2015 Young Alumni Award Recipients
Cynthia Cardwell Fast, ’08
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Rutgers University
Piscataway, New Jersey
Cynthia Cardwell Fast By studying how past experiences affect learning and perception in the brains of mice, Fast hopes to someday explain and correct human memory problems and anxiety-related disorders. Post-traumatic stress disorder, a pathological example of new behaviors that influence perception based on past experience, is one of many such conditions that could be treated with therapies based on Fast's research. In four semesters at Albion, Fast presentedfive different research posters at national and regional conferences and Albion's Isaac Symposium. At the University of California, Los Angeles, Fast received teaching and scholarship awards from the institution; she also received the Student Poster Award from the Pavlovian Society, and nomination to the New York Academy of Sciences James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award. At Albion, Fast was a member of the Equestrian Club and received the 2007 Kirsten D. Metalonis, '99, Summer Research Fellowship, the Joseph Heston Award for Outstanding Senior Psychology Major, and the Ned S. Garvin Neuroscience Award.
Katherine L. Kirsch, ’12
Chief Marketing Officer, Sisu Global Health
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Katherine L. Kirsch Katie Kirsch focuses on Sisu Global Health's image, lead generation, and partnership development along with establishing relationships with doctors and hospital administrators in Sub-Saharan Africa. Dedicated to designing and commercializing medical products specifically for emerging markets, Sisu has developed the Hemafuse autotransfusion device, which can be operated without electricity by just one person. While at Albion, Kirsch traveled twice to Suriname and three times to Cameroon doing research, study and internships. As the recipient of a Fulbright teaching fellowship, Kirsch taught English at INATEK University in Kibungo, Rwanda, and managed the first published literary journal with students at the National University of Rwanda. At Albion, Kirsch received a Jenkins Award, given to the top four honors theses in the class, and a Lux Fiat Award, given to the four seniors most distinguished for leadership and service; She was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Kirsch was also a member of Kappa Delta, Panhellenic Council, Mortar Board, and Bitone (supporting a Ugandan orphanage), and also served as a First-Year Experience mentor.
Jonathan E. Reynolds, ’09
Associate Pastor, St. Paul's United Methodist Church
Jonathan E. Reynolds In just over two years with the 2,300-member St. Paul's, Reynolds has created and strengthened many of the church's ministries. He gathered 90 congregants to participate in a half-marathon, raising more than $32,000 to help purchase malaria nets for use in Africa. He helps coordinate the church's Food Basket ministry which provides over $15,000 worth of food to more than 130 families at Christmas. Reynolds leads service trips from St. Paul's to Community Social Services (CCSS) in Detroit, and helped establish "Hands4Detroit,"" which attracts 1,000 volunteers annually. Beyond his church-based work, Reynolds volunteers with Red Bird Mission trips to Appalachia and Habitat for Humanity. As a minister at St. Paul's, He developed the church's first regular evening worship service. He received a Church/Volunteer of the Year award from CCSS. At Albion, he was a member of Alpha Phi Omega, Pi Sigma Alpha, Service Project Appalachia, Campus Crusade, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Chapel, Student Volunteer Bureau, Canoe Club, and the Ultimate Frisbee club team.
Danielle M. Wysocki, ’10
Senior Booker, Comcast Sportsnet Chicago
Danielle M. Wysocki Danni Wysocki has lined up over 2,000 interviews featuring such sports stars as Mike Tyson, Dwyane Wade, and Terrell Owens, as well as other celebrities. She has also worked with CSN Chicago's SportsTalk Live special programming, including Bears pre- and post-game reporting, the March of Dimes Sports Awards, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase, and the Crosstown Cup. She also helped cover the 2012 Ryder Cup and the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Her work earned her a 2013 nomination for a 2013 Midwest/Chicago Emmy; she won the Emmy in 2014 for Best Live Sporting Event. At Albion, Wysocki founded a sports blog for women, thejerseychaser.com, developed under Fox Sports' Yardbarker blog site, and was sports editor and multimedia editor for the Pleiad. She was a member of Alpha Chi Omega, Order of Omega and Alpha Phi Omega, and Best Buddies.
2016 Young Alumni Award Recipients
Amanda Millhouse, ’07
Vertebrate Paleontology Collections Specialist
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Responsible for managing more than 150,000 vertebrate fossils, Millhouse explains some of the world's oldest fossils to a 21st-century audience from all corners of the globe. In addition to leading multiple ongoing cataloguing and specimen reorganization projects, she also served as a project manager for the de-installation of the museum’s five fossil exhibit halls. This included developing workflows and procedures needed to de-install over 2,300 fossils, reconciling and updating exhibit data, and overseeing the schedule for 10 groups involved in the project. Prior to the Smithsonian, Millhouse worked for the University of Kansas Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Center, and excavated fossils at Ashfall Fossil Beds in Nebraska following her graduate studies. Millhouse holds a master's degree in geology from Northern Arizona University and a master's degree in museum studies from the University of Kansas.
Doug Richmond, ’06
In just 10 years in the classroom, Richmond has received an astounding five "Teacher of the Year" awards, including that honor from Atlanta (Georgia) Public Schools. He joined the KIPP Charter Schools in 2012 as the first science department chair of KIPP Atlanta Collegiate. Thanks to Richmond's efforts, seven members of the KIPP Atlanta Class of 2015 enrolled at Albion College, five joining the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program. Richmond is currently in his first year with KIPP Nashville, where he teaches chemistry and is coaching the men's varsity basketball team. Richmond has spent his entire career working in low-income communities.
Alyssa Wong, ’09
Health Scientist–Country Officer
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
As the CDC's country officer for Senegal, Burkina Faso and Guinea-Bissau, Wong oversees implementation of global health security agendas designed for that area of the world, serving as the primary point of contact for all CDC programs in the region. Wong and her team also travel throughout Africa, working with other CDC teams on technical assistance, training workshops and meeting planning. While in graduate school, Wong held a World Health Organization internship with its Cambodia country office, and she has also worked for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She earned her master of public health degree in epidemiology from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
DAA Award Winner: Molly Ann Swart (Smyk), '82
Molly Swart credits her Albion experience as a member of the Ford Institute's first class in 1978 for having a significant role in shaping her world view, her career, and her life. A SOAR leader and Lomas Project 250 Award winner while a student, she says Albion helped provide her with the confidence to pursue and win a $25,000 Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship for study abroad after graduation. That led to two years in Toulouse, France, where she learned more than just the language and culture. That experience set her on her career path in international business.
Swart's life has personified the phrase, "think globally." After a brief stint as a technical interpreter for French foreign trade expositions, Swart joined the French Embassy Trade Office/Ubifrance. Now senior trade advisor there, she serves as the liaison for French industries doing business in the U.S., assisting the companies in attracting and retaining U.S. customers, marketing their products, and organizing banking, tax accounting, immigration, and legal affairs. But it isn't just business; she is a diplomat in many respects. Swart embodies global thinking in all aspects of her life, from hosting French interns in her home to involving high school students in fundraising for various causes.
In honor of her contributions to the French trade ministry, Swart was awarded the Chevalier (Knight) de l'Ordre National du Mérite by the President of France. This is one of the highest civilian honors in France.
Swart acknowledges Albion and specifically the Ford Institute, alongside her family, as catalysts for her dedication to public service and volunteerism. Committed to "giving back," she currently is a Visiting Committee member for the Ford Institute and has participated in regional alumni events. In her community, she has served on the boards of the French American Chamber of Commerce and the International Visitors Council of Metropolitan Detroit, and as the executive director of the French American Automotive Business Association. A past president of the Birmingham Rotary Club, she received a district Presidential Citation from Rotary International. She and her husband, David Smyk, reside in Birmingham, Michigan. They have two children, Mallory and Cameron.
DAA Award Winner: James D. Rogers, '69
James Rogers came to Albion knowing he would pursue a career in medicine. How expansive this career would become and how many lives he would touch in the years that followed his graduation were beyond his imagination.
Rogers earned his medical degree from Wake Forest University, where he received the Mosby Award for Scholastic Excellence from the Bowman Gray School of Medicine. He completed surgical residencies at Yale University and New York University. A cardiovascular surgeon, he began his career as an associate professor of surgery for Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and later was an attending surgeon for the St. John's and Cox Medical Centers in Springfield, Missouri. From 1999 to 2007, Rogers was director of cardiovascular surgery at Genesys Regional Medical Center in Grand Blanc, Michigan, and since 2007 he has served as an emergency physician for Mercy Hospital in Grayling, Michigan.
Rogers' military career included serving as a staff surgeon at Walter Reed Army Medical Center during Operation Desert Shield, and on the medical staff for the 148th evacuation hospital of the Arkansas National Guard in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm. Recipient of a U.S. Army Achievement Medal and an Army Commendation Medal, he retired as a lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Army Medical Corps.
Rogers' appreciation for his experience at Albion College is deep and lasting. As a "regular" at the old Eat Shop on Cass Street, he spearheaded the creation of the "new" Eat Shop in the Kellogg Center to include original booths and memorabilia. As a mentor to Albion premedical students, he provided them with an insider's look at medical practice unavailable to most undergraduate students. Many Albion alumni are physicians today because of Jim Rogers' willingness to share his insights and his passion for his work.
He and his wife, Linda, reside in Grand Blanc. They have four children, Kathryn, Taylor, Harry, and Dana.