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Michigan State University

Class Notes — Fall 2022

Spartan statue

Class Notes — Fall 2022


ESSEX E. FINNEY JR., Ph.D. ’63 (Agriculture and Natural Resources), has received the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University College of Engineering. Finney served as associate administrator, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and was acting administrator from 1993-94. ARS is the principal research agency for USDA. He was also a senior policy analyst in Washington, D.C., in the Office of the Science advisor to the president from 1980-81. 

BOB PETTAPIECE, ’63, ’67 (Both in Arts and Letters), has retired from Wayne State College of Education and joined the board of Population Connection, a national grassroots population organization that educates young people and advocates for progressive action to stabilize the world population at a level that Earth’s resources can sustain. 

SAL P. RESTIVO, M.A. ’66, Ph.D. ’71 (Both in Social Science), recently published “Inventions in Sociology: Studies in Science & Society,” a textbook presenting a collection of old and new essays exploring Restivo’s unique contributions to the sociology of science, mathematics, logic, robotics and the brain. 

ALLAN HODGES, ’67 (Social Science),?is serving as president of Beacon Hill Village, a virtual community of 350 older adults who live in central Boston and wish to “age in place” in their own homes and neighborhoods. 

MARCELLETTE G. WILLIAMS, ’68, M.A. ’70, Ph.D. ’81 (All in Arts and Letters), was recently honored by UMass Amherst with an honorary doctorate of Public Service in recognition of 25 years of service to the University of Massachusetts. 

JOHN WILKENS, ’69 (Engineering), has received the Red Cedar Circle Award in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science from Michigan State University College of Engineering. Wilkens is the chief executive officer for Woundchek Laboratories (WCL), a company specializing in developing and commercializing diagnostics for the wound care field of medicine. WCL is the first and only company to launch point-of-care diagnostics to assist caregivers in identifying why a wound may not heal. 



N. KEVIN KRANE, ’72 (Natural Science), has stepped down from his position as vice dean for Academic Affairs at Tulane University School of Medicine, a position Krane held from 1994-2022. During this time, Krane received almost every major teaching award from the School of Medicine, Tulane University and the American Association of Medical Colleges. 

R. JAMES PAAS, ’72 (Social Science), recently had his company Mistequay Group Ltd. acquired by Textron Aviation. Mistequay Group Ltd.—a supplier of precision components for aerospace and defense manufacturers—will operate as AeroMotion by Textron Aviation and be integrated into Textron Aviation’s global operations. 

MARVA L. LEWIS, ’73 (Social Science), recently published “Therapeutic Cultural Routines to Build Family Relationships: Talk, Touch & Listen While Combing Hair,” a book exploring how the simple routine of combing hair serves as an emotionally powerful, trauma-informed, culturally valid therapeutic tool for use by mental health helpers. 

LIBRADO GAYTON, ’74 (Arts and Letters), an ordained deacon by the Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan, was recently appointed director of Multicultural Diversity for the Diocese of Saginaw. 

MICHAEL T. VYNALEK, ’75 (Business), was elected to serve as chair of the Ohio Bankers League’s (OBL) board of directors in 2022. Comprised of bank executives from across the state, the OBL board serves as the governing body for the professional trade association representing all Ohio banks and savings institutions. Vynalek is the president and chief executive officer of Citizens National Bank of McConnelsville, Ohio. 

KEVIN COCOZZOLI, ’78 (Engineering), has been named adjunct professor of Aeronautical Science at Northwest Florida State College. Cocozzoli is a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel and holds a Master of Aeronautical Science degree from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. 



SCOTT NIXON, ’81 (Business), was inducted as a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. The American College is recognized as the preeminent organization of trial lawyers in North America, dedicated to maintaining and improving the standards of trial practice, professionalism, ethics and the administration of justice. 

LISA M. ALLISS, ’82 (Engineering), recently retired after 29 years as a software engineer for Texas Instruments, General Dynamics and Chemring Sensors & Electronic Systems. 

JOHN E. MROZ, ’82 (Communication Arts and Sciences), celebrated 40 years working in the Production and Post Production Media Industry. Mroz is currently vice president of operations for Cutters Studios Detroit in Oak Park, Michigan. 

JEFFREY BLOHM, ’83 (Communication Arts and Sciences), recently retired after 37 years in the Broadcast Television Industry. 

BELLANDRA FOSTER, ’83, Ph.D. ’99 (Both in Engineering), has received the Civil and Environmental Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University College of Engineering. Foster is the president and owner of BBFoster Consulting, PC, in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her company provides professional services to public and private sector clients in civil engineering, including facilities management, program management, quality control, site safety, owner’s representative and utility coordination. 

THOMAS J. MARTINELLI, ’83 (Arts and Letters), J.D. ’89 (Law), ‘M.S. ’99 (Social Science), recently published “Deterring Unconstitutional Policing, What All Cops, Civic Leaders, and Citizens Should Know for Improving Police-Community Interactions and Reducing Civil Liability,” with Gatekeeper Press. Martinelli is a former police officer, Internal Affairs prosecutor, lawyer, police trainer and author. In his book, Martinelli examines the social dynamics involved in constitutionally policing society’s disenfranchised and provides a template of accountability for the police profession. 

SHERYL PLACE, ’83 (Arts and Letters), has retired from public school education after 38 years of service with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Place has accepted a position as the educational technology specialist, United States, with BookWidgets—a Belgian-based educational technology company. 

MARCIA L. LAMPELA, ’84 (Engineering, Honors College), has received the Mechanical Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University College of Engineering. Lampela is the site manager for the Discovery Partners Institute at the University of Illinois System in Chicago. Lampela has advocated for women in STEM throughout her career. She is a longtime supporter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and was named a fellow in 2008. 

MICHAEL W. LAMACH, ’85 (Engineering), has received the Claud R. Erickson Distinguished Alumni Award from the Michigan State University College of Engineering. The Erickson Award is the highest honor presented to an alumnus by the college. It recognizes professional accomplishment, volunteer service and distinguished service to the college and the engineering profession. Lamach led Trane Technologies, a global climate innovator, for 12 years. As CEO, he transformed Trane Technologies from a diversified industrial manufacturing company, formerly Ingersoll Rand, to an industry-leading climate company with consistent top-tier financial and ESG performance. 

XIAN-HE SUN, M.S. ’85 (Natural Science), M.S. ’87, Ph.D. ’90 (Both in Engineering), has received the Computer Science and Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University College of Engineering. Sun is a University Distinguished Professor and the Ron Hochsprung Endowed Chair of Computer Science, and former chairperson of the department of computer science at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is a prominent scholar in high-performance computing (HPC), with expertise in computer system software, architecture and performance modeling. 

MARY BETH WEBER, ’85 (Arts and Letters), recently published a co-authored book, “Virtual Technical Services: A Handbook,” addressing emergency and crisis planning specifically for technical services. Weber discusses how the pivot to remote work can revolutionize technical services librarianship and allow us to better serve the needs of a 21st century library. 

KRISTIN BELTZER, ’86 (Communication Arts and Sciences), was recently appointed to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The Liquor Control Commission, housed within the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, is responsible for managing the beer, wine, distilled spirits and mixed spirit drink industries in Michigan. 

KELLI GLASGOW, ’87 (Human Ecology), was recently named associate and senior project manager at DIGROUP Architecture, LLC, New Brunswick, New Jersey. Glasgow’s expertise focuses on team coordination of multiple designs and engineering disciplines while working closely with clients throughout the design and construction process to ensure the highest level of performance from their new facilities. 

WADE E. HIGGASON, ’87 (Social Science), recently retired from the Livonia Police Department after 33 years in law enforcement. For the past 15 years, Higgason was assigned to the Michigan State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force as a computer and cell phone forensic examiner. Higgason was also assigned to the FBI’s Southeastern Michigan Trafficking and Exploitation Crime Task Force as a task force officer, performing computer and cell phone examinations. 



MICHAEL R. BUDZIK, ’91 (Communication Arts and Sciences), was nominated for a 2022 Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Mixing for the reality television show “Car Masters: Rust to Riches.” 

BRIAN O’CONNOR, ’91 (Communication Arts and Sciences), has completed his sixth and final year on the ComArtSci Alumni Advisory Board, including a two-year term as president. During his tenure, O’Connor served on the Development Committee, chaired the Student/Alumni Engagement Committee, and served as an executive committee member. 

JAMES B. YOUNG, ’91 (Social Science), recently founded The Product Community, a company focused on product development learning communities designed specifically for associations. 

KISHEN E. NEWTON, ’92 (Social Science), has established a successful podcast called “Stories with Kishen,” a podcast series featuring conversations about overcoming obstacles. Newton is currently producing a docuseries on high school youth in urban areas measuring and strengthening their emotional intelligence. 

ANDREW G. HILL, M.A. ’93 (Education), recently retired from international education. Before retirement, Hill was head of Schooling of ERV Ecole Ruban Vert in Gabon, Africa. Hill has returned to his home in the UK after over 40 years abroad. 

CHARLES MACON, ’93, M.S. ’98, Ph.D. ’01 (All in Engineering), has received the John D. Ryder Electrical and Computer Engineering Alumni Award. Macon is a principal electronics engineer at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio. He oversees the research and development of advanced technologies to improve the survivability of the nation’s fielded and next-generation warfighting forces. 

JASON NAPOLITANO, ’95 (Engineering), has received the Applied Engineering Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University College of Engineering. Napolitano has been with Altair Engineering for nearly 27 years in management, sales and technical support positions. Today he is responsible for overseeing sales, support and operations for Altair’s business throughout the Americas as senior vice president. 

MICHAEL WARDIAN, ’96 (James Madison), recently raised over $100,000 for WorldVision clean water projects by running the entire length of the United States. Wardian, an international shipping broker and ultra-marathon runner, completed his trek in 62 days, joining a group of fewer than 400 people known to have crossed the U.S. by foot. 

LAURIN GIERMAN, ’97 (Lyman Briggs and Natural Science), M.A. ’21 (Education), was named director of Spartan Family Connections (SFC), East Lansing, Michigan. SFC is a central resource for Spartan families as they help their students succeed while navigating life at MSU. 

MICHAEL GONZALEZ, ’97 (Business, Honors College), was recently announced as one of 17 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Principal Leadership Award recipients in Wisconsin for 2022. He is currently the principal at Bessie Allen Middle School in North Fond du Lac, WI. 

DAVID S. BRINKMANN, ’99 (Social Science), former City of Detroit director of development and special projects for the Housing & Revitalization Department, has joined Butzel’s growing Real Estate Practice. Brinkmann is a shareholder practicing in the firm’s Troy and Detroit offices. 



JOSHUA DIXON, ’00 (Engineering), was recently named group president for the Irrigation Division of Valmont Industries in Omaha, Nebraska. 

ISAAC PERRY, ’00 (Arts and Letters), has received the Green Apple Teaching Award from Michigan State University College of Engineering. Perry successfully implemented a computer science education program at Lakeland High School in White Lake, Michigan, and teaches AP-level classes that include AP English Language and Composition, AP Computer Science Principles and AP Computer Science A. Perry was nominated for the Green Apple Teaching Award by Ken Michalak, who graduated in May 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. 

LUKE RODESILER, ’00 (Social Science), M.A. ’07 (Arts and Letters), authored “Bringing Sports Culture to the English Classroom: An Interest-Driven Approach to Literacy Instruction.” Published by Teachers College Press, the book promotes honoring students’ knowledge of, interests in, and experiences with sports culture to advance literacy learning in the secondary English language arts classroom. 

GLORIA NIXON-JOHN, Ph.D. ’01 (Arts and Letters), recently published “The Dark Safekeeping,” a collection of poems inspired by the natural world. 

DOUG ROGINSON, ’01 (Business), was recently featured in a press release highlighting the launch of a Diverse Supplier Grant Initiative, sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co. As the architect and director for the grant initiative, Roginson’s vision is to help lower common financial barriers that diverse-owned businesses experience when seeking to compete and earn contract opportunities with large corporations. 

JANITA WILLIAMS, ’01 (Business), recently received her School Finance and Operations Certification (SFO) from the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO). 

MICHAEL P. MCCAY, ’02 (Communication Arts and Sciences), was promoted to assistant vice president and executive director of the University of Tennessee Alumni Association. 

LINDSEY NEUMANN, ’02 (Arts and Letters), recently featured her choreography work in multiple Disney Jr. and Netflix Jr. animated shows. 

JASON HART, ’04 (Natural Science), was recently promoted to master gunnery sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. 

CHRISTA PORTER, ’04 (James Madison), was awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio 

TERLENDA LASSITER, M.A. ’09 (Communication Arts and Sciences), graduated from the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) Leadership Development Program and is now an ASHA Leadership Mentorship Program Mentor and S.T.E.P. Mentor. 



ALEXANDER WILLIAM STRAUCH, ’12 (Natural Science, Honors College), D.V.M. ’17 (Veterinary Medicine), was awarded the Early-Career Livestock Veterinarian Award from Michigan State University for his contributions to Michigan agriculture & student mentorship. 

MASAKI TAKAHASHI, ’12 (Communication Arts and Sciences), has been selected as the next Lansing region poet laureate by The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP)and the Residential College for Arts and Humanities (RCAH) Center for Poetry at Michigan State University. As poet Laureate, Takahashi will engage the tri-county region in the literary arts. Takahashi is well-known for being the founder and host of The Poetry Room Open Mic, established in 2017 at The Robin Theatre. 

MAXWELL ISAACOFF, ’14 (Social Science), has been named federal and external affairs manager for Anthem, Inc., a Fortune 50 company in Washington, D.C. 

BETHANY L. KOGUT, ’18 (Education, Honors College), recently began working with EarthGen in Seattle, Washington, to bring sustainability education resources to schools and teachers across Washington. She attributes her success in environmental education in New York City and now Seattle to her experiential learning opportunities as an undergraduate student at the Student Organic Farm. 

HEATHER E. DOVER, M.S. ’19 (Veterinary Medicine), was appointed president of the Michigan Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for 2022-23. 



CARLY R. GARTENBERG, ’21 (Social Science), was recently promoted to account recruiting manager at Alumni Healthcare Staffing in Bridgewater, New Jersey. 


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