Listee Features — October 2019

Yvonne Johnson


Backed by more than 40 years of professional experience in elementary education, Yvonne A. Johnson stumbled upon the profession, but has developed a fond love for teaching since she began in 1951. She graduated with a Bachelor of Education from Northern Illinois State Teachers College, now called Northern Illinois University, in DeKalb in 1951. That same year, Ms. Johnson began her first teaching job at Love Rural School in DeKalb County, where she remained until 1953. Following her departure, she commenced teaching at West Elementary School in Sycamore, Illinois. In 1960, Ms. Johnson attended school once more, studying education at Northern Illinois University, from which she attained a Master of Science. She was likewise bestowed with an honorary PhD from

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Gail Gross


A family and child development specialist, human behavior expert, author and lecturer, Gail Gross, PhD, EdD, MEd, has always loved children and has always been emphatic. As a young woman in high school, she knew that she was interested in education and psychology. She always followed the path that she knew she was interested in. There were three main areas of focus in her life – finding her passion, raising her family and doing service. Dr. Gross is in the service period now and she wants to keep her life very orientated towards that. As a family and child development and human behavior expert, Dr. Gross has appeared in numerous national print and television media outlets since 1975. Additionally, she

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Always interested in science, Diane M. Vanderwalker, PhD, eventually went into material science in school, and chose to work on dislocations of precipitation and materials. There were different problems she was able to work on over the years, and it wasn’t just one problem. She liked having different types of publications. Dr. Vanderwalker began her professional career as a NATO fellow at the University of Oxford in England from 1981 to 1982 before serving as an assistant professor at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook from 1983 to 1985. She then served as a materials research engineer at the U.S. Army Materials Technology Laboratory, now known as the Army Research Laboratory, in Watertown, Massachusetts, from 1986

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Judi Combs


When Judi Combs’ father passed away, she began spending more time with her mother. Her mother would attend art classes that she would drive her to, and she became very interested and began creating art of her own. A friend of hers encouraged her to begin selling her work. Prior to that, she had not done art to make a living or sold any of her pieces. She was a stay-at-home mother and her husband was “the bread-winner.” Ms. Combs somewhat fell into a business through the encouragement of her friends. Fudgico Marchant was her late friend, who originally encouraged her to begin selling her art and eventually became the spark that caused her to begin her business. She feels

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Mary Good


Adept in the field of technical management, Mary L. Good, PhD, has served as a managing member of the Fund for Arkansas since 2005. She began her professional career as an instructor at Arkansas State Teachers College, now known as the University of Central Arkansas (UCA), in Conway in 1949, later transferring to Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge where she moved up the ranks to assistant professor between 1954 and 1958. She then served from an associate professor to Boyd professor at the University of New Orleans from 1958 to 1978 before returning to LSU as Boyd professor from 1978 to 1980. Leaving her vocation in education, Dr. Good joined Reserve R. UOP Inc., as vice president and

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Always interested in psychiatry, Terresa Stallworth, MD, received a scholarship to study piano in New York. While in school, she became very homesick and had a discussion with her father about what she should do. Her father suggested medical school and it turned out to be the best decision for her. When she walked into medical school for her first class, it was almost as if a voice in her head told her “This is where you belong.” Dr. Stallworth began her professional career as an intern at the University of Tennessee Memorial Hospital and Research Center in 1963, completing this position in one year before completing two residencies in neurology at the City of Memphis Hospital from 1964 to

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Valentine Villa


Knowledgeable on health disparities among aging minority populations, Dr. Valentine M. Villa currently serves as a professor in social work at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) and an adjunct professor at the Fielding School of Public Health of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). She is a senior researcher for UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research since 2000 and director of CSULA’s Applied Gerontology Institute since 2006. Throughout her career, she has chaired over 200 theses of master’s students in social work and public health. Dr. Villa has authored and co-authored 60 peer-reviewed publications including “Hispanic Baby Boomers: Health Inequities Likely to Persist in Old Age,” “Racial/Ethnic Variations in Veterans’ Ambulatory Care Use,” “Equitable Health Systems: Structural and

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Sandra Cynar


Initially interested in pursuing a career in mathematics, Sandra J. Cynar, PhD, was encouraged to go into engineering by the wife of a family friend, who was a mathematician. She began her professional career as a controls engineer at General Dynamics in Pomona, California, in 1963, remaining in this position until 1965 when she entered the management training program at Pacific Telephone in Alhambra, California. In 1966, she served as a scientific programmer in the Apollo program at North American Rockwell in Downey, California. Two years later, she went to McDonnell Douglas in Long Beach, California, to work on the DC-10 until 1970, when she had her son and stopped working to raise her family. When it was time for

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Linda Detillion


When Linda K. Clady Detillion, LPN, RN, NCLNC, was 6 years old, she had to have her tonsils taken out and she thought the nurses were great. The nurse was so kind to her and she was fascinated by what the nurses did. After that experience, she knew she wanted to be a nurse. Ms. Detillion began her professional career as a charge nurse at Oakwood Manor in Bucyrus, Ohio, in 1985, remaining in this position for one year before serving as a pool nurse at Mansfield Personnel Pool from 1986 to 1990. She then joined Crestline Hospital for one year before serving as supervisor at Heartland of Bucyrus from 1991 to 1992. Now semi-retired, she works as a private

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Donna Pitman


Donna Pitman’s career life began when she worked for Tallatoona, a federal assistance program. She would sit with those in need; the chief executive officer at the time, David Sims, said she should work at a higher level. She said she would go back to school and he offered to help her. Out of 100 people, she got a higher position. An expert on mental health and counseling, Ms. Pitman was recommended to work at a higher level, and it was that experience that inspired her to move forward in her own career.  An expert on mental health and counseling, Ms. Pitman worked in housing and recalls helping a young woman at the time. The woman was recommended to work

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