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College of Health Sciences

Distinguished Alumni of 2019

UW College of Health Sciences Honors Seven Alumni from Throughout the College during 2019 Homecoming Celebrations.

The University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences Divisions of Communication Disorders, Kinesiology and Health and Social Work along with the Schools of Nursing and Pharmacy, Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND) and WWAMI Medical Education each have chosen a distinguished alumni whose contributions to community and education, career achievement and ‘giving back’, were recognized during a college reception, Friday, October 18.

While visiting the UW campus during Homecoming festivities, these alumni will meet and talk with students from their perspective disciplines in Health Sciences. Being able to interact with and ask questions of a health care professional in their area of study is of great benefit to students of the health sciences.


Division of Communication Disorders – Jane Yakel

Jane Yakel, Speech Pathologist Jane Yakel is a licensed, certified Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) currently employed as a private contractor and consultant. She received her Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology in 1971 and her Master of Science in Speech Pathology in 1974, specializing in neuropathology, from the University of Wyoming. Yakel has worked in a variety of settings, which include acute care, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, skilled nursing facilities, independent living facilities, hospitals and school districts. She has been a regional and national clinical specialist for therapists and a trainer for rehabilitation program directors throughout the United States. 

Yakel has also served as a professor and clinical instructor at four universities including the University of Wyoming, Utah State University, DeVry University-Phoenix and DeVry University-Freemont California. 

Visit the Division of Communication Disorders.


 Division of Kinesiology and Health – Marcia Lloyd

Marcia Lloyd, retired kinesiology professor.Marcia Lloyd is a 1965 graduate of the University of Wyoming Physical Education/Dance Master of Arts program. Holding three presidential positions with the National Dance Association (1989-93), she has promoted dance as an integral part of physical education in the United States, including public K-12 schools, colleges and universities. Lloyd was instrumental in developing the first set of national dance standards published in 1994 that articulated the discrete content of what students should know and be able to do in dance taught in K-12 public education. She is one of three founding members who signed the Articles of Incorporation (1997) that established the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) and in 2016, was the recipient of the NDEO Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Division of Kinesiology and Health is proud to add the 2019 Distinguished Alumna of the Year to her exemplary resume.

Visit the Division of Kinesiology and Health

 Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing - Joan Moon

Joan Moon, nursing faculty at Walden University. Joan Moon graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in nursing and then earned a Master of Science in parent-child nursing in 1987, both from the University of Wyoming. She continued in her graduate nursing accomplishments, practicing as a clinical nurse specialist, certified nurse midwife and university faculty member. In 1999, Moon graduated from the Frontier School of Nurse-Midwifery and, in 2003, became certified in medical and health education at the Medical College of Ohio. In 2007, she earned an Ed.D. in leadership and policy studies at Bowling Green State University. She currently holds a faculty position at Walden University in Minneapolis.  

“Receiving the University of Wyoming’s Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award is incredibly special at this time of my life,” Moon says. “Although I never set out to be a nurse, when I discovered this career, I truly found a passion in caring for women. In following that passion, my professional life unfolded with the guidance of mentors, the support of peers and leaders and the love of family and friends. I truly have been blessed.”

Visit the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing

School of Pharmacy – Mary Walker

Mary Walker, retired Pharmacist. Mary Walker earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy with honors from the University of Wyoming in 1974 and has lead in nearly every sector of the profession over the course of her career. Her first exposure to pharmacy occurred in her family’s drug store in Newcastle, Wyoming. After graduating, Walker practiced at Memorial Hospital of Laramie County and Safeway Pharmacy in Cheyenne, later serving as the Director of Pharmacy at Hot Springs County Memorial Hospital in Thermopolis five years out of pharmacy school. She went on to serve as Assistant Director of Pharmacy at DePaul Hospital in Cheyenne and Director of Pharmacy at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center for 21 years before transitioning into the role of Executive Director of the Wyoming Board of Pharmacy from 2008 to 2018.

“The faculty and staff of the School of Pharmacy selected Mary Walker as the 2019 Distinguished Alumna because of her sustained leadership in the profession, her commitment to students and her long track record of service to the people of Wyoming,” says Kem Krueger, Dean of the School of Pharmacy.

Visit the School of Pharmacy

Division of Social Work -- Jessica Lee Lucero

Jess Lucero, professor of Social Worker. Jessica Lucero is an Associate Professor of Social Work in the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology at Utah State University where she also serves as the Graduate Director for their full-time MSW Program and Director of the Transforming Communities Institute. Prior to joining the faculty at USU, she completed her BSW in 2007 and MSW in 2008 at the University of Wyoming and her doctoral studies at Wayne State University in Detroit. Lucero is a nationally recognized scholar in community-based participatory research with a focus on research that produces real-world recommendations for solving the complex challenges that communities face.

“Jess Lucero richly deserves this honor as an exceptional UW graduate as she embodies all of the qualities of an outstanding social work educator: an exceptional teacher, passionate learner and social justice advocate,” says Eleanor Pepi Downey, Director, Division of Social Work.

Visit the Division of Social Work.

Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND) -- Elizabeth Cantalamessa

Elizabeth Cantalamessa, PhD Candidate. Elizabeth Cantalamessa, originally from Houston, Texas, received her B.A. in philosophy from the University of Wyoming in 2012, with a minor in disability studies. She then worked as a direct support professional at ARK Regional Services and taught literacy and dance at the Cooper Center for Creative Arts in Laramie, Wyoming, before joining the master’s program in philosophy at UW. After completing her M.A. in 2015, Cantalamessa taught introductory courses in philosophy and ethics full time at the University of Houston-Downtown. Since 2016, she has been in a Ph.D. program in philosophy at the University of Miami.

Building on a longstanding interest in disability studies, Cantalamessa’s dissertation focuses on the discursive nature of disability, especially social normitivity. She is expected to complete her dissertation in the spring of 2021. Through her teaching and graduate training, Cantalamessa has become dedicated to non-traditional education, promoting greater accessibility in academia and expanding conceptualizations of disability in the field of philosophy.

The the Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND)

WWAMI Medical Education – Brianne Crofts

Brianne Crofts, WWAMI graduate.Brianne Crofts, MD, is a native of Green River, Wyoming. After high school, she attended Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Crofts graduated in 1999 with an Associate of Science in Engineering. She then continued her education at the University of Wyoming where she graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and then was accepted into the WWAMI Medical Education Program. Crofts completed her first year of medical school at the University of Wyoming, then moving to Seattle, Washington for her second year of medical school. She graduated from the University of Washington School of Medicine in 2005.

In 2010, Crofts moved to Rock Springs, Wyoming, to begin her career as a general surgeon at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County, where she has taken the opportunity to mentor medical students from the WWAMI program.

Visit WWAMI Medical Education.  

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UW College of Health Sciences

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Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307)-766-3495

Fax: (307) 766-6608


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