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Published October 15, 2019
The University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences has chosen distinguished alumni whose contributions to community and education, career achievement and “giving back” will be recognized during a college reception Friday, Oct. 18.
While visiting the UW campus during Homecoming festivities, these alumni will meet and talk with students from their respective disciplines in the college’s 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.
Division of Communication Disorders: Jane Yakel
Jane Yakel is a licensed, certified speech-language pathologist 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 from UW. Specializing in neuropathology, Yakel has worked in a variety of settings, including 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 also has served as a professor and clinical instructor at UW, Utah State University, DeVry University-Phoenix and DeVry University-Fremont (Calif.).
Division of Kinesiology and Health: Marcia Lloyd
Marcia Lloyd is a 1965 graduate of the UW physical education/dance Master of Arts program. Holding three presidential positions with the National Dance Association (1989-1993), 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). In 2016, Lloyd received the NDEO Lifetime Achievement Award.
Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing: Joan Moon
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 UW. 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. Moon 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.”
School of Pharmacy: Mary Walker
Mary Walker earned her Bachelor of Science in pharmacy with honors from UW in 1974 and has led 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. 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 2008-2018.
“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.
Division of Social Work: Jessica Lee Lucero
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 the full-time Master of Social Work Program and director of the Transforming Communities Institute. Before joining the faculty at Utah State, she completed her Bachelor of Social Work in 2007 and MSW in 2008 at UW, 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.
Lucero credits her career to the incredible mentorship she has received at each institution she has been affiliated with, but especially UW. Her start in undergraduate research at UW opened many doors for her and introduced her to the world of social work research.
Wyoming Institute for Disabilities: Elizabeth Cantalamessa
Elizabeth Cantalamessa, originally from Houston, received her B.A. in philosophy from UW 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 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 the 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 normativity. She is expected to complete her dissertation in the spring of 2021. Through her teaching and graduate training, Cantalamessa has become dedicated to nontraditional education, promoting greater accessibility in academia and expanding conceptualizations of disability in the field of philosophy.
WWAMI Medical Education: Dr. Brianne Crofts
Dr. Brianne Crofts is a native of Green River. After high school, she attended Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs. Crofts graduated in 1999 with an Associate of Science in engineering. She then continued her education at UW, 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 UW, then moved to Seattle 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 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.