeavors. “When I first arrived at Christian Brothers University, Dr. Jordan was one of the first professors I met. He sparked my interest in sustainability and exposed me to some core notions, namely how interdependent the world really is, how some corporations don’t take the social cost of their business plans into consideration, and what it means to be a responsible citizen in society and to really appreciate the earth’s natural beauty and remedies. In short, I reevaluated my place in nature and my responsibilities toward it.”

As part of his presidential duties for the SSC, Michael sits on the university’s Sustainability Committee. In service of the committee’s mission, Michael has helped promote committee sponsored events, including a lecture by Reverend Fletcher Harper of GreenFaith, the Mid-South Farm to Table Conference, and the Livable Campus, Livable City workshop CBU co-hosted with Livable Memphis, in which he spoke about the Sustainability Coalition. He has also been a strong advocate for the university’s recycling program, which has seen its material collection double in recent months from a previous average of 1.5 tons a month to 3 tons a month.

10171885_271165759736777_8277782730438355735_nBut that’s not all. This past summer, he was one of only two undergraduates chosen to participate with graduate students and young professionals from across the country in the week-long Byron Fellowship, “an interdisciplinary course in leadership and sustainable community development that uniquely engages participants through place-based learning” that takes place in Turkey Run State Park in Marshall, Indiana.

“When I went to Byron, the program wasn’t about race, prestige, class, or place of origin. It was about action and being impactful in the places and spaces we dwell in. That meant a lot to me. In six days, I went from feeling I was just doing cool projects at CBU to understanding that I was one part of a global initiative, and that no matter your color, place you’re from, or station in life, we all want the same things – to breath clean air, drink clean water, and eat good food with the people we care about the most. That is our common bond.”