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March 2024 Newsletter

March 2024 Alumni Newsletter

Meet Birmingham's Nicole LaMont: Deaf, Scientist, Social Media Influencer

Nicole LaMont was like any typical adolescent—fully functioning limbs, faculties, and all five senses. That changed for her at age 12.

“It was roughly 3 a.m. when I woke up deaf. Kind of like when someone suddenly turns the TV off when you’re sleeping, so the sudden silence wakes you up, … the silence jolted me,” LaMont recalled. “I first made some clicking sounds with my tongue and couldn’t hear it, so then I knocked on my nightstand and couldn’t hear that either.

“Then I thought perhaps I was dreaming and contemplated trying to go back to sleep and waking up for real—or running screaming to my mom. … Oddly, I wasn’t immediately panicked. I was more confused. I didn’t understand why it was so quiet.”

Doctors did not initially believe LaMont’s claim of deafness. She vividly remembers the trip to the emergency room and the worry etched on her mother’s face. “I saw multiple doctors and had tests done,” she said.

Eight months later and after dozens of tests, the cause behind LaMont’s sudden hearing loss was diagnosed. She had developed a rare autoimmune condition called neurosarcoidosis, which causes inflammation and abnormal cell deposits in any part of the nervous system: the brain, spinal cord, muscles, or peripheral nerves. LaMont’s bout with the condition resulted in bilateral deafness, meaning she was permanently deaf in both ears.

LaMont is a medical laboratory scientist for the Birmingham Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, where she is responsible for performing scientific testing on samples in areas like microbiology, hematology, and urinalysis, as well as for reporting results to physicians. She also has an impressive social media following, with more than 65,000 followers on Instagram, 79,000 on Facebook, and growing audiences on YouTube and TikTok.

“I am still astonished by my following. The most popular videos that seem to get the most views are [the ones teaching] medical signs,” said LaMont, who answered her interview questions for this story via email.

“There are so many nurses and doctors who want to be able to have open communication with their patients,” she explained. “[As a member of the deaf community], it is such a relief when we see our nurses and providers attempting to make our visits less stressful and more inclusive.”

After being asked to teach American Sign Language (ASL) for many years, LaMont decided in October 2022 to post some fun, basic ASL videos on Facebook Instagram, and YouTube for family and friends. “Shortly thereafter, it took off and led me to the following and platform I have now,” she said.

Best of Both Worlds

At age 13, when LaMont learned that she wouldn’t regain her hearing, she had a procedure to get a cochlear implant (CI), which is a surgically implanted neuroprosthesis, or a device that is meant to replace missing biological functionality that might have been damaged as a result of an injury or a disease. It provides a person who has moderate to profound sensorineural hearing loss with sound perception.

“Without CIs, I am profoundly deaf and without any recognition of sound. With my CIs, while I am still considered profoundly deaf, they give me the ability to hear sound in the way I remember sound to be prior to my deafness. I do still miss some words here and there, but I have the best of both worlds,” she said.

Initially, LaMont rejected ASL. Her family tried to teach her at home, as well as encourage her to take classes at Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM) and the Vocational Rehabilitation Service Blind and Deaf Division, which is made available through the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS). Everyone in LaMont’s family took classes—except her.

“I was embarrassed to sign in public,” she said. “I was getting bullied in school. My so-called friends were now mocking me and would throw up fake sign language in my face to tease me.”

To make matters worse, LaMont was also humiliated before a classroom of her peers by her own teacher.

“I had always completed my work early and would doodle and draw while sitting in silence because I was deaf and had no interpreter, and [the teacher] got mad at me for looking down at my notebook. … He complimented my drawing skills and then made me go stand in front of the class.

“[When I got to the front], he covered his mouth with his hand, so I couldn’t read his lips, and said something. Then he uncovered [his mouth] and told me to repeat to the class what he just said. I just stood there mortified, and then I burst into tears. … This was just a few months after I had woken up deaf,” LaMont remembered.

Importance of Representation

Instances such as those taught LaMont the importance of representation and advocacy for those with special needs. She doesn’t remember many positive hearing-impaired role models during her adolescent years, which can be a crucial time for preteens and their sense of identity.

She does, however, recall the impact of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” series and a three-part episode titled “Wish Upon a Starfish,” during which Ariel, the mermaid and main character in the franchise, meets what LaMont perceived as “a Black mermaid at the time, but she was really Latina. … Her name was Gabriella, she had a purple fin, my favorite color, and she was deaf. She used very accurate ASL in the cartoon, and that was my first time seeing a deaf person, let alone [a deaf] person of color portrayed on TV.”

Eventually, LaMont saw that deaf wasn’t a bad word. She embraced ASL and became fluent in less than four weeks after taking classes at Gallaudet University (GU), a private federally chartered university in Washington, D.C., for the education of the deaf and hard of hearing.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology, from GU in 2008, a Bachelor of Science degree in medical laboratory science from AUM in 2016, and a Master of Science degree in clinical pathology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in 2020.

During her collegiate years, the Montgomery, Alabama, native would become Miss Deaf Alabama (2009–2011), Miss Black Deaf D.C., and Miss Black Deaf Student Union.

“My platform was to bridge the gap between the deaf and hearing communities,” said LaMont. “[Using my platform], I advocated for accessibility to entertainment and for other public settings to have open [captioning, which are permanently visible on the screen], and closed captioning, [which can be turned off], in movie theaters, waiting rooms. … I also encourage hearing parents of deaf children to strive for open communication for their children using ASL, in addition to whatever hearing devices the family feels fit their child’s needs.”

“Hearing devices are wonderful, but they are technology and man-made,” she added. “ASL is always going to be there and won’t fail. It won’t run out of batteries and does not depend on external energy other than the physical.”

Science and Medicine

LaMont always seemed destined to become a laboratory scientist. The Birmingham resident has a twin sister, Monique, and an older brother, Mikal.

“My older brother was always mixing potions and really into science. He had his own little microscope and everything, and I followed everything he did,” said LaMont. “I’m one of the very few people who can look back at her 5-year-old diary and see that a dream became reality. In my earliest writing, I wrote, ‘I’m going to be a scientist.’ I was naturally drawn to shows like ‘ER’ or anything that had to do with medicine.”

Science and medicine run in the family. LaMont’s mother is a retired psychiatric nurse practitioner, and her twin sister followed in their mother’s footsteps and is a psychiatric nurse practitioner who also has served in the U.S. Air Force. Her maternal uncle is a retired nurse anesthetist, her grandmother is a retired registered nurse, and her cousins on her dad’s side are in the medical field.

“I’ve always been surrounded by those who study medicine,” she said.

In addition to being surrounded with science and medical experts, LaMont was influenced by a law enforcement professional. Her father is a retired controls worker, who operated and maintained the security and integrity at a detention center via the security system located at the central control facility. At retirement, he was a control worker for the juvenile courts in Montgomery.

“That’s why we were such good kids,” she joked.

Original article from Birmingham Times.

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Donor & Scholar Recognition Luncheon

Since 2018, Auburn University at Montgomery has been working to more than double the annual scholarship allocation for students – improving from $7.1 million six years ago to $14.3 million in 2023. The fruits of this work were enjoyed recently when AUM’s Office of Advancement held its annual Donor and Scholar Luncheon last month. A heartwarming gathering filled with gratitude and inspiration, friendships were certainly forged as scholarship donors, recipients, and AUM alumni and friends enjoyed a meal together.

A highlight of the event was hearing from one of our scholarship recipients, who touched on how the scholarship support he received changed his opportunities, and his life. His story, and the entire event in general, were powerful reminders of why scholarships matter.

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Abbott steps in to lead Maplesville into future

One of Maplesville’s very own has taken over the reins at Maplesville High School (MHS) to lead the school into the coming years. Gina Abbott, former assistant principal at MHS, has moved over from her former role into the principal’s position after 23 years at the same school she graduated from.  When people think of Maplesville High School, the word family is thrown around a lot. Children’s parents went to MHS, their parents’ parents went to MHS, and the school stays close to their roots and to the people who have walked their hallways for years. Abbott was no different, growing up in Maplesville and graduating high school there, just like her parents before her. She attended the University of Montevallo to pursue a Degree in Psychology, and she intended to get a doctoral degree in psychology to teach at the college level.  Abbott got married and after graduating started working with a group home in Jemison that took kids from the Department of Social Services, and she was the manager of the on-site school for the program.  “The students that we served were students who had been in trouble with police, and I just felt called during that time to get to the students before they became delinquent,” Abbott said. “In my life, there were two things I said I would never do — I would never be a teacher and I would never go to the University of Montevallo, but I did both.”

From there, Abbott decided to get her Master’s in Special Education at Auburn University at Montgomery. While getting her degree, she got a job working in social services at Vaughn Regional Medical Center, exposing her to child abuse and neglect, elder abuse and neglect, and she learned a lot about what all goes on in the world, and how the services she provided at the hospital helped people.  Abbott said she would take the first job she was offered after getting her master’s degree, and it was at Martin Middle School in Dallas County. The following year, former Maplesville Principal George Walker Jr. reached out to Abbott about a special education teacher position open at Maplesville. She applied, and returned home in 2001.  On Feb. 1, Walker stopped by for the first time to see Abbott in her new role as the Maplesville Principal, and to officially congratulate her and wish her the best as she guides MHS into the coming years. Abbott said “it meant a lot to get his blessing.”

Abbott spent eight years as a special education teacher after her initial hire at Maplesville, but after classrooms started coming together more, she wanted to go into regular education.  “When inclusion (between special and regular education) happened, and kids started going back into their regular classrooms, I just felt more like an aid managing all of the paperwork, and I did not get to serve the kids like I wanted to,” Abbott said.  She got her general education certification and moved over to be a third-grade teacher at Maplesville. Then, a position came open as an Instructional Coach at Maplesville, and Abbott knew she needed to take the opportunity to apply for the role.  “I knew that if I did not jump on that opportunity, and usually when that role gets filled, it stays full for a while and I felt like that was a passion I had,” Abbott said.  She got the position, and served the entire schools of Maplesville and Isabella, mainly working with kindergarten through third-grade students in English, language arts and social studies.

Abbott continued to rise up the ranks and applied to be the Lead Reading Specialist in the Chilton County Schools District for kindergarten through third-grade students and got the job, which got her into all the schools to help with training and education.  There was just one more level for her to ascend to, one she never had a thought about being in.  “I never really wanted to be an administrator,” Abbott said. “I did not get my admin degree to be a school administrator … I had no idea that the assistant principal job (at Maplesville) was going to come up, and it was just a surprise. It happened really fast, and I have always cared about our school and what happens to it. I felt like that is what I was called to do at that time.”  Abbott applied and got the job, and stayed in the role until the end of 2023 when John Howard stepped away as principal at MHS. When she found out Howard was leaving, there was not a lot of preparation for Abbott to step in to lead the school in the ensuing weeks. She took over after the students returned from Christmas break. She was left without a counselor after Maplesville’s stepped away before Christmas, and the school does not have a guidance counselor, leaving Abbott as the only car in the administrative parking lot on a daily basis.

Teachers and faculty at MHS set up a surprise celebration for Abbott shortly after returning from Christmas break to congratulate her on the new role. The celebration featured a full spread of food, cards from many of the MHS students and goodie baskets.  “I would say our whole school is like a team, because there is no way I could have come back on Jan. 2 and run this school by myself, if I truly were by myself,” Abbott said. “I never was (by myself) because the people behind the scenes like our faculty, staff, parents and students just know when you need something, or sense when they need to be something more for you in that moment. That has made the biggest impression on me.”

When the job came open, Abbott was concerned about nepotism laws having family at the school, and in prominent roles in administration at the school as well. Chilton County Schools, other teachers and administrators from across the county reached out to assure her she could throw her application into the bunch for the job without a problem.  Abbott said it was emotional to even be able to interview for the job because she could “be leading the school that is one of the most important things and influences this community has, and it has influenced all of us in some way, not just me personally, but my family, my parents and dare I say, my grandparents,” and now she is.

“It has been quite the journey, and nothing I have ever done has ever been part of the plan,” Abbott said. “I do go with the way God leads me, and I try to keep an open mind about what doors are opening, and if those doors are meant for me to walk through. I am always going to try to do my best, and I love the kids here, the school and we give a lot of time and thoughts to this building, and it feels like my home. I want to do this school justice and make everyone proud, including myself.”  Looking ahead, Abbott said her first priority is to continue creating a safe learning environment so learning can happen freely at MHS. Also, building good people in the students is important to her. Abbott said if nothing else, students who leave Maplesville will be respectful, know how to be respectful and be kind to others.  Abbott has plans for improvements around the MHS campus as well, such as renovating the auditorium and creating an outside classroom for the school to utilize.

Original article from Clanton Advertiser.

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Day of Giving

This year AUM Day of Giving is on Monday, March 25. We hope you will join in supporting the University and its programs with a gift to the department of your choice.

Your gift during AUM Day of Giving will make an immediate impact on our students who will soon become leaders in their professional fields and their communities. Give today so we can prepare our students to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Give a gift today!

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Gumptown Magazine Spotlight — Alphonsa Byrd, Jr.

Alphonsa Byrd Jr., born on December 19, 1968, embarked on a distinguished 20- year military career that defined his commitment to duty and excellence. He received a Military Science Degree from Auburn University at Montgomery demonstrating early on his exceptional leadership capabilities.

During his military tenure, Byrd undertook various challenging assignments, showcasing prowess in strategic planning and operational execution. His dedication to service earned him numerous commendations medals.

While serving, Byrd pursued academic excellence, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Troy University in 1992. Recognizing the importance of continued education, he later attained a master’s degree in management information systems from Columbus University in 2002, further enriching his understanding of Cyber Security Information Systems.

In 1999, Alphonsa Byrd transitioned to a career with the federal government at Maxwell Air Force Base, bringing his wealth of experience to roles focused on national security working with Global Command and Control Systems and policy development.

Post- retirement, Mr. Byrd started The Alphonsa Byrd Leadership Foundation in honor of his father, who was a lifelong educator in his community as well as the first African American City Councilman in Troy, Alabama. Mr. Byrd’s legacy is marked by a commitment to both academic and military excellence, embodying the values of leadership, education, and service throughout his illustrious career.

To continue his father’s legacy, Byrd launched the Alphonsa Byrd Leadership Academy (ABLA) last November. The goal of the academy is to provide educational opportunities that will empower students in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) for a more inclusive, innovative, and sustainable world.

ABLA launched a Drone Team at Wares Ferry Elementary School. They teach STEAM through flying drones. Byrd says that this teaches students and exposes them to careers in the drone industry.

“We are in the process of developing a curriculum for middle and high school students which can lead to Workforce Development” Byrd shared. “Because at the age of 16, you can obtain a FAA Drone UAV License to fly commercially and make some money in the drone industry.”

Original article from Gumptown Magazine.

Alumni Night at Alabama Shakespeare Festival

Get your deerstalker cap on – the play’s afoot! Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson must crack the mystery of “The Hound of the Baskervilles” before a family curse dooms its newest heir. Does a wild hellhound prowl the moors of Devonshire? Can our heroes discover the truth in time? Join the fun as Holmes and Watson face a dizzying web of clues, silly accents, disguises, and deceit as five actors deftly portray more than 40 characters. You’ll enjoy the perfect mix of slapstick and thrills.

Thursday, April 25, 2024 at 7:00pm
Alabama Shakespeare Festival
Carolyn Blount Theatre
1 Festival Drive
Montgomery, AL 36117

A limited number of discounted tickets are available to AUM alumni and their guests. The deadline for ordering tickets is April 3, and tickets will be non-refundable after this date.

Tickets can be purchased here.

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'Onward and upward' New principal, assistant principal give their vision for RHS

With both sharing a love for the Reeltown community, the new administration team at Reeltown High School has a few plans going into the new calendar year.

Principal Audrey Stockdale has recently moved up from assistant principal, and Alisha Fomby has stepped in as the new assistant principal beginning last October. While Stockdale was born and raised in Reeltown, Fomby is a new face to the Reeltown community.

Fomby said she already feels at home. Many may know her husband, Corey Fomby, who is a Reeltown graduate and next year her son will also be starting kindergarten at Reeltown Elementary.

Before coming to Reeltown, Fomby grew up in Sylacauga and went to Central Alabama Community College before going to Auburn University for a degree in communication disorders. She also has an instructional leadership degree from Auburn and a master’s in special education from Auburn University at Montgomery.

Fomby worked as a speech therapist, special education teacher and an assistant principal for three years before transferring to Reeltown. Working at Reeltown High School, Fomby said Stockdale’s passion for Reeltown naturally rubs off on you.

“It is a community in which we both live in; we are both invested in these children who are going through, and will be going through, this system,” she said of her and Stockdale as a team. “Our heart is there; our mind is there. We truly are all in. To be able to learn and serve and lead in the community, I feel like it’s a privilege for both of us.”

Stockdale added it truly is an honor and that is shown through how they all care for one another. As far as her and Fomby working together, Stockdale said they come from different educational backgrounds and because of that, they complement each other well.

Stockdale started her education at CACC and also has a bachelor’s in elementary education from Auburn as well as a master’s in elementary education from Troy University in Phenix City.

Bottom of Form

Stockdale started her teaching career at Reeltown Elementary. After working for Ray Porter and Dr. Tom Cochran, they inspired her to get an instructional leadership certificate, which she received from AUM. For the past couple of years, Stockdale has been assistant principal at RHS.

Not only did she graduate from Reeltown, but so did her parents and her three kids are also at Reeltown schools. It is home in every sense of the word, she said.

Stockdale said they have a solid foundation with teachers and staff members who put their all for these students. Now, as principal, she wants to see the students and the school excel.

“We are building a transformative culture here,” she said. “We are really building our relationships with our students and helping them see the accomplishments they can have after high school. Whether that’s a career tech field, whether that’s the workforce, whether that’s going to college.”

Going into the next year, they are looking at their testing data from preSAT, SAT to ACT WorkKeys. She and Fomby want to find ways to boost scores and give them greater opportunities for their future.

Soon RHS will be implementing new ACT training with the staff. This past fall, the school received a grant that allowed some of their students to go ahead and take the ACT. Some of those students have high enough scores where they could get a full ride.

The Alabama State Department of Education has new College and Career Readiness Indicators. For career tech, students need to have a credential and they want to continue to develop opportunities for that as well.

Stockdale said over the next few years, they hope to see RHS going “onward and upward.”

Original article from Tallassee Tribune.

Spring Career Fair

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The Spring 2024 Career Fair will be held on Wed., April 3rd from 10am – 1pm on the AUM Campus, check in will be outside of Taylor Center Room 221. Representatives will be on-hand from many of our employer partners, including State of Alabama Agencies, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing, WSFA and more, seeking students and alumni of all majors.

The AUM Career Development Center is available to assist alumni with job search assistance, resume review, interview preparation and more. Contact [email protected] or visit the Career Development Center office from 8:00am-5:00pm, Monday-Friday for more information.

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Tallassee High School, Class of 1982 — Inducted 2024 Hall of Fame

Susan Schonberger Swagler is a 1982 graduate of Tallassee High School (THS). During her time at THS, she was a varsity cheerleader, served on the yearbook and newspaper staffs and was a member of the National Honor Society.

Susan graduated from Auburn University at Montgomery in 1986 with a B.A. in English. She has also studied at The Legal Foundation for Planning and Zoning in Alabama, located at the University of North Alabama, Alabama Planning Institute, and has had ethics training from the Alabama Ethics Commission.

Susan “cut her teeth” in journalism at the Alabama Journal in Montgomery, working as a reporter there from 1985 to 1987. She then spent two years in Tampa, Florida, at the Tampa Tribune, before returning to Alabama, accepting a job with The Birmingham News. She became the restaurant reviewer for the newspaper in 1996 and took on another role as book columnist in 1997. She left The Birmingham News in 2008.

During her time at The Birmingham News, she also was the book columnist for Portico Magazine and Birmingham magazine, accepting the position in 2006. Her final columns ran in 2017.

Susan is a monthly contributor to WBRC Fox 6, hosting a live segment on books (2013-present), is food and lifestyle writer for Alabama News Network, and has her own blog about food, travel and lifestyle,

Susan’s record of service to her community is remarkable. She has served as a Jefferson county election official since 2017, and served on the Mountain Brook Planning Commission from 2007 to 2018. One of the noteworthy projects the commission undertook while she was on the board was the current Master Plan of expansion and design and city planning. During her time on the commission, the commission worked on the planning process and initial build of the multi-use Lane Parke development in Mountain Brook and the new Piggly Wiggly in Crestline Village.

Susan served as secretary, vice chair and chair during her tenure and directed the commission to become fully certified in ethics training.

Susan was appointed to the Board of Trustees for Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest in January, 2023. As a member, she has helped craft the library’s policy regarding book challenges, helped fundraise for the summer reading program, and organized an event to thank the donors. She also represented the board at the American Library Association conference.

Susan also served on the Literacy Council of Central Alabama Board of Directors from 2005 to 2010. During this time the board worked on expanding programming to teach more adults in Alabama to read. Her fundraising efforts included hosting visiting authors from across the country, some on the New York Times bestseller list, in beautiful homes for book readings and cocktail parties.

Susan is a founding member of the Birmingham chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI), a worldwide philanthropic and professional organization of women leaders in food and hospitality. The Birmingham chapter is 10 years old, and in that time, they have awarded nearly $160,000.00 in entrepreneurial grants to women across Alabama to build or expand their culinary-related businesses, and have awarded scholarships to women at four-year universities and community colleges who are pursuing degrees in culinary arts. They also mentor other women and work with non-profits such as The Community Food Bank of Central Alabama (Susan heads the volunteer work there), Girlspring, which is an in-person and online community that nurtures girls, and The WellHouse, which offers support to women who have been sex-trafficked.

Susan and her husband, Rick, love to travel and she is able to incorporate her adventures into her blog. Her most recent trip was to Iceland. She researched and planned a 10-day trip that included hiking to an active volcano, touring on an Icelandic horse, snorkeling between tetonic plates, and chasing waterfalls. She and her husband have traveled extensively in Germany, and her travels have taken her to France and the Czech Republic. New Orleans is one of her favorite places here in the United States, and she’s hiked deserts, mountains and slot canyons throughout Utah.

One of Susan’s recent stories was on Wild Flour Bakery, which is located in Waverly, Alabama close to her hometown.

Original article from Tallassee Times.

Grad Preview Night

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Thinking about graduate school? AUM’s master’s programs can help you achieve your professional goals. Grad Preview Night will take place on Tuesday, April 9, from 5:00-7:00pm. Be sure to register at if you’re interested in attending.

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DCH Promotes Steven Johnigan to Director of Nutritional Services

Steven Johnigan has been promoted to system director of Nutritional Services at Druid City Hospital (DCH). He will oversee operations for Nutritional Services at all three DCH hospitals.

Johnigan began his health care food service career at Fayette Medical Center (FMC) as an assistant director in Nutritional Services. In 2019, he was hired by Morrison Healthcare, DCH’s current food service contractor. He was promoted to director at FMC and later transferred to DCH Regional Medical Center (RMC) as assistant director. After a year at DCH RMC, he moved up to director.

Before joining DCH, Johnigan worked for Darden Restaurants in multiple capacities.

He studied business management at Auburn University at Montgomery and also served in the military.

Original article from DCH System.

Alumni Homecoming Celebration 2024

Thank you to everyone who joined us at our AUM Alumni Homecoming Celebration, featuring Casino Night! We had a blast playing games, dancing, getting caricatures drawn, and posing on the 360 photobooth!

We loved going ALL IN with you! Click here for more photos from the fun celebration!

Movers & Shapers Spotlight: Class Notes

Jennifer Eifert ’97, ‘23

Jennifer is executive director of The Kelly Fitzpatrick Center for the Arts in Wetumpka. A Montgomery native, she traveled the world as a Navy wife before returning to Alabama. She spent a decade in the dental industry before returning to school and focusing on her love of the arts. As executive director, she has managed and led 12 exhibitions, two festivals, numerous classes, workshops and children’s activities. Jennifer earned a BLA in 1997 and a BA in 2023 from AUM.

Dennis Fain ‘76

Dennis is a retired CPA, having worked for the accounting firm, Jackson Thornton for 43 years. He served 33 years as a principal in the firm and was the managing director for the Wetumpka office. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Alabama Society of CPAs. He is treasurer of the Main Street Wetumpka board, treasurer of the Wetumpka Gateway Development Corp. board and for the last 45 years treasurer at his church. He is a member of the Wetumpka Rotary Club and was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow. Fain earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from AUM in 1976.

Lisa Van Wagner ‘90

is executive director of the Elmore County Economic Development Authority. She has been an attorney for more than 28 years specializing in representing businesses, employers and local governments. She grew up in Millbrook and attended Elmore County Public Schools. She is a graduate of Auburn University at Montgomery and the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law, with additional economic development credentials. She also is a member of the Economic Development Association of Alabama, International Council of Shopping Centers and Wetumpka Rotary.

Lyman Woodfin ‘07

Lyman is superintendent of Autauga County Schools. He is a 17-year veteran of the school system, serving as a classroom teacher, coach and most recently as Marbury High School principal. At Marbury, he was credited with overhauling the curriculum, adding new vocational classes and championing many infrastructure improvements. He also served as an assistant principal at Prattville High School, where he also served as the Lions’ athletics director. He is a Huntingdon College graduate with a master’s from Auburn University at Montgomery and has Instructional Leadership Certification from the University of West Alabama.

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