Yvonne Barrett is the Deputy Director of the Office of Indian Policy at the Minnesota Department of Human Services. In her role, she works closely with Minnesota Tribal Nations, promoting government to government relations and enhancing tribal human services infrastructure. Previous to joining DHS, Yvonne spent over 20 years working in the Indian Child Welfare field at Hennepin County and Ain Dah Yung (Our Home) Center. She also has a philanthropic background as a Program Officer at Minnesota Philanthropy Partners and as a Board Member with Tiwahe Foundation, the first local American Indian Community Foundation and the Sundance Family Foundation. Yvonne completed her Masters in Social Work at Augsburg, with an emphasis on program development, policy, and administration. Yvonne is an enrolled member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe and is a mother and grandmother.
Cyrus Batheja ’08, ’11 MBA
Cyrus Batheja, MBA, PHN, BSN, RN oversees Community Programs at UnitedHealth Group in the United Clinical Services division. His work impacts over 2 million members nationwide across 23 states. He is also the Executive Director of Batheja SLS which is focused on providing the finest care to vulnerable adults and children while promoting independence through a person-centered approach. Cyrus earned both his BSN and his MBA from Augsburg with high honors, and he is a Doctoral candidate at the University of St. Thomas. His dissertation at the University of St. Thomas concerns executive nurse leadership in a rapidly changing health system. Cyrus sits on the Sigma Theta Tau International Zeta Chapter (international nursing honor society) board of directors as the Treasurer.
Cyrus has received the Mpls/St Paul Magazine 2013 Outstanding Nurses award in Administrative Leadership, the Optum Hero! Award in the 3rd quarter of 2012, and he is a 2012 March of Dimes Minnesota Nurse of the Year. Cyrus’ life mission to enhance inclusion and equality; As such, he is dedicated to empowering people to speak up, be heard, and to develop their talents for success, achievement and advancement.
Alex Beeby is a business litigation attorney at Larkin Hoffman. His practice focuses on bankruptcy litigation and also includes education and employment law. Alex also provides pro bono representation for victims of domestic abuse through the Tubman Safety Project. He has served as a head election judge for the City of Northfield since 2004 and is a 2006-07 Humphrey Institute Policy Fellow. Alex previously worked as a founding manager of a successful food cooperative and administering phone and data networks for small and large businesses.
Alex graduated in 2010 from Augsburg’s WEC program with a B.A. in History and Honors Religion. While a student, he presented a paper at an American Academy of Religion regional conference and took advantage of a study-abroad class in Eastern Europe. Alex then enrolled at Hamline University School of Law where he served as Student Bar Association president when the law school announced its merger with William Mitchell College of Law. Alex worked for state and federal judges and served on the board of the Mitchell Hamline Law Review before receiving his J.D. in 2016. He also serves on the Mitchell Hamline Alumni Board.
Alex also enjoys geeking out with his three children about anime, games, and current events.
Evan Decker ’12
Evan Decker graduated in 2012 with a double major in MIS and Management and is currently an MBA student at Augsburg. In his time as an undergrad, he participated in several activities on campus, including football, the Augsburg Business Organization, and working in the IT department. After graduation, he pursued a career in information systems because it combined two of his passions: business and technology. Evan joined the council in 2015 because he wants to give back to the university and further develop his leadership skills. Outside of work he enjoys anything away from screens – lifting weights, reading, DIY home improvement projects, hanging out with his cats, and riding his motorcycle.
Derek Francis ’08
Derek is a native of the Twin Cities and graduated from Augsburg in 2008 with a BA in Mass Communications and Broadcasting. He held a position with Student Paths where he presented lessons to high school students around preparing for post-secondary education. Derek went on to the University of Minnesota and earned his MA in Counseling and Student Personnel. Derek is currently employed at Champlin Park High School. He was previously at North High School in Minneapolis for four years where he helped improve graduation rates and college applications. While at Augsburg, Derek enjoyed being a member of the basketball and football team. In his free time, Derek enjoys playing basketball and cooking. Derek joined the Augsburg Alumni Board because he truly sees Augsburg as a great school for students who desire a great education and a diverse environment.
Jacquelyn Fritz ’11
Jackie graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Biopsychology. During her time at Augsburg, she worked as a student athletic trainer with many of the sports teams. The connections she made while working with the Augsburg team physicians from Twin Cities Orthopedics (TCO), led to her employment with the company following graduation.
She began working at TCO in June 2011 and is still employed with there today. She works as a clinical and research assistant to a foot and ankle surgeon. She has been published as a co-author in multiple orthopedic foot and ankle journals for research pertaining to total ankle arthroplasties. In addition to her clinical role, she also works with the Regenerative Medicine team at TCO assisting in bone marrow aspirate procedures.
Jackie was previously a member of the Augsburg Young Alumni Council from 2015-2019. She has always enjoyed the opportunity to engage with current students, faculty, and alumni. She believes that the Alumni Board serves as a way to continue building relationships within Augsburg long after graduation.
In her free time, Jackie enjoys traveling, fishing and cheering on Minnesota sports teams. She currently lives in South Minneapolis.
Janice Gladden is a Manager in the Fulfillment – Recoveries Department at Target Corporation Northern Campus. In this role, Janice is responsible for leading her team to meet the needs of both our partners, guests, and 3rd party law firms and collection agencies, who collect on Target’s behalf. Her role also involves being an ambassador for change and assisting the team members through the change process.
Janice came to Target Corporation in 1995 and has had many roles, always coming back to her passion for working with individuals on their development. In 2011, during her second year as an Augsburg Weekend College student, she captained the Continuing Education Network to help those navigating being a full-time team member and a full-time student. Janice received a B.A. degree in Communications from Augsburg College in 2014, graduating Magna Cum Laude, and continues to provide mentoring and inspiration to others in the pursuit of higher education.
Janice resides in Eden Prairie with her husband Dan and has 2 grown daughters, Ashley and Whitney, living nearby. Whitney is a graduate of the Augsburg Class of 2012 with a B.A. in Communications. She is a proud grandmother of one with another on the way in October! She enjoys all sports, especially baseball and the Pittsburgh Steelers, and looks forward to bringing her passion for developing others to the Alumni Board.
Robert Grace ’98
Pete graduated from Augsburg in 1992, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting and Finance and a minor in management information systems. He earned his degree through the Weekend College (now Adult Undergraduate) program. He recently retired from U.S. Bank where he was a Technology Group Manager for U.S. Bank in the Technology and Operations Services division in the Twin Cities. Pete and his wife Becky live in Andover, MN and have 3 grown sons who reside in the Twin Cities.
He is very active in his church and has served in several leadership roles, including as a Governing Board member for over 25 years, treasurer for 10 years, and chairman of the committee to celebrate the church’s 50th year anniversary in 2013.
Pete credits his AU experience at Augsburg as a pivot point in his career and wants to be more active in giving back to the Augsburg community. Students in the AU program are a vital part of the college and his desire is to expand the engagement of AU alumni in the life of the university.
Pete’s interests include reading, golf, spending time in northern Minnesota and all things Twins, Wild, and Vikings. He also enjoys spending time with family, especially his grandson and granddaughter.
Lori Higgins ’94, ’12 MAL, Alumni Board President
In 2010 Lori was chosen as the first female chief executive officer for the MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce, which is the 3rd largest chamber of commerce in the metro and serves over 700 businesses in the Anoka County area. As President, she oversees the advocacy, programming, operations and strategic vision of the organization.
Being an active community member is a passion of hers. She currently serves on several boards including the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission. She joined the Alumni Board in 2016 because she feels a deep connection to the school and wants to help further its mission. She looks forward to developing an even stronger relationship with the institution as well as connecting with other alumni.
Lori lives in Blaine with her husband and two daughters.
Jay Howard graduated from Augsburg with a BA in Business Administration. Jay also earned his MBA from Hamline University School of Business in 2012. Involved in various aspects of sales management for the majority of his career, he is currently the Director of Global Sales for an Eden Prairie, MN-based software company called ICS and oversees all areas of business development.
Jay joined the Alumni board in 2015 because he wanted to give back to the school that helped shape him professionally and personally. Developing meaningful alumni and student relationships are his main goal, in hopes that continuing to build an already strong Auggie community will provide great value to the students at Augsburg.
Jay lives in Eden Prairie and is a proud husband and father of two. He enjoys volunteering in his spare time, serving on committees for the American Marketing Association and giving time to Feed My Starving Children. Jay is a huge Vikings fan and season ticket holder and a dedicated runner, participating in half marathons.
Collin Katainen is the Director of General Studies at Yeshiva of Minneapolis; a private high school in St. Louis Park. As a school administrator, he oversees curriculum development, budgets, and staffing as well as teaching 12th-grade Economics and U.S. Government. Collin began his education career teaching middle and high school social studies; receiving his Secondary Social Studies License from Augsburg in 2010, and then his Master’s in Education in 2014. Collin is currently completing the Principal Licensure Program at Concordia University.
As an undergrad at Upper Iowa University; Collin’s focus was working with at-risk youth, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology with an emphasis in conflict resolution and adjustment. He is a graduate of the Paideia Institute at Augsburg and the Kaplan Professional School for Real Estate. Collin continues to work in Real Estate as a licensed Realtor for REMAX Synergy. Collin lives in Vadnais Heights with his wife and two children Dylan and Hayden. His personal hobbies include downhill skiing, golf, and travel throughout the Caribbean.
Jay Lepper ‘95
Jay graduated from Augsburg with a BA in History as well as completing the teacher licensure program in secondary social studies. While a student at Augsburg Jay was a member of the football team, was involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, participated in the phone-a-thon, and worked on campus in the football office. Jay also earned his MA in Education and completed the Principal Licensure Program at Saint Mary’s University. Jay has taught high school social studies, served as a dean of students, and coached football, hockey, and track and field in a 23-year career in secondary education. Jay is currently the Associate Principal at Burnsville High School. In his role, he serves as the administrator over activities, world language, social studies, career/technological education, and physical education/health as well as overseeing various other programmings, development and outside partnership areas.
Jay joined the Alumni Board in 2017 because he wanted to promote the values, mission, and goals of Augsburg, a school that positively developed and prepared him for the life and leadership that he would come to experience. Jay’s goal as a member of the Alumni Board is to act as an ambassador of Augsburg, promoting and planning opportunities for alumni to become involved with each other and with current students through various on and off-campus programs and events throughout the year, fostering an important relationship between alumni and the university.
Jay lives in Savage with his wife Natasha and five children. They enjoy spending lake time at the cabin and following their children as they compete in their various activities.
Lauren (Grafelman) Lesser ’12
Lauren graduated in 2012 with a BA in Accounting and a minor in Spanish. While at Augsburg, she participated in the Augsburg University Band, Campus Ministries, and the Honors Program. She joined the YAC to stay connected with the university and to help others stay engaged and involved in the Augsburg community. Lauren currently works as a Finance Manager at Prime Therapeutics. Prior to working at Prime, she spent nearly 5 years with Thomson Reuters holding various financial analyst roles. Lauren graduated in 2015 from Hamline University with her Masters of Business Administration (MBA). Outside of work, Lauren enjoys traveling, running, reading, scrapbooking, and spending time with friends and family. Lauren and her husband currently reside in St Louis Park.
Teri graduated from Augsburg in May 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting. Teri earned her certified public accountant (CPA) license in March 2002. She currently is a manager CPA for John A. Knutson & Co., PLLP, which is a medium sized CPA firm located in Falcon Heights, MN and has been employed there since September 1997. She has a 14-year-old daughter, Sara, and an 11-year-old son, Michael, and lives near Forest Lake, MN. She is very active in her church (located in Roseville, MN) by ushering at various church services, served on her church council for 2 years, and coordinates their annual block party for the neighborhood. Teri has been active in other various nonprofit boards. She was the treasurer of the Roseville Area league 2011 – 2017. Her past board positions in that League are president from 2005 – 2009 and program committee chair 2014 – 2016. She was also treasurer of the League of Women Voters MN 2015 – 2017. Other non-profits that Teri has held positions on are the Minnesota Territorial Pioneers (including treasurer from 2002 – 2004), and treasurer of the North Star Scouting Museum from 2003 – 2007.
Matt McEnery is a 2010 Political Science graduate of Augsburg, where he was a member of the StepUP program. While at Augsburg, Matt enjoyed playing on the Men’s Lacrosse team and exploring the Twin Cities. After graduation, Matt spent a year in Mobile, Al working with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps before returning to Minneapolis to attend St. Thomas Law School.
Matt is an Account Executive at Russell Tobin, a global specialty recruiting firm, where he focuses on developing relationships with companies from all business sectors in the Upper Midwest.
Outside of work, Matt enjoys spending time with his wife and four children.
Carissa Miller ’13
Carissa Miller is a Consultant with Daugherty Business Solutions specializing in Agile Project Management. She has previously held positions in Technical Recruitment, Management, and Sales.
Carissa graduated from Augsburg in 2013 with a BA in International Business, she was on the Cross-Country Running team, co-captain of the Hockey team, and helped form Augsburg’s first women’s Lacrosse team. In her free time, Carissa volunteers weekly as a tutor with Reading Partners at Phalen Lake Hmong Magnet School. Her interests include Science Fiction, crafting/sewing costumes, 3D printing, and loves attending video game, comic, and Star Wars Conventions. She lives in St. Paul with her fiancé Zach and spends her summer weekends at their cabin in Sturgeon Lake, MN.
Carissa is currently pursuing a Master of Professional Studies in Organizational Development and Change at Penn State University. Her interest in the Alumni Board was through involvement in Alumni/Student relations events like Auggie Take Out and Alumni/Student Networking Events. She credits fellow board member Jay Howard for encouraging her to apply and is very excited to give back to the school who gave her so many opportunities in life.
Janeece (Adams) Oatman graduated from Augsburg in 2005 with a BA/BS dual degree in psychology and biology. While completing a pre-medicine academic track, she also picked up a minor in chemistry. During her time at Augsburg, she participated in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), served as President of the Beta Beta Beta Biology Honors Society, assisted underclassmen as an AugSem leader, and served as a multi-year supplemental instructor (SI) for the psychology department’s research methods classes. Janeece also has a passion for music; a deciding factor in choosing Augsburg was the music department’s willingness to allow her to participate in the jazz band and gospel praise group and apply for a performing arts scholarship, even though she wasn’t a music major.
Janeece elected not to attend medical school after graduating from Augsburg and instead found her vocation in the non-profit healthcare industry. Currently, she is the Development Director for the American Diabetes Association (ADA), serving the Minnesota Area. Since joining the ADA in 2009, she has led the rapid growth of the Twin Cities Tour de Cure fundraising event to the million dollar level with strong support from volunteer committee members. She is the 2012 national winner of the ADA’s highly distinguished “RAM award,” recognizing her success in fundraising through retention, acquisition, and management, as well as a peer to peer mentor and member of the ADA’s product team.
Guillaume Paek ’00
Guillaume graduated from Augsburg with a Bachelor of Arts in History in 2000. He began working as a paraprofessional in Minneapolis Public Schools while enrolled in the Collaborative Urban Educators (CUE)
During Guillaume’s time at Augsburg, he was involved in the Pan-Asian Student Group, and football. Guillaume was a part of the 1998 MIAC Conference Championship football team that made it to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III National Championship Playoffs. The mentorship he received from his football coaches were instrumental in carving out his current career path as an Athletic and Activities Director.) program at the University of St. Thomas. He taught in MPS for eight years before transitioning into the Athletic Director role at Minneapolis Patrick Henry, where he increased participation numbers and grade point averages of student-athletes over the course of seven years. He is currently the Athletics and Activities Director at Burnsville High School.
Guillaume is new to the Alumni Board and is excited to serve. His interest in the Alumni Board was piqued after attending a social between current Augsburg students and Alumni. The event impacted him and allowed him to recognize the positive impact Alumni could have on the university and its students. Guillaume currently lives in Brooklyn Park with his wife Vicki, and two boys, Colton & Oliver.
Mathew Shannon ’04
Mr. Mathew Shannon is an established human resource professional and currently works at Medtronic as the Senior Diversity Talent Acquisition Specialist. While growing up in Minneapolis, MN, Mathew realized that one of the keys to successful communities is the presence of positive leadership. Having a few key mentors in his life during transitional times was helpful in making important decisions. Mathew led by example as an All-State and All-American student-athlete in track and field throughout his high school and college careers. Mr. Shannon has his BA degree in Business and Communication Arts from Augsburg University located in Minneapolis, MN.
Mr. Shannon’s professional investments are currently centered on diversity and inclusion, project management, and talent acquisition. Mathew has a successful background in insurance sales, program management, and leadership/professional development. His sincere passion for making a difference in the lives of other people is a driving force that creates a positive synergy that Mathew shares with his colleagues and the communities he serves.
Mathew also serves on the alumni board at Augsburg University and facilitates professional development workshops to help others make their greatest contribution to society. Wellness is an important part of life and Mathew enjoys fitness challenges, photography, and music.
Schuyler is an Associate Attorney at Berg Myers Law Offices in Hopkins, Minnesota. The practice areas she specializes in are probate, estate planning, guardianships, and Native American law. Schuyler previously worked for two and a half years as a Staff Attorney for the Ho-Chunk Nation, a Native American tribe in Wisconsin. Schuyler grew up in Northfield, Minnesota, where she attended a Spanish-immersion school. Schuyler received her undergraduate degree from Augsburg University in 2010 with focuses in History, American Indian Studies, and Spanish. She earned her law degree from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul (now Mitchell-Hamline) in 2016. Skye, as her family calls her, and her husband, Jesse, live in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.
Anne O’Keefe-Jackson ’01. MAL, MBA ’18
Raymond Kidd ’09