Wendy Wimmer Schuchart, '20 PhD English, has been awarded the 2022 fiction prize by Autumn House Press for her short story collection Entry Level: Stories. The prize was awarded by novelist Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. Wimmer’s debut short story collection contains a range of characters who are trying to find, assert, or salvage their identities. These 15 stories center around the experience of being underemployed — whether by circumstance, class, gender, race, or other prevailing factors — and the toll this takes on an individual. Wimmer pushes the boundaries of reality, creating stories that are funny, fantastic, and at times terrifying. Her characters undergo feats of endurance, heartbreak, and loneliness, all while trying to succeed in a world that so often undervalues them. From a young marine biologist suffering from imposter syndrome and a haunting to a bingo caller facing another brutal snowstorm and a creature that may or not be an angel, Wimmer’s characters are all confronting an oppressive universe that seemingly operates against them or is, at best, indifferent to them. These stories reflect on the difficulties of modern-day survival and remind us that piecing together a life demands both hope and resilience. At UNLV, Wimmer Schuchart was a 2017-2020 Black Mountain Institute PhD fellow. She also is the co-founder of UntitledTown Book and Author Festival as well as the president of The Art Garage, a non-profit arts, performance, and literary organization. The book is available for preorder now and will be available everywhere in October. She lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Aaron S. Manfredi
Aaron S. Manfredi, ’05 BA Criminal Justice and ’14 MPA, has had a successful private and public-sector career in education, law enforcement, nonprofits, real estate, and gaming, including being a small business owner. He is a graduate of the City of Las Vegas Fire & Rescue/LVMPD Leadership Academy, current president of the UNLV Veterans Alumni Club, and a candidate for Nevada Board of Regents-District 8. He is a Desert Storm veteran and earned a Southwest Asia Service Medal with a Bronze Star. His hobbies include mountain biking, Pilates, and mentoring and helping other small business owners be successful.
Olivia Clare Friedman
Olivia Clare Friedman, ’16 PhD English, published her debut novel, Here Lies, with Grove Atlantic. The book, a visceral and portentous look at mourning, memory, and motherhood in an alternate Louisiana ravaged by climate change, has received positive reviews in The New York Times Book Review, NPR, Publishers Weekly, and many other publications. She is also the author of the short story collection Disasters in the First World and the poetry collection The 26-Hour Day. She teaches creative writing at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she holds the title of Nina Bell Suggs Endowed Professor. She lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Jess Corrick, '93 BA Art, has been an entrepreneur, coach, and sales professional in the insurance, tax, and telehealth space for 30 years. He also is an art enthusiast who both collects and creates. He and his wife, Kristl A. Daley, '93 BSBA - Marketing, enjoy snow and water skiing, travelling, and discovering new places They live in Kirkland, Washington.
Christopher Dayley, '06 BS Social Work, '09 Master of Education, is an assistant professor and director of the master of arts in technical communication program at Texas State University. In 2019 he earned a Ph.D. in technical communication and rhetoric at Utah State University. He lives in New Braunfels.
Vedant Peris, '19 Master of Education, along with Marcus Howard, '15 Master of Education, developed a program that uses smart technology and virtual reality to offer Las Vegas students emotional support in school. A comprehensive social and emotional learning program, ALOE ROSA is intended to address growing mental health problems among students ages 10 to 24. It uses smart technology including virtual reality and a complex conversation and tracking system to address mental health in K-12 schools. The program launched in 2021 to help teachers identify students experiencing mental health challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and is now expanding to monitor and track student emotions to prevent major incidents such as suicides, and to build better relationships between teachers and their students. Howard and Peris founded individual education technology startups, Aloe VR and ROSA, and came together to provide a comprehensive social and emotional learning service to Las Vegas schools. Peris is an English language arts (ELA) teacher at Mack Middle School.
Jacob D. Montoya, '08 BSBA, has been promoted to environmental services manager at Desert Diamond Casinos - West Valley (Phoenix). Previously, he served as environmental services assistant manager. He lives in Peoria, Arizona.
Penelope LePome, '84 MS Educational Psychology, was selected for a three-week artist residency program in Orquevaux, France, in February of this year. Now retired, she enjoys gardening, painting, ceramics, quilting, reading, canoeing/kayaking, hiking, and volunteering. She lives in Ridgecrest, California.
Marcus Howard, '15 Master of Education, along with Vedant Peris, '19 Master of Education, developed a program that uses smart technology and virtual reality to offer Las Vegas students emotional support in school. A comprehensive social and emotional learning program, ALOE ROSA is intended to address growing mental health problems among students ages 10 to 24. It uses smart technology including virtual reality and a complex conversation and tracking system to address mental health in K-12 schools. The program launched in 2021 to help teachers identify students experiencing mental health challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and is now expanding to monitor and track student emotions to prevent major incidents such as suicides, and to build better relationships between teachers and their students. Peris and Howard founded individual education technology startups, Aloe VR and ROSA, and came together to provide a comprehensive social and emotional learning service to Las Vegas schools. Howard is a former science teacher at 100 Academy of Excellence.
Allison Crawford, '20 BS Education, received a 2020-21 Clark County School District New Educator of the Year Award. She was recognized for her outstanding efforts teaching honors algebra at Sunrise Mountain High School. She said her first-year teaching experience was both challenging and rewarding. The three main things she learned were staying positive about any situation, never being afraid to ask for help — in part so that her students would learn it is OK to ask for help, and being herself, she said. When she was presented the award, her students were on Google Meet, cheering her achievement.
Aaron Thompson, '07 BA Journalism and Media Studies, will be completing his master of arts degree in sociology from Arizona State University (ASU) in May. Upon graduation, he will begin his studies as a Ph.D. candidate at the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at ASU in the field of sociology. His research will focus on how social media creates and re-enforces individuals' socio-political identities. Collecting obscure noise rock records, cycling, and taking photos are his hobbies. He lives in Baltimore.
Ben J. Bingham, '97 BA Communication Studies, is an attorney. His law firm, Benson & Bingham Accident Injury Lawyers is a small firm dedicated to personal service. He said that from a young age he wanted to become an advocate. At 16 he started as a runner for a law office, a job he kept throughout college.