Outstanding Young Alumni

Recognizing Alumni who have attained outstanding achievements in their field of endeavor, community, state or nation. This award was created by the Board of Young Associates and was first presented in 2004.

Past Recipients

NameTitleAward YearBio
Mr. Justin Furnace, 2001 Government and Public Affairs Specialist 2014-2015 Bio
Mr. Jason Newman, 1995 Trial Attorney – Energy Litigation 2014-2015 Bio
Ms. Allison Rhodes, 1995x Investment Advisor 2014-2015 Bio
Mr. Chad Braun, 1994 Chief Financial Officer 2013-2014 Bio
Ms. Deanna Julian, 2000 Entertainer 2013-2014 Bio
Dr. Jason Terrell, 2002 Medical Doctor 2013-2014 Bio
Mr. Michael Daggs Jr, 1996/2000  Excellence Consultant 2012-2013 Bio
Dr. Dan Munton, 1991 Physician 2012-2013 Bio
Dr. Emily Prevost, 2000/2002 Leadership Developer 2012-2013 Bio
Mr. Brian Bessent, 1996 Speech Therapist/Administrator  2011-2012 Bio
Dr. David Lott, 1997/2008 Physical Therapist 2011-2012 Bio
Mrs. Melanie Ocana, 2000 Business Owner 2011-2012 Bio
Ms. Terri Hendrix, Music 1990 Award-Winning Musician 2010-2011 Bio
Mr. Todd Gentzel, BBS 1995 Business Strategist 2010-2011 Bio
Mr. Leighton Flowers, BBS 1997 Youth Ministry Executive 2010-2011 Bio
Dr. Brad Butler, 1997 Anesthesiologist 2009-2010  
Mr. Michael McCown, 1997 Professional Opera Singer 2009-2010  
Mr. James Christoferson, 1997 Politician 2009-2010  
Mr. Darren Allman, 1994 Coach and Athletic Director 2008-2009  
Dr. Tracy Manly, 1993 Professor 2008-2009  
Mr. Joe Darren Weir, 1995 Digital Media/Communication 2008-2009  
Mr. Dickson Masindano, 2001 International Orphan Care 2007-2008  
Mr. Mike McMaude, 1990 Health Care and Insurance 2007-2008  
Dr. Laura Pogue, 1987/1991 Professor 2007-2008  
Dr. Lori Conklin, 1988 Anesthesiologist and Professor 2006-2007  
Dr. James Morrow, 1987 Choral Director 2006-2007  
Mr. Mike Hammack, 1985/1989 Ministry 2005-2006  
Mr. Dean Nolen, 1989 Acting 2005-2006  
Alex Vasquez, 1985 Law 2005-2006  
Mr. Greg Solomon, 1983 Community Development 2004-2005  
Dr. Christy Stanlake, 1994 Theater and Teacher 2004-2005  
Mr. Phil Wilson, 1990 Government 2004-2005  
Mr. Victor Carrillo, 1986 Texas Railroad Commissioner 2003-2004  
Leland Harden,1984 Entrepreneur and Author 2003-2004  

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2015-2016 Recipient(s)

Dr. Cristel V. Camacho
B.S. 2005, Biology
Cancer Research Scientist

As a published Postdoctoral Research Fellow with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, Cristel focuses on understanding the role of DNA repair deficiencies in the developing central nervous system and its contribution to gliomagenesis. Her NASA-funded Ph.D. research (2012) focused on understanding the carcinogenic consequences of radiation exposure, particularly in the brain.

I have nothing but fond memories of my time at HSU. I was surrounded by dedicated science professors who were always enthusiastic about teaching. I hold them in such high esteem, as it was their guidance and encouragement, even after leaving HSU, that gave me confidence to pursue my career wholeheartedly. 

Mr. Matt Chandler 
B.B.S. 1999, Ministry/Leadership

Matt is Lead Pastor of Teaching for The Village Church (formerly First Baptist, Highland Village) with four campuses in the DFW Metroplex. He also serves as President of the Acts 29 Network, an organization dedicated to planting church-planting churches. Matt has authored or co-authored several books, and his popular teaching series and studies are available to churches around the world. 

All that God has done in my life in the past 20 years can be tied back to my time at HSU. God's sovereign gracious hand was creating relationships and teaching me lessons that continue to serve me to this day.

Dr. Starr (Brockmeier) Hoffman 
B.A. 1999, Fine Art/English Literature
Academic Librarian

Starr is Head of Planning and Assessment at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, an administrative position which involves strategic planning, organizational development, and evaluating library performance through a range of data. A published scholar, she has previously served as Head of the Journalism Library at Columbia University and Head of the Government Documents Department at the University of North Texas.

HSU provided my husband and I not only with an excellent education, but also with a close-knit community of caring staff and faculty and lifelong friends. Seventeen years later, our lives are the richer for these enduring relationships. Hardin-Simmons gave me a great liberal arts college experience: small classes, caring professors, a broad and varied education, and a beautiful, stimulating campus environment.

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2014-2015 Recipient(s)

Mr. Justin Furnace 
B.A. 2001, History/Bible
Government and Public Affairs Specialist

Justin is Director of External Affairs for Hilcorp Energy Company, one of the largest privately-owned oil and gas companies in the U.S. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Zion Oil and Gas, a NASDAQ listed company working to find oil in Israel. Previously, he was President of the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Assn.

Without question the relationships I developed as a student at Hardin-Simmons have been critical to my development both personally and professionally. It’s safe to say that, in large measure, much of what I have accomplished thus far in my career is directly attributable to the years I spent at HSU.

Mr. Jason Newman
B.A. 1995, English/Communication
Trial Attorney – Energy Litigation

Jason is a trial attorney specializing in energy litigation. As a partner in the Baker Botts law firm of Houston, he advises energy clients on all aspects of legal and operational issues arising from the rapid development of various oil and gas shale plays throughout the U.S.

HSU is truly home to me. I literally grew up there, following my dad around campus and going on field trips with his students to the Guadalupe Mountains and our family land. It was natural fit for me to complete my undergraduate education there.

Ms. Allison Rhodes
1995x, Political science/Economics
Investment Advisor

Allison is a vice president and private wealth advisor in the Dallas office of Goldman Sachs, working with ultra-high-net-worth families and foundations throughout the Southwest. Previously she was the Global Research Coordinator at Citi Investment Research, and served as a public relations advisor to Fortune 100 companies.

My days at Hardin-Simmons provided the grounding and confidence I needed to step out of my comfort zone, embrace risk-taking, and pursue my dreams. The wonderful faculty and fellow students, many of whom remain life-long friends, challenged and encouraged me. On this campus I was exposed to opportunities that shaped my understanding of the world. Hardin-Simmons will always feel like a second home, and I’m grateful for this University’s impact on my life.

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2013-2014 Recipient(s)

Chad Braun
Chief Financial Officer
BBA 1994

HSU provided me with an ideal education. I was able to learn the technical skills in my area of study. But more importantly, I was able to interact with professors and staff to gain ‘real world’ practical skills and habits that certainly have benefited me in my career. All of this was built upon a foundation of Christian education, whereby my beliefs, morals and faith were strengthened and sharpened.

Chad Braun is the executive vice president, chief financial officer and chief operating officer of AmREIT, a publicly-traded equity real estate investment trust based in Houston. He is responsible for overseeing the company’s corporate finance, equity capital markets, debt structuring and placement, investor relations, accounting, and reporting to the Securities and Exchange Commission. He shepherded AmREIT’s initial public offering and entry into the New York Stock Exchange, helping helped formulate the company’s investment strategy and expand assets from approx. $100m to $1.2b.

Chad holds memberships in numerous professional organizations including the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, and the International Council of Shopping Centers. He is also chairman of the board of directors for Cypress Christian School.

Chad and his wife Kathy (Bowers, B.B.A 1994) two daughters, Hannah Nicole and Hailey Noel. The Brauns are members of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Houston.

 Congratulate Chad at cbraun@amreit.com.

Deanna Julian
BM 2000

At Hardin-Simmons, professors took an interest in my well-being both academically and personally, for which I am eternally grateful. Thanks to a small-school environment, I got hands-on experience and training specifically tailored to my needs and interests. I acquired the tools needed to succeed in the very competitive field of performance. Building on that foundation, I’ve seen hundreds of doors open and have achieved goals I would not have dreamed possible.

A resident guest artist with Princess Cruises since 2007, Deanna Julian has also participated in the premiere casts of several shows created by the cruise line and also occasionally served as musical director and associate choreographer.

Deanna’s debut album, Wake Me, Shake Me, was produced by Joel Stein on Green Zebra Records in 2009. She has appeared at many popular New York venues as a solo performer, and previously was the lead singer for P.F. and the Flyers, a Houston-based rock-n-roll band.

An actor as well as a singer, Deanna participated in the original touring cast of Deep in the Heart, and her extensive credits include Theatre Under the Stars with Tony Award winner Leslie Uggams and Broadway veteran Ken Page, Stages Repertory, and the Alley Theater.

When Deanna is not at sea or auditioning in Manhattan, she can be found renovating her lake house near Austin.

Congratulate Deanna at deannajulian@yahoo.com

Jason Terrell
Medical Doctor
BS 2002

The comfortable atmosphere and superior education at Hardin-Simmons is the perfect combination for achieving spiritual growth and professional development.  Hardin-Simmons provided the knowledge and confidence necessary to succeed in business and in life.

Jason Terrell is national corporate medical director of Any Lab Test Now and owns two diagnostic centers in Lubbock and Amarillo. The company, based in Alpharetta, Georgia, the fastest-growing medical franchise business in the nation. Dr. Terrell is responsible for operation of more than 70 Any Lab Test Now facilities and holds medical licenses in 14 states.

Additionally, Jason he is Chief Medical Officer and Head of US Operations for VolitionRx, pioneering cancer diagnostics, and serves on the Board for CDEX, a safety product company.

In a completely different realm, Jason is co-owner and operator with his brother, Jeff, of Terrell Property Development, providing multi-family housing in Texas and New Mexico. He also has an interest in his family’s business, Terrell Oil and Gas Production Company, based in Hamlin.

Jason and his wife Brooke have two daughters, Katelyn and Kylie. They live in Marble Falls, Texas, where they attend First Baptist Church.

 Congratulate Jason at  jasonterrellmd@gmail.com. 

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2011-2012 Recipient(s)

Michael W. Daggs Jr.
Excellence Consultant
BBS 1996 / ME 2000

As co-owner of the professional consulting firm, Tutt and Daggs, Mr. Daggs makes presentations, facilitates webinars, and leads special sessions to help prepare and equip individuals to lead where they are. Michael has been recognized recently as a top business person under 40 in Abilene.



Dr. Dan Munton, MD
BS 1991

In private practice since 2000, Dr. Dan Munton is a board-certified physician in the fields of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Pain Medicine with subspecialty fellowship training in Sports Medicine and Interventional Spine Care. In 2006, he became the physician for HSU’s football team. As his practice grew, he became the founder and managing partner of Texas Sport & Spine in Abilene. Dan is also owner and operator of Munton Sports Complex.



David LottDr. Emily Prevost
Leadership Developer
BA 2000 / MA 2002 

As director of Leadership Development at East Texas Baptist University, Dr. Emily Prevost oversees the curricular and co-curricular leadership development program for students. Emily is known for her extraordinary skills for relationships, visionary leadership, practical ministry, and strategic planning.

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