Welcome to ECHOES, the Anderson University Alumni podcast, hosted by Trent Palmer, director of Alumni Relations. Each episode highlights one of our amazing alumni who is making a difference in the church and society.
Kyle Boyer BA ’14
Kyle Boyer ’14 is unquestionably the greatest paper airplane creator and thrower in the history of Anderson University. Just off a journey to Salzburg, Austria as one of just seven Americans competing in the 2022 Red Bull paper wings competition, an event of over 60k entrants across the globe, Boyer talks about that incredible experience, his love for paper airplanes, and his company Foldable Flights. Check out his website here: www.foldableflight.com/
Ashley Nora BA ’12
Ashley (McKinnis) Nora ’12 through her unwavering faith and trust in God is changing and inspiring the world through her incredible works of art. Having studied science at AU and being an analytical chemist after graduating, Ashley knew that a passion and gift of creating was a calling she had to pursue. In just a few short years after becoming a full-time artist, Ashley has created international works (with more to come) and has won awards for her art. She will have works in the Indianapolis Children’s Museum this summer and in the fall will have an exhibit at Newfields. Check out her website at www.ashleynoraart.com/ to see her many amazing pieces and where to find others.
Rhyse Furio BA ’03, MBA ’07
Rhyse Furio ’03 & ’07, a news correspondent and author in the country of Lebanon joins the podcast with guest co-host Emily Wasonga ’09 to discuss living and working in a country with great challenges and how God has stayed the focal point for her and her family. Furio, who helped start AU’s annual International Dinners so many of us have enjoyed over the years on campus, also shares about her time as a Raven and the impact AU has made on her life.
Check out Rhyse’s book ” The Way of a Man with a Maiden … Back to Eden” (soon to be on Amazon and Kindle Direct) and also Emily’s Empowerment Initiative and the good work she’s doing globally at lhocreations.world/
Also, here are a couple of links to consider watching, per Emily’s recommendation about cultural lenses and another about growing up as a third-culture kid.
Valerie Maze BA ’88
Associate Music Director for the first national tour of the musical SIX, Valerie Maze ’88, joins the show to talk about this exciting and impressive appointment. Maze’s experience in the arts as a Music Director, Conductor, Pianist, and Vocal Coach is extensive and she attributes a lot to AU in preparing her for this role and the many others she’s held over the years. Be sure to check out SIX, about the wives of Henry VIII, at a city near you sixonbroadway.com/ and know that a fellow Raven has a big part to play in this highly anticipated production!
Steve Mahuron BA ’74
Steve Mahuron ’74 joins the podcast to talk about his long career in education and the origin of Dativus men’s social/service club. Steve was co-founder of the club back in 1972 and discusses the mission and purpose of the club, fun stories from those early days, and how Cheap Thrills came to be. Oh, and the first show was just a quarter to get in. Talk about CHEAP! This is a fascinating look at the history of one of AU’s cornerstone clubs that is celebrating its 50-year anniversary.
Ken Strawn BA ’63
Ken Strawn BA ’63 found his way to Anderson College from Connersville, IN to study chemistry and to play basketball. After traveling the country as a lab manager and bumping into alumni at every stop, he is now retired in Georgetown, TX. But along with being developed academically for a successful professional career in his field, Ken was a standout basketball player on a couple of AU’s greatest team’s in history and just happens to be the university’s all-time leading scorer. Naturally, he is also in the AU Athletics Hall of Fame. Forty-one men’s basketball players have eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in our storied history, but only one has surpassed the elusive and oft-thought unattainable 2,000-point mark: that man is Ken Strawn. Listen in to hear some amazing basketball stories from Ken’s playing days including going toe-to-toe with NBA Hall of Famer Willis Reed!
Andry Rakotomalala BA ’14 MBA ’16
Andry Rakotomalala BA ’14, MBA ’16 works in cybersecurity, and along with tackling tough security assignments, he is also an aspiring speaker whose mantra of “teaching students how to hack their potential” is sure to make a positive impact. Andry shares a lot of fun AU stories of his time both in and out of the classroom.
Thank you to AU alumnus Mike Snyder BA ’06 for sharing his music (intro) for the podcast.
Dr. Tim Fox BA ’82, MA ’88
Dr. Tim Fox BA ’82, MA ’88, current chair of Anderson University’s Department of Modern Languages, has ties to the institution dating back to our first days. His time at AU as a student and faculty has stretched over multiple decades, and he continues to serve with a deep commitment to the mission of this special place. In this episode, Tim shares about his time teaching, his passion for the Church of God and AU through the years, and we take a deep dive into his career as a stand-out Track and Field athlete and in particular, his capturing of the school record for the high jump, a record that now stands 40 years later!
Thank you to AU alumnus Mike Snyder BA ’06 for sharing his music (intro) for the podcast.
Oluwanifemi “Nifemi” Adejumobi ’20, Alphonso Blackwell ’20, and Leonardo Marrero ’21
Oluwanifemi “Nifemi” Adejumobi ’20, Alphonso Blackwell ’20, and Leonardo Marrero ’21 join the podcast as the award-winning director, producer, and editor respectively of the film Brown Sugar, a compelling documentary chronicling the stories of three black women, each from different generations, as they talk about self-confidence and beauty. Brown Sugar won first place for long documentaries at the College Media Association Film and Audio Festival. You can watch the film on Nifemi’s website at www.nifemiadejumobi.com/.
Latoya Francis BA ’12
Latoya Francis ’12 has a personal philosophy that “nothing is wasted in the hands of God.” Listen to this special episode, co-hosted by 2009 alumna Emily Wasonga, to hear how Latoya has certainly not wasted her calling to serve others. She currently sits as a board member of education for the Cayman Islands and is the co-founder of Let Me Live Intl.
More about Emily: E. A. Wasonga is from Kenya, she claims Botswana because part of her high school experience was in the Kalahari, and is now an American and the founder of LHoCreations and The Empowerment Initiative.
Matt Zielich BA ’10
Matt Zielich ’10 is the author of Naked in God’s Holy Temple and was recently a guest speaker at AU’s chapel. Zielich is passionate about how God can use us even in our deepest insecurities. Check out Matt’s website at mattzielich.com and look for another book coming out later this month! Oh, and this was the only ECHOES ever recorded on a car ride to the airport.
Jeffrey Bates BA ’85
Author, storyteller, poet, songwriter, musician and 1985 alumnus of AU, Jeffrey Bates joins the podcast to talk about his passion for writing thought-provoking children’s books through his “full”fillment series that you can check out on his website and on Amazon (links below). You’ll also want to hear Jeffrey talk about “Raven Ball” and how much he learned from profs like Fred Burnett and Willard Reed.
Nathan Manley BA ’02
Nathan Manley ’02 is the swimming coach for the U.S.A. Paralympic Team. He recently got back from coaching the U.S. team at the Tokyo Paralympic Games where the swimmers from America took home 35 medals!
Manley talks about a lifetime of working in sports and what is so gratifying about working with Paralympians. He considered his time as a Raven as “foundational”. We look forward to following Nathan’s time coaching team USA, especially as we look towards Los Angeles hosting the games in 2028!
Jean Manners BA ’16
Jimmie Lake MBA ’14
2014 MBA alumnus and current AU MBA Director, Jimmie Lake drops in to talk about his experience in management, commitment to lifelong learning, and his plans in leading our esteemed MBA program at AU. Lake is also several years into his DBA here at the university where he is honing his skills as a committed academic program leader. Lastly, Jimmie would like any listener considering coming back to the alma mater for graduate work, should take a look at our website to learn more 👉 anderson.edu/academics/graduate…udies-in-business/
Melanie Porter BA ’02
Using her voice to proclaim the good news, 2002 alumna Melanie Porter is a voiceover actor that you will want to take a listen to. In fact, head to her website www.takalisten.com/ to learn more about her and to hear her “smooth and sultry tones that commands attention.” In this episode, Porter talks about this new adventure as well as her time as a teacher, and as she is finishing up her doctorate in non-profit management and leadership, aspirations for starting a foundation to help families in crisis.
Kelly Williams MBA ’21
Kelly Williams BA ’93 and MBA ’21 has spent the past 8 years working for Mobile Mini, now merged with WillScott, most recently as their President and COO. Williams chats about his experience in executive leadership running a business, being on the AU men’s basketball team, how he decided to return to his alma mater for a graduate degree, and how his time as a double-degreed Raven has transformed his life.
Kylee Larson MTS ’10
Kylee Larson ’10 is undeniably a “maker of things”. During quarantine in the early days of the pandemic, Larson used her creativity, love for learning and teaching, and fun-loving spirit together to create “Kylee Makes It”: a place for kids, parents, and educators to discover new ways to dream and make. One of her videos already has over 1 million views on YouTube! Larson talks about in this podcast about the value of slowing down to think about what you care about. This mindset has helped her create amazing videos that are not only educational but entertaining and reflective. Listen to her passion for this new adventure and check out Kylee’s website, www.kyleemakesit.com to learn more about what she’s up to.
Dr. Dan Miller BA ’84
Dr. Dan Miller ’84 eats, sleeps and breathes all things history. He is the owner, founder and President of Historical Solutions (historicalsolutions.com) where he helps train leaders through the unique lens of history and how the past can help to grow and develop leadership qualities to make individuals and organizations better. Miller’s approach to history is expressed in books, articles, postings as well as in coaching, seminars, workshops, walk-shops, and speeches and you can hear more about his fascinating career and calling in this episode of ECHOES.
Eric Baker BA ’10, MBA ’11
Dreamer, visionary, innovator, and “triple Raven” Eric Baker ’10, ’11 has accomplished a lot in his decade away from AU, perhaps most notably as it relates to current events, is the Founder and President of CounterStrike Table Tennis. Baker talks about how he saw a gap in ping-pong paddle equipment for those not wanting a cheap paddle but also not wanting a really expensive one, and through hundreds of hours, developed his own line. You could buy one today at www.cstabletennis.com!
Dayan Smith BA ’19
AU football standout and newly sworn-in deputy at the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office, Dayan Smith ’19, is a community-minded, relationship-driven Raven whose career in law enforcement is just getting started but is destined for success.
Chris Witt BA ’03
Chris Witt ’03 is a long-time film editor in Los Angeles. From humble beginnings in Wichita, Kansas, Witt found his way to AU where he was immersed in Covenant Productions that ultimately lead him out to Hollywood where he has edited films that have screened at over 100 festivals across the world. Check out “Finding You” in theaters now and streaming soon that Chris was the sole editor for!
Allison Ludwig BA ’16
Every good organization has that person who keeps the engine running and the ship afloat. For AU’s Advancement department, that role is filled with excellence by 2016 alumna, Allison Ludwig. In this episode, Allison talks about overseeing the ECHOES podcast itself, what it’s like working at her alma mater, and all the many Ravens along the way that have impacted her professional and personal journey.
Dr. Michael Roberts BA ’97
1997 alumnus Dr. Michael Roberts became Chief of Staff at East Alabama Medical Center in late 2019 and has essentially served in that role in its entirety during the Coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Roberts shares about that as well as he learned about leadership and service while at AU. Lastly, Roberts talks about a time at AU that to this day is the coldest he’s ever been!
David Auble MBA ’20
David Auble MBA ’20 is a manager and web developer at Orbis Education in Carmel, Indiana. In this episode, David talks about his journey to AU, joining the MBA program, and his experience with professors and classmates.
Tiffany Trotter MBA ’15
Tiffany Trotter doesn’t have a sports background but has now worked in senior HR leadership at the NCAA and USA Football. She found her MBA experience at AU transformational, helping her integrate faith and strong HR strategic partnership.
Gerri Darroca MBA ’20
Gerri Darroca is a physician who worked in clinical practice for many years and then realized she wanted to understand the business side of healthcare. In researching MBA programs, she loved AU’s combination of faith, rigor, and convenience.
Dean Dube MBA ’19
Dean Dube attended AU as an undergrad before finishing elsewhere … but he loved his time at AU and when it was time to get an MBA, he knew he wanted to come back here. Now he does high-level IT project management and lives out his faith in the workplace.
Sarah Michaels BSN ’15
Sarah Michaels ’15 was recently nominated for Indy’s Best and Brightest for her servant leadership in the local Health and Science sector. Michaels is all about community and does her part in a big way both in leading a staff of professionals at Apex Benefits and also in foster care. Sarah’s passion for people is contagious. Listen in and be encouraged by an alumna who is truly making a difference in the church and society.
Simon Ho ’86
Simon Ho ’86 came to AC by way of Malaysia to study Computer Science. From there he’s gone on to found 1Core Solution that has vastly enhanced and improved the childcare industry. He also has launched a non-profit to bring awareness to living organ transplants called My New Liver and you can hear how this passion project was born out of his own experience being a liver donor for his daughter.
Fred ’61 and Kay (Murphy) ’62 Shively
Pillars of the Church of God and Anderson University, Fred ’61 and Kay (Murphy) ’62 Shively are on the special Valentine’s Day podcast to talk about life, love, and their time at AU both as students and faculty. This is a must-listen episode, friends. The Shively’s will be married 60 years in September and talk about how they’ve kept God and each other central in their lives. Oh, and they love music and even break out into song during the episode!
Amani Crews BSN ’16
Heroes learn here. AU School of Nursing alumna and RN at Columbus, Ohio’s Mount Carmel St. Ann’s hospital, Amani Crews ’16, has been on the front lines this year as a nurse battling the pandemic and bringing hope and care to so many who need it.
Check out this episode to hear Amani’s take on the vaccine, how she was destined to be a nurse, and how she described her AU experience as “life-changing.
Amrutha (Pulikottil) Wheeler BA ’12
2012 alumna Amrutha (Pulikottil) Wheeler is a data scientist in Indianapolis. With a background in Political Science and Economics at AU and an M.A. in Public Administration from Ball State, Wheeler likes the idea that “you’re never too old to learn something new”. Listen in to hear about what Amrutha loves about her job and how she’s making a difference in the world.
Robert Rowlett BA ’14
With a commitment to following Christ and practicing law, 2014 alumnus Robert Rowlett is currently a Deputy Attorney General for the State of Indiana. Rowlett discusses some of the unique cases he’s taken on and how the AU faculty and campus community has helped prepare him for serving in legal affairs.
Adam Klunzinger BA ’09
2009 alumnus Adam Klunzinger is the Chief Financial Officer at CP Energy in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Adam treasured his time at AU in the Falls School of Business and found the principles of life and learning taught to him as a Raven equip him in the world of business. Klunzinger also mixed it up on the Rugby pitch back in the day. A remarkable alumnus doing big things…give it a listen!
Cheris (Slusher) Miller BA ’06
Chief Ministry Officer at Youth For Christ in northern Indiana, 2006 alumna Cheris (Slusher) Miller has dedicated her life post-AU to developing junior and senior high school students in their spiritual walk with Jesus. Hear Cheris talk about her love for ministry, how she grew at AU, and some funny stories of her and Trent Palmer growing up. Did you know they’ve known each other since infancy?!
Mike Thigpen BA ’07, MBA ’17
07′ and ’17 alumnus Michael Thigpen, current Chief Diversity Officer and Director of Cultural Resource Center at Anderson University, joins the pod. Mike’s love and care for students shines through as we talk about his work making AU a more inclusive community and one where everyone is welcome at the table. You’ll want to also hear Mike talk about the upcoming Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day programming he’s coordinating at AU and how you, our beloved alumni, can get involved!
Sign up for A Million Steps for Martin here: anderson.edu/student-life/cultu…source-center/mlk/
Caleb Hatch BA ’11
Recognized by the Indiana Broadcasters Association for excellence in sportscasting each of the last two years, 2011 alumnus Caleb Hatch is making waves in the field of communications, specifically in covering sports radio. In just under a decade out of AU, Hatch has called play-by-play for high school football in Texas and high school basketball in Indiana. For you sports fans, that’s really saying something! Check out this episode to hear about Caleb’s exciting career and our AU’s communication department helped get him started!
2019 IBA spectrum award winner for Best Sportscast: WOWO-AM/FM (Ft. Wayne) – WOWO
2020 IBA spectrum award finalist for Best Sports Coverage: WKJG-AM (Ft. Wayne) – Local Sports Update – June 2020
Dr. Mark Gittins BA ’82
1982 alumnus and orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Mark Gittins shares about serving the medical field in central Ohio, playing football and running track at AU, and helping to start Heart for Honduras while a student at AC, and how he is still highly involved today. Read more about Dr. Mark Gittins here.
Ariana Milla Ramirez BA ’17, MBA ’19
Doubling up her AU experience with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree 2017 and 2019, alumna Ariana Milla Ramirez shares about growing up in Honduras and being back in her homeland now, working in the city of Anderson, her AU experience as an international student and being involved as a student leader, and how “Helios stole her heart!”
Todd Taylor BA ’13
Todd Taylor joins ECHOES to talk about his experience coaching and playing football, what it’s like coaching a fall sport amid a pandemic, and how AU helped pave the way.
Julie-Allyson Ieron BA ’86
Julie-Allyson Ieron ’86 is an author, caregiver, worship leader, and speaker. She credits her Anderson University experience to kickstarting what has been a career in ministry, most notably as an author, having written over 40 books. We talk about her newest book, Don’t Let This Throw You, which speaks to God’s presence and grace in the midst of great crisis.
Pastor Rolland Daniels BA ’79, MDiv ’86
Pastor Rolland Daniels shares about his 40 years of ministry, his love for family and God, his new book Legacy Maker: Live a Life That Matters, and how so many Anderson University Ravens helped shape who he is today.
Chelsa Lee-Samuels BA ’15, MBA ’16
Chelsa Lee-Samuels BA ’15, MBA ’16 shares about how directing the Gospel Choir as a student prepared her to be a professional high school choral director, and how family legacy at AU prepared her for a growing family and to team up with her younger sister in starting a cool new business!
You may have heard of the “meeting before the meeting,” but in this recording, Chelsa and Trent had a podcast before and after the podcast where some shoutouts weren’t included. Apologies to those tagged if Chelsa’s mention did not make the pod, but know she did credit several more Ravens and experiences off-air! Check out Chelsa’s business, Yard Sign Sisters.
Rich BA ’88 & Kelly (Spaulding) Packard BA ’90
Rich BA ’88 and Kelly (Spaulding) BA ’90 Packard share about following God into ministry for married couples who’ve lost a child. The Packards share their own story of loss and how they seek to help others with their Living Hope Mountain Respite retreat experience. They also share stories from their AU experience as student-athletes and how their faith grew as Ravens.
Andy Eck BA ’05
Born to serve and protect, 2005 alumnus Andy Eck is spearheading front-line efforts to keep people safe. Listen as Andy shares about fun memories he had while on campus, how AU sharpened his faith, and how he’s following God into the future. If you were around AU in the early 2000s, you most likely knew and loved this AU legend!
Don Collins BA ’51
1951 alumnus Don Collins, a man who for decades has impacted the Church of God and Anderson University, shares stories about the people and places that transformed his life, and also what God is still teaching him in his 90s!
Scott Fridley BA ’91
AU soccer is synonymous with the legendary 30-year head coach and 1991 alumnus, Scott Fridley. In this episode of ECHOES, Coach Fridley talks about his background in the Church of God, how he started the AU soccer team, his longtime tenure as a coach, nearly 30 years of coordinating Anderson soccer camps on campus, and the brand new soccer stadium. Scott’s love for AU and his wealth of captivating stories makes this a must-listen episode!
Connie (Reardon) Hippensteel BA ’67
Constance “Connie” (Reardon) Hippensteel is a 1967 alumna of Anderson University. Connie served AU as the former director of wellness programming at the Kardatzke Wellness Center (KWC) from 2002 until her retirement in 2015. Connie’s father, President Robert Reardon, was the second president in AU’s history, and Connie shares about her AU roots, attending AU while her father was president, working for the university, and some of her hobbies and passions.
Bobby MA ’10 & Jenny (Dunbar) BA’ 03, MA ’08 Mihsill
Bobby MA ’10 and Jenny BA ’03, MA ’08 Mihsill are Church of God (CHOG) missionaries in Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Africa, with their young family. They also teach at the IBAO (West Africa Bible Institute) and are trainers for Children of Promise. Bobby and Jenny share about their AU experience with us and their work in Africa. Follow them on Facebook.
George Abiad BA ’89
LaNesha (Bolden) Tabb BA ’06
LaNesha (Bolden) Tabb, an 2006 alumna, is a teacher in the Lawrence Metropolitan School District in Indianapolis. LaNesha shares about teaching students from home, tips for parents of school-aged children, her website “Education with an Apron,” and her AU experience.
Josh Smith BA ’14
Listen in to our very first episode of ECHOES! We speak with Josh Smith, a 2014 grad and physician’s assistant at Community Hospital North. Josh shares his experience in healthcare during the COVID-19 health crisis, as well as his viral worship video.
Amber May BA ’05, MBA ’09
Amber May is a 2005 BA and 2009 MBA alumna currently working as director of diversity and inclusion at Marquette University. With extensive experience in both social work and higher education, including working a stint at AU as RD of Rice Hall, Amber shares what her experience has been like as a person of color living and working in predominantly White communities. As racial tension soars, Amber sheds light on how we all need to be agents of change to make the world a more equitable place.
Kevin Sheward BA ’13, MBA ’14
Kevin Sheward BA ’13, MBA ’14 talks about his AU experience, his journey in politics, his career in healthcare, and his role as our current AU Alumni Council president.
Molly McCracken Huffman BA ’06
Molly McCracken Huffman is a 2006 alumna of Anderson University and is an author and speaker. Molly talks about questions, doubt, trust, faith, joy, sorrow, and uncertainty, all through the lens of enduring incredible loss.
JDonavan “JD” Bembry BA ’20
JD is a recent grad from AU and was a four-year player on the AU men’s basketball team, and a three-time all-academic. JD talks with us about his AU experience as a student-athlete and political science major, and his participation in Gospel Choir and Encore. JD is heading to the IU McKinney School of Law.
Tami Miller BA ’93
In this episode of ECHOES, Tami Miller BA ’93 talks about her 17-year tenure as head coach of AU volleyball, life-transforming moments with Tri-S Global, how her coaching style has evolved over time, and what she loves about AU from a student and staff perspective.
Chris Chavez BA ’15
In our third edition of the ECHOES podcast, we sit down with Chris Chavez BA ’15. Chris is a music artist living in Nashville, TN, and a member of 4th and Main. As mentioned in the podcast, check out the viral It Is Well Nashville musician mashup.
Todd Baden BA ’10
In this episode of ECHOES, we talk with Todd Baden BA ’10. Todd is the director of finance at Valley Creek Church in Dallas, TX. Todd shares about his AU experience and his passion for financial wellness.
Julie (Mathis) Dodson BA ’85
In this episode of ECHOES, we talk with Julie (Mathis) Dodson, a ’85 AU grad who is a mental health counselor. Julie shares about her time at AU and ways we can all benefit from positive mental health practices now during the COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond.