The Graduate College

Spring 2012


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Doing Us Proud

Louie the Lumberjack

Outstanding Alums!

We wondered what NAU graduate alumni were up to. So we asked the faculty to let us know who was doing splendid work that was making a difference for people, for disciplines, or for communities or country.

Here's what they told us.


Anthropology: Ann Heppermann

Ann Heppermann

Ann Heppermann (MA Anthropology 2001) is a Brooklyn-based, independent radio/multimedia documentary producer and educator. Her stories air nationally and internationally on shows from National Public Radio, Public Radio International, and others including This American Life, Radio Lab, Marketplace, Morning Edition, Studio360, and more. A Peabody award-winning producer, she also has received Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow, and Third Coast International Audio Festival awards and was recently named a United States Artists (USA) Fellow. A transmission artist with free103point9, her work has been exhibited at UnionDocs, Chicago Center for the Arts, and other venues. Currently, she is a producer for American Public Media's national program Marketplace.

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Biology: Marianne Porter

Marianne Porter

As a vertebrate biomechanist and functional morphologist, Marianne Porter (BS Zoology 2000, MS Biology 2002) examines the mechanistic relation between skeletal materials and locomotion. She studies elasmobranchs (sharks, skates, and rays), focusing on how skeletal structural mechanics impact movement. Her research applies engineering principles such as materials science; mechanics; and bioinspired, biomimetic robotics to biological systems and is applicable to the emerging movement ecology paradigm. She did doctoral work at the University of California, Irvine and is currently a postdoctoral scientist and Faculty Research Associate at Vassar College.

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Business: Kedren Dillard

Kedren Dillard

Kedren Dillard (MBA 2000) enjoyed many years in Phoenix following completion of NAU’s MBA program, working as a senior pharmaceutical sales representative for Eli Lilly, consulting for Vanguard Marketing International, and serving as a vice president of eCommerce marketing for Bank of America. In 2009, Dillard joined Experian North America as the director of sales and operations, part of a new team to help market and sell Experian’s data products to the public sector. In the first year Dillard was able to close over $30 million in net-new public sector sales for Experian to agencies such as the Social Security Administration and the departments of Defense and Housing and Urban Development.

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Creative Writing: T. Greenwood

Tammy Greenwood

T. Greenwood, whom we know as Tammy (MA English 1994), is the author of seven novels. Her latest, Grace, was published just this month. Her titles are evocative: Breathing Water, Nearer than the Sky, Undressing the Moon, The Hungry Season. Several of her books are set in her native Vermont, but This Glittering World draws on her time in Flagstaff. Her novel Two Rivers was named Best General Fiction Book at the San Diego Book Awards two years ago, and five of her novels have been BookSense76/ IndieBound picks. Reviewers echo each other in praising her work, calling it lyrical, haunting, delicate, poignant, vivid, and “painfully beautiful.”

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Educational Technology: Dallas McPheeters

Dallas McPheeters

His website says, "The Internet is the wormhole to the metaverse." Dallas McPheeters (M Ed Educational Technology 2010) is a senior learning consultant with Cerner Corporation in Kansas City and the newly appointed program leader for Managed Learning Services for Cerner's Health I.T. engagements in Qatar. In 2010, McPheeters received the Silver Presidential Volunteer Service Award from President Obama for his contribution to the field of education within multi-user virtual environments. His research focuses on how to engage the "Net Generation" and demonstrates how the elimination of space-time and identity barriers opens new avenues for learning.

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History: Jennifer Nez Denetdale

Jennifer Nez Denetdale

Jennifer Nez Denetdale (PhD History 1999) is an associate professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico and the first-ever Diné/Navajo to earn a doctorate in history. Her twenty-plus years of teaching and research focus in Navajo history and culture; Native American women, gender, and feminisms; and Indigenous nations, colonialism, and decolonization. She is the author of Reclaiming Diné History: The Legacies of Navajo Chief Manuelito and Juanita and two books for young adults, The Long Walk: The Forced Navajo Exile and The Navajo. Denetdale sits on the Navajo Studies Conference Board, University of Arizona Press and American Indian Quarterly editorial boards, and the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission.

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Physical Therapy: Melissa Eden

Melissa Eden

Melissa Eden (BS Psychology 2001, DPT 2004) finished her doctorate and immediately began her career at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. Her primary interest has been in outpatient orthopedics, and in 2007 she became an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist. Eden also contributes to the profession through program development and research. She is a primary investigator in an Institutional Review Board-approved research collaboration with the departments of Ear, Nose, and Throat; Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; and Oncology to investigate novel research and treatments of patients diagnosed with cancer of the head and neck.

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Political Science: Patrick N. Holman

The US Capitol

Patrick N. Holman (MPA 1999, PhD Political Science 2001) joined the Washington, DC staff of Idaho Senator Mike Crapo this year. He is on a year-long Congressional Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Nuclear Energy. His work in Senator Crapo’s office will include a variety of energy and natural resources issues, including research and environmental cleanup activities at the Idaho National Laboratory. Holman previously served as director of the Office of Budget and Planning for the Office of Nuclear Energy, where he coordinated the annual budget submission to Congress and advised senior leadership on budget, strategic, and program planning activities.

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Speech Pathology: Jeffrey Meeks

Jeffrey Meeks

Jeff Meeks (MS Clinical Speech Pathology 2006) is currently the Director of Special Services for the Navajo County Education Service Agency, where he oversees speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychology, counseling, and nursing services for 26 districts in northeastern Arizona. It is a busy job, he says, but he enjoys working with such a great group of professionals and helping to meet the needs of local school children. In addition to administering this program, he teaches part-time at both NAU and Estrella Mountain Community College.  On the side, he serves as president of the Arizona Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

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