Union Alumni in the News 03/16/2015

By March 1, 2015Alumni

Congratulations to Union Institute & University’s alumni in the news. Thousands of Union alumni have generously transformed lives and bettered communities across the country. Do you have a story to share? Tell us about your recent accomplishments.


Percival Everett: Writing Other/Wise was released in October 2014 from Xavier Review Press. The text includes a chapter by alumna Sha-shonda Porter (Ph.D. 2011) titled “Identity and Misrecognition in Percival Everett’s Erasure,” which she began writing while attending Union’s doctoral program.

Steve Coach 50th MemoriesSteve Coach (B.A. 1997) is the co-founder of a new women’s shelter in Northern California that is in the early planning stages. He is also a photographer, graphic designer, music composer, and producer. Coach recently completed Cold North Wind, his 189th original instrumental arrangement.

In September 2014 the Fort Lauderdale Police Department promoted three Union Institute & University alumni. Doug MacDougall, who earned his B.S. in Criminal Justice Management in 2009, was promoted to Assistant Chief. He has been with the Ft. Lauderdale police department since 1991, and previously served as the executive officer to the chief of police and later worked as Commander of the Office of Internal Affairs. He was named Officer of the Month twice and has earned two life savings awards. Karen Dietrich took on the position of Major. She joined the Ft. Lauderdale police department in 1990 and graduated from Union with a B.A. Public Administration in 2004. She has served the department in a variety of roles, most recently as Captain of the Criminal Investigations Division. Dietrich holds the honor of the department’s first female motorcycle officer. Victor London who earned his B.S. in Criminal Justice Management in 2009 also moved up to the role of Major. London has been a part of the police department since 1995. His most recent position was Commander of Patrol, District Two.

Zubin Jimmy MistryZubin Jimmy Mistry (Ph.D. 1995) of Toledo, Ohio recently authored Countdown to Wealth-A-Geddon. The book explores the intersection of technology and the human brain as four different generations struggle to understand and adapt to the evolving monetary system. Dr. Mistry draws upon the psychology of human behavior and brain function to demonstrate why face-to-face communication and the generational transfers of knowledge, wealth, values and traditions fail. Dually licensed as both a clinical psychologist and a financial advisor, Dr. Mistry brings a unique perspective on human behavior, intergenerational communication and the wealth cycles.

Sharon G. Mijares (Ph.D. 1995) of Escondido California launched The International Journal of Gender, Nature & Transformation in the spring of 2014. The journal’s focus is on healing gender and the world. The first issue, Summer-Spring 2014, honored the sacred feminine through nature and myth.The Winter-Spring 2015 edition discusses ways to restore gender balance and healing the split between heaven and earth.

Betty KrasneBetty Krasne (Ph.D. 1979) authored Body Parts in June 2014. Set in New England during the 1980s, the book follows well-meaning people whose lives suddenly go in unexpected directions when desire and memory take over. Dr. Krasne has written poems, articles, and four previous books. For the greater part of her career she was a professor at Mercy College, in Westchester, New York, and Director of the Honors Program and the McNair Scholars Program.

Stevanne Auerbach Dr ToyStevanne Auerbach (Ph.D. 1973) released the fourth, completely revised edition of Dr. Toy’s Smart Play/ Smart Toys a guide to play from baby to older children. The book is a comprehensive guide to help parents select and use the best toys and games for developing play quotient and expanding a child’s playfulness. The book assists parents in navigating toy and playing options and offers tips on evaluating toy safety.

Deri Joy Ronis’ (Ph.D. 1987) peer mediation program was recently adopted by New College in Sarasota, Florida with the support of Sarasota World Affairs Council and the New College Foundation. Dr. Ronis trained eight New College students in valuable communication skills to help in conflict resolution among peers. After training, the New College students brought the program to Sarasota High School. The high school students engaged closely with the material and showed personal drive to learn about peer mediation. The most common reason the students gave for joining the program was to help their friends resolve conflicts. The training of both the college mediators and the high school mediators was a great success.

Cathy Nolan Vincevic (B.A. 2004) serves as the director of the Gordon-Nash Library in New Hampton, New Hampshire. Vincevic is also a visual artist, curator, writer, and performance artist. She has been a member of Mobius since 1994, performing around the world in places including Bosnia, New York City, Brazil, Macedonia, and Croatia. Her memoir The Tiki Room was published in 2008.

Robert Lane (Ph.D. 1992) of Anchorage, Alazka was promoted to full professor of psychology at the Alaska Pacific University. He has also serves as program director and developer of the APU Psy.D. program. The first group of doctoral students in the history of APU graduated in spring 2014.

Alumnus Robert L. Smith III’s (Ph.D. 1986) research about Upper Midwest taxation “The Great Minnesota Exodus Tax Acts of 2013” was cited by Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, author of An Inquiry into The Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States. Dr. Smith lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota and authors the blog Gopher State Politics.

Elizabeth A. Vogler (Ph.D. 2010) of North Carolina was named Dean of the Division of Professional Programs at Mars Hill University in 2013. She also remains the Social Work Program Director. Dr. Vogler earned the 2014 G. McLeod Bryan Caring Award in recognition of her community service and social justice work. She also received the Robert S. Gibbs Outstanding Teacher Award in 2013 as well as the Outstanding Faculty Award from the senior class in 2014.

Lorraine NealLorraine Neal (B.A. 2005) founded the Contemporary Dance and Fitness Studio in Montpelier, Vermont in 1973 and she still serves as the director today. The studio celebrated its 40th anniversary at the Barre Opera House with a reception for Lorraine and a special performance. Lorraine’s career includes work as dance faculty of Goddard College, a master teacher for the Burklyn Ballet Theatre Summer Program, and Arts Supervisor for a special education private school in New York City. Lorraine has choreographed, directed, produced, and performed in numerous dance and theater productions, and was the founder and artistic director of Teen Jazz, a company of talented dancers from several Central Vermont area high schools.

Christopher Nemeth (Ph.D. 2003) was chosen as the 2013 Engineer/Scientist of the Year by his employer, Applied Research Associates, a 1,100-member national science and engineering consulting firm. Dr. Nemeth performs cognitive systems engineering work in high risk sectors from the military to national security and healthcare. His fifth book, Becoming Resilient is the second in Ashgate Publishing’s Resilience Engineering Perspectives series.

M Charlotte WolfM. Charlotte Wolf’s (Ph.D. 2004) book Original Bavarian Folktales: A Schoenwerth Selection, was published in May 2014. This volume is the first dual-language edition (German-English) of Franz Xaver von Schönwerth’s tales, which fell into obscurity and have recently been rediscovered. The 150 fables include “The Spinster Bride,” “Pride Will Be Punished,” and “The Marriage of Sun and Moon.”

Shirley JohnsonShirley Johnson (Ph.D. 1996) a Union alumna and our 2013 Florida commencement speaker, was recently featured in the Miami Herald for her lifetime of educating and serving others. After 42 years of service, Dr. Johnson recently retired from the Miami-Dade school district. Francis Francois, regional director of admissions for Union’s Miami academic center and a current Ed.D. student was interviewed in the article. He is a mentee of Dr. Johnson and was influenced by her ability to empower others.

Robin Throne (Ph.D. 2000) was named the recipient of the fourth David R. Collins Literary Achievement Award from the Midwest Writing Center. Dr. Throne was honored for her support of the Quad Cities area writers, coordination of writing programs, her independent literary press 918studio, and her publication record.

Debrah HallUnion alumna Debrah Hall (Ph.D. 2007) was recently named Head of School at The Monarch School in Houston, Texas.