Thomas University honors outstanding alumni at Homecoming dinner

Sharita Mitchell-Perkins/Student photographerThomas University presented awards to its outstanding alumni during the annual Homecoming awards dinner held Friday, Oct. 25, on TU’s Forbes Campus. Honorees include (from left) Leslie Cooper, Stacie Reilly, Penny Gaskins, Josue Gonzalez, Daniel Todd Spear, Kelli Dorminey, Christopher Kitlas, Trasetta Alexander, Michael Singletary, Jason Carl Morgan, Jennifer Reynolds Green, Jackie Strickland, Edward Foy, Jocelyn Baker, Kerri Knight and Nicole Gatlin. Not pictured are Anna Gray, Dena Zinker, Aileen Fiallo, Lisa Lowe and Stephanie Brunner Tillman.

Thomas University honored more than 20 outstanding alumni during the annual Homecoming Alumni Awards Dinner held Oct. 25 on TU’s Forbes Campus.

Division of Nursing honorees were Lisa Lowe and Dena P. Zinker. Lowe, a native of Thomasville, received a bachelor of science in nursing in 2010 and a master of science in nursing in 2011, both from TU. She is a faculty member and clinical instructor at Valdosta State University as well as a nurse practitioner for South Georgia Emergency Medicine Associates. Zinker, who is from Sumner, received a bachelor of science in nursing in 2001 from TU. She is now vice president of patient services/CNO at Colquitt Regional Medical Center in Moultrie.

Division of Social Work honorees include Trasetta Alexander and Jennifer Reynolds Green. Alexander earned the bachelor of social work degree at TU in 2014. She is the assistant director of outreach at the Florida State University College of Medicine. Alexander is also a faith-based productivity coach, motivational speaker, an ordained minister and the administrative pastor at Vessels of Joy Full Gospel Church. Green earned the bachelor in social work from TU in 2005. She worked with the Department of Family and Children Services before joining the faculty of the Social Work Assistant Program at Southern Regional Technical College in Thomasville. Green also serves as a member of the TU Social Work Advisory Board.

Division of Counseling and Psychology honored five alumni. After working at Archbold Medical Center for almost 16 years, Jocelyn Baker of Thomasville enrolled at TU in 2013 and earned the bachelor of science in rehabilitation studies at TU in 2016. She is currently working on a master’s degree at TU. Penny Gaskins, also of Thomasville, received the B.S. in rehabilitation studies in 2017. Gaskins is the associate registrar at TU and the counselor for the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society. She is currently pursuing a master of science in clinical mental health counseling and clinical rehabilitation counseling at TU.

Nicole Gatlin, originally from Columbus, Ohio, earned the bachelor of science in psychology in 2006 and the master of science in rehabilitation counseling in 2009, both from TU. She is a licensed professional counselor, master addiction counselor, certified rehabilitation counselor and registered play therapist-supervisor. Anna Gray of Devon, England, earned the B.S. in psychology in 2019 and received TU’s President’s Award, the highest honor presented to a student. As a member of the Night Hawks women’s soccer team, Gray served as team captain for two years. She was on the Sun Conference All-Academic Team for three years and recognized as an NAIA Scholar Athlete. She served as a tutor in TU’s Academic Resource Center for three years and as the head coach of the varsity girls’ soccer team at Brookwood School.

Stacie Reilly of Tallahassee received the master of science in rehabilitation counseling from TU in 2012. She has served as a student success adviser at TU since 2009. She is also the fieldwork coordinator for TU’s Clinical Mental Health and Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling program. Reilly also is a certified rehabilitation counselor and has served as an adjunct instructor in the Division of Counseling and Psychology.

Honorees from the Division of Business include Josue Gonzalez and Stephanie Brunner Tillman. A native of Jayuya, Puerto Rico, Gonzalez earned a bachelor of science in accounting in 2015.  He began his professional career as a staff accountant with Jones Tractor Company in Thomasville. When the company became GreenSouth Equipment, Gonzalez was named controller. When Ag-Pro Companies purchased GreenSouth, Gonzalez became the chief financial officer. Tillman earned a master of business administration degree from TU in 2002. She has worked at Flowers Foods for 24 years, where she is currently vice president, chief compliance officer and deputy general counsel. Tillman is also a licensed attorney and a member of the state Bar of Georgia.

Division of Criminal Justice honorees include Kerri Knight and Jackie Strickland. Knight, who lives in Thomasville, earned the bachelor of science in criminal justice in 2004 and the master of science in community counseling in 2012, both from TU. She currently works as an assistant chief community supervision officer for the Southern Judicial Circuit with the Georgia Department of Community Supervision. In 2016 she received the Liberty Bell Award from the Thomas County Bar Association. Strickland earned the associate of science  in law enforcement in 2006, the B.S. in criminal justice in 2009 and the master of science in rehabilitation counseling in 2012, all from TU. Her career began as a Correctional Officer with Georgia Department of Corrections in 1990 at Lee State Prison and transferred to Autry State Prison in 1992. At Autry State Prison, Strickland served as unit manager for the Special Management Unit, including the Disciplinary Isolation/Segregation unit and level 3 mental health housing units. After completing addiction counselor training, she joined Child and Family Guidance in Valdosta in 2015 as a part-time family therapist working with early intervention cases. After retiring from GDC in April 2019, Strickland began conducting in-home therapy.

Honorees from the Division of Education include Kelli Dorminey and Michael Singletary. Dorminey earned a bachelor of science in early childhood education in 2013, a master of education in early childhood education in 2015 and an education specialist in teacher leadership in 2018, all from TU. For the past six years, she has taught at Cross Creek Elementary School, where she was named Teacher of the Year for 2016-17 and served in numerous leadership roles. Dorminey has been an adjunct faculty member in the TU Division of Education since 2017. Singletary earned a bachelor of science in early childhood education in 2006 and a master of education in reading in 2007, both from TU. She has served as an educator in Grady County for 13 years and is currently an assistant principal. Singletary is an adjunct faculty member in the TU Division of Education and operates an online business serving as a leadership coach for educators.

The Division of Science honored Leslie Cooper and Aileen Fiallo. Cooper completed her bachelor of science in medical laboratory science in 2017 at TU. She is an assistant professor of medical laboratory science at TU and MLS program director. Fiallo earned the bachelor of science in medical laboratory science at TU in 2015. She is a physician’s assistant at Southwest Florida Regional Cancer Center in Fort Myers, Florida.

Division of Humanities and Interdisciplinary Studies honorees include Daniel Todd Spear and Jason Carl Morgan. Spear, a resident of Thomasville, received a bachelor of arts in humanities in 2014. He was the first editor-in-chief of TU’s Night Hawk Review. Spear teaches dual-enrolled college students at Mitchell County High School. He also works as an adjunct faculty at TU and serves as an active member on the TU Alumni Board of Governors. Morgan is a native of Moultrie, who earned a bachelor of arts at TU in 1999. He is pastor of Ochlocknee Baptist Church and a music educator. Morgan has also been an administrator in private and public schools for more than 10 years.

Athletics honored Edward Foy and Christopher Kitlas. Foy is from Runcorn, England, and earned a bachelor of science in biology in 2012 and a master of science in rehabilitation and counseling in 2015, both from TU. He was also four-year starter on the Night Hawks men’s soccer team and made three conference tournament appearances. He is the soccer director and head varsity boys and girls soccer coach at Brookwood School. Kitlas, originally from Charles County, Maryland, came to TU on a baseball scholarship. He graduated in 2014 with a bachelor of science in criminal justice and then joined the Thomasville Police Department. He graduated from the police academy as president of his class with academic honors. In 2017, he became a field training officer and member of the Thomasville-Thomas County SWAT team.

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