Category Archives: News & Achievements Archive

Forty Under 40

The Business Record has announced the 2021 Forty Under 40. You can see all the names here: You might be particularly interested in learning that at least one Drake graduate (from our SOE counseling and doctoral programs) and one Drake employee are being honored. We are so proud of you, Anthony and Gregory—Congratulations!

Anthony Ferguson Jr. – Director for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity | West Des Moines Community Schools

Gregory Lin – Assessment Coordinator | Drake University

— Catherine Gillespie, Associate Dean, Professor of Education

Students partner with United Health Care Group for Murphy Cup competition

The College of Business and Public Administration’s eighth annual Murphy Cup followed the same format as in the past with one big twist—it was carried out entirely on Zoom.

From Feb. 25–27, marketing students from Drake and Creighton joined forces on six teams to present their best recommendations to a real-world problem posed by client UnitedHealth Group. Social and entertainment activities were scattered throughout the event to help participants stave off Zoom fatigue. In the end, students, faculty, and UHG representatives were as pleased with the outcome as in years past.

With co-winning teams announced by UHG Chief Marketing Officer Terry Clark, Drake students Layne Burdette, Matthew Dieleman, Natalie Meyer, and Emily Wilcox were crowned champions. Additionally, Julia Lanzel received the Most Outstanding Presenter award while Kristen Tollas earned honors as the Most Effective Leader.

— Kathy Hickman, College of Business & Public Administration

Brandi Miller voted president elect of Iowa financial aid association

Brandi Miller, assistant director of new student programs in the Office of Student Financial Planning, has been voted President Elect of the Iowa Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (IASFAA). Brandi has 21 years of experience in financial aid administration and has been actively involved in the work of IASFAA, most recently serving as treasurer. This peer-bestowed honor is fitting recognition of Brandi’s professional achievements and her tireless advocacy for students with financial need. Please join me in congratulating Brandi!

— Ryan Zantingh, Director of Financial Aid

Isabelle Tharp receives competitive pharmacy foundation scholarship

Third-year pharmacy student Isabelle Tharp is one of 19 pharmacy students nationwide to receive a 2021–2022 American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Foundation Scholarship. The recipients were selected based on their academic accomplishments and for their leadership skills as demonstrated by their active involvement in the APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP). Tharp received the Gloria Francke Scholarship. 

Tharp joined the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences chapter of APhA-ASP as a sophomore pre-pharmacy student, serving on the Generation Rx Committee. She went on to serve as the social media chair, president-elect, and now she currently serves as president of the organization. Tharp attended two APhA-ASP Midyear Regional Meetings as well as the 2019 Summer Leadership Institute. She previously served as a legislative intern in the Iowa House of Representatives and executive intern for the Iowa Pharmacy Association (IPA), and currently works as a pharmacy intern at Methodist West Hospital in West Des Moines.

“Being awarded this scholarship shows me how much APhA wants to recognize and support student’s involvement outside of the classroom,” said Tharp. “I feel grateful for the opportunities I have been able to take part in because of my support system within CPHS.” 

— Kaylyn Maher, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Health Professions Day college awards announced

During the annual Health Professions Day (formerly Pharmacy and Health Sciences Day) held on Feb. 25, the College of Pharmacy and Health Science presented various awards to students and faculty members. 

Third-year pharmacy student Carissa Popp was honored with the Richard Morrow Transformational Student Leadership Award. This award recognizes a student whose transformative work goes above and beyond.

Third-year pharmacy students Caroline Jones and Isabelle Tharp were honored with C. Boyd Granberg Professional Student Leadership Awards. This award recognizes students who have displayed excellence, with a preference for students who have been involved professionally and have taken on leadership roles.

Dr. Shankar Munusamy, MPharm, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology, was named the Hartig Distinguished Professor. This award recognizes a faculty member who has distinguished him or herself in teaching, scholarship, service, or practice. 

Dr. Andrew Miesner, PharmD, BCPS, associate professor of pharmacy practice, was honored with the C. Boyd Granberg Professional Leadership Award. This award is given to a faculty member who is committed to professional organizational leadership—both for themselves and among students. 

Dr. Erik Maki, PharmD, BCPS, associate professor and department chair of clinical sciences, was honored with the Richard Morrow Transformational Leadership Award. This award recognizes a faculty member whose transformational work has gone above and beyond. Transformational leaders focus on team-building, motivation and collaboration with colleagues to accomplish change for the better. They identify a needed change, create a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and execute the change through collaboration.

The College’s Student Governance Association’s Awards included: 

Jill Batten, M.Ed., director of student affairs, CPHS Teacher of the Year 

Dr. Jared Butler, PharmD, BCPS, DPLA, assistant professor of pharmacy practice, CPHS Preceptor of the Year 

Megan Brady, Ed.D, LAT, ATC, assistant professor of athletic training, CPHS Mentor of the Year 

Mark Vitha, Ph.D., professor of chemistry, Non-CPHS Teacher of the Year 

— Kaylyn Maher, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story debuts Feb. 23

Chris Norton, an Iowa native, stars in this uplifting documentary which chronicles his spinal cord injury, subsequent rehabilitation, and how he defied medical odds when he successfully walked across the stage at his 2015 graduation. The Chris Norton Foundation has worked tirelessly to support rehabilitation programs and education in Iowa, including at Drake University.

Drake’s Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program received a grant from the Chris Norton Foundation last year, which allowed the program to purchase a functional electrical stimulation (FES) cycle.

“It’s an honor for the Chris Norton Foundation to support such a respectable institution such as Drake University,” said Chris Norton, speaker, author, and founder of the foundation. “Their commitment to improve the lives of individuals with neurological challenges fits right with our mission.”

Nicole Kuhl, assistant professor of occupational therapy at Drake, who assisted with the filming of the documentary and even has a short appearance in the film, said the Chris Norton Foundation has been a significant and critical resource to rehabilitation programs in Iowa in terms of getting the equipment they need.

Check out the official website 7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story and watch the film available on Apple TV and Prime Video.

— Nicole Kuhl, assistant professor, Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program

Drake Law Professor Andrew Jurs elected to the prestigious American Law Institute

Drake Law School is pleased to announce that Andrew Jurs, the associate dean for academic affairs, the Clemens J. Smith Faculty Research Scholar, and a professor of law, has been elected as a member of the prestigious American Law Institute (ALI).

The Institute’s members consist of judges, professors, and lawyers, who are elected based on their “outstanding achievement in the legal profession.” The Institute’s mission is “to promote the clarification and simplification of the law and its better adaptation to social needs, to secure the better administration of justice, and to encourage and carry on scholarly and scientific legal work.” Many attorneys will be familiar with some of their work, such as the influential Restatements of the Law and uniform codes (such as the Uniform Commercial Code).

The ALI selected Professor Jurs based on his expertise in Expert Evidence, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Evidence. His research focuses on the management and evaluation of expert evidence in the judicial system, mainly using empirical methods. His textbook on the use of expert witnesses in court, Expert Evidence, has been recently published by Carolina Academic Press. In addition, he has numerous law review articles on expert witness management, most recently A Tale of Two Dauberts: Discriminatory Effects of Scientific Reliability Screening, 79 Ohio State Law Journal 1107 (2018) (coauthored), and Expert Prevalence, Persuasion and Price: What Trial Participants Really Think About Experts, 91 Indiana Law Journal 353 (2016).

“I am honored and grateful to be invited to join the American Law Institute,” said Andrew. “I look forward to working with the distinguished membership of the Institute on their mission of seeking to improve the quality of justice in the United States. I am also thankful for the guidance and assistance of so many mentors, colleagues, and students in my years in the Academy, and know I could not have achieved this honor without them.”

In addition to his ALI membership, Professor Jurs also serves as a member of the Legal Task Group of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Organization of Scientific Area Committees, and has previously served as a member of the executive committee of the AALS Section on Evidence with a term as chair in 2017-2018. Jurs joined the Drake Law faculty in 2011 and has served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs since 2018.

— Theresa Howard, Law School

Drake Law School and the Iowa State Public Defender announce new Wrongful Convictions Clinic at Drake

Drake Law School and the Iowa State Public Defender are excited to announce a new collaboration creating a Wrongful Convictions Clinic.

The Wrongful Convictions Clinic at Drake Law School will begin in January 2021. The Clinic will be led by the State Public Defender’s Wrongful Convictions Division. Student attorneys in the clinic will represent individuals convicted of serious felony crimes in Iowa in post-conviction proceedings to establish their actual innocence. The Wrongful Convictions Division of the State Public Defender’s office was created by Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, LW ’09, during his tenure as State Public Defender in 2015.

State Public Defender Jeff Wright, LW ’06, explained that the Wrongful Convictions Division works closely with the Midwest Innocence Project, in Kansas City, MO, to identify, investigate, and litigate cases of individuals who are claiming factual innocence of the crimes for which they were convicted. “We are excited about this new alliance and all the possibilities which come with it. Not only will this collaboration greatly increase our capacity to review and investigate meritorious claims from Iowa inmates, but it will also help identify policies that contribute to wrongful convictions,” said State Public Defender Wright.

Students in the Clinic will assist in all aspects of assigned cases including reviewing trial transcripts and case files, visiting incarcerated clients, interviewing witnesses, collecting records, consulting subject matter experts, conducting legal research, drafting pleadings, and attending court hearings.

Erica Nichols Cook, LW ’09, Director of the Wrongful Convictions Division, will supervise the Clinic. Nichols Cook previously served as an adjunct professor of law at Southern Illinois University, teaching about wrongful convictions and supervising an externship program with the Illinois Innocence Project. Prior to that, she was an assistant appellate defender, Cook County public defender, and a staff attorney with the Illinois Innocence Project.

“I am excited to return to the Clinic where I learned how to be a lawyer and an advocate,” said Nichols Cook. “Through this new collaboration, we will more effectively represent the wrongfully convicted in Iowa and teach new generations of lawyers in the criminal justice system how to identify and remedy wrongful convictions.”

As part of the new partnership, the state Wrongful Convictions Division will relocate to the Neal and Bea Smith Law Center at Drake. “Being on campus and a part of the dynamic learning environment at the clinic will empower students and clients alike,” Nichols Cook said.

“We are honored to be able to contribute to this important work through our new Clinic,” said Drake Law Dean Jerry Anderson. “Student efforts may lead to real reform in the criminal justice system and a path to justice for the wrongfully convicted. Along the way they will develop legal skills that they will carry with them wherever their future legal careers take them.”

— Theresa Howard, Law School

Drake Law School named a top law school for Criminal Law by PreLaw Magazine

Drake Law School earned a place on PreLaw Magazine’s list of top law schools for Criminal Law with an A- rating. Law schools were graded based on the breadth of their curricular offerings including concentrations, clinical programs, centers, externships, journals, student groups, certificates, and other offerings.

Drake Law offers students substantial opportunities to learn about and develop skills in the field of criminal law. With coursework ranging from prosecution and defense to scientific and expert evidence to global issues in criminal law, students can explore a range of subject areas. The Drake Criminal Defense and Juvenile Delinquency Clinics provide students hands-on experience representing indigent clients in court appearances, depositions, and negotiations. Since the ranking was completed, Drake has expanded its criminal law program even further with the introduction of a new Wrongful Convictions Clinic.

Students also gain practical experience through internships with offices such as the Polk County Prosecutor’s Office, Federal and State Public Defender, and U.S Attorney’s Office. The Law School offers a certificate in Prosecution and Defense which is specifically designed to prepare students for careers in criminal law.

Students interested in criminal justice reform can take advantage of unique opportunities through Drake’s Institute for Justice Reform and Innovation (IJRI). Advanced seminars cover a wide range of legal subjects like restorative justice, trial and jury innovations, and innocence projects. Students may also get involved as research assistant on some of the IRJI’s ongoing projects.

“Drake Law’s rich curriculum and extensive opportunities to gain real-world experience through clinical programs and internships prepare students to hit the ground running when they graduate,” said Jerry Anderson, dean of Drake Law School. “It is not uncommon for students in our criminal law program to conduct a jury trial before graduation. These experiences make them strong candidates for many different employment opportunities. As a result, we have recent graduates working as prosecutors or defense attorneys across the country, from Los Angeles to Cook County (Chicago) to the Bronx.”

— Theresa Howard, Law School