Echo 25 Recipients

The Echo 25’s 2023 class features 25 exceptional alumni under the age of 40. Recipients of The Echo 25 were selected based on the ways they live out Truman’s characteristics of graduates. Truman graduates are creative, socially responsible leaders and engaged world citizens. They are responsible, informed, and compassionate. They have the characteristics that enable them to be active, successful participants in their worlds.


Greg Belville Greg Bellville 07
Director of Mission, Make-A-Wish Iowa

Greg has a passion for service and has worked throughout his career in the private and non-profit sectors of the human service field. Beginning as a drug and alcohol counselor while acquiring a master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Greg worked in various roles with an increasing scope of impact. During his time as the Deputy Director of Bridges of Iowa, a treatment program serving recently incarcerated individuals, Greg began looking for ways to make an impact further upstream. This ultimately led Greg to the role of Executive Director for Prevent Child Abuse Iowa. In this position, Greg served on various state and national boards and committees advocating for family support and sexual abuse prevention policies and programs. Greg provided trainings nationally on the buffering impacts of social supports on childhood trauma. Currently Greg serves as the Director of Mission at Make-A-Wish Iowa.

The role is a return to more direct level service with the goal of bringing hope and joy to children struggling with critical illnesses. Greg is helping to lead the organization through growth in size and reach.

In his free time Greg loves spending time in nature with his family riding bikes, attempting to visit all of Iowa’s State Parks, coaching youth sports and volunteering at his church. Greg currently sits on the New Hope Wellness Foundation board, supporting substance abuse treatment in Ghana, and is a current member of the Mid-Iowa Health Connect Fellowship.

Phillip Campbell Phillip Campbell 06

Higher Education Administrator, Barnes-Jewish College Goldfarb School of Nursing/BJC Healthcare

Dr. Campbell (he/him) works at Barnes-Jewish College Goldfarb School of Nursing as the Director of Student Support and Engagement. In this role he leads the team to develop and implement all student services and student life functions including academic, career, and student support advising, peer leaders/tutor/mentors, orientation and transition initiatives, access/disability support services and test proctoring, student activities, diversity and inclusion efforts, student assistance and crisis response, student leadership development, and behavioral intervention.

These opportunities support student success and degree completion for the undergraduate and graduate students at two different campus locations. Prior to his current role he was responsible for the campus level oversight of college enrollment processes related to admissions, registration and management of student records according to federal, regional, state and institutional policy at St. Louis Community College-Meramec where he worked as the Admissions and Enrollment Services Manager.  Dr. Campbell previously worked as a First Year Advisor at Miami University and Director of New Student Programs at Southern Illinois University before moving back to St. Louis in 2013.

Dr. Campbell has a Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Student Services from the University of Missouri-St. Louis where he researched Thriving in Student Affairs Professionals: An Exploration of Support Constructs. There has been significant research on why student affairs professionals leave the field at high rates early in their careers. There is less documented knowledge about those who are thriving and are contributing to today’s higher education workplace. His research focuses on how student affairs professionals experience thriving across a variety of constructs and predictors, especially during the COVID-19 global pandemic, in an effort to contribute to positive staff supervision, team development, and graduate program education. He has a Master of Science in Education from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology/Anthropology from Truman State University.

Dr. Campbell has been part of consulting teams to review orientation, transition, and retention programs to align with the Council for Advancement of Standards (CAS), strategic planning processes for various educational institutions, and 501(c)3 non-profit associations, and currently sits on the NODA: The Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention Board of Directors in the role of General Board Member. Dr. Campbell has been an active member of the St. Louis Chapter as well as sitting on the Board of Directors of the Truman Alumni Association. He chairs the Program and Awards Committee. In these roles he has demonstrated commitment to the University, fellow alumni, and future students by planning numerous successful events, spearheading efforts to create standard operating procedures, and boosting recognition of affinity and at-large representation across the alumni.

Brittainy Cavender Brittainy Cavender 09

Attorney, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

In 2022 Brittainy Cavender joined Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, LLP as an associate in the Energy, Environment and Infrastructure Group where she counsels clients on an array of complex commercial and regulatory matters. Brittainy brings a unique perspective to her practice, having worked as an operations research analyst of the U.S. Air Force prior to law school, where she helped develop models to calculate the life cycle cost of USAF weapons systems, analyzed USAF capabilities, and determine recruitment and retention needs.

Prior to joining Brittainy Cavender worked as a civil litigator at Dowd Bennett, LLP and clerked for the Honorable Judge Rodney Sippel of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. She began her legal career as an associate at Hogan Lovells, LLP in Washington D.C. Brittainy received her J.D. from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis and Master of Engineering in Operations Research from the University of Texas.

Brittainy is currently the chair of the Women in the Legal Profession Section of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis and sits on the Board of Directors for NAMI St. Louis.

Damian Chavez Damian Chavez, ’14

Analyst, US Government Accountability Office

Damian is an analyst for the US Government Accountability Office (GAO). He has contributed to work examining administrative separation in the armed services, youth programs, and airport security.

Before joining GAO, Damian was a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Armenia. His focus was coaching students in speech and debate. Damian also previously worked for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver and as a debate coach in his hometown of Pleasant Hill, MO.

While at Truman, Damian was active in Residence Life and KTRM. He is a fan of Truman football and is looking forward to his next ronza. At Truman, he studied political science and psychology. Damian also completed a master’s degree at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. He lives in Washington, DC.

Laura Beth Cleveland Laura Beth Cleveland 10

SVP, Consumer & Small Business Strategy Executive, Bank of America

Laura Beth is a senior strategy executive at Bank of America where she leads a diverse portfolio of strategic initiatives driving revenue growth and operating efficiencies across 68M+ clients.

Laura Beth’s highlighted work includes advising line of business heads on emerging trends within U.S. retail banking, establishing rapid-response teams to evaluate market opportunities, and developing actionable business roadmaps.  She ideates and incubates early-stage business ventures for high potential client experiences – transforming ideas into cross-functional, multi-year $100M change initiatives.  Laura Beth has earned recognition for her transformational business and people leadership through multiple awards sponsored by the Bank of America C-suite and senior leadership teams (Pinnacle Summit Award 2022, Global Diversity & Inclusion Award 2021, Valiant Award 2020).

Laura Beth joined Bank of America in 2018 after launching her career in management consulting where she advised Fortune 500 financial services clients on navigating business strategy response to critical competitive landscape shifts.  She also led local market teammate and practice development across recruiting, mentoring, and engagement activities.

Laura Beth earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Truman State University with a dual major in Economics and Business Administration and Master of Business Administration degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

Laura Beth lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her red Labrador Retriever, Harper, and enjoys going on RV adventures and racing in runDisney half and full marathons at Disney World.

Bridget Conant Bridget Conant 09 11

Speech Language Pathologist, Birth To Three Developmental Center

Bridget Conant lives in Seattle, Washington where she works as a Spanish-English bilingual speech language pathologist. She completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Communication Disorders, with a minor in Spanish, at Truman State University. During her graduate studies and under the mentorship of Dr. Janet Gooch and Andrea Richards, she made the connections to start the Communication Disorders in Mexico program. The program has continued since 2011 and she continues to provide coordination and mentoring for the program and students.

Bridget started her career as an SLP in the public schools of south San Diego, where she worked for six years. In 2017, she moved back to her hometown St. Louis, Missouri to care for her father during the end of his battle with cancer. Following the death of their father, Bridget and her siblings started a fund in his honor to support the CMDS program in Mexico. She also worked for a local non-profit providing in-home speech language therapy, as well as Missouri First Steps Early Intervention. In addition to supporting the CMDS Mexico program, she served as a mentor for Therapy Abroad SLP programs in the Dominican Republic, in 2021 and 2022. After four years in the midwest, she moved back to the west coast in 2021.Currently she works for a Washington State early intervention agency, providing speech-language therapy for Latina and Spanish speaking families in the south Seattle area. She works alongside families as they navigate early childhood development. Bridget continues to deepen her knowledge in the areas of bilingualism, social-emotional development, autism spectrum disorder, and neurodiversity.

Heidi Cook Heidi Cook 07

Assistant Professor of Art History and Interdisciplinary Studies, Truman State University

Heidi Cook received her PhD in the history of art and architecture at the University of Pittsburgh in 2016 and is currently Assistant Professor of Art History at Truman State University. She specializes in the modern art, architecture, design, and cultural history of Central Europe. Her work highlights visual constructions of nationalisms and immigrant identities. Her most recent publication is the essay “Design, Politics, and Croatian Folk Heritage: Gingerbread and Lace,” in the edited volume Design and Heritage: The Construction of Identity and Belonging edited by Rebecca Houze and Grace Lees-Maffei and published with Routledge, 2022.

Lucas Dowdall 19

Student, Washington University School of Law

Lucas Dowdall is from St. Charles, Missouri. He majored in Sociology and minored in Spanish while at Truman State University. Since graduating in 2019, Lucas worked for nearly four years at the Missouri State Public Defender (MSPD). As the organization’s Eligibility Coordinator, Lucas drafted revisions to the Missouri regulations on determining indigence, advocated for the changes to the director and the MSPD Commission, and trained staff on the implementation as they became law. Lucas also obtained over

$1.25 million in grant funds and 14 full-time AmeriCorps Members for MSPD to create Holistic Defense Services, a new unit addressing the underlying causes of legal system involvement and creating stability in the lives of poor defendants by connecting them to public benefits and community resources. Lucas is now a first-year student at Washington University School of Law and lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Shannon Downing 08

Owner operator, IDK Cafe

Shannon Downing graduated class president from Knox County high school in 2004. She attended TSU studying Health Science and Biology with premed emphasis and graduated in May 2008. Shannon first worked as a QDDP Director at Specialized Support Services in Kirksville for 3 years, then as a Patient Care Coordinator with Northeast Missouri Health Council for one year until October 1, 2012 when she purchased a small town Café in her hometown Baring MO and began operating IDK Café.

Shannon knew this about herself, that the greatest return on investment is in serving others in need, which led her to the medical field. Only later did Shannon learn to try a different approach. Operating and cooking at IDK Café allows her to immediately meet the needs of customers on a daily basis and build relationships that will last a lifetime.

When Shannon isn’t at the Café frying chicken, she can be found working on Knox County Chamber of Commerce activities, catering for Rotary, funeral dinners or other various events, giving the welcome greeting at St. Joseph Church in Edina or serving on the pastoral and stewardship councils, volunteering on the Scotland County Fair Board, or listening to her newest Audible book while driving to and from these activities.

Tyson M. Eagen 06

CPA/Partner, The Triton Group, CPAs

Tyson Eagen is a partner at The Triton Group, CPAs located in St. Louis, Missouri, where he oversees the firm’s accounting and tax operations. Tyson specializes in providing tax and advisory services to individuals and small business owners from various industries.

Tyson earned his degree from Truman State University in both Accounting and Finance and later earned a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Accounting from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. In addition to holding a CPA license, he also holds the Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) credential from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

Tyson was recognized as one of St. Louis’s best accountants by the “St. Louis Small Business Monthly” publication several times in recent years and was a top finalist for the award in 2023. His firm was also recently recognized as one of St. Louis’s best consulting firms. Tyson is a member of the AICPA, Missouri Society of CPAs and Truman State St. Louis Alumni Chapter.

Tyson currently resides in St. Louis with his wife, Mandy, and they have two children. Tyson enjoys staying active, coaching youth sports and following the local sports teams. A native of Kirksville, Tyson enjoys visiting family still in the area.

Andrew Hasenbeck Andrew Hasenbeck 22

Credit Analyst, FCS Financial

Hello! I am Andrew Hasenbeck. Born and raised in Jefferson City, MO, my journey led me to Truman State University where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Business Administration – Finance. Upon graduation, I accepted a position with Missouri’s largest agriculture lender, FCS Financial, as a Credit Analyst. Today, I reside in Lake Saint Louis with my beautiful fiancé Hannah. In our spare time, you can find us spending time with family and friends or exploring the great outdoors.

Burgundy Hill 13

Executive Director, Quincy Community Theater

Burgundy (Ramsey) Hill is the Executive Director of Quincy Community Theatre. She shares her love of the performing arts and arts education to make theatre more accessible and create a welcoming community for all. With ten years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Burgundy is passionate about nonprofit marketing, development, collaboration, and advocacy.

Originally from Pittsfield, IL, Burgundy graduated from Truman State University with her Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a minor in Political Science in December 2013. After starting her career in the nonprofit sector, she received her Master of Arts in Communication from Quincy University in May 2017.

Burgundy serves on the Board of Directors for Cornerstone: Foundations for Families and is actively involved in the Quincy community. Burgundy received the Gem of the Gem City award in 2020 and was recognized as one of Herald-Whig’s 20 Under 40 Recipients for the tri-state area.

Burgundy lives in Quincy, IL, with her husband Blaine, whom she met while they both attended Truman.

Kelsey Hudson 06

Curriculum Lead for Secondary Social Studies and Social Studies Teacher, West Des Moines Community Schools

Kelsey Hudson is the Curriculum Lead for Secondary Social Studies in the West Des Moines School District in Iowa. She also teaches AP World History: Modern and the “Teacher Academy” classes at Valley High School, where she has been a teacher since 2007. She also teaches US History and used to teach Western Civilization as an adjunct at Des Moines Area Community College. She graduated from Truman with a BA in History in May of 2006, and a Masters in Education in December of 2006.

Kelsey is active in her profession, often presenting at either the Iowa or National Council for the Social Studies Conferences. She is a reader for the AP World Exam in June. She is the membership chair for the Iowa Council for the Social Studies Executive Board and is a Board Member for the Abd-el Kader Education Project. She was a Board member for the West Des Moines Historical Society for two years. Kelsey developed lesson plans for Heimler’s History and also co-leads workshops for teachers new to AP World History: Modern with Steve Heimler.

Kelsey is passionate about teaching World History in order to create globally minded and active citizens. She was awarded the Don Fett Social Studies Instruction Award and the Qatar Foundation International Arab World Lesson Competition for lessons concerning teaching about the Middle East. She has pursued and was selected for international educator institutes or grants in Morocco, Jordan, South Korea, Japan, Belgium, and Austria in order to further her knowledge and pedagogy.

She lives in West Des Moines, Iowa with her husband Greg (Truman ‘04 and ‘06) and their three children.

Tim Hudson Tim Hudson 17 19

Accountant, The Charity CFO

Tim serves as Partner & Chief Operating Officer of The Charity CFO, LLC in Saint Louis, Missouri. The Charity CFO specializes in outsourced accounting solutions for nonprofit organizations, with a mission to enable financial transparency for its clients. Tim first joined The Charity CFO as an intern in 2018, when the company had just 2 employees. Today, they have a team of 50 individuals who serve nearly 200 nonprofit clients across the country.

Tim is a proud alumnus of Truman State University. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Accounting with Summa Cum Laude honors in 2017 and later graduated with his Master of Accountancy degree in 2019.

Tim currently resides in Eureka, Missouri with his wife, Sarah, and their dog, Sophie. Tim and Sarah first met at Truman in 2015, when they both joined the Student Activities Board.

Kayla Jackson-Williams 12

Associate Circuit Court Judge, State of Missouri

Judge Kayla Jackson-Williams measures success not only in the courtroom, but in the lives she touches in her local community of Boone County, where she lives with her beautiful daughter. In 2012, Kayla graduated from Truman State University with her degree in Justice Systems before continuing her education at the University of Missouri-School of Law. Kayla’s exceptional skills in trial and oral advocacy, as well as brief writing, earned her membership to the Order of Barristers, an honor awarded to only ten Mizzou Law graduates each year.

Following her law school graduation, Kayla began her legal career representing families in Boone County, ensuring that each individual she assisted not only received a skilled attorney in the courtroom, but also a representative who listened and explained each part of the legal process encountered.

Kayla continued her service to her community by serving as a Public Defender, where she handled hundreds of criminal cases from the date a charge was filed to the final disposition of the case. Kayla viewed her position as a public defender as another avenue to demonstrate excellence, and an opportunity to advance her skills in her advocacy through making oral arguments, preparing witnesses, researching legal issues, preparing motions, and conducting trials. More importantly, she took this opportunity to provide a voice to individuals who often felt overlooked and unheard.

Looking for a change, Kayla left the Public Defender’s Office in 2020, and she worked as a Senior Associate at Rogers | Ehrhardt Attorneys at Law, where she practiced civil litigation. During this time, she also served as an adjunct professor, teaching Client Interviewing & Counseling, at Mizzou Law.

In 2021, The Supreme Court of Missouri appointed Kayla as a member of the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness and a member of the Juvenile Justice Subcommittee. In 2022, The Supreme Court of Missouri appointed Kayla to a second Committee – this time focused on reforming the Juvenile Justice System in Missouri.

On August 2, 2022, Kayla was elected as the first Black Judge in Boone County, Missouri, where she has served since January 1, 2023.

Kayla is a proud member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. and Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

Ross Knight Ross Knight 12

TV Writer, Currently on Strike! (136 days as of today!)

Born in St. Louis to a family of Mizzou alumni, Ross Knight bucked tradition to instead attend Truman, where he proudly joined the inaugural classes of both the Film Studies minor and Creative Writing BFA. During his time in Kirksville, Knight also worked as a student advisor and directed a student-run play through the campus’s Independent Performance & Art Coalition. After graduating, Knight honed his craft at the University of Southern California’s Writing for Screen & Television MFA program. Following years of uncredited writing and assistant work, Knight finally broke into the industry, writing episodes of THE 100 and THE CLEANING LADY.

Since then, the contract between professional screenwriters and the conglomerates that employ them has expired—and unprecedented greed has led the Writers Guild of America to a historic strike (138 days, as of Alumni Weekend) alongside their performer counterparts in SAG- AFTRA. These days, Knight can be found assisting his fellow strike captains by restocking waters and setting up cooling fans on the scorching sidewalks outside Netflix’s main office, where he and his colleagues continue their fight for a fair future for their industry.

Stephanie Mills Stephanie Mills 07 10

Manager of Communications, Member Services, and Economic Development, Tri-County Electric Cooperative

Stephanie Ahrens Mills is a dedicated and creative individual deeply committed to her community in Northeast Missouri. Born and raised in Jefferson City, MO, she pursued her educational journey at Truman State University, where she earned a BA in Communication and a Masters in Education. During her time in Kirksville, she developed a strong affection for the area and emerged as a passionate advocate for the community.

Stephanie approaches every challenge with a blend of creativity and unwavering determination. She firmly believes in the power of building relationships and forging partnerships, which is evident in her numerous roles within her community. Stephanie currently serves as the President of the Kirksville Area Chamber of Commerce, a Board Member of the United Way of Northeast Missouri, a member of NECAR (Northeast Central Association of Realtors), and proudly holds the title of President and Founder of Fairy Godmother, INC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving 20 counties in Northeast Missouri.

With a successful entrepreneurial spirit, Stephanie has established and managed several small businesses over the years. Her extensive experience in the housing industry spans over 15 years, including ownership of a property management company and a career as a realtor.

In her current role as the Manager of Communications, Member Services, and Economic Development at Tri-County Electric in Lancaster, MO, Stephanie brings her unique housing expertise and unwavering commitment to economic development to the forefront. Her robust background in communication and public relations makes her an invaluable asset to the team.

Stephanie and her husband Jerry proudly call Kirksville, MO their home and are blessed with two daughters, Evey and Adalynn.

Amanda Montgomery Amanda Montgomery 12

Yoga Instructor and Business Owner; Garden Caretaker and Educator; Yoga of Truman Athletes, Mystic Meadows Yoga and Truman State University

Amanda became a certified yoga instructor in 2013 and pursued opportunities related to sustainability, awareness of self, and knowing your food as she traveled both nationally and internationally. She returned to Kirksville in 2017 and began offering yoga classes to the community and at the University. Additionally, Amanda believes in giving back to her community. She has regularly provided events in collaboration with local businesses and organizations, including SIP, AT Still, Pantry for Adair County, and the Adair County Library. Amanda also continues to work with Truman in the Gaber Solar Clock Garden, Bulldog Bites, and with a number of the athletic teams.

She offered her first yoga teacher training in 2018 and opened Mystic Meadows Yoga in downtown Kirksville in 2021. She continues her personal mission of promoting a comprehensive awareness of self, both physical and spiritual, a more meditative lifestyle, and an acute awareness of where our food comes from and how it affects us as human beings. Amanda was a student-athlete at Truman where she competed with the swim team and earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Truman.

Tyler Patterson Tyler Patterson 06

Lawyer, Patterson Legal Group, L.C.

Tyler Patterson is a 2006 graduate of Truman State University and the co-owner of Patterson Legal Group, a civil litigation firm with offices throughout Kansas and Missouri. He earned his MBA in an entrepreneurial program at Acton University and sharpened his legal advocacy skills at Washburn Law School. In addition to representing injury victims, his firm is deeply committed to social responsibility through its philanthropic initiative, Patterson Gives Back, which supports and partners with various non- profits.

When he’s not lawyering, he is often outside running. On September 30th, Tyler will be representing team USA at the Spartathlon ultra-distance race in Greece. It is a 150-mile run from Athens to Sparta. In April, Tyler hopes to run his fifth consecutive Boston Marathon. For Tyler, the discipline of long- distance running and succeeding in business go hand in hand, both requiring planning, determination, and a commitment to see things through.

Truman State University has been instrumental in shaping Tyler into the person he is today, instilling in him a passion for community engagement and lifelong learning.

Donald Rabin 19

DMA/MA Candidate, Community Outreach Performing Intern, Director, University of Houston, Houston Symphony, Uniting America Concert

Donald Rabin is a passionate artist who plans to serve his community to the utmost of his capabilities. Currently a student at the University of Houston Moores School of Music, he is pursuing his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Flute Performance under Aralee Dorough and a Masters of Arts Leadership degree under Fleurette Fernando. As a performer, his playing can be heard on the soundtrack of NBC’s Documentary “SkyBlossom,” Fox News “Good Morning Chicago,” and German Television show “Good Moments.” He has also performed with the New England Philharmonic, Cape Ann Symphony, Brookline Orchestra, Missouri Symphony, Cartago Band of Costa Rica, and served as the first MSM Houston Symphony Community-Embedded Musician Fellow for the 2022-2023 academic year.

An avid educator, Donald has had positions at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Prodigy Program, Noteworthy-Music Studios, and currently teaches flute with New Caney ISD in addition to his private studio. His education has been impacted by the Boston Conservatory at Berklee (MM) under Sarah Brady and Truman State University (BM) under Dr. Julianna Moore.

Donald strongly believes that the arts can impact the world and has experience as the project manager for the “Come Together Houston” project, Director of the Uniting America Concert, Cynthia Woods-Mitchell Fellow, and the first  Arts and Health Fellow. He now serves as the first President of the Graduate Professional Student Association (9000+ Graduate Students) and the Faculty Senate Graduate and Professional Studies Subcommittee as the Graduate Representative. Donald’s goal is to bring artists and audience members together for a performance experience that promotes artistry, unity, and philanthropy.

In his free time, Donald loves to dance, run, and enjoy life’s precious moments

with friends, family, and his amazing mentors.

Nathan Vickers Nathan Vickers 11

Reporter, KMOV/Gray Television

Nathan Vickers is a multimedia journalist with KMOV/FirstAlert4 News in St. Louis. He covers a variety of news stories for local television as both the on-camera reporter and the photographer behind the scenes. His work in TV news has earned multiple regional Emmy and Murrow awards, as well as several honors from the National Press Photographers Association.

Vickers graduated from Truman State University in 2011 with a degree in Communications/Journalism. As a student he was highly involved on campus, lettering for the football team while also pursuing a music minor. As both an athlete and a musician he was commissioned to rewrite the words to the Truman fight song, “Hail to the Bulldogs,” which are still sung at football games. As a student he also worked with KTVO in Kirksville, and spent six months in New York City as an intern for the Late Show with David Letterman. He then attended the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism for a Master’s program.

After graduation Vickers began his full-time broadcast career at KOLR in Springfield, then moved up to KCTV in Kansas City, Mo. Vickers spent nearly a decade in Kansas City covering news and sports, including high-profile local stories and three Super Bowl runs by the Chiefs. This summer he moved to St. Louis to join the team at KMOV.

When Vickers isn’t working he loves spending time outdoors hiking or riding a bicycle with his wife, Jennifer Blank, who was also an Echo 25 honoree in 2022.

Jonathan Vieker 08

University Administrator (Asst. Vice President for Student Success and Institutional Effectiveness, Truman State University

Jonathan Vieker serves Truman State University as Assistant Vice President for Student Success and Institutional Effectiveness. In this role, he coordinates efforts to make data-informed decisions around university persistence, retention, and graduation objectives, cultivates assessment data for informed decision-making within Academic Affairs and elsewhere in the university, and provides unifying leadership for the combined efforts of various campus office to promote student success. He has served Truman since 2012 in various roles, and in each role, he has been fortunate to work with and learn from creative and dedicated colleagues devoted to the service of Truman’s students, faculty, and staff.

He earned a B.A. in Music from Truman in 2008, followed by an M.Mus. in Performance from the University of New Mexico. He is currently a Ph.D. student in the department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Missouri, Columbia. In his free time (greatly reduced since entering a PhD program), he enjoys reading, writing about productivity and personal development, permaculture gardening, performing with the band Deadwood, and most of all, spending time with his wife Sarah and their two daughters.

Steven Wichmer Steven Wichmer 06

Attorney, Wichmer and Groneck, LLC

Steven Wichmer graduated magna cum laude from Truman State in 2006, then went to law school, graduating cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis in 2009. His practice has focused exclusively on immigration and nationality law ever since. As a member of his law firm, Wichmer & Groneck, LLC, Steven routinely assists clients seeking to obtain visas to come to the United States and in pursing family-based and employment-based petitions as well as naturalization and asylum applications with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In addition, Steve has a robust practice in defending clients faced with removal from the U.S., representing them in proceedings before the Department of Justice to prevent deportation and obtain legal documentation. He is a member of the Missouri Bar and the Bar of the Federal Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, regularly representing clients in Petitions for Review before the Federal Courts of Appeals. He lives in the St. Louis area with his wife and fellow Truman State alum Sarah (’06) and their five children.

Ashley Wiskirchen Ashley Wiskirchen 13

Sr. Director of Communications, Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri

Ashley Wiskirchen (Class of 2013), is a Communications professional with a heart for sharing truth, beauty, and goodness. Graduating from Truman State University in 2013 with her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in Visual Communication, with a minor in printmaking, she interwove her aptitude for graphic design with creative writing, expressive artwork, and active ministry at the Catholic Newman Center during her time on campus. Her time in leadership roles at the Catholic Newman Center ignited a desire to see the beauty of the church’s work expressed through high quality communications.

In 2013 she married fellow alumni, Kevyn Wiskirchen (Class of ’12) and moved to Auburn, Alabama where she became employed in the College of Agriculture as a communications specialist.

After welcoming their first daughter, Cecelia, Kevyn and Ashley relocated to Missouri in 2016, where she founded her own communications and marketing agency, Wisk Creative.

In 2018 Kevyn and Ashley welcomed their second daughter, Charlotte. In 2019 she was hired by the Diocese of Jefferson City as the Director of Parish Communications. Her work in the Diocese of Jefferson City helped parishes to continue communication efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, the Wiskirchens welcomed their youngest daughter, Anita.

In the fall of 2021, she became the Senior Director of Communications for Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri, where she supports the charitable arm of the Diocese of Jefferson City in press relations, graphic design, digital communications, parish social ministry support, and in mission and identity as an executive level leader.

The love of learning that a liberal arts education in the School of Arts and Letters that began at Truman State University drives her to continue pursuing knowledge, diverse life experiences, and to give generously of her time and skills to others in service. During a recent visit to campus, her daughter Cecelia expressed a desire to attend Truman “someday” – a dream she could not be happier to support having experienced life-changing educational excellence, life- long friendships with alumni, and a seamless integration of her skills and talents with professional and personal life goals.

Jesse Wren 22 23

Fourth Grade Teacher, Arcadia Valley R-II School District

Jesse Wren, originally from Ironton, Missouri, graduated from Truman State University as a Pershing Scholar with his Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Education Studies in 2022 and Master of Arts in Elementary Education in 2023. He currently serves as a fourth grade teacher in southeast Missouri with a strong commitment to student engagement and innovation. Wren has created new student organizations that foster creativity and collaboration among students and his dedication to professional development is evident through his active involvement in presenting at conferences and workshops, sharing his passion with fellow educators.

Wren was chosen as one of 30 teachers across the country to be a member of the 2023 cohort for The National Air and Space Museum’s Teacher Innovator Institute (TII). During his time in Washington, DC, and during the school year, he will focus on authentic learning, including the incorporation of real-world problems, open-ended inquiry, and hands-on, student-driven practices. Furthermore, Wren has been recognized for his outstanding efforts in securing classroom grants, having been awarded more than $52,000 in funding. He remains dedicated to providing students with the best possible learning experiences.

Wren is a member of the Gifted Association of Missouri, Missouri State Teachers Association, Iron County Health Coalition, Four Star Leadership Alumni Advisory Board, Arcadia Valley Alumni Association, Missouri Boys State Volunteer Staff, and a previous National Board of Director for Blue Key Honor Society. When he is not in the classroom or volunteering, Wren enjoys traveling, being outdoors, and working with the Prison Education Project.

About the Echo 25 Program