Alumni Notes - April 2011-August 2011

Alumni Notes are now online!

Continue to send us your news on job changes, promotions, schooling and families. We will update these notes every few months. Check the date at the top so you can stay current.

A special note

Ford Burkhart, former UA School of Journalism faculty member and New York Times editor, wanted to give a shout-out to the UA School of Journalism graduates who were on the public information end of the shooting tragedy in Tucson Jan. 8. Burkhardt assisted with much of the Times’ coverage of the shootings.

He writes: “This may have been the finest hour ever for one group of UA J grads in public service. This was, arguably, the biggest spot news event in local history in terms of global press response, and maybe in Arizona history, since the capture of John Herbert Dillinger Jr. in Tucson.

"The army of press trucks and television cameras would have overwhelmed many institutions, had it not been for the J school's Big 5, all management level directors operating at the highest level of professionalism. This was bigger than the Mars landing, which was coordinated here.

"Their service to all of us in the press was simply superb, done with good humor and sensitivity, from the first hour on Saturday morning. They did the UA and the J School proud." They include:

  • George Humphrey ’80, assistant vice president in the Arizona Health Sciences Center Office of Public Affairs;
  • Katie Riley ’94, UMC press chief;
  • Al Bravo ’88, assoc. director, Arizona Health Sciences in Phoenix;
  • Jo Gellerman ’86, public affairs officer who became press aide for Dr. Peter Rhee, at UA Level 1 Trauma Center, in the press spotlight daily;
  • Sara Hammond ’77, public affairs director, Arizona Cancer Center.



Karen Despain is the managing editor of the Daily Courier in Prescott, Ariz.



Mary Alice Kellogg has created an online travel customs and etiquette blog called “Ask Ms. Behaving.” 

Marjorie Rice has retired after 28 years in newspapers and 10 in corporate media relations. She’s now writing a children's book and volunteering at Phoenix Public Libraries. Recalling her student days in journalism, Marjorie writes: “We wrote our stories in the classroom on manual typewriters. The professors -- particularly Phil Mangelsdorf -- delighted in having lively conversations with each other -- and us -- while we were trying to finish our assignments by the deadline. When we'd complain, they'd tell us to get used to it; it would be much more distracting in a real newsroom. They were right!”



Norma Iacovo is the associate general counsel with Tenaska Inc. She lives in Dallas.



Keith Leighty is the night business editor at The New York Times.


Ed Bassett was appointed a superior court judge for Maricopa County by Gov. Janet Napolitano in February 2008. He was retained in office in the November 2010 general election. Ed lives in Scottsdale.

Nancy Mueller Groves graduated in December from Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Ga., with a master of science degree in information design and communication.

Robert Zucker is the owner/publisher of BZB Publishing Inc. in Tucson.



Robert Buderi is the founder and editor-in-chief of Xconomy in Cambridge, Mass.

Paula Green is a freelance journalist in New York City.

Charles Halnan is continuing his work as a government affairs lobbyist in Sacramento.



Bill Bayne teaches at Mountain View High School in Tucson.

Paul Davenport is approaching his 30th anniversary with The Associated Press in Phoenix. He is the AP’s state government reporter for Arizona.

Kathleen Donaghy is a software usability analyst with SAGE. She lives in Fairfax, Va.

Lisa Wrenn is the assistant managing editor for features with the San Jose Mercury News.



Rita McGinnis Miller is an attorney in New Rochelle, N.Y.



Derrith Clark Lambka is the founder of, a membership-based website that offers marketing advice for small businesses. She’s the former director of advertising for Hewlitt Packard. Fellow journalism graduate Joni Hirsch Blackman ’82 is on the company’s board of directors.

Patricia Sallen’s duties at the State Bar of Arizona have been expanded. She is now director of special services and ethics and deputy general counsel.



Deena Higgs Nenad is an associate editor with Editor & Publisher magazine in Irvine, Calif.



Elizabeth Hannan Cree is a part-time editor with American Virtual Academy. She lives in Tempe.



Pam Scott is the director of corporate communications for Red Lion Hotels. She and her family live in Spokane, Wash.



Leon Keith is a top stories editor with The Associated Press. He lives in Greenlawn, N.Y., with his spouse and 6-year-old son. Leon has been with the AP since 2000.

Susan Wootton Randall is the education reporter with Casa Grande Valley Newspapers.

R. Marsh Starks is a photographer at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Kathryn Young is the senior assistant attorney general for the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.



Sarah Gassen successfully defended her master’s degree project “Cultural Disability: Stories from Journalists Confined by Outdated Attitudes in the Newsroom” Dec. 9. She graduated from the UA School of Journalism Dec. 18.

Tilly Lavenas lives in a UNESCO world heritage site in Dorset, England. She started a magazine in summer 2009 called Jurassic Coast Visitor that caters to tourists and includes travel tips and features.



Elizabeth Nida Obert is a photojournalist with the Rochester (Minn.) Post-Bulletin.



Kerri Ginis Leedy joined Kaiser Permanente as a media relations specialist in Fresno, Calif.

Amanda Riddle is co-managing editor at L.A. Youth, a nonprofit teen-written newspaper in Los Angeles.



Mike Jenkins teaches social studies and chairs the department at St. Mary's High School in Phoenix. He also coaches baseball and golf at the school – his alma mater.



Luke Larson is a product manager at Taser International. He lives in Scottsdale.



Jacqueline Kuder is currently working as a “Chow” writer for the Tucson Weekly, as well as in the IT Department for Bookmans Entertainment Exchange corporate office. She lives in Sahuarita, Ariz.



Carrie Bui has started a new job as the communications specialist for Casa de la Luz Hospice in Tucson.

Djamila Grossman is a staff photographer with the Salt Lake Tribune.



Stephanie Jerzy is a public relations manager with Brand Action Team. She lives in West Hartford, Conn.

Lauren LePage is living in Norwich, Conn., working as a writing tutor at the local community college. She plans to attend Eastern University and get her master’s in education and technology with a goal toward teaching at the college level.



Matt Lewis is a political reporter for Casa Grande Valley Newspapers, writing for the Casa Grande Dispatch and the Maricopa Monitor.

Katie Pavlich is an assistant editor for and Townhall Magazine in Washington, D.C.

Shea Steinberg is a social media specialist for Practice Fusion, a free, web-based electronic health record in San Francisco. Shea writes weekly blogs, manages all of the social media networks and performs a variety of marketing duties.


In Memoriam

Jason Hale Eaton ’91 – Feb. 25, 2011. Practiced law in Oregon and served as a Lt. JAG in the Navy from 1995 to 1998.

Carol Hillman Moore ’67 – July 2010


Past Alumni Notes

December 2010 - April 2011

July 2010 - December 2010

April 2010 - July 2010

October 2009 - March 2010

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