One of the most important aspects of the College of Health Sciences is without question, our faculty and staff. Our people are enthusiastic, motivated professionals who are, themselves, answering the calling of their own lives. They bring extensive professional experiences into the classroom, making your educational experience deeper and richer.
Most Outstanding 2009 Graduate (master’s, Samuel Merritt)
Ilaina S. Andrews has found working in the dean’s office of McWhorter School of Pharmacy a rewarding experience. Andrews, a native of Andalusia, Ala., worked as a sales representative for Armstrong World Industries, marketing commercial insulation to contractors in territories from St. Charles, La., to Tallahassee, Fla. She has lived in New Orleans, La., and Houston, Texas, but has called Homewood home for the past 28 years. Married with three daughters and a grandson, Andrews enjoys gardening. She strives to hold true to the teachings of Hebrew 12:1–3. "[It] is a Scripture that speaks to me on how I should meet life’s challenges by persevering in running the race God has marked out for me. I’m not a runner, but I know it takes perseverance to finish the race."
James B. Angel has experienced a lot of changes since coming to Samford University in 1984 to chair the kinesiology department, which was then known as the physical education and recreation department. "I was teaching at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., in the exercise science department when I received a call from Dr. Jim Sharman (former chair of Samford's kinesiology department and the department chair at UAB where Angel completed his degree), I decided to apply because Samford University is a Christian school where I could share my faith," he said. He is proud he has had the opportunity to positively influence students' lives for Jesus Christ while helping prepare them for their careers. Even more rewarding is the time when Angel's personal and professional life have overlapped. "I have taught my wife, both daughters, both sons-in-law and now one of my granddaughters," he said.
When John Arnold joined the faculty of McWhorter School of Pharmacy six years ago, it was like coming home. "My mother and father both graduated from Samford University. My mother graduated from the school of education and was an elementary school teacher for 30 years. My father graduated from the school of pharmacy," said Arnold who worked as a clinical and staff pharmacist at various locations, including Children’s Hospital of Alabama. "I am just pleased and honored to be faculty member at this wonderful school and university," he said.
When Shannon Ashe was recently offered a job as an instructor and clinical coordinator for athletic training education program at Samford University, she didn't hesitate to accept it. "I have worked with individuals from Samford since arriving in Birmingham in 2002. I have always enjoyed working with the faculty, staff and students. When the opportunity to work within these ranks presented itself, I am excited to say I was able to join. I have a passion for athletic training and sports medicine that I am excited every day to share with our students," she said. Her pride in her new job opportunity pales in comparison to that she has for her family. Ashe and her husband, Chris, have a son and twin daughters.
Jennifer Beall has learned there is no place like home. As part of a military family, Beall grew up living overseas. Before joining the military, both her parents attended Samford. "My dad went during the day, and my mom went at night. They would trade me off in the caf at dinner," she said. After graduating from McWhorter School of Pharmacy in 1996, Beall moved to Abilene, Texas, and worked in a hospital pharmacy before returning home to Samford and joining the faculty in 2000. The opportunity has allowed her to live out her favorite scripture, Colossians 3:23, "Whatever work you do, put yourself into it, as those who are serving not merely other people, but the Lord." She witnesses the fruits of her labor every time she gets an email from a former student. "It’s so rewarding for me to watch them grow as a pharmacist and even get to see some of my students become teachers. To be able to share experiences on that level is very fulfilling."
Geri Beers has a soft spot for helping those who are less fortunate. She has worked tirelessly to help the homeless and those without insurance or transitioning off welfare through her work with organizations like Interfaith Hospitality and M-Power Health Clinic. This passion is rivaled only by her love for animals. "I have picked up dogs, cats, kittens and puppies off the side of the road, out of parking lots or from people who didn’t want them all of my adult life," she said. "One of my daughter’s earliest memories is sitting in her car seat and holding puppies I had picked up." Beers currently has four rescue dogs of her own, and she has placed dogs from Florida to New Hampshire.
Amy Bigham has a huge shark phobia, but she loves the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. The only thing that trumps it is her love for God, her family and teaching at Samford University. Bigham joined the Samford faculty two years ago, and since that time, she has participated in the development and implementation of CampUs. The weeklong summer camp experience for children with special healthcare needs was created by Bigham and fellow coworkers Jill Cunningham, Cyndi Cortes and Jane Holston and is funded through an academic initiative grant from Samford. "The camp’s name came from a child who complained that he never fit in with regular summer camp experiences, and he said that he was glad there was 'finally a camp for us'," she said. Bigham, whose favorite Scripture is Psalm 139, loves "teaching at Samford University because faculty are encouraged to nurture students through the learning process."
Sandra Boyken’s relationship with Samford University began in 1997 after many years in the accounting department at a communications company. As senior program coordinator for the drug information service center, she is constantly developing her office and computer skills, as well as learning new programs. Boyken began taking evening classes at Samford in 2002 in what was then known as Metro College in order to complete her degree. She still counts receiving her diploma as one of her greatest accomplishments. She believes she would not have fulfilled her dream without the support of her family and the McWhorter School of Pharmacy family. In her spare time, Boyken enjoys spending time with her husband, son, daughter-in-law and large extended family. Her hobbies include crafts, movies, reading and camping.
Rhonda Brazil started part time at Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing in 2010 and within four months was hired full time. "I love working at Samford," she said. "I love hearing the students’ excitement when I am walking across campus when they come back from summer break and they are all excited to see their friends and get back in the swing of things." Brazil still recalls witnessing her first pinning ceremony at the nursing school: "It was so touching, I cried." Brazil is a big NASCAR fan—"Go Jeff Gordon, number 24!"—who loves Psalm 55:22, "Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you." She has been married for 21 years and has three sons and two grandchildren.
Dollie Grover Brice has had a job at Samford University for 34 years, but she believes she has never worked. "When you love your work, you will never work a day in your life," she said. As an undergraduate at Samford, Brice planned to major in nursing, but ultimately ended up graduating with a degree in accounting. During her time as a student, she participated in the school's synchronized swimming team, which ultimately led to her first job coaching Samford's team. During her time at Samford, Brice has overseen the school's water show, the children's summer swimming program as well as several dance classes, including the always-full ballroom dancing where she teaches a variety of dance styles. She also does private lessons for engaged couples to assist them with learning a first dance for their wedding. In recent years, Brice has added yoga instructor to her extensive repertoire. She is a certified registered yoga teacher with 200 hours of training. "Swimming is what I was hired to teach, and I no longer do that. No complaints. I love yoga, but swimming is what got me this job.
Amy Broeseker believes her faculty position at Samford University is a vivid example of God's plan for her life. "It is very clear to me that God wanted me at Samford," she said. "By seeing the joy of helping others through the work of my father (a teacher) and my mother (a nurse), I thought I might enjoy the combination of those two vocations by teaching in the health-care field someday. During the last year of my fellowship, I prayed for God's direction for my next steps. Over the next several months, many people and situations pointed me to this special place." During her spare time, she enjoys her passions for music—she sings in her church choir—mountains and college sports. Her life verse is Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Terri Cahoon truly believes the words of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "I am a part of all that I have met." Since coming to Samford University in 2003 after being recruited by two professors who were starting the nurse anesthesia program, Cahoon has worked to make a difference. "I know that I have been shaped by so many people I have been blessed to know. I cherish the fact that others have shared themselves with me and made me what I am. I realize the responsibility to honor their generosity by paying it forward and helping shape the lives of those around me. I also like to remind our students that many preceptors, family members, supporters and others have contributed to their education. I encourage them to pay it forward," she said.
Leslie Carlisle believes Samford University's department of kinesiology is the best on campus. Carlisle began working in the department almost six years ago after having worked at a private high school for 10 years. Her primary responsibilities include helping students with registration, assisting with preparing class schedules each semester and taking care of general office needs. "If I had to choose one thing I love about my job, it would have to be the connection and interaction I have with students," she said. Carlisle loves poetry and is currently a student at Samford's evening college where she is working to complete her bachelor's degree.
Marian Carter has seen her life come full circle. "When I was in high school, I felt like God had called me to work in Christian education. What I thought that meant for me was to teach elementary children in a Christian school," she said. Carter took several education courses at Samford University before realizing teaching was not her passion. She eventually switched to interior design and ultimately had her own company. "I . . . enjoyed the work in the field but wondered how I had misunderstood God's path for my life." Carter had taken a position on her church's staff when a college friend told her about a job opening at Samford. She accepted the offer, and after obtaining her master's degree, she moved to Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing. "It took several years after graduation to get there, but God's calling was not void. He placed me right where He wanted me to be--at Samford University in Christian education."
Many would be surprised to know that Marshall Cates considered other career options. "Early in my pharmacy career, I almost joined the Air Force Reserve. I was already working with veterans who were dealing with various mental illnesses, and I seriously considered joining the reserves in order to have an impact on the mental health of military personnel." Cates has been on faculty at McWhorter School of Pharmacy since 1995 after working as a clinical pharmacy specialist in psychiatry in a veterans affairs medical center. Since joining Samford University's faculty, he has worked tirelessly to get pharmacy students and pharmacists to look at mental illness, mentally ill patients and psychopharmacotherapy in a more positive way. Cates believes the truth of Aristotle's words, "Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all." He looks forward to continuing his career at Samford and to his daughter attending in fall 2015.
Dr. Chang has a strong interest in quantitative methodology in health services research. His research generally focuses on application of statistical/econometrics methodology in examining issues related to health care utilization, physician decision making, hospital management, health policy evaluation, effectiveness of medical care delivery (pharmaceutical care), and pharmaceutical outcomes in diseases. In particular, he has a strong disease-specific research interest in outcomes evaluation in chronic diseases (i.e. asthma, diabetes, and cancer), and the study of economic outcomes (healthcare cost analysis) related with pharmacotherapy. Dr. Chang has led and participated in several research projects in the areas of health outcomes, healthcare management, patient-centered medical home, physician-prescribing behaviors and pharmaceutical health services research.
When Eva Click returned to the workforce in 2005 after many years of raising her family, Samford University was her first experience with academia. Click had previously worked as a cost accountant for a bank holding company, a heavy manufacturing company and a transportation company. She was also active with the Hoover Beautification Board, Hoover Comprehensive Policy Plan Committee, and fund-raising for public schools when her children attended. "The pharmacy school has provided many opportunities for growth and many wonderful people to work with. I feel very blessed," she said.
For Candia Cole, being a part of Samford University is a family affair, and her ties run deep. "I have been a part of Samford all my life. My parents attended Howard College. My father graduated in 1947. My mother worked as a student assistant for Dean Margaret Sizemore, and I too was her student assistant. My mother would bring groups to visit Samford during Step Sing. My first Step Sing was in 1969 and I did not miss a performance until 1984 when my daughter was born the night of dress rehearsal," she said. Her brother and sister also attended Samford. After graduating in 1978, Cole worked in several departments across campus before becoming the faculty/staff wellness coordinator in 2002. She also found time in December 1999 to make an appearance on Third Rock from the Sun. "My sister was working on the show as an actress and stunt woman, and the director picked me out of the stand to do a feature role with my own dressing room trailer." In her free time, Cole also addresses wedding invitations using calligraphy. Despite having a knee replacement in March 2013, Cole doesn't plan on slowing down any time soon. "I…still can teach kickboxing," she said.
Andrea Collins knows better than most the value of a Samford University education. "I joke that when Samford offered me admission in 1984 that they did not realize it was for life," she said. Collins has four nursing degrees from Samford. After earning her associate and bachelor's degree—she was pinned by Ida V. Moffett and has the pictures to prove it—Collins stepped away from the classroom for almost 20 years before a medical mission trip to Honduras opened up new doors of interest. "Working in this capacity gave me a desire to become a nurse practitioner so I could provide similar care to patients in the U.S. I looked at other options, but was drawn back to Samford because of the mission, reputation, pass rates and high academic standards in Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing." She eventually went on to earn her doctorate and uses her real-world experiences to help with the practical application of textbook information. "I can't imagine teaching anywhere else," she said.
Cyndi Cortes firmly believes God equips and prepares us for each step of life's journey. While working at Children's Hospital, Cortes developed a love and concern for children and adults with special health-care needs. Now in her position at Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing, Cortes helps prepare family nurse practitioners to provide health-care services to people of all ages, including those with special health-care needs. Cortes developed a process to review and approve clinical placements for Samford University students in more than 25 states and to streamline the communication between clinical preceptors regarding Samford students. In addition, she helped plan, organize and implement CampUs, a summer day camp for children with special health-care needs. Cortes and her husband lived in Mexico for four years—both her children were born there—and believe this exposure helps her tremendously. "With my red hair, people don't expect me to speak Spanish or to really understand the Hispanic culture," she said.
Erika Cretton-Scott was drawn to Samford five years ago because of its focus in and dedication to teaching. Cretton-Scott for whom English is not her first language, believes Albert Einstein's words, "A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new."
Danielle Cruthirds arrived at Samford University six years ago after spending a few years performing pharmacology research at various institutions of higher learning. "My position at McWhorter School of Pharmacy allows me to spend my time primarily educating future pharmacists, but also to continue to foster my interest in research," she said. Along with a fellow faculty member, Cruthirds has developed and implemented aseptic technique pharmacy practice experiences into the pharmacy curriculum. In her spare time, she enjoys Cross-Fit workouts.
Jill Cunningham's life has shaped her experiences as a nurse practitioner. After providing full-time patient care in hospitals and clinics for seven years, Cunningham became the full-time care provider for her daughter who was born with multiple special health-care needs. When she decided to return to the workforce, Cunningham realized she wanted to teach others how to properly care for patients with life-altering conditions and disabilities. "I realized by teaching others, I could have a much greater and far-reaching impact on patients and families. I not only wanted to impart knowledge and skills, but also teach the compassion and spiritual aspects of proper nursing care. Samford was the perfect fit for me to reach not only my career goals, but many personal and spiritual goals. My work at Samford is not a job or a career. It is my vocation—a divine calling to teach and serve others. It is an incredible blessing to serve and fulfill my God-given purpose through my work and life at Samford University," she said.
Renee DeHart loves the opportunities she has received at Samford University. "I came to Samford after growing up in New Jersey and living in Florida because of the 'family' environment I felt here. I wouldn't trade it for anything. There are just so many opportunities here for both student and faculty members' professional and personal growth," she said. DeHart worked in McWhorter School of Pharmacy for 15 years before leaving and returning in 2012. She loves collecting frogs because it reminds her to Fully Rely on God.
B. DeeAnn Dugan came to Samford University five years ago to further her professional growth, but has discovered much more. "What I have found here is not only mentors to help foster the growth I was looking for, but also an intellectual community based upon faith, respect and family," she said. Dugan has worked with the Patient Safety and Clinical Pharmacy Services Collaborative, the American Pharmacist Association Foundation and Project IMPACT: Diabetes to consistently demonstrate the value of pharmacists working with providers to care for high-risk, low-income patients with diabetes.
It didn't take Debbie Duke long after she arrived at Samford University almost five years ago to realize it was a special place. "I had been working at Samford for 20 days when I was in a horrible car accident. I had no sick time or vacation accrued and can remember lying in intensive care worried about the lost wages but also about my new position. The care and concern from Samford, specifically my coworkers, will be remembered by my family and myself forever," said the Samford alum. Duke, who received the Living Legacy award in 2012, values all she's gained from Samford. "Samford is family, and I love that this institution truly lives its mission."
Kim Eckert sees being hired in August 2012 for a position in McWhorter School of Pharmacy as a huge accomplishment. She also believes it is reflective of her favorite scripture, Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." "When the full-time position opened up, I jumped at the opportunity. I love working with the pharmacy school and enjoy working with everyone here. It is nice to look forward to coming to work."
It didn't take Lindsey Elmore long to realize Samford University is a special place to work. "After interviewing for two days, I was overwhelmed by how happy, collaborative, kind and invested the people were at Samford. I could tell that Samford was the place for me to be." Since arriving at McWhorter School of Pharmacy in 2011, Elmore has applied for and earned accreditation for the community pharmacy residency program, received multiple grants from the American Pharmacists Association and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, and she has traveled to Lusaka, Zambia, to teach the first class of masters in clinical pharmacy students. Elmore is an advocate of food as the primary mode of disease and healing. She finds spending time in her large garden, to which she eventually plans to add bees, to be her most meaningful form of worship and communion with God.
Heidi Emanuel came to Samford University as a non-traditional, second-degree student and found her purpose. "Behind these gates is God's perfect purpose for my life. He meant for me to be a nurse," she said. "It is my passion to teach nursing and connect students with their purpose in life, nursing. I am blessed to teach in an environment that builds the whole student and focuses on the total wellness of each patient." Emanuel marvels at watching the students in their first clinical nursing course evolve from being afraid to enter a patient room in the clinical setting to confident men and women who walk into a room and provide care. "Knowing that I had a small, small part in their growth is tremendously rewarding."
For more than 12 years, Margaret P. Findlay has been a familiar face around Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing. Findlay taught in the undergraduate program from 2001 to 2008 before moving to the graduate program. "Samford University is a wonderful place to teach nursing. The administration, faculty and students value excellence in education. The quality and positive reputation of our graduates are testaments to the excellence of the educational experience," she said. Findlay is currently the coordinator for the RN–M.S.N. program and the M.S.N. nurse educator option in the nursing school. She loves spending time with her family, including her grandchildren and yellow Labradors.
Matthew P. Ford is an Associate Professor, and Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy. Prior to joining the College of Health Sciences, Ford served on faculty at Saint Francis University in Loretto, PA, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is a research associate at the Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham and for the past decade has been conducting research aimed at helping persons with physical disabilities. He is currently involved in three areas of research related to Parkinson’s disease: 1) Tracking the changes in physical activity and health; 2) comprehensive health and wellness programs; and 3) the use of music and external rhythms during mobility training. Ford lives in Homewood, Ala. with his wife, Kim, and their two sons, Dylan and Jack.
When David Fort arrived at Samford University, he knew his life was about to change. "I knew little about Samford until I was told they had a nurse anesthesia program opening up. The day I drove on to the Samford campus and walked into the nursing school, I knew the Lord had led me to this wonderful university for a reason." Fort, a Samford alum, was a recipient of the Agatha Hodgins award for most outstanding nurse anesthesia student and has worked in the department of nurse anesthesia for seven years. He feels fortunate to be able to give back. "Attending Samford was a wonderful experience that I will always be grateful for. I love Samford and its Christian ministry. It is a great pleasure to be able to help guide young people, not only academically but spiritually."
C. Bruce Foster has been on the Samford University staff for more than 30 years. Foster was working at another university when he was contacted by Joe Dean, who later became dean of McWhorter School of Pharmacy, about an admission position. "When I was hired in 1981, I never imagined I would still be working at Samford 30-plus years later," he said. When he is not overseeing the admission process, Foster enjoys traveling in the American West, especially to national parks.
Since deciding to come to Samford University 10 years ago, Maisha Freeman has no regrets. "When I was searching for a position in academia, I wanted to pursue a service-oriented institution," she said. "Due to Samford’s commitment to pursing me and their interest in my development, I chose to come here. Since making that decision, I have not looked back and found that it has been one of the best decisions that I ever made. My presence at Samford has allowed me to give back in areas that I would not have dreamed of before." Since joining the McWhorter School of Pharmacy faculty, Freeman has secured a grant for the school. In her free time, she loves to do science experiments with her children.
Ralph R. Gold, Jr., has been a member of Samford University’s faculty for 21 years, and is a true believer in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." As a child, many might have never expected Gold to accomplish much. "Having been raised in a single-parent home, I never completed high school," he revealed. Despite this challenge, Gold ultimately went on to earn his Ed.D. in educational leadership and supervision from Samford and received the honor award, the highest professional award given by The Alabama State Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. His hard work serves as a shining example to students as well as his daughter and son who are also alums.
Greg Gorman joined McWhorter School of Pharmacy staff three years ago, and has given students lots of new opportunities. "I came to Samford University…to establish a research program in the pharmacy school to allow students the opportunity to conduct laboratory research with faculty members in the pharmaceutical sciences," he said. Gorman also established the Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Institute, giving students the chance to conduct research and be authors on posters and peer-reviewed publications.
Although Crystal Grier is new to Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing, she is a familiar face around the Samford University campus. Grier worked for Cumberland School of Law for 10 years before leaving to stay home with her family for two years. She was named coordinator of graduate student services in October 2013.
Lisa Gurley is a Samford University alumnus who has experience in surgical intensive care, perioperative and adult medical-surgical nursing. She served as an instructor at Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing from 2003–05 and currently serves as the coordinator of the accelerated second degree program and assistant professor. Her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Tanual Hall joined the staff of Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing nine years ago after retiring as a budget manager from Bellsouth TeleCommunications where she worked for 26 years. Hall believes in getting the job done and having fun doing it. She loves football and lives by her father, William Jackson’s quote, "Treat everybody right and be particular."
Julie Austin Head had no idea how much her life would change when she came to Samford University in 2007. "My husband was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer in June 2010 and subsequently passed away in November 2011, leaving me with two small children. What a plan the Lord had for me to be at Samford, knowing the trials I would go through. I cannot imagine being anywhere else and having the kind of support I have had and continue to have from coworkers and students." Since joining the faculty, Head has taken the missions course from an in-class elective to an immersion experience on a foreign mission field. In her free time, she loves being outdoors. "Hiking and kayaking are two of my favorite things to do."
For Melanie Wise Henningsen, there is no place like home. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Samford University, Henningsen worked as a part-time clinical instructor where she developed a love for the education and development of future nurses. She became a full-time employee in August 2013. Henningsen desires for students to gain confidence prior to entering a hospital and strives to be an encouragement and show them nursing is an attainable and rewarding profession when hard work and dedication are applied. "The clinical skills lab allows students the ability to have practice and supervision before entering the clinical facilities. I have thoroughly enjoyed my interaction with the students and families, faculty and staff and Samford University. This just feels like home," she said.
Monty Hogewood believes he has found his niche at Samford University—especially after quickly discovering what he did not want to do. "I attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for nine days," he revealed. Hogewood started his Samford journey 21 years ago as director of alumni affairs. Over the years, he has served in several capacities in university advancement, including his current position as director of development and alumni relations. He has also had the honor of seeing his wife and three adult children become Samford alums. Hogewood, a certified fund raising executive, works diligently to raise funds for Samford by focusing on customer service and relationship building. His years at the school have helped him value "being accepted and allowed to represent Samford as an employee and parent even though I’m not an alumnus of the university."
McWhorter School of Pharmacy Interim Dean Michael D. Hogue sees his position at Samford as a huge honor. Hogue, a native of rural southern Illinois, was initially drawn to Samford as an undergraduate because of its Christian mission and values. He ultimately met his wife, Heather, and thanks to professors who mentored him, he discovered his professional path while a student. When he was given the opportunity to come back to the faculty at Samford after years of being a community pharmacy owner and clinical pharmacist in ambulatory care, Hogue agreed. He believes the pharmacy school faculty and staff have accomplished a lot of great things during his time there, including a revamp of the curriculum. "The Lord has called me to serve here at Samford to help shape the lives of aspiring pharmacists just as my professors did for me. It is my hope that God will use me in some small way to accomplish His purpose at Samford."
Jane Holston is not surprised by her position in Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing. "I always knew I would one day return to Samford to teach, but I thought it would be many years down the road." In 2010, after working for six years as a family nurse practitioner, Holston realized she needed a more flexible schedule and began working as a clinical instructor in undergrad nursing before moving to a full-time position in the family nurse practitioner program. As part of her doctoral project, Holston produced an educational video on head injuries that is currently used across the country to educate parents, athletes and coaches on the dangers of improperly handling a concussion. Although life has sometimes gotten hectic for Holston, she doesn’t have any regrets about her decision to work at Samford. "I love it here," she said, "and I can’t imagine being anywhere else."
Peter J. Hughes’ passion for his work seems to be in his blood. "My great-grandfather was a successful community pharmacist. He was the son of immigrant parents from Switzerland who traveled to the U.S. from France on the same ship with the unassembled Statue of Liberty," he said. Hughes, an alumnus of McWhorter School of Pharmacy, values the relationships he has built over the years. "What started out as a place to come for pharmacy school has become so much more. I entered school at the pharmacy school and went through the program, I made so many lasting, positive relationships with my classmates and faculty members. These same faculty members who gave me the gift of mentorship have inspired me to pass that gift forward to the students with whom I interact. It is an honor to work here."
Maryam Iranikhah joined the Samford University faculty five years ago. A 2002 graduate of McWhorter School of Pharmacy, Iranikhah did her residency at a joint Samford University/Jefferson County health department residency. She was honored for her hard work in 2011 when she received the Margaret Self Propst Pharmacy Teacher of the Year award. Iranikhah believes the truth of Romans 12:10, "Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Excel in showing respect for each other."
Allison Jackson has learned the truth of Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Jackson, who has been employed by Samford University for eight years, started as an adjunct professor in the department of kinesiology and completed her Ph.D. while teaching full time and raising her sons. "I . . . fell in love with the students, faculty and campus atmosphere so much that I wanted to be full time rather than a stay-at-home mom," she said. "I enjoy juggling my work and home life because I love what I do outside my home."
Joan Jackson owes much of longevity at Samford University to her son. As he was entering his senior year of high school in 1993, she decided she wanted to work at Samford because he wanted to attend. Her son eventually went on to graduate from McWhorter School of Pharmacy. In 1996, Jackson began taking classes through the adult studies program, ultimately receiving her undergraduate degree in 2005. "I have worked my entire 19 years at Samford in the pharmacy school and feel so blessed to have been a part of both the employee and student aspect of the university," she said. "As an employee, I feel the people with whom I work/serve through my position in continuing education have been an amazing blessing. I have made forever friends through this job."
Margaret L. Johnson is new to the Samford University community, but she is no stranger to the field of speech pathology. Having worked at University of Montevallo for 18 years as an assistant professor and acting chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Johnson didn't waste any time sharing her years of experience with Samford. Johnson has a passion for adults who experience neurogenic communication disorders and plans to share that passion with faculty and students. "The Lord really opened some doors and closed others and the decision was quite clear when the offer came from Samford. I have found the environment to be a very special place; both in terms of the students that I have met and all of the faculty and staff that I have had the opportunity to work with thus far."
Jeffrey Kyle has seen Samford University from a number of perspectives—as a student, alumni and faculty member. "As a student I was drawn to Samford by quality of education, the relatively small class size, the relationships with classmates and faculty, and the opportunity to learn in a faith-based environment. After graduation, I found that Samford prepared me well for the challenges of my profession. As alumni, I kept close ties with Samford both with classmates and faculty alike. In 2008, I had the opportunity to come back and be a part of something very special, something I always believed in. Now as a current faculty member in the school of pharmacy, just as I was invested in, now I have the opportunity to invest in others and repay the university and the school for what they gave me," said Kyle who has been honored with the Margaret Self Propst Teacher of the Year award.
When Ronda Lacey was asked by the dean of McWhorter School of Pharmacy to present a continuing education program on pharmacy law for the faculty, she didn't think much of it. "After presenting the seminar and answering a number of questions, the dean said that he felt my interview went well," she said. Lacey has been with the department of pharmaceutical, social and administrative sciences for eight years. During that time, she has taught the pharmacy school class that had a 100 percent pass rate on the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination. "It is an honor to work with students in a Christian university and help them through their educational journey," said Lacey who holds a black belt in aikido and is a competitive sporting clays shooter.
Since he arrived at McWhorter School of Pharmacy in 1986, Roger Lander has worked hard to make a difference. "I came here because of a desire to become more involved in pharmacy education and to develop a research program in the college of pharmacy," he said. "I worked within the schools Pharmacokinetics Center for three years, but then went back into pharmacy practice." Lander has helped to expand the international involvement at the pharmacy school, including student rotations in the United Kingdom, Indonesia and Vietnam as well as offering studying/training opportunities at Samford University for foreign pharmacists. During his free time, he enjoys woodworking.
When John Lundeen and his wife drove by Samford University on his way to a job interview, he looked at the school gates and knew something good was going to happen there. Five years later, Lundeen enrolled at Samford, and after graduating with a 4.0 in the RN-M.S.N. educator track, he applied for an instructor position. "One of my earliest and best memories that I have of Samford is that of being led in prayer by a faculty member during an orientation session on my first day on campus. As a Christian coming from a public school system, that was a new but welcomed experience. That moment changed me forever, and I knew and felt that God's hand was on my shoulder, guiding me on the path that He had laid out for me. I'm still following his lead and loving every minute of it," he said.
David R. Luthin first set foot on Samford University's campus seven years ago when he interviewed for his current position as associate professor, and he didn't waste any time blazing trails. "I had spent 11 years in drug discovery for a large pharmaceutical company and realized there was something missing in my life," he said. "I felt completely at home here at Samford and have found what was missing: service to others." Luthin's hard work was rewarded in 2012 when he was named Pharmaceutical, Social and Administrative Sciences Faculty Member of the Year at McWhorter School of Pharmacy. He has also found that his passion for serving others extends beyond the Samford campus--he serves as cubmaster for Pack 367 and assistant scoutmaster for Troop 367 at Riverchase United Methodist Church. People would be surprised at "how much time I spend in a scout uniform," he said.
Since returning to Samford University in 2012 after taking a few years off to stay home with her children, Allyson Maddox has been busy. "I came back to Samford in June 2012 in the family nurse practitioner department and moved to the office of graduate student services in March 2013, first as the coordinator of graduate student services and then as the director." She lives by the Joel Osteen quote, "When you are committed to doing what's right, you are sowing seeds for God's blessings. You will never go wrong by taking the high road and doing more than is required." Maddox has been married to her husband, Shane, for 18 years and has three children, Hope, Martha Grace and Gabe.
Elaine Marshall tries daily as an assistant professor in Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing to live out her favorite scripture, Micah 6:8, "What does the Lord require of you, to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God." Marshall, a Samford alumna, has worked full time with the faculty since 1996. She is most proud of her work with The Chandler Mountain Project, a partnership between the nursing school, State Department of Health and Baptist Health Foundation, which provided a primary health-care clinic targeting migrant farm workers and their families in northeast Alabama.
As the first graduate faculty member to be hired at Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing in 1996, Jane S. Martin has played a large role in the growth and development of the school’s program. "My job was to coordinate the family nurse practitioner program. I had four students in the first class," she said. "It was my job to develop all of the nurse practitioner courses and to develop all of the clinical sites for the program." Over the years, when she has not been busy raising rescue cats—she currently has three, Charles, William and Harry—or indulging in her love of antiques and vintage things, Martin has continued to make an impact at the nursing school and beyond. Her biggest accomplishment still remains attending the graduation in May 1998 for the first graduating master of science in nursing [M.S.N.] class. "I felt like I had played an important role in that big accomplishment."
When Betty McCullough came to Samford University in 1999, she never anticipated the doors of opportunity that would open for her. McCullough originally worked in Cumberland School of Law before transferring to McWhorter School of Pharmacy in 2002. She decided to go back to college and received her bachelor’s degree in 2007 on the same day as her youngest son. "Upon completion of my degree, I have had opportunities open up for me that I never dreamed possible. I have now co-authored numerous posters for presentation at national organizational meetings, co-authored several manuscripts, presented several posters at national organization conferences and was asked to be a presenter/speaker at two different national organizations' conferences. I never thought as a staff member I would have these wonderful learning and research opportunities and am so thankful for these wonderful learning experiences," she said.
Birmingham native Gretchen McDaniel sees working in Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing as a dream come true. As a child, McDaniel witnessed how Samford University always opened its doors to the community—she often used Samford’s indoor pool when her high school swim team practiced. After she became interested in nursing education, McDaniel knew she wanted to be a part of Samford’s nursing school faculty. She has assisted with the development of new graduate programs, including the doctor of nursing degree program. "My current position is a fulfillment of this dream," she said. "It is a blessing to me to be a part of the Samford community and to have the opportunity to work with some of the best people in the world."
Nina McLain truly believes she has found her place at Samford University. While working on her Ph.D.—after 15 years of working as a clinical anesthesia practitioner—she was told about a new program at Samford that would offer her the opportunity to learn a lot from lifetime educators. "The amazing peace I felt as I walked across the campus and the warmth from the dean and faculty let me know this was now home. I have not regretted my decision once," she said. A member of Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing’s nurse anesthesia department since 2006, McLain has climbed the ranks from assistant professor and is currently working on a faculty development research grant. In her free time, she loves deep-sea fishing, sings in a choir and writes children’s books.
Anna Meador knows the power of patience. Thanks to a Samford University pharmacy residency at Christ Health Center, Meador learned how to trust all things would get done in the perfect time. This skill, coupled with assistance from Samford employees and faith in her favorite scripture, Philippians 4:6-7—"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"—helped Meador start and manage a nonprofit Christian pharmacy in an inner-city Birmingham community.
Megan Mileski believes her instructors played a huge part in her career choice. "The dedication, expertise and compassion shown by my professors influenced my decision to become a nurse educator because I wanted to do the same for nursing students," she said. During her senior year at Samford, Mileski directed a sweepstakes winning Step Sing show. She loves Ephesians 2:8–9, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast."
Cheryl Miller joined McWhorter School of Pharmacy five years ago after 25 years of teaching chemistry, AP chemistry and physics at Chelsea High School. In her current position as lab manager, Miller instructs first-year pharmacy students. Her hobbies include making earrings and other types of casual jewelry.
Katrina Mintz recently joined the Samford University family, and she is ready to share her dreams. "While I’m new to Samford, I continue to see a vision for pharmacy education that is based on serving Christ and others," she said. Mintz’s career has lead her through the ranks of professional education. She started as an English/reading teacher in K–12 and has worked at several colleges where she has gained perspective on the changing marketplace of higher education and its global reach. "I am excited about where Samford University will emerge as a leader in innovative higher education in the years to come," said Mintz, who has completed eight marathons.
Becky Morgan fell in love with the Samford University campus while spending time there with her son, Malone, who works with the women’s basketball team during practice. "When I was looking for a job, Samford was the first place I looked," said Morgan who started her position in 2013. "I feel very blessed to have found a position that is perfect for me. I love working at Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing."
Debra Morrison has strong ties to Samford University. "I am proud to be the niece of Coach Gerald Tuck who played both football and baseball for the Howard College Bulldogs when he was a young man in the 1950s," she said. Morrison is new to the Samford community, but is already working on an exciting project for School of Public Health. Before becoming a registered dietitian, Morrison was a member of the American Guild of Musical Artists and sang professionally with the New Orleans Opera company, numerous musical theater companies along the Gulf Coast area and as a soloist with a number of churches in the New Orleans area.
Pilar Murphy came back to Samford University to finish what she started. As a PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice resident, Murphy was a part of the Sowing Seeds of Hope program in Perry County, Ala., which worked with the less fortunate and provided a cardiovascular risk reduction clinic. "When looking for a place to start my career, I compared every job opportunity to the work I was able to do at McWhorter School of Pharmacy," she said. "I came back to the pharmacy school to complete the work I had begun as a resident. I am not only enjoying precepting students, but making contact with other Black Belt preceptors to make sure they are having a good experience working with our students and acting as a liaison between them and the school of pharmacy." Murphy was recognized on the cover of the August 2013 edition of Pharmacy Today and one day hopes to do foreign missions.
Patricia Naro is part of a legacy. "Three generations of my family attended or are attending Samford," she said. Naro has been employed at Samford for 13 years and has helped implement and execute the introductory pharmacy practice experience program, which was a significant curricular change from the early practice experience. She believes the truths of Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Him with strengthens me." "My mother always quoted this, and I live by this verse," she said.
Jan Paine knows the value of good friends. “A good friend of mine, Trisha Stovall, worked as a nurse recruiter for Baptist Montclair Hospital. At that time, the school of nursing had offices at Baptist Montclair and Samford University. Trisha encouraged me to apply for a new position in the school of nursing.” Paine was offered the job, and has worked in Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing since 1990. She was even able to return the favor. “In 2011, a new position was created in the school of nursing for recruitment and admissions. I encouraged my good friend Trisha Stovall to apply for the job. Now we are working together helping students to become Moffett Nurses.”
Jonathan Parker spends a lot of time traveling to different colleges and universities to meet potential applicants to McWhorter School of Pharmacy, and when he returns home, he has plenty to keep him busy and help him unwind. "I own and live on a farm in Cullman, Ala.," he said. "Until December 2005, it was a commercial poultry farm with approximately 48,000 chickens. Now it is a cattle farm with about 50 cattle." A member of the pharmacy school staff since 2002, Parker counts himself fortunate to work at Samford. "I truly believe I have the best job in the world . . . I get to meet some very interesting and nice people, and along the way, I am blessed to make some really great friends. This is where I plan to be until I retire or the Lord calls me home."
Roger Parker has been employed by Samford University for 33 years. "I left Samford one time for University of Cincinnati in the late 1970s, but returned in 1980 because I felt like a stranger in a foreign land," said Parker who served as faculty chairman of the values council for 17 years. He loves Ephesians 2:8, "For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."
Amber Patrick has seen her life come full circle since joining Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing faculty less than a year ago. As a 15 year old, Patrick accompanied her sister on a visit to campus during her sister’s college search and knew immediately Samford University was where she belonged. Patrick ultimately landed a scholarship to Samford and declared her major as nursing during her freshman year. When she felt lead by God a few years later to pursue a degree in nursing education and eventually started applying for faculty positions, Patrick didn’t look any further than Samford. "This place draws you in—in the best way possible. It drew me in as a 15 year old, and I haven’t looked back. I now have the great privilege of being able to witness my students’ stories unfold here. I couldn’t be happier to be a Samford alum and a Samford faculty member."
John Petrella joined the Department of Kinesiology in 2007. Since then, he has mentored three projects that have received recognition from the Southeast American College of Sports Medicine. Petrella, a professional soccer fan, loves Colossians 3:23–24, "Whatever you do, work it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
When Valerie Prince signed up for a Samford University interview during her residency, she was so sure she was underqualified, she was going to scratch her name off the list. "The McWhorter School of Pharmacy administrator who was conducting interviews saw me and told me she had just had a cancellation and she persuaded me to come in and talk to her. I was contacted a month later for an on-campus interview and was hired by Samford into my first professional position post residency," she said. Now, almost 20 years later, Prince is still hard at work. "I’ve had the privilege to work one on one with 15 to 18 students a year precepting them at clinical practice sites, which is the type of teaching I love best," said Prince. Prince is proud of the students she has influenced to believe in themselves when they thought they weren’t capable of assuming leadership positions or performing in a clinical environment.
Although Carol J. Ratcliffe joined the faculty full time in July 2013, her journey to Samford has been years in the making. After working in various nursing leadership roles, including vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer for 16 years, Ratcliffe also served as a member of Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing Advisory Board, was a frequent guest lecturer for undergraduate nursing students during their leadership course and was highlighted and profiled as a nursing executive by the school before she began adjunct teaching in the doctor of nursing practice [D.N.P.] program in 2010. A graduate of the nursing school’s first D.N.P. cohort in 2009, Ratcliffe was thrilled when she learned the school had developed a D.N.P. program in nursing administration. She feels blessed to have the support to lead and contribute to the nursing profession that is making a pivotal difference in the health outcome of Alabamians. “I chose Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing because of its rich history, faith-based environment, faculty and reputation as a stellar nursing program,” she said. “When a student says ‘I really appreciate your help’ or ‘thanks for teaching this course because I really learned a lot,’ it’s priceless.”
Robert Riggs once considered himself to be a modern-day Jonah. Riggs was not looking to move back to Birmingham more than 20 years ago when he and his wife attended a church homecoming. “The associate dean at that time at McWhorter School of Pharmacy stopped as we were getting ready to leave and told us about a faculty opening. At lunch a few miles down the road, my wife informed me that the Lord wanted us back in Birmingham,” he said. Riggs, who has worked in several capacities, successfully chaired the promotion and tenure document revision committee for the pharmacy school.
Cynthia Ritter came to Samford University in 1993 during a turning point in her life. "My neighbor was the bus driver at that time for the nursing students, taking them from their dorm at then Montclair Hospital to their clinical sites. He heard there was a new position being created in the school of nursing to help Jan Paine who had just had a baby and who was attempting to advise and register one of the largest incoming freshmen classes she had ever encountered. He told me he had 'put my name in the hat' for the job, and I have been here, working alongside Jan Paine ever since." Ritter has helped build processes in the office of undergraduate student services and has seen the number of undergraduate students grow from less than 200 to around 450.
Nena F. Sanders, has been active in health care for more than 35 years. Her professional nursing career is multifaceted and includes work as a staff nurse, cardiovascular clinical nurse specialist, nurse administrator, nurse educator, health care consultant, and entrepreneur. In addition to her practice of nursing, she has had tremendous success as a grant writer, researcher and author. Sanders has also been involved in developing, implementing and evaluating graduate nursing education programs for nearly three decades and she participates in numerous professional and community service endeavors.
Suzanne Scharf came to Samford in 2005 after a friend told her she was leaving her part-time position coordinating the continuing education classes for nursing. The position gave Scharf the balance she needed because she was still able to serve on the PTO boards at her daughters’ schools. Scharf, a native of Atlanta, Ga., is married to a firefighter, and their two daughters are now in college.
Sharron P. Schlosser firmly believes the truth of Philippians 4:13--"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." "Without his strength and guidance, I would not be the person I am today," she said. Schlosser received her nursing diploma from the Birmingham Baptist Hospital School of Nursing, which later became Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing before it merged with Samford University in 1973. She joined the faculty of the nursing school in 1975 as an assistant professor. She had the honor of knowing Ida V. Moffett, who assisted her with securing a scholarship that covered her tuition, room and board while she attended nursing school. "Mrs. Moffett was a very special person who saw potential in a young high school student…that foundation instilled in me a desire to help others and eventually lead to my career in nursing education."
Donna Seibels has been a familiar face around Samford University since 1986. "After I returned to Birmingham in 1985, I drove past the front gates of Samford one day and thought, 'I would really like to work here.' Just one year later, I received a call asking me to please come and interview for an open position as the director of the dietetics program." Seibels, a third-generation teacher, worked in full-time and part-time positions for about 24 years before returning full time as the clinical coordinator in 2010. She was named as director of the didactic program in dietetics in 2013. For the past several years, her department has gained 100 percent acceptance in internships. "My greatest joy at Samford has been getting to know students--who they are and what they want and in that to help train students to become registered dietitians."
Rosalyn Sewell’s relationship with Samford University began in 1980 when Samford and the now-defunct Montclair Hospital had an agreement that Samford female students would live and have classes in the new Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing building on the Montclair Hospital campus. She moved to the Samford campus 10 years ago. Sewell’s favorite scripture is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Relationships mean everything to Susan Sheffield. She first came in contact with Dean Nena Sanders through UAB. While working as a chief nurse in local hospitals, she served as a preceptor for her graduate administrative students. Later when she assisted as nursing adjunct faculty at Samford University, Sheffield eventually told Sanders she would love to be a part of the faculty if a position became available. In 2007, her dream came true. Sheffield has taught a number of undergraduate and graduate courses and has assisted with redesigning courses. “I love the students, my content area—my area of expertise—and the school of nursing. It is a wonderful professional and supportive environment.”
Ami Teague Shell officially joined Samford University’s faculty in 2008, but she has been a familiar face at McWhorter School of Pharmacy since 2004. Shell served as an external preceptor for fourth-year Samford pharmacy students while working in an indigent care HIV clinic in Birmingham. She recently switched practice sites from a specialized HIV indigent care environment to a private primary care type clinic. She looks forward to continuing to uphold I Thessalonians 5:16–18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Lora Shelton is no stranger to Samford University. Shelton received her graduate degree from Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing and worked as director of student health services from 1997 to 2000 before joining the nursing school seven years ago. Since then, Shelton has worked hard to emulate the faculty she had by having a genuine interest in her students’ personal and academic lives. She has also developed a nursing missions international studies course and has traveled with Samford students to Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. “It is amazing to see medical missions through the eyes of a student and to see how the experience of an international studies course/medical mission can transform their practice of nursing,” she said. “It is also a joy to serve alongside our students.”
Pamela Sims came to Samford University in 1989 and likes teaching in a variety of health professions including pharmacy, dentistry and nurse anesthesia and learning from students while teaching them. Sims enjoys snow skiing and wake boarding and does Olympic weightlifting and a form of CrossFit for workouts.
Jessica Skelley has had a longstanding relationship with Samford University since 2004. “I met my husband here as a student, found my profession, took my first ‘real’ job here, started my family here. I’ve actually never left Samford since arriving as a freshman and can’t imagine anywhere I would rather be.” Skelley was rewarded for her commitment to Samford in 2013 when she received the Margaret Self Propst Pharmacy Teacher of the Year award, which is presented annually to a faculty member who is elected by the student body as exemplifying exceptional teaching and mentoring. “It was a very significant honor and the most rewarding one I have received both professionally and personally,” she said.
After practicing in a hospital pharmacy for many years, Rachel Slaton decided to join McWhorter School of Pharmacy in 2009. Slaton was charged with developing the skills labs and seminars for a course series in integrated pharmacy applications, and she successfully redesigned the drug literature evaluation course. In 2011, she was appointed to a tenure-track faculty position in drug information where she currently practices.
Amy Snow never really imagined herself on the faculty at Samford University. As with her undergraduate and graduate school years, Snow felt Samford was where she was being lead when she came to Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing four years ago. Snow, who has a passion for foster kids and orphans, believes it is a huge accomplishment when she sees students soar on their own. “Never in a million years would I have seen myself as faculty at this great institution. But He provided the opportunity, and I jumped on it. Day after day, experience after experience, He continued to display his great mercy and love. I am honored to be in the midst of such fine people with such a directed purpose,” she said.
Dr. Ken Stoltzfus serves as associate professor and chair of the Department of Social Work. Dr. Stoltzfus previously served as chair of the Social Sciences Department at LCC International University, a North American-style liberal arts university in Klaipeda, Lithuania and chair of the Social Work Department at Malone University in Canton, OH. In addition to experience in academia, he brings extensive experience as a counselor and administrator at a number of human service agencies, including a residential substance abuse treatment facility for adolescent males, a faith-based addiction treatment clinic, and a community-based mental health program. Dr. Stoltzfus received a Fulbright Lecturing/Research Award in 2010; his Fulbright research project explored faith-based substance abuse rehabilitation in the Russian Federation. His research interests include substance abuse, spirituality/religion, and social work in the former Soviet Union. He has published numerous articles and has served as associate editor for the journal Social Work and Christianity.
When a new position for undergraduate recruitment and admission counselor opened in Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing two years ago, Trisha Stovall was recruited to come for an interview by her friend Jan Paine. “I used to work at BMC Montclair where the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing building was located and enjoyed working with their faculty and staff. I have always loved recruiting Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing graduates and now have the privilege to recruit students into the nursing program.” Stovall, who actually worked with Ida V. Moffett, loves Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Since arriving at Samford University five years ago shortly after completing his residency training, Steve Stricker has blazed trails. Stricker established McWhorter School of Pharmacy’s first practice in hematology/oncology and has worked to build a program in oncology that was recognized with the 2013 Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association National New Practitioner of the Year award. Stricker is also a classically trained musician who still enjoys performing when given the opportunity. “I was initially drawn to Samford because of a passion for teaching students in a clinical setting as well as what I viewed as an outstanding opportunity to work with an amazing group of faculty members who collectively make Samford feel like home,” he said.
When Katie Stripling received her public relations degree, she had every intention to pursue a career in politics. "I had dreams of running political campaigns and possibly someday running for office," she said. God had other plans. Stripling had a number of jobs dealing with health-care issues and was working as an account executive for a local advertising agency when she learned Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing had an opening. "The position in the school of nursing allowed me to combine my passion for education and health care with my skills and knowledge in public relations and development. After my first interview with Dean Sanders, I knew this was where I was supposed to be." Stripling’s hard work was rewarded when she received the 2012 Lamplighter Award from the Alabama League for Nursing. "It was an incredibly humbling experience to be nominated for such an honor by the faculty of our school. I am blessed with extraordinary colleagues."
Gena Sullivan has experienced Samford University in a variety of ways. Sullivan came to Samford as a college freshman and after graduating with a degree in business administration, getting married and working for two years, she came back to her alma mater as a part-time graduate student. In 2010, Sullivan was hired as a full-time employee of Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing. Her daughter is currently a student. “Having experienced Samford as a student (undergraduate and graduate), an alumnus, an employee and a parent, I have been able to use my experiences to share what a wonderful place Samford is with others,” she said.
Patricia H. Terry has had a long, illustrious career in the nutrition field, including her current positing chairing Samford University’s Department of Nutrition and Dietetics. But she has also made a huge impact on the world in other ways. “In the summer of 1972, I dug up an intact perfume juglet from the 8th century BC on a dig with Professor Yohanan Aharon in Be’er Sheva, Israel, that was put in the museum there,” she said. As amazing as that find was, it still pales in comparison to Terry’s experiences at Samford where she also serves as a professor in nutrition and dietetics. She has enjoyed “seeing so many wonderful graduates become leaders in the professions of food, nutrition and dietetics.”
Rachel Thomas graduated from McWhorter School of Pharmacy and because it was such an excellent experience, she decided to complete a residency in drug information at the school. She joined the faculty in 2012. Thomas, who enjoys playing the piano, previously worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Blake, and daughter, Claire.
Paula Thompson takes her commitment to students very seriously. “Any time a student seeks me out for advice or support, I know I have an opportunity to have an impact on their lives,” she said. While teaching at another pharmacy school, Thompson had an epiphany. “I decided I would be a better teacher of clinicians if I had clinical training myself. I looked at schools of pharmacy all over the country, but I was most impressed with Samford and came here to earn my Pharm.D.” Thompson eventually accepted a faculty position in McWhorter School of Pharmacy where she has worked in various positions for 19 years. “I feel blessed to work with wonderful faculty and staff colleagues in the education of exceptional students.”
Cami Tinsley joined Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing staff in August 2013 after working part time for six years. “I have always wanted to work at Samford,” she said. “I prayed about it a lot. God answered, and here I am. I have only been here a short time, but I am unbelievably blessed to be working with a wonderful group of people and could not be happier. This is more than a ‘job’ to me. This is a great place to be and a place I truly look forward to coming to every day.” Tinsley and her husband, John, have three children.
When Bruce Waldrop took a job to make some money, he didn’t realize it would lead to a career.“Originally being a hotel and restaurant management major at UAB, I got a job as a pharmacy technician to help pay the bills. I became fascinated with pharmacy and decided to change majors. I applied only to Samford and was fortunate to be admitted to the program. Part-time work as a tutor in my pharmacology course prompted me to consider pharmacy academia,” he said. In 2003, Waldrop received the opportunity to come back to Samford and teach at McWhorter School of Pharmacy. He has been honored with teacher of the year, most effective lecturer and best lecturer awards for his hard work. “I couldn’t be happier with my Samford education and all the great students that I am able to interact with everyday,” he said.
Robert Wang brings significant experience to McWhorter School of Pharmacy. Wang, who joined the faculty in 2012, recently received his first grant from the National Institutes of Health. He has also received research grants from Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the American Heart Association. Wang enjoys teaching and interacting with students, and during his career, he has trained three Ph.D. students, two post-doctoral fellows and numerous undergraduate students in their research. He has significant experience in reviewing grant proposals for funding agencies such as the Italian Telethon Foundation, reviewing manuscripts for leading scientific journals such as Nature Chemical Biology, chairing sessions in international scientific conferences, and serving on admissions committee. He loves Samford University’s Christian environment and looks forward to integrating his teaching with scientific discovery.
Rebecca J. Warr is no stranger to multitasking. When she first came to Samford in 1981, it was as part of a joint appointment with Baptist Princeton Hospital where she worked two days a week in the psychiatric unit as a staff nurse. She has also worked as a public health nurse for Jefferson County Public Health where she made home visits to chronically ill patients and assisted in various clinics. As part of her Samford duties, she has watched students go from being scared to death during their first nursing clinical experience to evolving into the students who experience “the light bulb moments” when they acquire the basic knowledge of how to function in a health care setting and understanding how they have played a role in a patient’s condition. Warr has also found time to apply for and receive a faculty development grant for geriatric stimulation with nursing students. In the midst of being involved in her career, she is never far from her desire to be involved with multiple projects. “I can quilt and make a soufflé at the same time,” she said.
Terri Wensel knows the importance of home and family. After the birth of her daughter while living in North Carolina, Wensel and her husband, Brian, desperately wanted to return to Birmingham. “This job opened up at the precise right time for us. I feel fortunate that I was able to stay in academia within a faith-based, private school. This setting allows me to interact with students on a more personal level than I would be able to do elsewhere.” Wensel has been involved with the development of end-of-year exams within McWhorter School of Pharmacy. “This is a positive step forward in ensuring what we already know, that we have the best students around,” she said. Wensel, who loves anything craft related, has a daughter, Claire; son, Ethan; and dog, Lynx.
After working in the undergraduate admissions office for almost five years, Peggy West transferred to McWhorter School of Pharmacy. West, a native of Rhode Island, lives by Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Joy Whatley came to Samford University in 1975. Since then, she has worked in a number of positions within Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing, where she currently serves as associate dean of the undergraduate program. She also assists in the nursing management course. Whatley loves “having the opportunity to work with the most incredible dean, faculty, staff and students.” She holds fast to Philippians 4:6–7, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Debra Whisenant came to Samford University in 2009 after completing a two-year National Research Service Award Post-doctoral Fellowship in Outcomes Research at University of Alabama at Birmingham. “I have been pleased to extend my international mission and public health work while at Samford,” she said. “I am also pleased to have developed relationships with colleagues that have facilitated the extension of international work.”
Whitney White believes her presence at Samford University is a direct result of God’s plan for her life. McWhorter School of Pharmacy was the only school to which White applied after changing her career pursuits from medicine to pharmacy, a change that was aligned better with her personal and professional goals. “I entered pharmacy school confident in my knowledge from prior education, and I walked away with exemplary training from some of the most intelligent, compassionate and supportive faculty anywhere.” White returned to Samford after her residency to pursue a career in academia and is now going into her fifth year of teaching. “I feel so blessed for the opportunity to share with students my experience as a practitioner and to hopefully instill in them a love for learning and a true heart for patient care,” she said.
Marian Carter, Ed.D.Assistant Dean of Enrollment Management & Student Servicesmwcarter@samford.edu205-726-2611