Amazing Alumni

Did you know that there are many graduates of NKU who have had work published by major publishers such as Random House and ECW Press; who have photographed many famous celebrities; and who have sculpted their way around the world?

Here are just a few of them:

AleiaAleia Brown, a 2012 graduate of the Master of Arts in Public History has been accepted into the Ph.D. in Public History at Middle Tennessee State University. In addition, Aleia has also been named as a Research Fellow for the University’s Center for Historical Preservation.

Immediately after graduating from NKU MA in Public History program, Aleia held the position of Curator of the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio.

Aleia started her doctoral program at MTSU this month.


About-Us~~element47Mary Ladrick just landed her dream job – Director of Programming for the Taft Museum of Art. Mary is the kind of public history professional that every institution would love to have.  Her energy and creativity is seemingly boundless.  When she was working on her final project for the Public History Program here at NKU, she completely immersed herself in the project; leaving no stone unturned in her research on the Elk Lick House at Heritage Village.  The result set the standard for interpretive and furnishing plans at the Village.11cool_issue_taft_museum_outside


The students in Lisa Lokesak’s third grade class at New Haven Elementary learn more than just reading, writing and arithmetic. They graduate to the fourth grade as community servants and fundraisers, poets and event organizers, budding environmentalists and engaged citizens.

As a result, the Kentucky Teacher of the Year Finalist and Toyota Reading Teacher of the Year runner-up added the 2012 Northern Kentucky Outstanding Teacher Award to her list of accomplishments. Northern Kentucky University, the Cincinnatus Association, the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University awarded the C3 Outstanding Teacher Awards on February 7 at NKU to honor educators in the region who make an extraordinary impact on their students’ lives.


“2010 graduate of the NKU MA English program, Lorraine Zago Rosenthal, had her debut novel Other Words for Love published by Random House/Delacorte Press.

“It was a dream come true when my debut novel was sold to Random House/Delacorte Press,” she said. “The road to publication is long, and it requires hard work and perseverance. But all of that effort felt worthwhile when my novel hit bookstore shelves. The positive feedback I’ve received from those who have read the novel has been overwhelming, and I’m very fortunate to be able to share this story and its characters with readers.”

Lorraine was just placed 3rd on IndieBound’s 2011 “Most Promising Authors” list. As the webpage states, “Some of these books may not have made it onto the major best book lists this year, but the people who wrote them are definitely people to watch in coming years. Give ‘em a try.”


Ryan Clark, a 2010 graduate from the NKU MA English program, authored the non-fiction book titled Wrestling Reality: Inside the life and mind of the world’s first gay wrestling superstar published by ECW Press (Toronto) in the fall of 2011.

The book details the life, career and suicide of wrestling star Chris Klucsaritis (“Kanyon”). In 2004, Kanyon revealed that he was gay, which posed serious challenges to his wrestling career. Clark met Kanyon at a speaking event at NKU on National Coming Out Day in 2006. Kanyon’s speech then inspired Clark to tell Kanyon’s story.

“To just get a publisher interested in your work makes you feel sky-high,” Clark said. “I really feel lucky to be able to say that my work here at NKU is going to be published and a lot of people will get the opportunity to see it. And I feel like I’ll be doing justice to the subject of the book as well. His story needed to be published and needed to be told.”


“Thirty-five years ago R. L. Barth was a Marine patrol leader in the First Reconnaissance Battalion in Vietnam. Today he is a poet’s poet who articulates the harsh realities and ironies of war in the style of the great classical satirists. Barth writes about Vietnam, but his soldier’s take on the war is startlingly applicable to the conflicts of the twenty-first century or to any war that happens to be going on.

Barth graduated in 1973, when NKU was then referred to as Northern Kentucky State College (NKSC) and is lauded as the author of some of the best war poetry in the English language. He was among the first graduating class at NKSC (or NKU) and stood out as an exceptional student. He attended NKSC studying to be an English major after returning home from the Vietnam War in 1969. He is known as the finest poet ever to graduate from the university, and possibly one of the finest war poets the nation has produced. When Barth graduated in 1973, he was the recipient of the university’s first Byron Award, named in honor of the university’s first English chairperson, William Monroe Byron, which recognizes an outstanding English major. After graduation from Northern, Barth also attended Stanford to work on his masters as a Stegner Fellow, a two-year program where working artists practice their craft. Barth later went on to edit The Selected Letters of Yvor Winters. His war poems have made a noteworthy contribution to the long and distinguished tradition of war poetry. “Deeply Dug In” was published in 2003 by University of New Mexico Press.


“Written by NKU Alumnus David Mack,  Kabuki: Circle of Blood spans Japan’s history and future, alludes to the haunting traditions of the Japanese Ghost story, and touches on the interdependence between organized crime and politics in Japan.

David did not attend a specialized art school, but earned a full scholarship to Northern Kentucky University for five years. There, he studied multiple disciplines in art and academics, including World History, Anatomy & Physiology and the Japanese Language. He graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design and a Minor in English. His books have been the subject of under-graduate and graduate university coursed in Art and Literature, and listed as required reading. His work has been studied in graduate seminars at USC and hung in the Los Angeles Museum of Art.”


Michael Wilson is an NKU Alumni and noted photographer. He’s exhibited his photographs of major musicians like Over the Rhine, Lyle Lovett, Phillip Glass and B.B. King in various venues around the country, as well as publishing numerous books.

Michael studied Photography at NKU and has produced photographs for many famous clients, such as Warner Bros. Records, Sony Music, Alfred A. Knopf and Health Magazine. More recently he has photographed American Actor and singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett, American singer-songwriter, record producer, and television personality Ben Folds, British Actor and Comedian Hugh Laurie, and local Cincinnati bands Over the Rhine and Aradhna.



Laurel Marie Hagner is the owner and artist behind Glassometry Studios. Having graduated cum laude from Northern Kentucky University in 2000, she spent a great deal of time honing her diverse craft of metal and glass working skills via numerous jobs, extra curricular classes, travel, and a tremendous amount of personal artwork production.

Laurel’s mission as an artist is to continuously evolve not only as a craftsperson, but also as one who is sharing ideas and opportunities of expression with the community. Her work can be found nationally, spanning public and private sectors. It is her interest that Glassometry Studios play a holistic role in providing artwork, events, and exposure in general to a multitude of creative endeavors.


The Bots

In the bots own words, they were “born and raised in a town better known for its football legacy than the ignored arts program”. However, Tony and Jenn’s adventure into the popular art scene occurred thanks in part to a single character affectionately known as Bot. Due to the urging of friends, family, and mentors, from that moment on they have chased a dream that has led their creations to every corner of the world. What makes their art truly unique, as they have to come to realize, is not only the story it tells, but also the two leaders of the robot revolution–Jenn and Tony themselves.

Graduates of Northern Kentucky University, “the bots” have gone on to follow their dreams and create a robot empire. The two talented alumni have all kinds of cute and creepy ‘bots’ for sale, as well as kawaii creations, and imaginative illustrations.


Rich Shivener (BA and MA in English, Theatre Arts minor, and current assistant director of First Year Programs) has just had an excerpt from the graphic non-fiction “History of Cincinnati Music” he wrote for his Master’s capstone project dealing with the 1979 Who concert tragedy published this week in City Beat.

Last year, the fledgling Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation (CUSAMHF) lent its support to a group working to have a memorial marker placed at the site of the 1979 stampede before Rock legends The Who performed at Riverfront Coliseum (now U.S. Bank Arena). Eleven fans between the ages of 15-27 died in the crush to get inside. The Who Concert Victims Memorial Committee, members of whom appeared at last year’s CEAs, continue to push for the memorial and have a lot of support from local government. Plans are still in the works, but moving forward.

In honor of their efforts, CityBeat contributors Tom Bolton (artist) and Rich Shivener (writer) collaborated on a special “comic strip” about that fateful night on the riverfront, a watershed moment for concert crowd management. The first part of the strip can be found in the following pages; in honor of the victims, CityBeat will run the second part of the strip at on Dec. 3, the 32nd anniversary of the tragedy.


Dan Adams knew what he wanted to do, but wasn’t sure exactly how to do it. He wanted to create a social network, a place online where like-minded individuals could go and share ideas about sustainable living, or “going green.” He wanted a place where people could contribute news and opinions and connect directly and indirectly with others seeking a greener life. “I’ve always loved the outdoors,” said Adams, an Informatics student. “I love to grow my own food and to preserve, can, pickle, home brew. I wanted to take something I was interested in and use programming to bring it to fruition.” During an independent study class with College of Informatics professor Chuck Frank and Director of Online Technology Chris Brewer, Adams’ dream came true – was born. Visit at

3 thoughts on “Amazing Alumni

  1. Pingback: Interested in graduate school? | Graduate Articles and Information

  2. Pingback: Homepage

Talk to Us

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s