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State’s Stars

  • Author:
    Robert Bao
  • Published:
    Winter 2014

Lisa Furman, ’98, MJK2 ’99, assistant professor of music at Olivet College, has been named director of education. Furman previously taught at Jackson Community College and served as director of bands at East Jackson High School, East Jackson Middle School and Northwest High School of Jackson. She has taught a variety of music courses at Olivet College, and has served as director of the wind ensemble, athletic bands and instrumental music program.

Christian Hokans, ’13, ADDU ’13, has been honored with the Frank M. Fitzgerald Public Service Award, given annually to outstanding young volunteers. Hokans was recognized for his work as an intern in the Michigan Legislature and with the Michigan Dept. of the Attorney General. He was recently inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and served as a columnist with the State News. Hokans is a member of Curriculum Beyond the Classroom, and is currently serving an internship with Michigan Family Forum, Lansing.

Michael Nylund, ’91, has been named vice president of sales for Scholarship America’s scholarship management services. Nylund held interim positions with Merrill Corporation, where he led a team of 150 people to provide consulting services to domestic and international clients. Prior to Merrill Corporation, Nylund served as director of Admissions at Regency Corporation.

He also has experience as a sales executive and account manager for Black & Decker, Kohler Company, EVS and Smurfit- Stone Container.

Carrie Booth Walling, ’96, assistant professor of political science at Albion College, has published her first book, All Necessary Measures: The United Nations and Humanitarian Intervention (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013). Booth Walling’s research focuses on international responses to mass atrocity crimes including military humanitarian intervention and human rights trials, and how human rights norms are reshaping the meaning of state sovereignty at the United Nations. She has published articles on ethnic cleansing, humanitarian intervention and international human rights trials in the Journal of Peace Research, International Journal of Human Rights, Civil Wars and New Global Studies.

David Goldenberg, ’00, ADDU ’00, public affairs and strategic communications consultant at Resolute Consulting, and Greg Pekarsky, ’07, owner/broker at Vesta Preferred, LLC, have been named to the second annual “Double Chai in the Chi: 36 Under 36” list of young Jewish movers and shakers in Chicago. Goldenberg is a member of JUF’s YLD Board and the Young Leadership Campaign chair. He is a trustee of Michigan State University’s Hillel, and has regularly hosted and counseled students From James Madison College at MSU. Pekarsky is president of the Associate Board of Chicago Gateway Green, the city’s largest non-profit greening and beautifying effort. He is also a member of the Young Professional Network for the Chicago Association of REALTORS.

Rebekah Faivor, ’10, SPCU ’10, farm agronomist at Peckham Farms, Lansing, has been named farm team leader. Faivor will manage and coordinate the daily responsibilities of Peckham’s 10-acre farm that produces fruits, flowers and vegetables. She also developed agricultural training material and conducted related training classes. Faivor is currently earning a Master’s of Science in Horticulture at MSU. She is the owner of Faivor Fresh Produce in Saint Johns, MI.

Phil Duran, ’89, Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) secretary, has been named president of MSBA. Duran was a co-chair and longtime board member of the Minnesota Lavender Bar Association, an organization for LGBT attorneys, law students, and judges that is an affliate of the MSBA. He was also influential in founding the Minnesota Judicial Branch’s Committee for Equality & Justice, based on MSBA recommendations dating from 2008.

Daniel Herms, PhD ’91, an author, researcher, professor and chair in the Department of Entomology at the Ohio State University in Columbus, OH, is this Year’s recipient of the International Society of Arboriculture’s R. W. Harris Author’s Citation. Herms has written more than 200 publications including more than 70 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters on such topics as emerald ash borer. He is one of eleven distinguished professionals who make up the circle of winners for ISA’s Awards of Distinction.

Kathryn Davis,’78, employee relations consultant for Fifth Third Bank in the Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Lansing areas, has been promoted to vice president, regional employee relations advisor for the Ohio region. Prior to Fifth Third, Davis held positions as a chief administrative officer, director of Human Resources, compliance officer and HR consultant in the investment banking, education/ technology and health care industries in Southeast Michigan. She is a member of the Society of Human Resource Management, Inform, and serves on the Board of Trustees for Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester Hills.

Thomas Maatman, DO ’79, founding partner of Michigan Urological Clinic in Grand Rapids, was selected as a Top Doctor by U.S. News. Maatman completed his internship training at Metro Health Hospital and his General Surgery Residency and Urological Surgery Residency training at the Cleve Land Clinic Foundation, where he served as chief resident. He is a fellow in the American College of Surgeons and the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons. He is currently clinical associate professor in the Department of Osteopathic Surgical Specialties at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Maatman is an MSUAA Life Member.

Stephanie May, ’88, nurse anesthetist at University of Colorado HSC, was named 2013 Advocate of the Year by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists foundation. May is an intra- and inter-professional bridge-builder focused on promoting nurse anesthesia education and research. She is a long-time foundation donor and advocate for the state of Colorado. May shares her anesthesia knowledge as a community volunteer, lecturer, conference coordinator, committee member and board member.

Kathy Grace, ’81, has been awarded the Volunteer Service Award in Alexandria, VA, by the National Alumni and Development Association for her service to the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the School of Packaging. Grace helped implement the Packaging Hall of Fame Award Wall Frequent Guest Lecturer series. She also served on Dow Chemical’s MSU Development team. Grace was recognized by MSU for her volunteer work in 2002 when she received the Alumni Association’s Alumni Service Award. She also has been inducted into the MSU Packaging Alumni Association’s Hall of Fame for her work with hazardous materials. Grace is a member of Beaumont Tower donor society and an MSUAA Life Member.

Donald Bryant, ’98, CNCG ’03, founder of The Alden Group, Blaine, MN, recently developed a new product called LifeOil to fill the growing demand for blended cooking oil. Before launching The Alden Group, Bryant gained experience in the medical device industry. He is an active board member of the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce and Turning Point Inc. Additionally, he also is the recipient of the National Black MBA Association’s – Twin Cities Chapter 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

John Crabill, MS ’13, has been named senior manager, food safety and regulatory compliance for the regulatory affairs team at Perrigo, Allegan, MI. He will be responsible for overseeing FDA standards and compliance for baby formula and nutritionals made at Perrigo’s Gordonsville, VA, location. Crabill has 10 years of experience in quality assurance and compliance management roles gained at other global pharmaceutical and nutritional corporations.

Susan Rosiek, ’73, publisher/ executive editor of Observor & Eccentric Media, has been named to head the Livingston County Press & Argus and Livingstondaily.Com. She will also continue to oversee the 13 O&E suburban Detroit properties. Rosiek has spent more than 25 years in journalism, primarily at the Observer & Eccentric, in a variety of reporting and editing roles. She is on the boards of St. Joseph Mercy Health System and the Livonia Community Foundation.

Jeff Grad, ’10, and Kirstyn Reinholm, ’09, have been promoted to senior associates at Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, Michigan office. Grad and Reinholm specialize in providing valueadded audit and attestation services to clients in a variety of industries. Grad is a member of the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Reinholm has her certification from the State of Michigan and she is a member of the MACPA and AICPA.

Dawn Pruszynski, ’68, MA ’72, retired teacher/teacher leader from the Penfield School District, has been elected by Flower City Habitat for Humanity, Rochester, NY, as the new leadership council chair for the 2013-2014 term. Pruszynski has volunteered with FCHH for over 5 years, serving on the leadership council and school youth committee. She is an MSUAA Life Member.

Evan Sonntag, ’02, CPA, has been promoted to manager of Newman Dierst Hales, PLLC, Seattle, WA. Sonntag has been with Newman Dierst Hales since 2009. He began his accounting career in 2004 and two years later was promoted to senior accountant for Myler & Szczypka, P.C., Ann Arbor. He moved to Seattle in 2009 to work as a senior tax accountant at Benson & McLaughlin. He is a member of the Washington Society of Certified Public Accountants and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Deb Hebert, ’74, MA ’77, an attorney at Collins Einhorn Farrell, South- field, MI, has been named to Top 50 Women Attorneys in the 2013 Michigan Super Lawyers Magazine and Top 25 Women Business Attorneys. Hebert is a five-time honoree. Her specialties are appellate litigation and insurance coverage. Hebert has served nearly 30 years as lead counsel in hundreds of appeals at both the state and federal levels.


On page 26, history professor Marjorie E. Gesner joined the faculty in 1943.

State’s Stars Submissions:

MSU Alumni Magazine Michigan State University Spartan Way 535 Chestnut Rd., Room 300 East Lansing, MI 48824 or All entries are subject to editorial review.