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Staff Directory


Heath Peterson

Heath, d’04, g’09, a Hugoton native, works on behalf of 350,000 KU Alumni to strengthen the University of Kansas and connect Jayhawks worldwide. He oversees engagement initiatives with the Alumni Association’s 42,000 members; leads a 46-member staff; and manages the Alumni Association’s broad range of programs, benefits, services, and resources. He works closely with University and affiliate leadership on all campuses to strengthen and advance KU. He married a Jayhawk, Carrie Peterson DDS, and they have three children, Beau, Presley, and Claire.

Heather Hawkins
Senior Director of Stewardship and Executive Support

Heather, j’06, received her bachelor’s degree in strategic communication from KU in 2006 and received a master’s in educational leadership and management in 2012. Heather helps with projects for the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors and acts as a stewardship coordinator for donors. When she’s not working, her husband Jeff, son Mavrick, daughter Sienna, son Atticus and their two boxers keep her on her toes!

Alumni, Student and Career Programs

Kristi Laclé
Senior Vice President of Operations and Programs

Kristi, c’99, holds a degree in Communication Studies and joined the Association to oversee the new Jayhawk Career Network. She has worked for industry leaders including Cerner and Sprint, but also has worked in the non-profit, sports and hospitality industries since leaving KU in 1999. When she’s not cheering on the ‘Hawks, she spends her time cooking, traveling and hanging out with her husband, Paco, and daughters, Emery and Rhyse.


Mykala Sandifer
Assistant Vice President of University Relations, Talent & Inclusion

Mykala, b’15, a Chicago Jayhawk, joined the Association in 2021. She leads University Relations and Inclusion as a strategic partner focused on inclusive community building and engagement for KU students and alumni. She also provides leadership for talent management and culture. Mykala earned her Ed.M in Diversity & Equity and Human Resource Development (HRD) from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign). When she’s not working, you can find her at a local coffee shop drinking a matcha latte or thrifting somewhere around town.

Howard Graham
Director of Career and Professional Development

Howard, g’08, PhD’19, joined the Association in 2020 to lead the Jayhawk Career Network. He has worked with KU students in numerous roles on campus, more recently as the associate director of academic programs in the Office of First-Year Experience. Howard previously worked for Kansas Athletics as associate director for academic and career counseling.

Annie Miller

Annie Miller
Director of Legacy Relations & Event Services

Annie is a Wisconsinite turned Jayhawk and she loves everything about that! Annie graduated from KU in 2018 with a B.A. in Communication Studies and went on to receive an M.A. in Communication from Wake Forest University. Annie is happy to be back in Lawrence working with the Association, as she finds so much joy in serving the KU community. In her spare time, Annie enjoys baking, running and spending time with her husband, Chris, and their golden retriever, Sunny.


Paige Freeman
Director of Student and Young Alumni Engagement

Paige, a Kentucky native, graduated from Western Kentucky University where she received her B.A. in Communication Studies and a minor in Meeting, Convention and Exposition planning. In addition, she earned her M.A. in Higher Education and Student Personnel at the University of Mississippi. Currently, Paige is enrolled in the Higher Education Administration doctoral program at KU and will earn her Ed.D in 2025. Paige joined the Association in 2021 to provide strategic leadership to the Student Alumni Network and works directly with the Student Alumni Endowment Board (SAEB) overseeing the programmatic efforts and campus strategy for SAN initiatives. When she’s not working, you can find her participating in one of her hobbies that include cooking, arts & crafts, dancing and traveling.


Ryan Edmonds
Assistant Director of Student Programs

Ryan, a Kansas native, joined the Association in 2023. Ryan graduated from North Carolina State University with a B.A. in Psychology. In addition, Ryan earned a M.Ed in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of South Carolina. Ryan works directly with the Student Alumni Endowment Board (SAEB) assisting in developing robust student programming for the Student Alumni Network. When Ryan is not working, you can find Ryan drinking a chai latte while reading a book with his cat Blimp.

Kelsey Galle
Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement

Kelsey, c’12, a native of Hoxie, joined the Association in 2012. As assistant director of Kansas City programs, she helps oversee programs and other efforts to engage alumni in these cities. Kelsey is an avid Jayhawk fan and in her spare time attends as many events as possible. When she is not cheering on her Jayhawks, she enjoys reading, running and cooking.

Business Development


Austin Harris
Associate Vice President for Revenue Generation

Austin is a graduate of Washburn University in Topeka and Baker University in Baldwin City and joins the Association having built and supported the membership of the Kansas Association of School Boards for several years. A lifelong Kansan, he grew up just north of Lawrence in Tonganoxie and now lives in Olathe.


Andrew Trites
Director of Revenue Generation

Andrew, d’20, is an Overland Park native and lifelong Jayhawk. He joined the Association in 2024 after spending four years in various sports and entertainment positions in Illinois and Texas. In his spare time, Andrew enjoys attending sporting events, traveling, cooking, and spending time with friends and family.

Brett Leonard

Brett Leonard
Assistant Director of Business Development

Brett, d’09, a Caney native and lifelong Jayhawk, joined the Association in 2021 after spending eight years at the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, where he focused on corporate sales, digital marketing, and publications. In his spare time, he likes to play golf and spend quality time with his friends, family, fiancé Caitlin, and mini golden-labradoodle Kevin.

Hala Hamid

Hala Hamid
Revenue Development Coordinator

Hala, b’20, is a Lawrence native and lifelong Jayhawk. In her Alumni Association role, she works with the membership, donor relations and business development teams. She previously spent six years in the banking industry before rejoining her Jayhawk family on campus. When she’s not working or supporting KU, she loves traveling, reading crime/mystery books and part-time delivery driving on the weekends (getting to cruise around while making money is a win-win!).


Jennifer Jackson Sanner
Senior Vice President of Public Affairs & Editor of Kansas Alumni magazine

Jennifer, j’81, joined the Association staff in 1984 as staff writer and stumbled into a career. She and her husband, Bob, b’80, have three children: Rachel and Jackson, both proud KU business graduates, and Claire, a KU nursing student.

Steven Hill
Associate Editor, Kansas Alumni magazine

Steve graduated from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and holds a master’s degree from Columbia University. He has written for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Chicago Tribune, Field & Stream and other publications. He enjoys cycling and hunting (not at the same time) and spending time with his wife, Mary, and their three young children.

Chris Lazzarino
Associate Editor, Kansas Alumni magazine

Lazz, j’86, began his journalism career as a newspaper sportswriter in South Florida, and joined Kansas Alumni magazine after returning to his hometown to be close to family. He enjoys reading, photography, travel and long hikes with the world’s greatest dog, Parker.

Megan Hirt

Megan Hirt
Assistant Editor, Kansas Alumni magazine

Megan Hirt, c’08, j’08, earned degrees in French and journalism and has worked as an editor since graduating from KU, first at Mother Earth News magazine, and later at Golf Course Management magazine. As a student, she wrote for and edited Jayplay, the weekly magazine published by the University Daily Kansan at the time. An article she wrote for the Kansan in 2008, about college students struggling with alcoholism, placed second in the nation in the in-depth writing category of the Hearst Journalism Awards Program. Megan lives in Lawrence and enjoys exploring the Sunflower State, particularly small or abandoned towns.

Susan Younger
Creative Director

Susan, f’91, is the Creative Director for the Association. She oversees publications including Kansas Alumni magazine. She also assists with branding and decor for special events. Susan has also served as president of UCDA, a national design organization. Both of her sons attended KU, and when she can pull herself away from work, she spends time in her glass studio or with her husband, Jerry, e’86, g’92.

Marketing & Content Strategy


Mary Padilla
Assistant Vice President of Strategic Communications and Storytelling

Mary, j’88, brings more than 30 years of communications and marketing experience in a wide variety of industries, including philanthropy, manufacturing, television, telecom, public relations and advertising. A Kansas City native, Mary has lived in New York City, Miami and San Antonio. She completed her master’s degree in data marketing communications from West Virginia University in December 2022

Ryan Camenzind

Ryan Camenzind
Assistant Director of Digital Strategy

Ryan, j’17, walked down the hill with a journalism degree in Strategic Communications and walked back up to join the Association that summer. Ryan tells the stories of students, alumni, and the University on A proud Wichita native, Ryan enjoys spending time with his family (two Husker parents and four Jayhawk boys), cheering on the Jayhawks, and exploring the outdoors.

Dan Storey
Media Producer

Dan graduated from Colorado State University and joined the Association in 2013 after spending seven years with Kansas Athletics. He provides quality images, both moving and still, that showcase the Association’s many events. Outside the office, Dan enjoys travel, Jayhawk athletics events and outdoor activities. Dan and his wife Angie, b’04, g’07, have three daughters, Olivia, Eleanor and Ruby Cate.

Noelle Husmann

Noelle Husmann
Marketing Communications Specialist

Noelle is a proud Fort Hays State University alumna with a B.A. in Communication Studies. While originally from Kearney, Neb., she considers Hays to be her Kansas hometown after living there for over a decade. Noelle joined the KUAA staff in 2023 and works with the marketing team to support the wonderful initiatives and programs the KUAA offers. Outside of work, she enjoys thrift shopping, hiking and traveling.

Kate Neuner

Kate Neuner
Content Specialist

Kate, a St. Louisan living in Kansas City, joined the Association in 2023. A graduate from The University of Missouri Kansas City, Kate has a degree in Interpersonal communication and an emphasis in social media marketing. She is excited to be in Lawrence working directly with the marketing and content strategy team to help amplify the voice of the Alumni Association and bring awareness to KUAA news and stories. When Kate isn’t working, she enjoys taking walks with her dog, Blackjack, spending time with friends and family, and exploring Kansas City.

Donor & Member Relations

Angie Storey
Senior Vice President of Donor Relations and Assistant Vice President of Development for KU Endowment

Angie, b’04, g’07, oversees the development efforts of the KU Alumni Association. A native of the south-central Kansas town of Sawyer, Angie has spent her career working on KU’s campus. She has previously held roles with Kansas Athletics and KU Endowment in addition to her current role with the Association. She and her husband, Dan, are busy raising three little future Jayhawks: Olivia, Eleanor and Ruby Cate.

Danielle Hoover
Senior Director of Donor Relations

Danielle Hoover, c’07, was born into a family of KU fans and raised in the Wichita area. Her passion for the Jayhawks started at an early age, and after earning a degree in communication studies, she returned to Wichita where she lives with her husband, Darrick; their son, Hudson, daughters, Harlow and Hazel; and their three dogs. One of her favorite memories is being present when KU won the 2008 National Championship.

Nick Kallail
Assistant Vice President for Network Development and Donor Relations

Nick, d’04 l’07, joined the Association in 2016 to develop alumni and network programs. He returns to KU after spending nine years in Texas in various sports and entertainment marketing positions. Nick has held volunteer leadership roles with the Dallas and Houston Jayhawk networks. In his spare time, Nick enjoys cooking, working out, spending time with family and friends, and rooting for the Jayhawks.

Austin Johanning

Austin Johanning

Assistant Director of Donor Relations

Austin, g’20, holds a master’s degree in business administration from KU and joined the Association in 2021 as the Assistant Director of Membership. In this role, he helps develop and execute member recruitment and retention plans. Prior to his time with the Association, Austin worked for the Williams Education Fund. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business and sports administration from Baker University while playing on the men’s soccer team. In his spare time, Austin enjoys working on his golf game, taking rec sports teams too seriously with his friends and cheering on the Jayhawks.

Jayhawk Welcome Center at Adams Alumni Center


Justin Cohen
Senior Director of Operations and Event Services

Justin, c’11, is the senior director of hospitality and events. He earned his degree in communications studies and has worked in multiple industries and organizations, including KPMG LLP, the Markham Group and the administrations of Presidents Barack Obama and Joe Biden. When he’s not poring over processes, procedures, and protocols, Justin enjoys being outdoors, climbing, camping and, of course, cheering for the ’Hawks.

Ben Shepley
Director of Adams Alumni Center

Ben directs the organization’s facilities department overseeing the functioning of building systems including mechanical, electrical, fire/life safety, elevators and the facilities renovation projects. He also manages the maintenance of the building and grounds. In his spare time he likes to play golf and spend quality time with his lovely wife, Lindsey, son Zach, and two daughters Brookelynn and Charlee.


Heidi McCormick
Assistant Director of Event Services

Heidi, an Iowa native, has worked for the past 15 years in non-profit programming and special events, most recently at Johnson County Community College.  She has three sons: Jackson, 24, who lives in Oregon; Jonah, 21, a senior at Kansas State University; and Colby, 19, a freshman studying business and playing baseball at Grand View University in Des Moines.  Now that she’s an empty-nester, she spends fewer days at the ballpark and much more time with her two golden retrievers, Kearney and Charlie.

Jason Spray

Jason Spray
Facilities Service Associate

As the facilities service associate for the Jayhawk Welcome Center and Adams Alumni Center, Jason maintains the building and grounds and prepares rooms for events. He enjoys cruising in his grandfather’s 1962 Chevy truck, going to movies, playing video games, traveling, and spending time with his wife, Sarah; son, Freeman; and two daughters, Ellis and Gabriel.

Trish Powell

Trish Powell
Office Coordinator

Trish Powell is a longtime KU fan. She lives in Lawrence and has two sons, Korbin, a basketball player, and Kenzi, a first-generation Jayhawk in his junior year at KU. When she’s not watching her son play basketball, she enjoys baking, hanging out with friends and doting on her three amazing dogs.

Finance & Human Resources

Dwight Parman
Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President

When not counting beans or squeezing blood from turnips, Dwight enjoys spending time with his wife, the incomparable Lisa, and daughter, Camille.


Cindi Long

Cindi, a lifelong Jayhawk fan, joined the Association accounting department in 2020. In her free time she enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, and KU football. Cindi and her husband Dennis have two sons, Nick and Carter.

Jodi Nachtigal

Jodi, a Nebraska native, joined the Association in July 2008. She assists with the monthly financial statement preparation, annual budget, yearly audit, as well as helping with many of the Association’s events. Jodi’s spare time centers around her family, daughters, Madeline and Macy, and husband, Brad. Jodi also loves to run, shop, read, travel and spend time with friends.


Biographical Records Team

Welcome to the University of Kansas Alumni Association

Your membership in the KU Alumni Association is the single most powerful way to make all of KU stronger, including the value of your own degree. Through your membership, the Association: