Alumni Notes


Larry Samovaar recently released the eighth edition of Communication Between Cultures (Cengage) and is on track to release the 14th edition (a special 40th year anniversary edition) of Intercultural Communication: A Reader (Cengage) in 2013. Samovaar also continues to breed and race thoroughbred horses under the stable name of Academic Farms. He is hoping for “Lucky Student,” “Reason to Study,” and “Apairadocs” to go the Derby.


John Bruington has served as a pastor, senior pastor, and head of staff in various sized congregations throughout the country and has earned both a masters in divinity and doctorate in ministry. He has self-published four books for local parish work and his doctoral thesis, titled “Saving God’s home on the range,” was also published by McCormick in 1988. In addition to pastoral ministry, Bruington has worked as a radio DJ, a small town reporter, a media consultant for a local museum, and for the past five years, a columnist for the Havre Daily News titled, “Out Our Way.”


Blanton Croft celebrated his 55th wedding anniversary in June 2012, as well as his 60th high school class reunion at Crittenden County Secondary in Marion, Ky. He has been nominated as a distinguished graduate of the high school and has received a 10,000 hour service award from the Meritus Medical Center, Hagerstown, Md., in June 2012. Blanton also serves as a member of the Commission on Aging Advisory Council of Washington County, Md.


 Paula Dwyer of the Bloomberg News was a 2012 Pulitzer Finalist in Editorial Writing.


Sallie Larsen was appointed managing director and chief human capital officer of LPL Financial LLC, the nation’s largest independent broker-dealer and a wholly owned subsidiary of LPL Investment Holdings, Inc. Larsen is based in San Diego and is responsible for guiding the company’s overall human capital and talent acquisition strategies. Previously, Larsen served as chief human resources officer for the Federal Home Loan Bank.


Angie Klink
Angie Klink

Angie Klink has authored Kirby’s Way, How Kirby And Caroline Risk Built Their Company on Kitchen-Table Values published by Purdue University Press with a foreword by Brian Lamb, executive chairman of C-SPAN and namesake for Purdue’s school of communication. Klink has also authored the biography Divided Paths, Common Ground: The Story of Mary Matthews and Lella Gaddis, Pioneering Purdue Women Who Introduced Science into the Home and two children’s books, Purdue Pete Finds His Hammer and I Found U. Her writing has been published in numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul books and she has won 44 American Advertising Federation ADDY Awards and an honorable mention in the 2007 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition.

Dennis Runyan is currently serving as the Superintendent of Schools in the Agua Fria Union High School district near Phoenix, Ariz. He also works as an adjunct faculty member with the Graduate School of Education Distance Learning Program at Northern Arizona University.


Karen (Paonessa) Cameron has started a small ad agency, at, which provides marketing and advertising services and promotional products to help small businesses grow.

David Goad published his first book Getting to the Point, a collection of autobiographical parables which includes a few stories from his time at Purdue. All proceeds from book sales in 2012 go to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Learn more at


Marsha Jones
Marsha Jones

Marsha Jones has just released her third novel, Pin Pals. The story follows the wild and crazy trappings of six teammates — Meissa,Trish, Ginger, Pat, Ann and Beth — as they try to win their sixth consecutive league bowling title. Jones has also been named a Fellow of the Black Playwright Program established by Mood Makers Books in Rochester, NY. She was one of six fellows selected and debuted her play, Win Win in August.


Jacqueline S. Flanagan was recently appointed as executive director of the Presbyterian SeniorCare Foundation in Pittsburgh, Penn.


Melissa Lundberg was recently promoted to associate director, public relations and public education for the American Academy of Dermatology.


Jill Bode spearheaded a recently published book of women’s stories called “Dear Me: Advice to Our Younger Selves” available at and Barnes and Noble online. She was also published this year in A Common Thread: Stories of hope, generosity and impact from the American Red Cross and Indiana 4-H Foundation’s book, I Remember: A Collection of Indiana 4-H Stories.


Julie Ellis Pfadt is a public relations and marketing consultant working as the executive director of Lake Erie Wine Country, 23 boutique wineries on the southern shore of Lake Erie in both Pennsylvania and New York. She is also on-air talent on WYNE radio online at weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as “Julie, the mid-day cruise director.”


Dale Gauthreaux is now director of leadership programs in the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

Robert Spalding has joined the board of directors of the Mercer Island Schools Foundation, working to develop and implement a shared vision of educational excellence for Mercer Island, Wash., students.


Jennifer (Petriko) Meiring has been a stay-at-home mom since having her second son, but recently started working again doing direct sales for Dove Chocolate Discoveries. She is currently working on building a team of independent chocolatiers.


Brett Creech joined the Purdue University staff as an educational technologist in June 2012.

Julie L. (Brown) Stachnik is now the senior manager of convention services for the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Bureau.


April Buchanan is living in Grenoble, France, where she has been for the past eight years. She was elected head chair of Democrats Abroad Rhone-Alps last January, and she also serves as the vice president and communications director for the association France Etats-Unis Grenoble. She was recently hired as a translator and UK customer service manager for a leading European online shoe retailer.

Josh Miles of Indianapolis branding firm Miles Design is speaking at a series of events from Seattle, Wash., to Tampa, Fla., this fall to promote his new book, Bold Brand: The New Rules for Differentiating, Branding, and Marketing Your Professional Services Firm.


Sara Jane Fetzer married Kevin Kluender on May 26, 2012, in Madison, Wisc.

Toni E. Lin recently moved back to Indianapolis with her husband and daughter to become assistant professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine. She serves as a teaching physician in hand surgery and as the faculty advisor for the Community Leadership Mentoring Program. Dr. Lin has also joined Indiana University Health Physicians as a Hand and Upper Extremity Surgeon at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

Nicole Visnyak took a new position as a senior project manager in the Technology division of FTI Consulting in Chicago, Ill., this spring. She also became engaged on the 4th of July on a pier overlooking Lake Superior in Copper Harbor, Mich.


Barbara Buzbee has accepted an eCommerce merchandise manager position in the eCommerce department at Dillard’s in July 2011 after working in web development as a project manager for the last three years in Little Rock, Ark. In June she accepted the eCommerce project manager position and her new focus is helping to rebuild the bridal registry application on While working at Dillard’s, she got engaged in June to the lead eCommerce programming analyst and will be getting married in April of 2013.

Rachel Wehrspann was recently awarded the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship for Business and Economics Journalism at Columbia University in New York (class of 2013).


Stephany Hessler recently received her certification in volunteer administration through the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration, the only international professional certification in the field of volunteer resources management. She was also selected to be part of the Rhode Island Foundation’s Emerging Leaders Program for 2012-2013. The Nonprofit Emerging Leaders program helps prepare the next generation of nonprofit leaders in Rhode Island. The program is designed to strengthen the capacity of the nonprofit sector by providing unique learning opportunities for talented emerging leaders.

Ryan Kring
Ryan Kring

Ryan Kring has been moving through the ranks in the sign industry. Currently he serves as the sales manager for Burkhart Sign Systems, based out of South Bend, Ind., with offices in South Bend and Fort Wayne. The company specializes in unique custom sign and architectural structure design, fabrication and installation. In the last 18 months Burkhart has had two projects featured in national sign magazines.

Megan Nail took a position as HR Manager with Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, a top 100 law firm, in July.

Wesseler Wedding
A.J. Wessseler and Megan Trego Wedding

A.J. Wessseler married Megan Trego on March 24, 2012, at the Dallas Arboretum in Dallas, Texas. They currently reside in Rockwall, Texas.


Lindsay A. Roberts became the associate director for distance learning at Purdue in June 2011. She is currently working with the undergraduate online courses and increasing growth in that area. She became employed with Purdue the week after graduating in August 2003 and does not plan to leave! She is married and has two children, ages 4 and 2.


John Clemens is currently residing in Los Angeles and working for TBWA\Chiat\Day as account supervisor on the Nissan account. This October, he finished his 12th marathon in Chicago.

Laura (Vercler) Lindberg, her husband, Mark, and daughter, Zoie, welcomed a new baby, Simon Mark, into their family on July 9.

Katerina Tsetsura has been named a Gaylord Professor of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma starting in 2013. The highly competitive Gaylord Professorship recognizes significant achievements in teaching, scholarship, and creative activities and is meant to encourage and support significant research and creative projects or programs of chosen faculty over a five-year period.

Katherine Fritz Wetzel is currently a vice president in the technology practice at Porter Novelli, a global PR firm.


Meredith Cantrell has been promoted to director of marketing for Saint Luke’s East Hospital in Lee’s Summit, Mo., a member of Saint Luke’s Health System.

Sabrina Cook was named a finalist for the 9th annual Indy’s Best & Brightest award in the Sports, Media and Entertainment category. Indy’s Best & Brightest honors 100 of central Indiana’s most outstanding young professionals, age 40 and under, in 10 different industries.


 Joellen Madru Campbell was recently hired by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority as business marketing manager. In this role, she rallies the community behind the city’s No. 1 industry, tourism, and helps roll out the “red carpet” for visitors to Las Vegas.

Elizabeth Cuddy has completed a two-year service with the Peace Corps in Morocco, learning the culture and doing youth development in a small village in the south.

Min Jiang briefed U.S. Navy officials on Chinese Internet and social media in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 26. She also participated in the sixth annual CHINA Town Hall, a national day of programming designed to provide Americans across the United States and beyond the opportunity to discuss issues critical to U.S.-China relations with leading experts on Oct. 29. Dr. Jiang discussed the influence of the Internet and social media on China’s sociopolitical affairs. The same day, she also spoke on a Chinese information revolution panel hosted by the Wisconsin China Initiative at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Ryan Williams recently took a new job with the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation as a grant manager. He will be managing the “Mind in the Making” grant, and looks forward to this opportunity to work with the children in his local school system.


Traci Gillig
Traci Gillig

Traci Gillig received a masters degree from the BLSC in 2011 and has moved from Washington D.C., where she served as a health communication specialist for the FDA, to Los Angeles, to pursue a private-sector opportunity working as a senior account executive for Edelman (on the health team).

Abby Troyer is now with Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly and Company, in corporate affairs and global communications in Indianapolis. She is responsible primarily for internal communications and digital strategy.


Rosemary Scott is currently working as a logistics representative at the Starbucks Corporate Office in Seattle. Before this job she interned at Weber Shandwick, Waggener Edstrom & MWW Group.


Jennifer Love is employed full as a marketing assistant in Indianapolis at Raidious.

Joanne Norell was accepted into the Master of Professional Studies in Sports Industry Management program at Georgetown University after working for a year as a sports writer. She is supplementing her studies with a marketing internship with the Military Bowl, based in Washington, D.C

Alda Norris was promoted to the position of evaluation specialist in the statewide office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service. Norris was previously a member of the communications unit, managing the website and social media for CES.


Meredith Barack is currently working as a broadcast news reporter for the CBS affiliate, Northern Michigan’s News Leader – 9 and 10 News – in Traverse City/Cadillac, Mich.

Meg Fingert had two internships over the summer in Las Vegas and then accepted a full-time position as an account coordinator and social media specialist at Purdue Marion & Associates Public Relations in Las Vegas.

Sloane Lehman is now work at Airbnb.

Kara McIver works in digital public affairs on the energy and international teams at Edelman in Washington, D.C. Her work is focused on the digital side of PR, including online monitoring, blogger engagement and search engine optimization.