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A&S Class Notes

By A&S News

A&S Class Notes

By A&S News


Peter A. Wish, B.A. ’67, wrote a new book The Candidate's 7 Deadly Sins: Using Emotional Optics To Turn Political Vices Into Virtues, which is an Amazon #1 bestseller. The book combines neuroscience, social psychology, case studies along with his years coaching candidates on how to make a better emotional connection with the voter. Mark McKinnon, chief media advisor to President George W. Bush and Sen John McCain and co-host of The Circus on Showtime, wrote the forward. 


Tommy Mandel, B.A. ’71, is president of Candyland Brokerage Co. for 41 years, representing candy, cookie, and confectionery companies nationally and globally. Mandel is married and has three daughters He has also been involved in theatre appearing in nine Broadway musicals and plays and played softball until he was 65 years old. His company is located in Pembroke Pines, FL.

Marcie Katcher, B.A. ’74, graduating from the U with a degree in art education (K-12). She has a long career in communications, creative development and public affairs. Katcher returned to graduate school and obtained a degree in Creative Arts Therapy and studied for her M.F.A. at Parsons and Pratt. She has since been facilitating Zoom workshops during COVID-19, using the arts and meditation to form virtual communities. She is offering UM alumni a free workshop on creativity and an interactive experience to process these difficult times. If interested, please email

Nanette Lampl Avery, B.F. A. ’76, released Who, a mystery novel in January 2021. Familiarity breeds contempt, or even murder, as portrayed in this mystery parody. Avery reunites a notorious but forgotten group of legendary personalities in her latest book, which is intriguing and often humorous with just the right amount of Agatha Christie and the Brothers Grimm to keep you wanting to know, "whodunit"!

Dave Hinkes, B.A. ’79, and his wife of 40 years, Deb, have moved to their final newly built home in Port Saint Lucie, FL. Their youngest daughter, Melissa, a CPA in Chicago, is getting married in July. Hinkes is a business consultant, certified coach, professor, mentor, trainer, and author.


JeJuan Stewart, B.S. ’90, recently retired as an anesthesiologist’s assistant. She is also a social entrepreneur of Eagle 7 Consulting ( and executive director of John & JeJuan Stewart Jr. Foundation (www.jjsjfoundation). Her business journey began shortly after the tragic loss of her college sweetheart in 2006. Building on the legacy of community engagement that started at UM and continued by her husband’s commitment to servant leadership, Stewart believes in the power of empowering for all to lead and excel.

David Auslander, B.A. ’86, is proud to announce that he is a grandfather to a future ’Cane born in December 2016. Auslander’s son-in-law is also a University of Miami alumnus. 


Wynne Stallings, B.A. ’92, is the owner of SoulSpring Counseling, which has seen exponential growth since 2020. The company has hired two additional therapists and a support role hire. Due to the pandemic, the company was able to expand its offerings of counseling services to anyone in the State of Florida via telehealth. Stallings is excited and humbled to offer much-needed support to help Floridia residents cope with the many mental health challenges they are facing that have been created, or exacerbated, by the pandemic. For more information, visit

Celia Alvarez, M.F.A. ’95, wrote a new book of poetry, “Multiverses,” that will debut May 7, 2020. It is already available for prepublication sale at It is a speculative memoir in verse chronicling four years of her life alongside imagined narratives in parallel universes where a single different detail changes the outcome of the narrative dramatically. You can find more information, including sample poems, on her website,

Charlotte Freeman, M.S. ’94, Ph.D., continues to have a thriving career as the sole proprietor of Nia Therapy Services in Memphis, TN. She provides counseling, consulting, and training for individuals and families, businesses, community and social service organizations, Head Start, and educational institutions. Dr. Freeman has received several awards for her work in psychology including the TN Commission on Social Welfare and nationally, the Eli Lilly Welcome Back Award in Primary Care. Her civic work has garnered recognitions by the Top Ladies of Distinctions, Silver Humanitarian Award and within her sorority, Alumnae of the Year Award (TN) for the Southern Region. She serves on Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.'s National Program Planning and Development Committee, specifically the Physical and Mental Health Subcommittee, helping to develop and implement programming for the sorority's national body in the areas of mental health. She works with the sorority's national initiative on healthy habits with the national partner, WW. She has recently been elected Board Chair for the Memphis Leadership Foundation.

Gabriel Loor, B.S. ’97, is Associate Professor of Surgery in the Division of Cardiothoracic Transplantation and Circulatory Support at the Texas Heart Institute. Dr. Loor is also the Surgical Director of Lung Transplantation and co-chief of Adult Cardiac Surgery at
Baylor St Luke’s Medical Center, Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Loor is responsible for pioneering new innovations in the field of complex adult cardiac surgery and lung transplantation, particularly for patients fighting with COVID and other end-stage respiratory illnesses.

Imelda Medina, B.S. ’98, M.P.H. ’13, is president and founder of Familias Unidas International, Inc. The company’s mission is health promotion and disease prevention, which is accomplished through evidence-based health education and community service projects. In addition, the company implemented the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program to empower persons regarding self-care and wellbeing at worksites and in the community.


Sarah Rodriguez, B.A. ’03, M.P.A. ’09, is the Director of Development at the world-famous Apollo Theater in Harlem. She has helped to raise millions of dollars for the theater and its annual programs. She was named in the 2020 class of Crain's Magazine "40 Under 40" for her work and achievements. Rodriguez is also an Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) Leadership Fellow.

Samantha Stiglitz, B.F.A. ’05, traded in her career as a TV and film casting director (known for such projects as “Burn Notice” and “Pretty Little Liars”) to become one of the top acting and audition coaches in Los Angeles. She works with movie stars, influencers, athletes, musicians and many others. She is sought out by top industry executives to coach actors for film and television.

Jessika Contreras, B.A.’06, is a visionary and successful Miami real estate broker and entrepreneur. Living in Florida for more than 19 years, Contreras and her brother Andrés Gómez created the Global Prestige Development Group, a company that specializes in the construction and remodeling of luxury apartments and homes. In addition, Contreras is the CEO and broker of Global Prestige Real Estate specializing in selling luxury homes and projects throughout Florida.

Cindy Seaburn, B.A. ’06, began working as an Adjunct Professor for the University of West Florida in Fall 2020, teaching English Composition in the College of Arts, Social Science, and Humanities.

Alexandra Lejarza, B.A. ’07, completed her Ph.D. in higher education, added a new puppy to my family, and started a master’s degree in web design—all of these changes happened while in quarantine.

Jason Smith, B.A. ’07, published a book on female offenders entitled, “Understanding Female Offenders.” It was a major accomplishment that took ten years to produce. Smith says his ’Canes education helped propel his future psychology career.

Edwin Murillo, B.A. ’09, was promoted to Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.

Jess Page, B.A. ’09, cofounded the company, Open Water, with UM alumna, Nicole Doucet, Class of 2010. The company produces 100 percent, recyclable, and reusable aluminum bottles and cans of purified water. In 2020, it became the world's first carbon-neutral bottled-water company. The company’s tag line is "more ocean, less plastic," and it was named the #1 fastest growing company in the Midwest by INC magazine.


Jamie West, B.A. ’10, is happy to welcome a future ’Cane to the family during the pandemic.

Jonah Robinson, M.F.A. ’18, turned to his hoppy of songwriting and produced his first album during a time when the theatre industry shut down due to the pandemic and many artists were looking to find outlets to keep the creativity alive. Robinson invites you to check out “Not The Whale” on Spotify or Apple Music (@NotTheWhale). Robinson started songwriting in his Stanford dorm room and is grateful that it has stayed with him all this time. 


Chuan Liu, B.A. ’20, is a new adjunct faculty member in the Chemistry Department at Miami Dade College.