Alumni Notes: Winter 2019

Editors’ Note: This feature appears as it was published in the winter 2019 edition of UT Dallas Magazine. Titles or faculty members listed may have changed since that time.


Hassan Ghasemzadeh PhD’10, assistant professor in Washington State University’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer
Science, received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award to improve wearable-based health monitoring technology. He holds a degree in computer engineering.

Evan Stair BA’10, MS’13  is licensing a data tool he built to economic development organizations nationwide, including the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The technology he has developed is an easier, less-expensive way to determine how prevalent given occupations are in U.S. metropolitan areas. He is an adjunct lecturer on geographic information science at UTD. He graduated with degrees in geography and geographic information systems.

Michael Austin PhD’11 is an associate professor of media, journalism and film, and coordinator of the interdisciplinary studies program in communications in the Cathy Hughes School of Communications at Howard University. His research focuses on music and sound in emerging and interactive media. While at UTD, Austin was president of the Arts and Humanities Graduate Student Association. He holds a doctorate in aesthetic studies.

Charles Lilly BA’11, MA’15 is an assistant professor of mass communication at East Texas Baptist University. Lilly, who is a doctoral candidate in the ArtSciLab in the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication, previously worked at UTD as the marketing communications manager in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. He holds degrees in literature and humanities.

Rob Anderson EMBA’12 is the administrator of Providence Children’s Hospital in El Paso, Texas. He is also the group chief strategy officer for Tenet Healthcare hospitals in El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley.

John M. Ray PhD’12 is division director of law enforcement and security training at the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service. He has more than two decades’ experience in law enforcement, most recently as assistant chief of police in Victoria, Texas. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. Ray earned a doctorate in public affairs.

Dr. John McDonald MS’13 is the 2018 Credentialing Resource Center Medical Staff Leader of the Year. He earned a degree in healthcare management.

Monica Niewiarowski BA’13 is an associate attorney in the Dallas office of Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young. She defends manufacturers, distributors and premises owners in a variety of product liability and toxic tort litigation. Niewiarowski, who was a McDermott Scholar and an Archer Fellow, interned in the Office of the Curator at the U.S. Supreme Court. She graduated with a degree in political science.

Kyler Kelly BS’14, who graduated from Pepperdine School of Law in May 2018, is now an associate attorney with Blaies & Hightower in Fort Worth, Texas. While at UTD, Kelly was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority and a peer advisor in the residence halls. She spent six months doing mission work in New Zealand, Thailand and Cambodia following her UTD graduation with a degree in international political economy.

Giselle Lin MBA’15 is founder and CEO of Cupidstone, a Dallas-based fashion jewelry e-commerce store and wholesaler.

Cubie Mesecher BS’16, a former McDermott Scholar, is a systems development engineer at Amazon Web Services. While at UTD, he founded the yoyo club. He holds a degree in computer science.

Christina Minton MS’16 is the director of marketing and business development at Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets in Michigan City, Indiana. She previously held marketing and business development positions with Galleria Dallas and Cinemark. Minton earned a degree in marketing.

Nancy Fairbank BA’17 is in the United Kingdom, where she just completed a master’s degree in international development at the University of Birmingham and is now pursuing a master’s in global governance and diplomacy at the University of Oxford. Her studies are part of a Marshall Scholarship, which is funded by the British government and allows American students to attend graduate school in the UK. She was the first UTD student in more than 10 years to receive the award. While at UTD, Fairbank majored in political science. She was a McDermott Scholar and in 2017 was one of six graduate students across the U.S. to receive a Phi Kappa Phi Marcus L. Urann Fellowship.

Brooke López BS’17 was selected by the Dallas Women’s Foundation as a recipient of a 2018 Young Leader Award, which honors individuals who have catalyzed change for women and girls in North Texas. López got involved in government and politics by working with her local congresswoman to propose a state bill when she was 15. She ran for Wylie City Council at age 18 and was appointed to the city of Wylie’s Public Arts Advisory Board when she was 19. López co-founded the nonpartisan publication “Lone Star Parity Project” and currently serves as a program facilitator for IGNITE National, a group focused on empowering more women to run for office. She graduated with a degree in public affairs.

Emily Luth BS’17 is coordinator of community relations and the Mavs Foundation for the Dallas Mavericks. She was a Terry Scholar at UTD, as well as a student ambassador and a member of the soccer team. Luth earned a degree in biomedical engineering.


Dr. Reena Kuba BS’00 was appointed to the Texas Dental Review Committee by Gov. Greg Abbott. Kuba is a pediatric dentist in private practice in Irving, Texas, and has been named one of D Magazine’s Best Dentists in Dallas. She is also a clinical assistant professor at Texas A&M College of Dentistry. She graduated with a degree in biology.

Dr. Sulman Ahmed BS’01 received a 2018 Minority Business Leader Award from the Dallas Business Journal. He is founder and chief executive officer of Dallas-based DECA Dental. He earned a degree in business administration.

Dr. Shahrooz Seifikar BA’01 was appointed to the Texas Dental Review Committee by Gov. Greg Abbott. Seifikar is a dentist anesthesiologist in Dallas and president of Dental Anesthesia Specialists. He holds a degree in biology from UTD, where he also played on the soccer team.

Jian “James” Ma MSCS’02 is an associate professor of information systems in the College of Business at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. He holds a degree in computer science.

Neil Geismar PhD’03 is a Center for Executive Development Professor in the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. His research includes production scheduling, supply chain management and currency supply chains in different countries. He holds a doctorate in operations management.

Dr. Jed Magen MS’03 is an associate professor and chair of Michigan State University’s psychiatry department. He is past president of the American Osteopathic College of Neurologists and Psychiatrists, and of the Michigan Psychiatric Society. Magen earned a degree in medical management.

Tressie McKeon BA’03 is a partner in the Dallas office of Fox Rothschild LLP Attorneys at Law. McKeon handles a range of general and commercial litigation and insurance defense matters. She holds a degree in economics.

Raychael Stine BA’03 is an assistant professor of painting and drawing at the University of New Mexico. Her art has been exhibited in galleries in Chicago, New York and throughout Texas. She holds a degree in art and performance.

Trey Taylor MBA’03 is co-founder of Good Eats Food Co. in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Good Eats sells packaged foods under the brands Serious Bean Co and Ruthie’s Twisted Harvest. Taylor now leads the marketing and innovation efforts of Good Eats Food, which was recently acquired by Lakeside Foods.

Barbara Kasekende MBA’05 is the corporate social investment manager at Stanbic Bank Uganda. She has more than 10 years of senior management experience in customer relations, marketing and public relations.

Aidan Skoyles BS’05, MSEE’06 is a patent attorney in Washington, D.C. The former McDermott Scholar earned two degrees in electrical engineering. He uses his engineering background to work with companies in cases involving technical innovations.

Dr. W. Rayne Barrett BA’07 married Cheryl Williams in 2017 during a sunset ceremony in Travelers Rest, South Carolina. Barrett holds a degree in historical studies. He later attended medical school and is now an emergency medicine physician at Greenville Health System in South Carolina.

Susan Ballabina PhD’07 is the deputy vice chancellor for agriculture and life sciences at Texas A&M University. She oversees shared services divisions of Texas A&M AgriLife that include outreach and strategic initiatives, business and strategic management, communications and information technology. She earned a doctorate in public affairs.

Frank Martinez MBA’07, MS’14 is a supervisor in the project management office of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, where he began working in 2011. Martinez holds degrees in business administration and accounting.

Judd Stone BA’07 is chief counsel to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. He previously worked for Morgan Lewis, where he practiced before the U.S. Supreme Court and federal courts of appeals. He also was a law clerk for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Stone graduated with a degree in political science.

Larry Terry II PhD’07 is the executive director of the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. He was previously an assistant professor at the University of North Texas at Dallas, where he was also the founding director of the Urban SERCH Institute. He earned a doctorate in public affairs.

Austin Tindle BA’07 is a voice actor who has appeared in dozens of anime productions, including “Tokyo Ghoul.” He holds a degree in art and performance.

Somasish Ghosh Dastidar MS’08, PhD’11 is a senior research associate at Duke University, where he is a member of the Center for Neurodegeneration and Neurotherapeutics. He graduated from UTD with degrees in cell and molecular biology. He and his wife, Ranita Ghosh Dastidar MS’09, PhD’12, who is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, San Diego, received their doctoral hoods in the same ceremony.

Rachel Markowitz BA’08, a senior program officer for America-Mideast Educational and Training Services, works on a federally funded international exchange program for high school students from the Middle East and North Africa. The former McDermott Scholar was a member of the UTD Ultimate Frisbee team and a student ambassador. She was also the first UTD undergraduate to be awarded a Fulbright Scholarship. She earned a degree in political science.

Samuel Pierre-Louis MBA’08 is vice president of information technology at electric utility company FirstEnergy in Akron, Ohio. He graduated from Texas Tech University with a doctorate in systems and engineering management in May and previously served as vice president and chief information security officer at Providence St. Joseph Health in Irvine, California. Prior to that, he was the chief information security officer at UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Kanvin Ravin MPA’08 was the Plano Police Department’s 2017 Officer of the Year. The 20-year veteran officer holds a degree in public affairs.

Oscar Yactayo BS’08 is founder of ClicknShip USA, an online platform to connect the shipper and the trucking company. He has worked on the new venture through the University’s Blackstone LaunchPad with 15 students from the Naveen Jindal School of Management and Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. Yactayo graduated with a degree in business administration.

Ricardo Bonilla BS’09 was named to the 2018 Pathfinder Program of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, which is designed to provide attorneys with professional tools to support leadership, networking and career development. He has also been named a D Magazine Best Lawyer Under 40 and an American Bar Association Top 40 Young Lawyer. Bonilla is an associate attorney at Fish & Richardson’s Dallas office. He holds a degree in software engineering.

Jackson Choate BS’09, MS’10 is the resident inspector at the South Texas Project nuclear power plant in Bay City, Texas. Choate joined the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2015. He was an officer in the U.S. Navy and served as an instructor at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Charleston, South Carolina. He graduated with degrees in physics.


Gregory Rose BS’90, MPA’92 is UTD’s 2018 Public Affairs Alumnus of the Year. He is the city manager of University City, Missouri. While an undergraduate at UT Dallas, he was a member of the Black Student Alliance. He earned two degrees from the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences.

Tracy Venters BS’90, MS’91 is the chief strategist for Town Crier Consulting, a firm that assists tech companies with expanding their brands and revenue. She earned two degrees in computer science.

Charles Woods BS’90 is controller of FNBC Community Banks in Ash Flat, Arkansas. He supervises the company’s accounting team, among other duties. He previously worked at Texas Instruments and Pfizer. He graduated with a degree in business administration.

Joyendu “Joy” Bhadury PhD’91 is the dean of Radford University’s College of Business and Economics. He formerly served as dean at the School of Business and Management at State University of New York-The College at Brockport. Bhadury holds a doctorate in management science.

Steve Mobley BA’91 is a real estate broker for RE/MAX Properties in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He’s worked in real estate for more than 28 years in various roles. Mobley holds a degree in economics.

Carolyn “Janie” Stubblefield BS’91 was appointed to the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors by Gov. Greg Abbott. Stubblefield is the owner of Dallas-based Mobile Counseling, which provides private mental health counseling to clients and professional supervision to licensed professional counselor interns. She earned a degree in public administration.

Steven Fuller BS’93 is CEO of the Army Residence Community, a retirement community for military officers in San Antonio, Texas. He previously served as CEO of a senior living facility based at the University of the Incarnate Word. Fuller graduated with a degree in accounting.

Karen Root BS’93 is a senior accountant at ASI Capital LLC, a private investment firm based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She earned a degree in accounting.

Almaz Woldeab BS’93 received a 2018 Minority Business Leader Award from the Dallas Business Journal. A certified public accountant, she is chief accounting officer and managing director at Civitas Capital Group in Dallas. Woldeab earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Randy Sahm MS’94 is chief financial officer of Denton-based AccessBank. He previously served 13 years as CFO for another Denton bank, Northstar. He holds a master’s degree in accounting.

Derek Smith MS’94, DCHM’96 is associate professor of chemistry at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas. He also serves as director of the local barbershop chorus “The Heartland Harmonizers.” He holds degrees in chemistry.

Sam Gilliland MBA’95, a 2005 UTD distinguished alumnus, is the CEO of Cherwell Software in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He previously served as chairman and CEO of Sabre Corp. and

Camilla Harris BA’98, MBA’00, MS’01 is vice president, controller and principal accounting officer of fuel distribution and marketing company Sunoco, headquartered in Dallas. Harris earned degrees in interdisciplinary studies, business administration and accounting.

Jim Lindsay MA’98 directed “Kindertransport” as part of the Austin-based Trinity Street Players’ 10th anniversary season and in cooperation with the Austin Jewish Repertory Theatre. Lindsay holds a degree in humanities with a focus on Holocaust studies.

Vance Reynolds EMBA’98 is the CEO of Carolinas Hospital System-Florence, a 396-bed, acute-care facility with more than 1,500 employees and nearly 250 physicians that serves the region of Northeastern South Carolina.

Mahesh Shetty EMBA’99 is the president of New York-based SG Blocks, an innovator in providing cargo shipping containers to meet the growing demand for safe and green construction. He also is the company’s chief financial officer. Shetty serves on the board and is the treasurer for Mothers Against Drunk Driving and is immediate past chairman of the US-India Chamber of Commerce DFW, among other civic activities.

Keith Winters EMBA’99 is CEO of DAVACO. The Irving, Texas-based company handles multisite programs for global brands. Winters previously served as chief operating officer at Crane Worldwide, where he supported all corporate, field, finance, risk management, real estate, legal and compliance operations.


Mark Spears MS’81 is director of audiology at the Sinus & Respiratory Disease Center at the Texas Institute in Dallas. Over more than 35 years, he has worked to help people with hearing loss, tinnitus and other ear issues. Spears graduated with a degree in communication disorders.

Larry Chamberlin MA’82 is a Houston-based lawyer specializing in family law at his firm, Chamberlin Law & Mediation. After completing a master’s degree in international management studies at UTD, Chamberlain attended Tulane Law School, graduating in 1988.

Dr. Richard McCullough BS’82 is the vice provost for research and a professor of materials science and engineering at Harvard University. Prior to joining the Harvard faculty, McCullough was at Carnegie Mellon University, where he had served in several positions, including vice president for research, dean of the Mellon College of Science and head of the chemistry department. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. McCullough, who earned a degree in chemistry at UTD, is the founder of two companies, Liquid X Printed Metals and Plextronics.

Jill Guthrie BA’84 is the head of the Guthrie School, a private, co-ed school for students from pre-school to sixth grade in Allen, Texas. She holds a degree in English literature.

Dr. Scott Mackenzie BA’84 is a professor, director of theatre and chair of the theatre and dance department at Alma College in Michigan. His acting credits include film, television and theatre. Mackenzie, who studied theatre at UTD, had previously been on faculty at Westminster College in Pennsylvania. While on active duty with the U.S. Army Reserve, he directed the first play produced by civilian and military personnel serving in the International Zone of Baghdad.

Ran Holman BGS’86 is the 2018 chairman of The Real Estate Council and is managing principal and DFW market leader for Cushman & Wakefield.

Michael Weideman BS’86 is vice president and director of operations at Dallas-based Dalcor, a real estate investment group. He holds a degree in business administration.

Cynthia Keith BS’88 is a member of the board of directors for PCTEL, a supplier of antennas and wireless network testing solutions. In addition, she serves on the board for City Bank of Texas. She served as an Assurance Partner for PricewaterhouseCoopers during her 25 years of service with the firm before retiring in 2014. Keith earned a degree in business administration.

Gary Jensen BS’89 ended a nearly 45-year career in the baking industry when he retired as president of Roman Meal Co. in Tacoma, Washington. He previously held positions at Pepperidge Farm and Campbell Taggart. He is a founding member of the Whole Grains Council and is a member of the American Bakers Association. Jensen holds a degree in business administration.

Mike Jones BS’89 is senior vice president of vender finance for Ampil, an equipment and services financing company based in Costa Mesa, California. Jones previously served as senior vice president of First American Equipment Finance, where he started and grew its vendor finance division. He graduated with a degree in accounting.

Merrill Matthews PhD’89 is a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation, a public policy think tank based in Irving, Texas. He is a health policy expert and contributor at Forbes and also serves on the Texas Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He holds a doctorate in humanities.

Pamela Smith MBA’89 is the KPMG Endowed Professor of Accountancy and a Presidential Teaching Professor at Northern Illinois University, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in financial accounting and financial statement analysis.

Walter L. Sutton Jr. PhD’89 teaches business law in the Naveen Jindal School of Management. His career includes legal positions with oil and gas companies and Walmart, a presidential appointment to the Federal Highway Administration in Washington, D.C., and chief of staff to former UT Dallas President Franklyn Jenifer. He and his wife, Beverly, made the first individual endowment to the new Jindal Young Scholars Program, a scholarship program for first-generation Dallas Independent School District students. He earned a doctorate in management science.


Ryland Young PhD’75, Regents Professor and Sadie Hatfield Professor of Agriculture in biochemistry and biophysics at Texas A&M University, was named a University Distinguished Professor. He also is the founding director of the Center for Phage Technology at Texas A&M. Young, who was supported by a National Science Foundation postgraduate fellowship while at UTD, earned a doctorate in molecular biology.

Russell Crews BS’78 is president and CEO of CC Young, a nonprofit senior living community near White Rock Lake in Dallas. He has more than 30 years of experience in both public and private corporations. Crews holds a degree in business administration.