UW College of Health Sciences Honors Distinguished Alumni | New


November 11, 2022

The UW College of Health Sciences honored its distinguished alumni for 2022 during UW’s recent homecoming. Left to right, Joan Anderson, School of Pharmacy; Mary Gitau, Division of Social Work; Holly Miller, Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing; Paul Johnson, Wyoming WWAMI Medical Education Program; Marisa Yagi, Communication Disorders Division; and Carl Maresh, Division of Kinesiology and Health. (Photo UW)

The University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences honored six of its alumni during UW’s recent homecoming.

Joan Anderson, Mary Gitau, Paul Johnson, Carl Maresh, Holly Miller and Marisa Yagi were honored for their accomplished careers in the fields of communication disorders, kinesiology and health, medical education, nursing, pharmacy and social work.

Distinguished alumni of the College of Health Sciences are recognized for their outstanding professional achievements and contributions to excellence in education related to their professions. They also demonstrate continued support for their social and professional communities.

This year’s winners are:

Joan Anderson – UW School of Pharmacy

Anderson, of Cheyenne, received her bachelor’s degree in pharmacy, with honors, from the UW College of Pharmacy (now the School of Pharmacy) in 1959. As the only woman to graduate from the college of pharmacy that year, she became a Fulbright . Researcher, student at the Institute of Pharmacology at the University of Oslo in Norway from 1959 to 1960. She also completed one of the first pharmacy practice residencies accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists at the Jefferson Medical College Hospital from 1963 to 1964.

She then earned her master’s degree in pharmacy from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science in 1964, and she earned a master’s degree in education from Temple University College of Education in 1978.

She practiced acute care pharmacy and held administrative positions at Laramie County Memorial Hospital (now Cheyenne Regional Medical Center) in Cheyenne; West Nebraska General Hospital (now Western Regional Medical Center) in Scottsbluff, Neb.; and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. She served on the faculty of the first school of pharmacy in the United States, the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, from 1981 to 2004, serving in leadership positions as Vice President, Acting President, and Assistant Dean of student affairs. After her retirement, she joined the faculty of the UW School of Pharmacy as the Continuing Education Coordinator.

Anderson has been active in state, regional, national, and international organizations, including the American Association of Higher Education, American Pharmacists Association, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, International Pharmaceutical Federation, and Fulbright Alumni Association. She has given numerous presentations and served as an educational advisor to pharmacy student organizations.

Mary Gitau — Division of Social Work

Gitau, an associate professor of social work at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa, holds three degrees from UW. She obtained her Masters in Communication in 2007; a master’s degree in social work in 2012; and a doctorate. in Adult Learning and Post-Secondary Education in 2011. She received her BA in Organizational Communication from Ithaca College in 2004.

Gitau integrates social work, communication and nursing into its teaching, scholarship and research. As an international scholar, she conducts research in the United States and Kenya on immigration, women, social justice and human rights. In 2018, Gitau was awarded the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship hosted at Kisii University in Kenya. There, she initiated the creation of the Center for Peace, Social Justice, Equality and Security.

Her community service includes founding the Iowa Gazelle nonprofit Impact on Women & Youth in Kenya Inc., whose mission is to empower women and youth in rural Kenya. Working to foster intercultural competence, she has led numerous trainings in Iowa for community organizations and the university.

Paul Johnson – Wyoming WWAMI Medical Education Program

Johnson grew up in Laramie and graduated from Laramie High School in 1995. He received his undergraduate degree in biology from Baylor University before entering third class at UW Wyoming WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho) Medical Education Program in association with the University of Washington School of Medicine (UWSOM). After graduating from UWSOM in 2003, he completed his residency in otolaryngology at Columbia University.

Johnson returned to the Cowboy State after completing his medical training. He lives in Cheyenne and practices there as well as in Laramie. An active member of the Wyoming Medical Society, he was the first Wyoming WWAMI graduate to serve as president. He regularly contributes to classroom and clinical teaching in Wyoming’s WWAMI medical education program, and is a member of the program’s advisory board. Additionally, Johnson served on the advisory board of the UW College of Health Sciences.

Carl Maresh — Division of Kinesiology and Health

Maresh earned his Ph.D. in zoology and physiology from UW in 1981. He received his bachelor’s degree in health and physical education in 1971 and his master’s degree in health and exercise science in 1973, both from California State University-Fullerton.

He is a professor of kinesiology in the Department of Humanities at The Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus, where he is also director of the exercise science program and director of the exercise science research laboratories.

His first professional position was director of the Institute of Health at Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. He was then recruited to the Midwest Research Institute (now MRIGlobal) in Kansas City, where he served as a research scientist principal in the departments of Organic Bio-Chemistry and Bio-Behavioral Sciences. Prior to joining OSU in 2014, Maresh was Professor Emeritus of Kinesiology on the University of Connecticut (UConn) Board of Trustees, where he held joint appointments in the departments of Physiology and Neurobiology, nutrition, physiotherapy and school sciences. of Medicine.

As Director of the Human Performance Laboratory at UConn from 1984 to 2014 and Head of the Department of Kinesiology from 1998 to 2012, he was recognized for bringing together a group of renowned scientists. Through focused teamwork, its department has been ranked over a 10-year period (2005-2015) as the #1 kinesiology doctoral program and most research-productive kinesiology department in the United States.

Holly Miller – Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing

Miller grew up on a ranch in central South Dakota. She received her AA degree in nursing from the University of South Dakota (USD) in 1974. She went on to earn two degrees from UW: a BSN in 1980 and a master’s degree in nursing education in 1996.

Miller’s first nursing position was as staff nurse at Sioux Valley Hospital (now Sanford USD Medical Center) in Sioux Falls, SD from 1974 to 1978. She married her husband and moved to Laramie in 1978 so that he could complete his graduate studies. From 1978 to 1988, she worked at Ivinson Memorial Hospital in the intensive care unit.

In 1988, she started at the UW Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing as coordinator of the Learning Resource Center. When the school moved to the current renovated building in 2005, the Learning Resource Center was renamed the Clinical Simulation Center (CSC). Miller was responsible for designing the CSC and outfitting the various areas with high-fidelity equipment and simulators. In 2012, she became Basic BSN Program Director, followed by BRAND Program Director in 2017.

In addition, she has been a clinical instructor in a hospital setting and has been an American Heart Association CPR instructor for 33 years.

After practicing nursing for 44 years, including 30 years with the School of Nursing, she retired in 2018. She continues to live in Laramie.

Marisa Yagi — Communication Disorders Division

Yagi is a Japanese-American “third culture kid”. She grew up in Egypt, Kenya and Japan, and she didn’t speak English until she was in college. Her first experience of life in the United States was at UW, where she earned three degrees. She obtained her BA in Visual Arts in 2015; his BS in communication disorders in 2015; and his master’s degree in speech therapy in 2017.

After becoming a certified speech therapist, she started Yagi Speech LLC to provide accessible and affordable online and in-person speech therapy services focused on international, multicultural and multilingual communities. At age 27, Yagi established a business unit in Okinawa, Japan called ShisaCare, which for the first time allowed U.S. military service members and their families in Japan to receive speech-related services covered by TRICARE.

About the College of Health Sciences

The UW College of Health Sciences educates health and wellness professionals and researchers in a wide variety of disciplines, including medicine, nursing, pharmacy, communication disorders, social work, kinesiology, community and public health and disability studies.

The college also oversees residency and fellowship programs in Casper and Cheyenne, as well as the operation of primary care and speech/hearing clinics in Laramie, Casper and Cheyenne. With more than 1,600 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, the college is dedicated to training Wyoming’s health and wellness workforce and to high-quality research and community engagement, with particular emphasis on rural and border populations.


Comments are closed.