Albion College Young Alumni 'Top 10 in 10' Announced for 2012

Albion College's Young Alumni 'Top 10 in 10' 2012Albion College's 2012 Young Alumni 'Top 10 in 10': Jordan Troisi, Sara Wycoff, Mark Ostach, Mike Thomas, Jonathan Smith, Iain Charnley, John Paul Walters. Not pictured: Derek Burkholder, Grace Keeney, Sarah DiPonio Padilla
















Albion's unique recognition of outstanding graduates, the Young Alumni "Top 10 in 10" awards, brought a celebratory crowd to the Science Complex atrium April 20. From the governor's office to a racetrack, from Arlington to São Paolo, the "Top 10 in 10" again affirmed the diversity of fields – and successes – in which Albion alumni distinguish themselves.

The award recognizes noteworthy and distinctive achievements made by alumni who have graduated within the past ten years. (Watch a video of the event on YouTube.)

"These outstanding young people highlight the impressive achievements our alumni make, even just a few years out of college," explained Tim Newsted, '78, assistant director of alumni engagement. "We have thousands of fantastic alumni, and it's a pleasure to celebrate their successes.”

The 2012 "Top 10 in 10" Young Alumni are:

Derek Burkholder, class of 2004Derek Burkholder, '04

Doctoral candidate and graduate assistant
Florida International University
North Miami, Florida

Having worked for National Geographic immediately after graduation from Albion, Burkholder is currently working with PBS in the Florida Everglades studying bull sharks. He has recently researched the ecological role of green turtles and tiger sharks in the pristine shallow sea grass ecosystem of Shark Bay, Western Australia. Burkholder is presently finalizing his dissertation at Florida International University, but manages to find time for his passion of underwater/natural-setting photography.


Iain Charnley, '05

Iain Charnley, '05

Chief resident, Grand Rapids Family Medicine
Grand Rapids

Charnley is chief resident for Grand Rapids Family Medicine Residency and looks forward to joining Advantage Health Physician Group in August 2012. Charnley recently received a commendation for outstanding pediatric rotation performance. He is the coordinator of “Fit Kids 360,” a Grand Rapids effort to curb childhood obesity. He is also active in the Grand Rapids First Methodist Church, serving on the leadership team and as a member of the chancel choir.


Grace Keeney, Albion College class of 2008Grace Keeney, '08

Intern, Custom Comercio Internacional
São Paulo, Brazil

In 2009, Keeney moved to Rio de Janeiro as a Fulbright scholar, studying Brazilian AIDS-related non-governmental organizations and their efforts to secure access to medicines. In 2010, she was awarded a scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in international business at the Grenoble École de Management in France, and followed that with a teaching assistantship at Harvard University. Keeney is currently back in Brazil, completing her internship in international supply chain management at Custom Commercio Intenacional in São Paulo. Keeney speaks and reads four languages: Portuguese, German, Spanish, and French.


Mark Ostach, '04

Mark Ostach, '04

Founder, Mentalspace Manager and

Ostach is the creator of Mentalspace Manager, a plug-in for web browsers that enables users to manage their Internet behaviors. helps people understand and evaluate the negative effects the Internet can have on emotions, moods and health. Ostach is also the COO of Digerati, responsible for the project management office and staff augmentation.


Sarah DiPonio Padilla, '03

Sarah Padilla, '03

Associate veterinarian, Daryl Easley equine practice
Lexington, Kentucky

Padilla has been treating thoroughbred race horses at Keeneland Racetrack since 2008. The year prior she received her DVM with honors from Michigan State University, which included the presentation of the J.P. Hutton-W.F. Riley Equine Award for outstanding abilities in equine surgery and medicine. Padilla has also been affiliated with Phi Zeta, the national honor society of veterinary medicine, since 2006 and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa at Albion.


Jonathan Smith, '08

Jonathan Smith, '08

Financial consultant, The Wall Group of Wells Fargo Advisors
Providence, Rhode Island

With assets under management worth nearly $200 million (as of March 30, 2012), Smith works as a financial consultant with The Wall Group of Wells Fargo Advisors. He has received recognition within the Rhode Island branch for his achievements in 2011. Smith is also a member of the USGA and the Providence Chamber of Commerce and is a volunteer teacher for the youth caddy program at the Rhode Island Country Club. In addition, he is the chair of Albion College's New England alumni chapter.

Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC Member FINRA/SIPC

Mike Thomas, '06

Mike Thomas, '06

Head basketball coach, Kalamazoo Central High School

In four short years, Thomas has established a legacy of coaching success, guiding Kalamazoo Central to back-to-back state championships in 2010 and 2011. Along the way he has received Coach of the Year honors from The Detroit Free Press and the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan while amassing a 92-11 overall record at K-Central. The Saginaw native and four-year Albion starter was an assistant coach for two seasons at Northwood University soon after graduation.


Jordan Troisi, '06

Jordan Troisi, '06

Visiting assistant professor of psychology, Widener University
Chester, Pennsylvania

Troisi's research on the psychology of food has received media coverage from 21 countries and appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, Scientific American,, Yahoo! News Canada, the German newspaper Die Welt, and many others. Currently visiting assistant professor of psychology at Widener University, Troisi also coordinates Widener's Social Science Colloquium and is a member of its Gender and Women’s Studies Committee. He enjoys ultimate Frisbee and everything that has to do with tea.


John Paul Walters, Albion College class of 2002John Paul Walters, '02

Computer scientist, University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute
Arlington, Virginia

A noted expert in his field, Walters has been published in domestic and international computer science and engineering journals and has co-authored Computation Checkpointing and Migration. Additionally, Walters was a National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship fellow during his Ph.D. studies. He currently works with agencies such as NASA through his position at USC.


yaa-wycoff-125Sara Wycoff, '08

Strategic adviser, executive office of Gov. Rick Snyder

Wycoff works alongside Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, serving as strategy adviser to the governor, policy analyst for the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and fiscal analyst intern for the Michigan Senate’s Fiscal Agency. She also serves on the 14th Congressional District Republican Committee.