Meet our Peacock Ambassadors!

Are you looking for ways to connect with fellow alumni in your area? Interesting in becoming more involved with your alma mater? Have you recently moved and you're hoping to get better acquainted with the area? If so, you're in luck! Upper Iowa University's Peacock Ambassadors are at your service. The representatives, proudly featured below, each volunteer their time through the UIU Alumni Association to serve as a leader, share their knowledge and help spread Peacock pride.

If you are interested in becoming an ambassador or learning more about the program, click here

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ALABAMA
Dennis Rickertsen '68
ALambassador@alumni.uiu.edu  |  205-663-5987

I volunteered to be the Alabama Ambassador so that I can help and befriend UIU alumni in Alabama. I am looking forward to becoming involved in Upper Iowa’s current strategies and benefits for students and alumni. I am proud to be an active member of the UIU family.

My wife, Kathy, and I have lived in Helena since 1989.  Alabama is a beautiful state with much to offer. From Appalachian Mountain foothills to Gulf Coast beaches and farms, forests, lakes, and rivers in between. The people of the cities, towns, and rural areas have plenty of Southern Hospitality. AND the Winters are short!

I grew up on a farm near Charlotte in eastern Iowa.  My experience at the UIU campus (1964-1968) was great! Upper Iowa provided excellent opportunities for learning and growing. I earned a degree in Physics with a minor in Mathematics, and a Secondary Teaching Certificate. I participated in Track and Cross Country; there was a men’s team back then. Kathy graduated from UIU in 1972 and her Grandfather, George Gaide, was a 1922 grad.

My working experiences include: Teacher, US Army Fixed Cryptographic Equipment Specialist, Health Physics & Chemistry Technician, and Corporate Chemist. The training and instruction that I received at UIU prepared me well for all my endeavors. Currently Kathy and I are retired.

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ARKANSAS
Virgil Coleman '01
AKambassador@alumni.uiu.edu  |  651-269-5097 (cell)

I am a resident of Little Rock, Arkansas and proud to represent my state as a Peacock Ambassador. I am a substitute teacher, U.S. Army Retiree, a Deacon at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church and volunteer my time to several organizations including University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Little Rock Police Citizens' Academy Alumni, Little Rock Citizens' Fire Academy Alumni, FBI Citizen's Academy Alumni, and Little Rock Founders Lions Club. I enjoy playing an active role in my community and sharing my talents with others. In addition to my degree from UIU, I earned my MBA from Touro University International in 2002. I look forward to connecting with fellow Peacocks in Arkansas!

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COLORADO
Allyssa Joseph '12
COambassador@alumni.uiu.edu  |  757-746-0607

Hi Fellow Peacocks, my name is Allyssa and I live in sunny Aurora, Colorado! I moved to Colorado three years ago with my lovely fiancée, DaQuan M.B. Jewell and our spoiled dog, King. We've rented an apartment in the Lakewood area, worked and commuted to jobs in Denver and eventually bought a home in Aurora one year ago. We are in constant "awe" of how good the state of Colorado has been to us! The Greater Denver area is a "gem" for those seeking work-life balance and a bustling small city environment. We enjoy local restaurants and entertainment, networking with a diverse group of professionals and taking scenic drives in all directions of the mountains! I would love to support other peacocks that move to the area and here's how I can help:

1.) Relocation services - Help Peacocks Prosper in Colorado
2.) Recreation, dining and entertainment ideas in Colorado
3.) Keep others informed of alumni lunches, networking and chapter events in Colorado
4.) Emergency support of fellow peacocks in the Colorado area

I look forward to becoming friends and helping you get acclimated to Colorado in the near future! Go Peacocks!

Allyssa M. Joseph '12 graduated with a  degree in business from the Upper Iowa University Fayette campus, eventually going on to work as Director in the Office of Institutional Advancement for Upper Iowa University until 2015. Allyssa is a fundraising professional who takes pride in work that allows her to support students on their quest to receive a higher education and build a pathway to success. A die hard peacock, Allyssa signed up to be an ambassador because UIU is truly a community of helping hands and full hearts. Allyssa's personal mission as an Ambassador is to help to make UIU stronger, prouder and more supportive of future generations of Peacocks. 

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GEORGIA
Courtney Fullmer '15
GAambassador@alumni.uiu.edu  |  404-702-1275

More info coming!

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ILLINOIS
Anne Berg '84
ILambassador@alumni.uiu.edu  |  847-828-9926

More info coming!

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ILLINOIS (Chicago)
Marcia Buchs '94
IL2ambassador@alumni.uiu.edu  

Upper Iowa has held a special place in my life as to friendships made and achieving great strides in my profession. I enjoyed UIU campus from 1989 to 1994 and graduated with Secondary Education. I served in many leadership roles from Community Assistant, Student Government Secretary and President, Student Ambassador, CEC Activities Board and much more.

UIU inspired me to go on an get my Master's Degree in Education and Counseling, so that I could serve others in professional settings and volunteer roles. I currently work as a Certified Meeting Professional with American Express Global Business Travel. Outside of work I volunteer through several non profits in the community PADS homeless shelter, Elgin Crisis Center for Women and Children and Child Serve to name a few.

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IOWA (Des Moines)
Michele Matt '87
IAambassador@alumni.uiu.edu  |  515-326-1908 (cell)

I signed up to be an ambassador to strengthen the engagement of our alumni. Des Moines has so many graduates of the extended campus, and it is a great opportunity to tap into their talents and interests. I have found value in giving back to Upper Iowa through commissioning projects, speaking to students, serving on the Alumni Association, and currently by serving on the Board of Trustees.

As a business owner, I conduct programs on personal and professional development, leadership, and business strategies. We provide our clients with a variety of learning assessments to help them understand themselves and others at work and at home.

I love the people in Iowa! They are genuine, kind, and willing to help others. I think people of Iowa appreciate and honor traditions of their past – family, education, and friendships.

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IOWA (Quad Cities)
John Weiland '13
IA2ambassador@alumni.uiu.edu  |  563-508-8880

More info coming!

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KANSAS
Stephanie Luna '08
KSambassador@alumni.uiu.edu  |  316-841-1055 

The instruction I received from my MBA studies at Upper Iowa University has become deeply-rooted in me, personally and professionally. When the chance to become a Peacock Ambassador was available I signed up because I felt this was a great way to show my gratitude and give back to an institution that taught me to craft my research skills and apply my logic and critical thinking on a daily basis.

I transpire what I've learned from the instructors and administrators of UIU into my teaching pattern as an Online Instructor of General Psychology and Human Growth and Development classes with a community college here in Kansas. I want to generate interest in UIU among Kansans so they can hopefully gain the positive experience I have. 

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KANSAS (Fort Riley, Junction City, Manhattan)
Kirk Crabtree '14, '16
KS2ambassador@alumni.uiu.edu  

The instruction I received from my MBA studies at Upper Iowa University has become deeply-rooted in me, personally and professionally. When the chance to become a Peacock Ambassador was available I signed up because I felt this was a great way to show my gratitude and give back to an institution that taught me to craft my research skills and apply my logic and critical thinking on a daily basis.

I transpire what I've learned from the instructors and administrators of UIU into my teaching pattern as an Online Instructor of General Psychology and Human Growth and Development classes with a community college here in Kansas. I want to generate interest in UIU among Kansans so they can hopefully gain the positive experience I have. 

 
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MARYLAND
Michael Salmons '76
MDambassador@alumni.uiu.edu  

I am honored to part of the Upper Iowa Peacock Ambassador program representing the Mid-Atlantic Region. It allows me the opportunity to give a little something back to the institution that helped shape my professional career and personal life so keenly, and where great memories are with me still. I am excited for the chance to reach-out to and connect with fellow alumni residing in, or soon to relocate to the Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, or District of Washington area. Whether it’s a sounding board or mentoring for a career path, recommendations for the best schools in the area, or just a great restaurant choice, I am excited for the chance to be a local resource for fellow alums.

I graduated from Upper Iowa in 1976 with a B.S. degree in Health Science and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps through the Army ROTC program. My active duty career included tours in healthcare operations, disaster planning, and as a medevac pilot. I retired from active duty in 1998 as a Lieutenant Colonel, settled in Columbia, Maryland, and am on staff at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. in the Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness.

I currently serve as President of the Tri-State Alumni Chapter, and through the efforts of an energetic group of chapter members here, we are enthusiastically engaged in connecting with fellow alumni across the four states through a variety of social events and gatherings throughout the year. As our chapter grows stronger, great friendships and professional relationships are being formed. My life has been deeply enriched and my career rewarded by staying connected to this wonderful institution. Welcome to our community!

 
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MICHIGAN
Terry Jones '16
MIambassador@alumni.uiu.edu  |  810-845-3633

More info coming!

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MINNESOTA
Lyndsay Ampe '13
MNambassador@alumni.uiu.edu 

More info coming!

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OHIO
Nicholas Bowersox '13
OHambassador@alumni.uiu.edu  

More info coming!

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SOUTH DAKOTA
Dionne Meehan '08
SDambassador@alumni.uiu.edu   

I am honored to be a Peacock Ambassador to support and help fellow alumni. I took the road less traveled and earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Resource Management from UIU in my late 30’s. I have five amazing children (the last child born the year I graduated from UIU), and happily married to my best friend Jake.

I grew up in the Caribbean, then moved to New York City in the early 1980's, then joined the Army after graduating high school. As a young kid out of high school, I had no idea what I would learn in the service, but it was the best decision I made and it forever changed my life. I retired from the Army in November 2004 and then pursued my college degree and relocated to Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 2015, and absolutely love this city and plan to retire here.

I served as a Human Resources Manager, Recruiter and Instructor. After graduating UIU, I worked at Hormel Foods and excelled rapidly in Quality Assurance Management. I currently serve as the Vice President of Quality, Compliance and Safety at Healthy Food Ingredients. Additionally, I recently opened my own consulting business and company and looking forward to the next chapter of my life.

I am available to help fellow Peacocks with relocation services, resume’ writing, employment coaching and transitioning from the military services. My hobbies include traveling and spending time with my family.

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TENNESSEE
Jason Waddell '12
TNambassador@alumni.uiu.edu  |  404-414-6781 (cell)

I signed up to become a Peacock Ambassador because I want to help strengthen the fabric that is UIU. I have lived all over the southeastern United States and have loved bumping into fellow UIU graduates. Being involved with the ambassador program is one more way to stay involved and help the university that provided so much for me.

From a formal education standpoint I am well versed within the Business Administration discipline, but have been in the mining industry for over 15 years with both an operations and sales background. I spend a large portion of my time developing individuals and believe I am a good sounding board for ideas and conversation.

 Tennessee is a beautiful state with many great features that contribute to the vibrant economy and robust growth that is occurring in Middle Tennessee. The state has a rich diversity among industry and individuals. The most beautiful aspect is the Great Smoky Mountains and towns like Pigeon Forge. Nashville is an eclectic city with your choice of musical venues. 

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TEXAS
Adam Holden '16
TXambassador@alumni.uiu.edu  |  484-942-9388

Howdy Peacocks! I volunteered for the UIU ambassador role for the state of Texas to help my fellow alumni with feeling welcome down here in the Lone Star state. I’m a proud member of the peacock family and can’t wait to lend a hand and some local expertise.

I graduated from UIU, Summa Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and plan on pursuing my graduate degree in the very near future. My time with UIU was a blast! After graduation I moved to the Dallas area with my wife and son since my new degree opened up many more opportunities for me in the field of law enforcement. I quickly found myself being moved into a management role and I never thought an education would have such an impact. Since relocating, it’s a been a huge adjustment to the Texas style of living and I would have loved to have an ambassador to guide me along the way. When I saw the call for volunteers, and that Texas didn’t have an ambassador, I knew I could be the man for the job.
So, how can I be of service to a relocating alum? Here’s some examples:

Best Barbecue in Town? Yep.

Best place to look for a job? Also a yep.

Best place to live in the area? Definitely.

Best place to buy cowboy boots? Probably not.

Best freeways to avoid rush hour? There’s no rush hour, we all ride steers!

Seriously, feel free to reach out and I will do my best to help in any way I can. Good luck fellow Peacocks and let’s keep trying to leave this place better than we found it!

 
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VIRGINIA
Angie Joseph '82
VAambassador@alumni.uiu.edu  |  757-746-0606 (cell)

I signed up to be a Peacock Ambassador to promote the mission of the university and help fellow alumni.  I’m a lifelong Peacock!  I grew up in Fayette and my mother had a long association/tenure at Upper Iowa culminating as Vice President of Finance Operations. Additionally, both my parents and two siblings, my husband and oldest daughter graduated from Upper Iowa so I have a long history with supporting UIU.  

I was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Army at UIU in 1982 and went on to serve for 30 years on active duty before retiring in Virginia.  I served as a Human Resources Officer in various capacities and achieved the rank of Colonel. After retirement, I got my real estate license and am currently a realtor with Liz Moore & Associates in Newport News, Virginia. I have lived in Virginia for 10 years and love the fact that I live near the ocean and can be at the beach within 30 minutes.  This is also an area that is full of history so lots of activities are available in the area.  

I am available to help fellow Peacocks with relocation services, resume’ writing, human resources, and military related services. I currently serve as the Vice President of the UIU Tri-State alumni chapter  as well as VP of the UIU Alumni Association. My hobbies include gardening, golf, quilting & traveling.

 
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WASHINGTON, D.C.
Ruth Starr '00
DCambassador@alumni.uiu.edu  |  570-266-3444

I am a founding member of the UIU Tri-State Alumni Chapter (serving MD-DC-VA-PA) and patron of the UIU Library. I am an enthusiastic supporter of student community service in Washington DC and always brag about being a UIU graduate. I have lived in the Washington DC area for over 30 years and know how to get around town on public transportation, direct people to see the sights and museums while in DC and can recommend places to live while in the city.

 
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WISCONSIN
Michelle Cloud '15
WIambassador@alumni.uiu.edu  |  715-299-1680

More info coming!

 
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WISCONSIN (Greater Milwaukee)
Royce Hix '13
WI2ambassador@alumni.uiu.edu  |  715-216-8980

I am a lifelong Wisconsin resident, though I have moved to various locations around the state. I was a UIU student through our Wausau campus, graduating in 2013 with my B.S. - Accounting. Since then, I moved to the Baraboo/Wisconsin Dells area in 2014 and in late 2016, moved to the Milwaukee area. Having moved twice in the last 4 years, I know first-hand how valuable it can be to connect with people familiar with the area you’re moving to!

In addition to my volunteer work with UIU, I volunteer with the Greater Milwaukee chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), and am a Certified Management Accountant (CMA). I have worked in various accounting, finance, and IT roles in my career, and I enjoy music, video games, board games, dining out, travel, and coffee, to name a few hobbies. I live with my fiancée and our cat, and we’ve learned a great deal about Milwaukee and its surrounding communities.

With that said, here is a brief list of ways I am happy to help alumni:

  1. Relocation advice
  2. Ideas for things to see and do in the area, and Wisconsin as a whole for out-of-state movers
  3. Networking opportunities
  4. Career advice and mentorship

Whether you’re just moving here, just graduating, or just getting involved, I look forward to talking with you!