Blake Cavender (D.D.S. ’17, Dentistry) joined the Crider Health Center Dental Group in Union, Missouri.

Isaac Dains (D.D.S. ’17, Dentistry) joined the Compass Health Wellness Dental Group in Butler, Missouri.

Nicholas Reinagel (D.D.S. ’17, Dentistry) joined the Crider Health Center Dental Group in Wentzville, Missouri.

Gavin Brivik (B.M. ’16, Conservatory) won Most Original Composition by a Young International Composer at the World Soundtrack Awards.

Kate Garman (J.D. ’16, Law) was appointed as the first Smart City Coordinator for the City of Seattle, Washington.

Trevor Stewart (M.M. ’16, Conservatory) joined Missouri Western State University’s Department of Music as adjunct clarinet faculty. He is also principal clarinet of both the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and Symphony of Northwest Arkansas.

Sydney Harvey (B.A. ’16, Arts and Sciences) was selected as a Fulbright U.S. Student Program Awardee to study the connection between philosophy and art in the United Kingdom.

William White (B.M.E. ’15, Conservatory) joined Blue Springs South High School as assistant director of bands. An alumnus of Blue Springs High School, White says he is delighted to be back in the district.

Marc Reyes (M.A. ’14, Arts and Sciences) was selected as a Fulbright U.S. Student Program Awardee to examine the political and cultural contexts of India’s atomic energy program.

Kerwin Young (B.M. ’12, M.M. ’15, Conservatory) had a world premiere of his work “Season of Autocracy” performed by the University City Symphony Orchestra in St. Louis.

Beth Davey (B.M.E. ’12, Conservatory) was named 2017 Missouri Teacher of the Year. Davey is a teacher at Iveland Elementary in the Ritenour School District in St. Louis.

Rachel Koger (MBA ’11, Bloch) was named 2017 Kansas Emerging Leader of the Year by the Kansas Society of CPAs. Koger works as a CPA at Mize Houser & Co. in Overland Park, Kansas.


Femi Olagoke (B.B.A. ’07, Bloch) appeared in the blockbuster movie “Black Panther,” as well as “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Rampage.” He works as a stuntman and actor in New York.

Jessica Agnelly (J.D. ’05, Law) was promoted to partner at Wendt Law Firm in Kansas City, Missouri. She will continue to handle serious injury cases.

John Owen (M.S. ’03, Bloch) was promoted to president and CEO of Executive AirShare. He was formerly chief financial officer for the company.

Janie Schumaker (B.S.N. ’03, Nursing and Health Studies) was appointed executive director of the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN).

Gary Reese (B.B.A. ’00, MBA ’01, Bloch), a 23-year veteran of the Kansas City, Missouri, Fire Department, was named fire chief.

Brian Garner (E.D.S.P. ’00, Education) became superintendent of the North Calloway R-1 School District in Kingdom City, Missouri.


Cynda Ann Johnson (MBA, ’99, Bloch) retired as founding dean of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

Kimberlee Reid (B.A. ’99, Arts and Sciences) was appointed to the Park Hill School District Board of Education. The district serves more than 11,000 students and is the largest employer in Platte County, Missouri.

Rajiv Chilakalapudi (M.S. ’97, Computing and Engineering) created the first Indian children’s show for Netflix, “Mighty Little Bheem.” The show is based on his enormously popular character, Chhota Bheem.

Stephanie Landing (B.A. ’97, Arts and Sciences) became a major in U.S. Air Force.
She has previously held nine HR positions, won five annual awards and has been an extra (military member) in the movies “Iron Man 2” and “Transformers 3.”

Jodi Vickery (MBA ’96, Bloch) was named president of Pioneer Services, a division of MidCountry Bank. She previously served as chief operating officer and has led a number of departments during her 20-year tenure with the company.

Jeff Andersen (M.P.A. ’95, Bloch) was named Kansas Secretary for Health and Environment by former Governor Sam Brownback.

The Honorable Martina Peterson (J.D. ’94, Law) was appointed 16th Judicial Circuit Court Judge of Jackson County, Missouri.

Ken Eberhart (M.M. ’94, Conservatory) accepted a position as director of Instrumental and Vocal Music for Crossroads Academy Charter High School in Kansas City, Missouri.

Larry D. Martin (B.A. ’91, Education), a second-grade teacher at Belinder Elementary in Prairie Village, Kansas, won the 2018 Jeopardy Teacher’s Tournament and $100,000.

Stephen J. Farnsworth (B.A. ’90, Arts and Sciences) has published a new book titled “Presidential Communication and Character: White House News Management from Clinton and Cable to Twitter and Trump.”


Lajuana Counts (J.D. ’88, Law) was selected as Magistrate Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. She previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, leading the appellate unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri.

Charles Bruffy (M.M. ’88, Conservatory), a Grammy Award-winning conductor, achieved a career milestone by receiving the Signature Sinfonian award from the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America.

Katherine Pennavaria (M.A. ’87, Arts and Sciences) has been a faculty librarian at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky, since 2000. She is the author of two books, “Genealogy” and “Providing Reference Services,” in Rowman & Littlefield’s series “Practical Guides for Librarians.”

Matthew Hahn (M.F.A. ’87, Arts and Sciences) is the author of a new book, “The Animated Marx Brothers.” The book details the cartoon appearances of the famous comedy team from 1930 to the present day.


Cynthia Watson (B.A. ’78, Arts and Sciences) was named Dean of Academic Programs and Faculty at the National War College (NWC) in Washington, D.C. She has been a member of the NWC faculty since 1992 and served in various leadership roles at the college, including associate dean, department chair and electives dean.

Denise Bloch (B.A. ’72, Arts and Sciences) joined Lathrop Gage’s St. Louis office as Of Counsel in the Healthcare Practice.

Doug Jones (B.A. ’70, Arts and Sciences) retired after a 50-year career of producing travelogues. In October 2017, his entire collection of film and videotape masters covering 68 different countries, shot between 1968 and 2011, and all supporting papers, were accepted into the UCLA Film and Television Archive in Los Angeles for future preservation and research.

Patricia Cleary Miller (M.A. ’70, Arts and Sciences) received Rockhurst University’s Rashford-Lyon Award for Leadership and Ethics.

2018 UMKC Alumni Awards
The shared history that connects us all