Notable Alumnae and Rising Stars 2018

To read the bio of each alumna, click on her name.

List of 11 items.

  • Virginia “Gin” Johnston, Class of 1953—65th Reunion

    With GPS confidence that women can do any job and as a Latin major from Vanderbilt University, Johnston’s first job interview came by telephone, offering her Red Etter’s position at Central High School. She accepted, wondering aloud, “How hard could coaching football be?” They never called back. Who knew he was also their Latin teacher? More interviews led to happy years in three exciting careers: computer programming, Youth Director at First Centenary UMC, and Principal and College Counselor at GPS. Her retirement years have brought many new friends of the heart as she tutored juvenile court probationers, mentored in after-school reading programs; befriended prison inmates, and taught the Hardin Sunday School Class at First Centenary United Methodist Church. She stays in touch with former juvenile offenders and volunteers for Contact and prison ministries and the Southside. She’s been married to Tad Johnston for 63 years, has two sons, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

    *2018 Recipient of Margaret Rawlings Lupton Award of Excellence
  • Frances Zwenig, Class of 1963—55th Reunion

    Before her retirement, Frances Zwenig served as president of the US-ASEAN Business Council Institute, the nonprofit sister organization to the US-ASEAN Business Council, which provides the business communities of Southeast Asia and the U.S. with information and educational programs to promote mutual economic ties and expand cooperation through trade and investment. She previously served as the counselor at the US-ASEAN Business Council, responsible for the ASEAN countries on the mainland, including Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar. Zwenig's long association with the region began with being a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand, and she frequently travels to Southeast Asia. She worked for many years with the U.S. Congress, and her Capitol Hill and executive branch experience include: Administrative Assistant to former Senator John Kerry (MA); Staff Director for the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs; Chief of Staff to former Ambassador Madeleine Albright, US Mission to the United Nations; Vice President and Counsel, US-Vietnam Trade Council; and Executive Director, The Burma-Myanmar Forum. Zwenig completed her undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary, her master’s degree from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, a juris doctor from Duke University School of Law. She received the GPS Lupton Award of Excellence in 1993. She is the first congressional district representative for the Democratic Party of Georgia.

    *2018 Distinguished Alumna
  • Claudia Swafford Haltom, Class of 1973—45th Reunion

    A former clerk for the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Claudia Swafford Haltom was also an attorney for the Shelby County Health Department, the Shelby County Schools, and the Juvenile Court, where she was appointed judicial magistrate and served for 17 years. After nearly 30 years of public service, Haltom retired and founded A Step Ahead Foundation in 2011, serving as its CEO. The program began in Memphis and has expanded across the state to Knoxville, Chattanooga, Jackson, and Nashville. She is a member of the Fellows of the American Bar Association and the Fellows of the Tennessee Bar Association. She is a Paul Harris Fellow and former foundation board member of the Memphis Rotary and serves on the board of directors of the Children's Foundation of Memphis. Last month, Haltom represented the National Episcopal Church at the 62nd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. She earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee and her law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law. Since founding A Step Ahead Foundation, she has received numerous awards including The Tennessee Medical Association Community Service Award in 2015, The Memphis Business Journal Healthcare Heroes Award in 2015, The Tennessee Bar Association Public Service Award in 2015, and the Tennessee Juvenile Court Services Association Humanitarian Award in 2016.
  • Anne Hanahan Ford Kimzey, Class of 1978—40th Reunion

    Anne Kimzey is a folklorist with the Alabama State Council on the Arts (Montgomery), where she manages the Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program and the Literary Arts Program. During her 29 years with the State Arts Council, she has conducted field research on a variety of Alabama’s folk traditions and has produced publications, exhibits, public radio shows, and other programming related to the state’s traditional arts and culture and literary arts. Highlights of her research include cultural traditions among southeast Asian and Latin American cultures and Gulf Coast and craft traditions. Kimzey has been active on a number of community boards and served many years as an Alabama Goodwill Ambassador for Maxwell Air Force Base. She is a lifelong member of the Episcopal Church, serving as a lay Eucharistic minister, a spiritual director, ESL teacher, deputy to General Convention, and coordinator of pauper burial services for the city. Kimzey earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she also pursued graduate studies in folklore. She holds a certificate in spiritual direction and attended the Education for Ministry training program at Sewanee Theological Seminary.
  • Tish Shoemaker Gailmard, Class of 1983—35th Reunion

    Tish Gailmard has served as the Director of Wildlife at Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center for 17 years. In March 2017, Gailmard was presented with the 2016 Tennessee Conservation Educator of the Year award by the Tennessee Wildlife Federation during its 52nd Annual Conservation Achievement Awards. Gailmard has established a reputation as a leader in the effort to save the American Red Wolf from extinction and is a member of the Red Wolf Management Team and Red Wolf Task Force. In 1980, red wolves were declared extinct in the wild by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The Red Wolf Project at Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center in Chattanooga is among only 44 approved zoos and wildlife centers throughout the U.S. sanctioned to manage the red wolf population as a genetic reservoir. Gailmard earned a BFA from the University of Georgia, with minors in art history and historic preservation. She is licensed by Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency as a wildlife rehabilitator for class II mammals and rabies vector species and holds an education permit through TWRA. She writes for the Mountain Mirrors.
  • Jennifer Vickery, Class of 1988—30th Reunion

    For nearly 20 years, Vickery has been a writer and editor at IBM. Her skills have been applied to external audiencesincluding the launch and evolution of key IBM thought leadership and engagement platforms for new business buyers, explaining the daunting world of IBM Research to a general external audience, contributing to several IBM Annual Reportsas well as to internal employee audiences. Her work on Think Academy has been recognized multiple times by Ragan Communications, Inc. Vickery has also been a key leader in external and internal engagement events and projects, such as the huge IBM Jamsand IBM’s Cognitive Build, a hybrid innovation/team building/hackathon/shark tank event that yielded thousands of prototypes for new cognitive applications. She also managed communications for IBM’s India Research Lab on a short-term assignment in New Delhi. From her earliest volunteer work at the Chambliss Center for Children while she was at GPS, Vickery has made serving her community a priority. In 2008, her business leadership and lifetime commitment to volunteer work led to her being honored as one of the first Fellows for IBM’s Corporate Service Corps. Vickery graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She lives in New York City (which she first visited on a Winterim trip!) with Patrick, her husband of 15 years, and Pippa, her nine-year-old daughter.
  • Margaret Cleary Dean, Class of 1993—25th Reunion

    Margaret Cleary Dean joined the House Armed Services Committee in November 2015 as a professional staff member for the Readiness Subcommittee. She is responsible for a diverse portfolio including Navy and Air Force Readiness, Transportation Command, Defense Travel Service, Uniform Matters, Civil Air Patrol, and Military Working Dogs. Dean is currently a U.S. Navy Reservist, serving as the Commanding Officer for Littoral Combat Ship Surface Warfare Module out of Atlanta, Georgia. Her Naval Reserve career has served across a variety of billets and commands around the globe, including Seal Beach, California; St. Louis, Missouri; the United Arab Emirates; Mayport, Florida; and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Her active duty assignments include Navigation, Naval Tactics, and Networked Warfare Instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy. Prior to joining the House Armed Services Committee, Margaret served in various leadership and technical roles at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, with a focus on Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Communications and Networking Systems Engineering. Dean continues to love volunteering in her spare time and remains active with the Girls Scouts of America serving as an Assistant Troop Leader and an assistant youth soccer coach, and hosting exchange students with AFS-USA. A native of Chattanooga, she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in ocean engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and an MBA from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. She will graduate in June with a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College. She also received Lupton Award of Excellence in 2008.
  • Marcie Ulin, Class of 1998—20th Reunion

    Marcie Ulin is a prolific writer and executive producer for television. She creates shows, writes episodes, and oversees actors, directors, production crews, editors, and fellow writers. Her favorite projects include The Gifted, Nashville, and Covert Affairs. Ulin has loved the entertainment world since childhood, and honed her acting and directing skills in stage productions at Harvard University, where she graduated with a degree in history in 2002. She also earned her MFA at the University of Southern California. She was quoted in a CityScope feature as saying, “I love that I have a strong writing partnership with one of my best friends because I learned early on (at GPS) how much women can accomplish when they work together instead of against each other.” Currently she has a development deal with 20th Century Fox and is generating new shows for broadcast, cable, and streaming services.
  • Mary Katherine Roark Harbin, Class of 2003—15th Reunion

    Mary Katherine Roark Harbin, of Mountain City, TN, graduated from Furman University in 2007, earning a bachelor’s degree in English and political science. She then joined her family’s highway contracting business, Maymead, Inc., running their Statesville, North Carolina, office. A family-owned enterprise since 1930, Maymead is a regional leader in aggregate and asphalt operations and products with a focus on safety and productivity plus a standard of excellence in all aspects of operation. Harbin has been instrumental in implementing the company’s Equal Employment Opportunity program, administers federal and state contracts, and most recently oversaw the formation of a new work zone safety company. She resides in Statesville with her two children, Jack and Annie.
  • Anna Mittelstadt, Class of 2008—10th Reunion

    Anna Mittelstadt is an entrepreneur, designer, and owner of the North Chattanooga-based Anna Victoria Design, which has supplied boutiques across the Southeast with fashions in classic, preppy styles since spring of 2013. Anna Victoria Design has already made waves, garnering a mention in the national trade publication Women's Wear Daily and winning the Atlanta Apparel Mart Buyer’s Choice award. In a Times Free Press interview, Mittelstadt described her style as “a blend of the versatility of the Northeastern look with the femininity and charm of Southern style,” which she fell in love with after moving to Chattanooga in 2006 from New Canaan, Connecticut. She graduated from Auburn University with a degree in apparel design, and started Anna Victoria Design soon after graduating.
  • Rachel Davis, Class of 2013—5th Reunion

    While attending Quinnipiac University (Connecticut) as an engineering student, Rachel Davis took advantage of the School of Engineering’s new 3D printers as well as the mechanical engineering workshop to develop a car for a boy unable to walk due to cerebral palsy. The effort was part of the national Go Baby Go! program, in which toy ride-on cars are modified for kids with disabilities. While the car could be operated by remote control, Davis fashioned accelerometers attached to a small cap measured his head tilt in both directions, enabling the three-year-old to control the car simply by moving his head; the up-and-down motion changed speeds, while side-to-side controlled steering. Davis was able to design and outfit the boy’s car with a total investment of about $400, as opposed to the cost of a power wheelchair, which is roughly $35,000. Davis completed her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering December 2017 and was the first engineering student at her college to complete the premed requirements. In the fall, she will attend Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Georgia campus outside of Atlanta. 

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