The University of Texas at  Tyler Magazine - Spring 2011

Class Notes for Spring 2011 - Page 2

Miriam G. King (B.S.N. 1996) received national recognition for a children’s book she authored. “Librarian on the Roof,’’ published by Albert Whitman & Co., was selected by the Texas Library Association to represent the state at the 2010 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. The book was included on the festival’s Great Reads About Great Places list.

Stephen ‘Steve’ D. McNeely (M.B.A. 1996) is a partner with McNeely & McNeely Certified Public Accountants. Along with providing tax and accounting services for a variety of clients, he is partner-in-charge of HR Solutions, which includes consulting, engineering pay-for-performance plans and training. A CPA since 1984, McNeely has been general manager for two companies and held a variety of managerial positions in industry and education. 

Steve and his wife, Mary, have three children, Danielle, Kristine and Stephen, who attends UT Tyler with his wife, Stefanie. 

Billy E. Wooton (B.S. 1997, M.A. 2003, M.E.D. 2005) is a district administrator with Houston Independent School District. He assumed the role two years ago, after teaching high school and junior college in Northeast Texas and Houston for 10 years. 

Jimmy Pena (M.S. 1998) is a fitness expert who has worked with celebrities on fitness projects and authored and edited hundreds of articles on training and fitness. Pena served as a trainer for Hollywood stars Mario Lopez and Tyler Perry. He wrote a successful nutrition book with Lopez titled “Extra Lean,’’ designed a workout for LL Cool J’s “Platinum Workout’’ book and was a fitness director for Muscle & Fitness magazine. 

Pena earned a master’s degree in exercises physiology at UT Tyler. The Los Angeles resident returned to Tyler last fall as keynote speaker for Fit City Challenge, a community initiative promoting healthy living through diet and exercise. 

David Stolle (M.A. 1998), an attorney with Jackson Walker L.L.P. in Dallas, was selected as a Texas Monthly Rising Star. The award is based on a three-part system that determines the top 2.5 percent of the state’s up-and-coming lawyers. Over 65,000 Texas lawyers are asked to nominate lawyers they have personally observed in action. Texas Monthly conducts also an independent research of each nominee’s credentials. 

Stolle specializes in representing lenders in asset-based transactions in technology and life science industries. 

Corey Barnes (B.S. 1999) is a web developer/programmer for Verizon in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, a position he has held for nine years. After graduating from UT Tyler, he worked as a web developer for a dot-com startup for two years before joining Verizon. Barnes resides in Grand Prairie with his wife and two children. 

Mary E. Rainwater (B.A. 2000) has returned to the Palestine Herald-Press to serve as news editor. She first joined the staff in November 2001 as a writer and copy editor, covering education and feature stories and doing editing and design. During that time, she won four Texas APME awards, including a first-place award for short feature writing. She also received Texas Association of School Boards Media Honor Roll awards from Palestine Independent School District and Elkhart ISD. 

Rainwater left the newspaper in 2009 and joined the staff of the Huntsville Item. In her first position after graduating from UT Tyler, Rainwater covered education and city/country government for The Monitor newspaper in Mabank. 

Dr. Brandy Richard (B.S. 2002) recently completed a four-year internship in at Louisiana State University Health Science Center and returned to her hometown of Palestine to practice medicine. She joined the practice of Dr. Michael Gorby as an internal medicine and pediatric specialist in the fall. 

Richard graduated from Cayuga High School in 1991 and earned an associate of applied science degree in respiratory therapy at Tyler Junior College in 1993. She worked as a respiratory therapist at Palestine Regional Medical Center for nine years before returning to school to become a physician. 

Richard received a bachelor of science degree in health professions and biology from UT Tyler in 2002. From there she attended St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine in Grand Cayman, receiving her medical degree in 2006. 

Dr. Daniel “Blake’’ Smith (B.M. 2002) is an assistant professor of voice and opera at the University of Delaware, where he teaches applied voice and diction and is co-director of opera theater and opera workshop programs. 

A Texas native, Smith earned a bachelor of music degree in vocal performance at UT Tyler, where he was a student of soprano Robin Flood-Fincher and tenor Mark Johnson. He then completed master of music and doctor of musical arts degrees at Texas Tech University. 

A tenor, Smith has been heard in some of the world's finest theaters and concert halls in repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to world premieres by Miguel del Aguila and other contemporary composers. 

Jonathan Benedetti (B.S. 2003) serves as grants manager for the East Texas Food Bank. As a clearinghouse for donated food, East Texas Food Bank forms a partnership with the food industry by collecting, inspecting, sorting, packaging and distributing food to member agencies, which provide food directly to those in need. The agency serves 26 counties in East Texas.

Aaron Carver (B.B.A. 2003) was promoted to senior accountant at Squyres, Johnson, Squyres, a Tyler-based certified public accounting and business advisory firm. Carver joined the firm in 2007. He graduated from UT Tyler with a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting and Florida Atlantic University with a master’s degree in forensic accounting. Carver was a sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserves and served in Iraq.

Jason Jennings (M.B.A. 2003) has been named chief executive officer for Scott & White Hospital-College Station. Jennings previously served as chief operating officer for Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center, one of the 12 hospitals and hospital partners in the Scott & White Healthcare System.

Dr. Elton E. Stuckly, Jr. (M.S. 2004) is president of Texas State Technical College Waco. Dr. Stuckly has been employed with TSTC Waco for more than 20 years, holding numerous positions including instructor, department chair, technology cluster director and dean of instruction. He served as interim president prior to becoming president. 

Stuckly worked 12 years in industry as a senior electrical designer and an industrial controls specialist before joining the TSTC Waco staff. 

Sean Sciba (B.B.A. 2005) has been named head golf professional and membership director at The Cascades Golf Club in Tyler. Sciba’s golf skills earned him spots playing collegiately at both UT Tyler and Tyler Junior College. 

Rachel Randolph (B.B.A. 2006) owns RedCouch PR, a book marketing company that specializes in helping Christian authors increase their online presence. A marketing major, she graduated from UT Tyler and worked for an author before starting RedCouch PR. 

Terrence Ates (B.A. 2006, M.E.D 2008) is a program manager for the Tyler Prostate Cancer Awareness Program and has appeared on local television to advance his public health mission to the community. 

His ability at public health awareness has recently opened doors for him in the East Texas region and beyond. Ates serves on the North Texas Prostate Cancer Coalition board of directors and, as director of People Educating Communities About Tobacco, he is involved in state operational committees in Austin. 

Nicholas Darragh (M.B.A. 2008) is employed with Sysco Food Services of East Texas as credit manager. The company sells, markets and distributes food products to food service operators including restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities and lodging establishments. 

John J. Keegan (M.B.A. 2008), commanding officer at Surface Combat Systems Center, Wallops Island, was recently promoted to the rank of captain. 

A native of East Northport, N.Y., Keegan received his commission in May 1990 upon graduating from Villanova University with a bachelor of electrical engineering degree. He also holds a master of mechanical engineering degree from the Naval Postgraduate School and a master of business administration degree from UT Tyler. He took command of Surface Combat Systems Center in November 2008. 

Keegan is married to the former Susan Lewis of Pottstown, Pa. They have two daughters, Caitlin and Caroline. 

Anup Bhandari (B.F.A. 2009) was the featured artist at The Gallery in Palestine in December. A native of Nepal, the Kilgore resident uses acrylics to create large paintings on canvas. His work often includes images from the Hindu religion and of the Nepalese people, his love for America and the tragedy of 9/11. 

Bhandari came to the United States in 1999 for higher education. He earned an associate degree in fine arts from Kilgore College and a bachelor of fine arts degree on a full scholarship at UT Tyler. He is pursuing a master’s degree in fine arts. 

The Longview Museum of Art has three of Bhandari’s paintings in its permanent collection. He has exhibited his work throughout East Texas and won many awards.




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 Last Published 5/5/11