Contributions across the globe: Missouri's graduate alumni

This state's graduate alumni have become leading entrepreneurs, scientists, health care professionals, engineers, artists, journalists, humanitarians and educators. Some examples:

Mitch Randles
Mitch Randles
Master of Business Administration
2012, Northwest Missouri State University / Missouri Southern State University

Darek L. Malone
Darek L. Malone, MSgt, USAF
MA in Communication and Leadership
2013, Park University

John D. Bies, PhD
John D. Bies, PhD
Doctorate of Education
1972, University of Missouri

Heather L. Staples
Heather L. Staples
Education Specialist degree in Human Services, Technology and Occupational Education
2011, University of Central Missouri

Xandra Sifuentes
Xandra Sifuentes
Master of Business Administration
2010, University of Missouri

Thomas H. Palmatier
Thomas H. Palmatier
MFA in Music
1977, Truman State University

Jason Adams
Jason Adams
Ed.D. in Educational Leadership
2012, Maryville University

Sudandra Ratnasamy
Sudandra Ratnasamy
Master of Business Administration
2010, Columbia College

Gina L.C. Yosten
Gina L.C. Yosten
Ph.D. in Pharmacological and Physiological Science
2010, Saint Louis University

Rebecka Rutledge Fisher
Rebecka Rutledge Fisher
Ph.D. in Comparative Literature
2001, Washington University

Brian Santos
Brian Santos
Master of Arts in Education
2006, Truman State University

Mitch Randles

Mitch Randles, Master of Business Administration

2012, Northwest Missouri State University / Missouri Southern State University

Mitch Randles entered the collaborative online MBA program offered by Northwest Missouri State University and Missouri Southern State University in Fall 2009. Mitch is the Fire Chief for the City of Joplin, Missouri, and the online MBA format was well-suited to fit his hectic work schedule and family life. In the late afternoon of Sunday, May 22, 2011, which was the middle of his last trimester of study in the program, an EF-5 tornado struck his hometown. The loss of those 161 lives has forever changed the lives of Joplin's residents. The tornado physically destroyed 500 businesses including two fire stations and 7500 homes, including Mitch's own home. Although his professional duties to his town temporarily delayed his final coursework and graduation, Mitch was successful in completing all requirements a year later and graduated in summer 2012.

Darek L. Malone, MSgt, USAF

Darek L. Malone, MSgt, USAF, MA in Communication and Leadership

2013, Park University

Master Sergeant Darek "Sharky" Malone is the Air Force regional recruiting supervisor for West Texas. His primary duties include managing a team of professional recruiters, building positive relationships with community influencers, and coordinating marketing resources to promote the Air Force throughout nearly 100 thousand square miles. He is an 18-year veteran with assignments as a multimedia specialist, non-commissioned officer in charge, and enlisted accessions/health professions recruiter. As an active duty service member, husband, and father to five children, his hectic work schedule, travel requirements, and family obligations made it nearly impossible to attend traditional classes on campus. MSgt Malone is a staunch advocate of online learning and has earned a Bachelor of Science in Management/Human Resources and a Masters of Arts in Communication and Leadership through Park University. He soon plans to complete a certification in alternative dispute resolution and start a doctorate in learning technology.

John D. Bies, PhD

John D. Bies, PhD, Doctorate of Education

1972, University of Missouri

The world is getting smaller, and John D. Bies, PhD '72, knows it. After receiving a doctoral degree in industrial education from MU, advanced degrees in geography and political science, and appointments at three universities, Bies understands the need for worldly college graduates. "I've come to realize how important exposing students to the international environment is," he says. That's why Bies provides unrestricted funding to encourage students to go overseas for field-based research, study abroad and to attend international conferences. "No political system and no economy is an island," says Bies, who established the John D. Bies International Fellowship endowment in 2003. Since graduating from Mizzou, Bies has worked as an exporter, a department chair and professor at Wayne State University, an administrator and professor at the University of Tennessee, a consultant in human resources and a professional soccer coach in Argentina. He now serves as an instructor of political science at the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg and is a member of the Provost Advisory Board.

Bies Winners
Current Bies Awardees

Heather L. Staples

Heather L. Staples, Educational Specialist

2011, University of Central Missouri

Heather L. Staples graduated from the University of Central Missouri in the fall 2011 with an Education Specialists degree in Human Services, Technology and Occupational Education. Currently, she is the Benefits and Compensation Manager for the Spurs Sports and Entertainment San Antonio, Texas. She is also pursuing a Doctorate of Philosophy in Education with a concentration in Organizational Leadership from the University of the Incarnate Word.

Xandra Sifuentes

Xandra Sifuentes, Master of Business Administration

2010, University of Missouri - Columbia

Xandra Sifuentes is the President of Metactive Medical in Olathe, Kansas, a LLC that is developing novel, catheter-based cardiovascular medical devices. Metactive's Ballstent Microcatheter is designed to completely fill and seal cerebral aneurysms with one simple device deployment, offering an easier, faster, and more durable repair at a reduced overall cost. Prior to that, Sifuentes co-founded Adroit Motion, LLC, an early stage medical device company developing laparoscopic surgical hand instruments. In 2012, she was named the 2012 PIPELINE Innovator in the first Regional Class of PIPELINE entrepreneurs. Her other accomplishments include being a a business fellow in the University of Missouri Biodesign and Innovation Program and Entrepreneurial Scholar at the Missouri Innovation Center in the Life Science Business Incubator at Monsanto Place. She said the Crosby MBA program "helped me to discover my business interests, develop a variety of skills, and get the experience needed to pursue my current career track."

Thomas H. Palmatier

Thomas H. Palmatier, MFA in Music

1977, Truman State University

Col. Thomas H. Palmatier was appointed Leader and Commander of The U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" in August 2011. He previously served as Commander and Conductor of The U.S. Army Field Band, the first officer to command both of the Army's top premier bands. Also, he has served as Commandant of the U.S. Army School of Music, Commander of the U.S. Army Europe Band and Chorus, Executive Officer to The Adjutant General of the Army, and the Department of the Army Staff Bands Officer. He is currently the senior military musician in the Department of Defense.

Col. Palmatier earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Music from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the U.S. Army War College, and a Bachelor of Music degree, magna cum laude, in Applied Music from the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, New York. He received its Minerva Award in 2010, presented annually to an alumnus who has demonstrated outstanding lifetime professional achievement. Throughout his more than three decades of distinguished service in the U.S. Army, Col. Palmatier has received numerous military honors to include three awards of the Legion of Merit.

Jason Adams

Jason Adams, Ed.D. in Educational Leadership

2012, Maryville University

Jason Adams completed a B.A. in Elementary Education at Maryville in 2005, an M.A. in Leadership in 2008, an additional certificate in gifted education and will complete his Ed.D. in Educational Leadership in the fall of 2012, all at Maryville University. He has been a teacher leader in the Kirkwood School District, an assistant principal in the Parkway School District and in 2012 will be the principal of Maplewood Richmond Heights Elementary. In his short professional career, he has created, received and implemented grants in literacy, served as a cooperating teacher and made multiple presentations at the district, state and university levels. He has also served in multiple leadership positions not only in the districts where he has worked, but for the Missouri Reading Association, the MNEA and Maryville University's Young Alumni Advisory Board of Directors. Jason is passionate about making a difference in the lives of ALL children and is deeply committed to issues that address educational equity and social justice in the classroom. "My education at Maryville prepared me for all of the opportunities that I have experienced, both as a classroom teacher and a school leader. The network of support that I enjoy is tremendous. I am truly thankful."

Sudandra Ratnasamy

Sudandra Ratnasamy, MBA

2010, Columbia College-Patrick Air Force Base

There's a great reason why Sudandra Ratnasamy's children look up to her. As a manager at Wuesthoff Health System, she knew she wanted a master's degree - she just didn't know where to start. When a neighbor mentioned Columbia College-Patrick Air Force Base's Master of Business Administration program, she was eager to find out more.

She admitted to being nervous. "Although I didn't have any accounting background, campus director Mr. Jeff Musgrove was very understanding and eased my anxiety." With her MBA in hand, it didn't take long for Ratnasamy to see the fruits of her labor. Promoted to director of critical care, she now presides over four departments and 120 employees. "I can truly say that my MBA helped me broaden my mind, climb the career ladder and open up so many new opportunities."

Her kids noticed, too. "They told me to write my autobiography!" she said, laughing. "I can truly say that America has given me every opportunity to live the American Dream."

Gina Yosten

Gina L.C. Yosten, Ph.D.

2010, Saint Louis University

Gina L.C. Yosten, Ph.D., a May 2010 graduate of the doctoral program in Pharmacological and P hysiological Science, and a current Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Samson's laboratory in the department, has been chosen to receive the 2012 Virendra B. Mahesh Award of Excellence in Endocrinology from the America Physiological Society at the annual Experimental Biology Meeting in San Diego, California.

The purpose of the Mahesh Award is to promote the career development of young investigators pursuing research in the area of Endocrinology and is presented to the graduate student or postdoctoral fellow submitting the best abstract to the Experimental Biology meeting in the area of Endocrinology and Metabolism. Dr. Yosten previously received the Research Excellence Award in 2009 and the Mead Johnson Research Recognition Award in 2011 from the Society.

Rebecka Rutledge Fisher

Rebecka Rutledge Fisher, Ph.D.

2001, Washington University

Rebecka Rutledge Fisher (Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, 2001) is on the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her study, Habitations of the Veil: Metaphor and the Poetics of Being in African American Literature, will appear in early 2014. She is currently writing her second book, with the working title of World's Fairs, African Americans, and the Politics of Engagement.

Brian Santos

Brian Santos, Master of Arts in Education

2006, Truman State University

Brian Santos was named Teacher of the Year at Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles, Missouri. Brian earned a Master of Arts in Education-Foreign Language at Truman State University in 2006, after receiving his bachelor's degree also at Truman. He is an exemplary teacher who cares deeply for his students and who employs the latest methodologies in his classroom, always striving to keep on the cutting edge of pedagogy and instructional practices. Having traveled extensively throughout the world, he has led student trips to Costa Rica in 2009, 2011 and 2012. He is also an excellent mentor who welcomes student teachers in his class in order to develop strong future teachers of Spanish. Brian is dedicated to continuing his own studies through doctoral work which he will finish this year.