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Distinguished Alumni|The College of Health Sciences


The College of Health Sciences Distinguished Alumni of 2013


Division of Kinesiology and Health


Dean Joseph Steiner (L), Vicky Kmetz (C), Dr. Derek Smith (R)

Vicky Kmetz, the 2013 Alum of the Year for the Division of Kinesiology and Health, graduated from the University of Wyoming with her M.S. degree in Physical Education in 1991 after having completed her B.S. degree in Physical Education Teaching in 1981. Vicky’s graduate research focused on Exercise Adherence in School aged kids K-12 and was a catalyst for her commendable career as a physical educator in Cheyenne and at the University Lab School where Vicky eventually retired from. Her contributions and impact as a preceptor for aspiring future physical educators was longstanding and significant. Vicky’s teaching, leadership, and mentorship has crossed generational lines from Kindergarten to College and continues to benefit Kinesiology and Health students through the Vicky L. Kmetz Endowed Scholarship that she and her husband organized last year. We are fortunate to be able recognize and honor Vicky for her contributions; her legacy of teaching leadership and support lives on.


Division of Medical Education


Ian Hunter, MD (L), Dean Joseph Steiner

Dr. Ian Hunter hails from Laramie, Wyoming. He graduated from the University of Wyoming with a B.S. in Zoology and received the Outstanding Undergraduate Award from the Department of Zoology and Physiology as well as the Distinguished Arts and Sciences Student Award. Dr. Hunter graduated from the University of Washington School of Medicine in 2003 and did his Internal Medicine Residency at the Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, California. He was awarded the M.W. Stratford Family Outstanding Internal Medicine Resident Award in 2006. Dr. Hunter practices internal medicine in Sheridan, Wyoming and in 2013 he won the American College of Physicians Wyoming Chapter Award.

Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing


Dean Mary Burman (L), Karleen Goerke, MSN, RN, NEA-BC (C), Dean Joseph Steiner (R)

Dean of the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing, Mary Burman, presents the 2013 Distinguished Alumni award to Karleen Goerke (BSN, ’86). Goerke was honored for her outstanding contributions to the nursing profession through her excellence in clinical practice, education, and administration. Her impressive career has taken place largely within the employ of one institution: Swedish Medical Center in Colorado, where she rose to the position of Chief Nursing Officer/Vice President of Nursing.

School of Pharmacy


Richard Wilder, BSP

Richard R. Wilder (B.S.P. '50) from Cody, Wyoming, was named the University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy Outstanding Alumnus for 2013. Wilder was honored for his outstanding contributions and service to the profession of pharmacy during the College of Health Sciences award ceremony on October 11, 2013. "Dick Wilder has proven that good guys can finish first—he was highly respected by his pharmacy colleagues and his community," says Dean Linda Gore Martin. Wilder and the UW School of Pharmacy's history are uniquely tied together. The school was founded in 1946 as part of an expansion at UW following World War II. Wilder served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during the war and afterward attended UW on the GI Bill. He was a member of the school's first class, which consisted of 23 students—21 men and 2 women.

Division of Social Work


Dean Joseph Steiner (L), Michael Vercauteren, MSW (C), Dr. Donna Bliss (R)

Mike Vercauteren graduated from UW with an MSW degree in 2001, focusing his studies on substance abuse prevention and macro social work. Mike believes in changing the social environment to build healthier communities and to aid the effectiveness of the treatment providers. He has a long history of prevention work in the state of Wyoming. He led the charge in passing the first city-wide smoking ban in Wyoming, in the city of Laramie. Mike has served as a field instructor for BSW and MSW students since 2006 and truly embodies the spirit of generalist practice. He is a great supporter of the Division of Social Work and our students. Our congratulations to Mike for being chosen 2013 Alumnus of the Year.

Division of Communication Disorders


Caron Mellblom-Nishioka, Ed.D. (L), Dean Joseph Steiner (C), Dr. Teresa Ukrainetz

Dr. Mellblom-Nishioka earned her Bachelor’s of Arts from California State University – Fullerton and her Master’s of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Wyoming in 1981. Dr. Mellblom-Nishioka served as a speech-language pathologist for Stride Learning Center for a year and as an Adult ESL instructor for Laramie County Community College from 1982 to 1995. She provided language intervention to adult clients of the sheltered workshop programs offered through Magic City Enterprises. During that time, Dr. Mellblom-Nishioka earned her Doctorate in Education from University of Northern Colorado in special education with an emphasis on learning disabilities.

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