New Academic Year Brings New Faces to College Community

When you’re growing as fast as Wyoming Catholic College—welcoming its largest Freshman class in history and recording a 60% increase in its student body over the past four years—it comes as no surprise that the new faces on campus each Fall are more than just those of our newest students. In some cases, the faces themselves are familiar, but the positions they occupy in the Wyoming Catholic constellation are new. This year, for example, the College community welcomed a professor of the natural sciences to our teaching faculty, two recent graduates as members of our Student Life team, two graduates as Admissions counselors, and a number of new staff members (including yet another recent graduate).

First, Lauren Heerschap, who grew up in the Jemez Mountains of northern New Mexico, has joined our faculty as Adjunct Professor of Natural Sciences. Lauren brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position, including dual degrees in geology and theology from Wheaton College, several years working for the Colorado Geological Survey, Oso Energy Resources, teaching geology and outdoor education in Zermatt, Switzerland, and working (for the past nine years) as a lab coordinator and lecturer in the Geosciences Department at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO, where she taught introductory geology courses, geologic field methods and summer field camp, and all levels of GIS (Geographic Information Systems).

On the staff side, Joseph Stong has joined the Office of Institutional Advancement as a new Regional Director of Donor Relations. A native of Michigan who comes to Lander by way of Savannah, Georgia, Joe spent formative years in Ohio, Minnesota and again in Michigan before pursuing a religious vocation with the Legionaries of Christ from 1988 to 1999. Discerning that the priesthood was not God’s will for him, he served as assistant director of Catholic World Mission, as Director of Admissions and Registrar for the Institute for Psychological Studies (now, Divine Mercy University), as Vice President of Development for Guest House, and (most recently) as Director of Stewardship and Development for the Diocese of Savannah, GA.

He is joined in the Office of Institutional Advancement by Cynthia Gniadek, who spent eight years in various administrative assistant positions, working for a parish, a diocesan Tribunal, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops before joining Wyoming Catholic as a Database Administrator. Other new office workers include Tanya Yardas, a life-long Lander native who has taken over key areas in the Business Office as an Accounting Assistant, and Robert Bolin, a member of the College’s 2016 graduating class who now works in the same office as a Data Entry Clerk.

In the Admissions Office, Susan Gleason and Nicholas Curley join the College’s recruitment efforts as its newest Admissions Counselors. Both are members of the recently-graduated Class of 2017, and both are eager to share their first-hand experiences of Wyoming Catholic College’s transformative education with others, traveling around the country to college fairs and other events to share the WCC story with interested applicants and their families. Nick and Susan are joined by their fellow classmates, Thomas Raab and Sophie Carter, who remain in Lander as members of the College’s Student Life team. Working with Hillary Rowney, the Director of Student Life, they will be focused on enriching the student experience, helping to guide and to foster a student community that is wholly committed to the extraordinary educational experience the College offers.

Last but not least, a familiar face that has been too long absent: Professor Kyle Washut. After taking a leave of absence to finish formation for the Byzantine Catholic priesthood (and to serve as a visiting associate professor of Patristics and Ecclesiastical History at St. Cyril and Methodius Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pittsburgh), he is back with us in Lander once again.

Those who have been following the College for a number of years will recognize Kyle’s name. He served as the College’s original Dean of Students, and taught here for several years, as well. We are glad to have him back with us once again!

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