Alumni Stories


We want to hear from you. If you have news that you would like to share with the SOE alumni community and be featured on the Alumni News page, please the Alumni Relations Office at

Landed a new job? Launched a new program? Won an award? Want to recommend a resource you think would be useful to others? We want to hear from you! Send us your updates and ideas using the link below.


Counseling alumni and clinical intern students at Way Station Inc, of Sheppard Pratt Health System in Howard County. Left to right: Saba Khalid, student intern; Taylor Pendergast, LCPC, MS ’16; Brittney Hack, student intern; Marybeth Heather, LCPC, MS ’16, Board-approved clinical supervisor; Greg Harris, LCPC, MS ’13

Alumni News and Notes

Amal Awad, BS ’11, MS ’12, Public Safety Leadership, was sworn in as chief of police of Anne Arundel County (Maryland) in December 2020. She is the first female, first person of color, and first member of the LGBTQ community to serve in that capacity. Last year, she also was the recipient of the Johns Hopkins Community Champion Award.

Rhonda Glover Reese, MS ’02, Public Safety Leadership, is a member of the MIRROR project, working to encourage the FBI to enhance minority recruitment, retention, leadership training, and promotional opportunities. This past fall, she was interviewed on CBS This Morning along with three of her colleagues.

Jeanne Harrison, MS ’91, Early Childhood Education, has been back at Johns Hopkins since 2010, working at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. She is excited to work on clinical trials for immunotherapies in breast, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer.

Shayla Heavner, MS ’19, Digital Age Learning and Education Technology, has co-authored, with School of Education faculty member Christopher Devers, Building Conceptual Understanding: Improving Online Mathematics Courses, a recent article in the International Journal on E-Learning.

Charisma Ricksy Nguepdo, MS ’18, Elementary Education, has been named the first African American editor in chief of the Houston Law Review in the journal’s 58-year history. Nguepdo taught for four years through Teach for America in Cleveland, Ohio, and at prep schools in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her passion for education stemmed from learning more about the school-to-prison pipeline, and she attended law school to address the key issues with the educational system to help implement change.

Dallas Wiles Rosenthal, MS ’19, Leadership in Technology Integration and Early Intervention Preschool Special Education, is celebrating a successful 12th summer operating Camp Inclusion in Howard County, Maryland. Co-founded by Dallas and his husband Aaron in 2009, Camp Inclusion launched a virtual model this summer, enabling children and young adults (ages 12 to 21) with unique abilities from across the East Coast to attend. Next year, they plan to move forward with an elementary expansion, which will include programming for ages 5 to 11. They are always looking to connect with individuals seeking opportunities to work in an inclusive environment with learners with various special needs.

Melissa Cable Sleeper, MS ’93, serves on the board of the National Middle Level Science Teachers Association. Since 2004, she has been a reviewer for Science and Children magazine, the elementary science journal of the National Science Teaching Association, and has served on the association’s International Advisory Board, as well as on the Education Advisory Board for Infiniscope. She is also the K-12 STEM officer for the Cape Canaveral Branch of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and recently presented at the Middle School Research Teachers Conference for the Society for Science and the Public. In her spare time, she is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Rufus Tony Spann, MS ’10, Clinical Community Counseling, was hired as an assistant professor at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education. He helped to establish Rossier’s online Master of Education in School Counseling program. Currently, he teaches aspiring school counselors to address inequities in schools and to advocate for social justice.