LPS Alumni

ALUMNI

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LPS grads go on to do incredible things! Enjoy these spotlights of just a few of our amazing Livonia alumni and what they’re up to now. (Know someone who should be featured? Please email lulaszek2@livoniapublicschools.org)

Samuel Klos, Stevenson 2013

Sam attended Buchanan Elementary, Riley Upper Elementary, Holmes Middle School, and Stevenson High School (2013). He graduated from Wayne State University’s College of Nursing in 2019 with a Bachelor’s in the Science of Nursing (BSN).

He started at St. Mary Mercy Hospital in 2014 working in the kitchen, became a Patient Care Technician (PCT) in 2016, and started as an RN on the Cardiac unit in 2019.

Regarding working at the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sam said, “I had only been an RN for 10 months when COVID-19 cases started filling the hospital. 3 East, the unit I work on, became the first designated COVID-19 unit in the hospital. As patient acuity rose, my colleagues and I were given crash courses on how to manage patients on ventilators and medications we were not used to using. We were fortunate enough to have adequate supplies of PPE which was not the case at other facilities across the country. While many of us were scared, the Livonia community kept our spirits up with plenty of food and words of affirmation. I am thankful to be able to serve and continue to serve the people of this community.”

Sophia Lynch, Stevenson 2014

Sophia was recently featured in the Livonia Observer for her new short film, “Leaving Michiana.” Sophia wrote, directed, co-produced and starred in the film. Sophia has also worked in production on the set of “Barry,” an Emmy Award-winning HBO comedy. 

Read more about this Hollywood-bound alumna here: https://www.hometownlife.com/story/life/community/observer/livonia/2021/08/17/livonia-stevenson-graduate-premieres-short-film-leaving-michiana/8148668002/?fbclid=IwAR1ikr8T4InM5e_dP7IdL5XJues0oSI8A4IgyNKwtMIut6JNF69fqWOhwfI 

Robyn Hinchman, Stevenson 2013

Robyn attended Webster Elementary, Frost Middle, and Stevenson High schools. She attended the University of Michigan, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Space Engineering. She was heavily involved in the Michigan Aeronautical Science Association (MASA), a student team specializing in the design, manufacturing, and launching of sounding rockets. Fun fact, she was the president of the team during the year they won the worldwide competition!

Robin spent two summers as a propulsion engineering intern at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. After graduation, she moved to Cape Canaveral Florida, to work as a launch engineer at SpaceX. There, she helped refurbish many flown Falcon 9 rocket boosters and prepared them to fly again several times over. 

Now, she is still at SpaceX, but has moved to Los Angeles to work as an Integration & Test Engineer. In this role, she specializes in the final assembly and checkouts of the Raptor rocket engine, which will hopefully carry humans to the Moon and Mars!

Derek Kevra, Stevenson 2003

Derek attended Coolidge Elementary, Riley Middle School and Stevenson High School. You can catch him on the local news because he works as a Meteorologist at Fox 2 News.

Reflecting on his journey and how his experiences at LPS prepared him, Derek says, “After college, my career took me to some really fun places; working as a meteorologist in Oregon (where I met my wife!) and then in New Orleans (where I discovered Mardi Gras!).  Working as a meteorologist in the TV News industry is interesting because while there is a very large science component to it putting together the forecast there is also a “performance” component to it when the TV light goes on.  It’s at this time that I’m even more grateful for my experiences with LPS.  As far back at Riley Middle School I was involved with the stage plays/musicals with Eric Stromberg all through High School with Michael Corliss. Being on stage helped me learn how to communicate with an audience – and how to ad lib in case things go wrong!  All of the skills have helped get me to where I am today.”

Erin Liepa, Stevenson 2007 

Erin moved from Livonia to Geneva, Switzerland. Reflecting on life abroad, Erin says, “Living abroad has made it possible for me to pursue a career and a lifestyle that I love. I live in Geneva, Switzerland, and moved here in 2011, after graduating from Michigan State University. Shortly after I moved here, I began working in global health and infectious diseases at The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, where I still work today. The Global Fund is an international organization under the broader umbrella of the United Nations and its associated institutions. We invest more than four billion dollars each year in global health, primarily through grants to low and middle-income countries.  In my current role, I am working on the Global Fund’s next Strategy, which aims to end AIDS, Tuberculosis, and malaria as public health threats by 2030.  The language spoken in Geneva is French, but my current work is primarily in English. Outside of work, my husband, friends, and I enjoy an active life in Switzerland. We count more than forty nationalities in our wider friend circle and enjoy spending time on Geneva’s lake in the summer, skiing in the mountains in winter, and travelling together in between. Work has taken me from Nigeria to Tanzania to Burkina Faso (and more!) and outside of work, my travels have taken me from Russia to Argentina to New Zealand to the Kingdom of Tonga, and beyond.”

Erin credits her experiences as a LPS student with preparing her to be a global citizen. “My interest in international affairs took hold from a young age and was nurtured at Livonia Stevenson, where I was in Global Education and studied French and Spanish. After high school I continued to pursue these interests, attending the James Madison College at Michigan State University, and graduating with two degrees: one in French, and one in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy.  Some of my favorite memories from Livonia Stevenson were participating in MAMUN, a Model United Nations conference, where I am now a staff member and chairperson. I have volunteered as a staff member at MAMUN every year for the past fourteen years since graduating from Stevenson, and even while living abroad, I have been able to return to Michigan to participate in MAMUN each year, and to connect with each new class of Livonia Stevenson students. In 2017 I was Livonia Stevenson’s commencement speaker, an honor and a privilege for which I will always be grateful!” 

Marissa Kreutzfeld, Franklin 2010 

Marissa is clerking for a judge who sits on Michigan’s highest court. She attended McKinley Elementary School, Emerson Middle School, and Franklin High School. 

She’s had a wide variety of experiences early in her judicial career. “While my focus has always been on social injustice, I felt compelled to work in the judiciary, where my passion and interest always laid, and where I felt that my skills would be of the most use to society.  I was fortunate to be hired to work a two year term at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upon my graduation in 2017, which was based in Atlanta, GA.  I never saw myself living in the South, but I really enjoyed my time there.  Atlanta is full of wonderful people and is an extremely fun place to live in your mid-20s.  But, I was a bit homesick and wanted to be closer to my family, with whom I have always been close.  I was lucky enough to secure a job starting in September 2019 with Judge Anica Letica at the Michigan Court of Appeals as her law clerk.  While I enjoyed my time with Judge Letica, I was eager to continue advancing through the judiciary and work with other young lawyers.  I found that opportunity when Justice Welch was elected in November 2020 and was looking for clerks to join her in January 2021.  I have been there ever since, and really love my job helping shape the law for the State I love so much.”  

Sheryl Ann Crespo, Churchill 2013

After graduating from Churchill in 2013, Sheryl Ann Crespo moved to New York City to attend Columbia University, which launched the start of a fantastic career — from the gaming industry to building technology teams.

“While I entered as a biomedical engineering major — a choice inspired by my biology teacher through the MSC program, Mr. Meloche — I eventually switched to study computer science and evolutionary biology. I founded Columbia’s Game Design and Development organization — a passion project that eventually drove a career move into the gaming industry. My journey into computer science began with taking a research fellowship at Columbia’s History Lab, conducting machine learning research (natural language processing) on government documents. When I graduated in 2017, I did similar work in the pharmaceutical space, but left after the company was acquired to work as a first hire in a gaming intelligence startup. Given my involvement in the gaming industry, I fell into semi-professional cosplay, promoting for companies including Blizzard and Team 17 at various events and conferences. After building up and managing the engineering team, we were acquired by Nielsen, where I led software engineering efforts for Nielsen’s sports vertical. Since then, I have taken a position as Director, building a tech team from the ground up at a post-investor logistics company; aiding a 50-year-old family-run freight forwarder undergo its digital transformation.”

April Maas, Churchill 2006

April recently moved home to Michigan after a decade in New York City. She works as a fundraiser at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Her high school friends have remained friends for life. 

“I often tell people that my high school experience was much like High School Musical – including people randomly breaking into song in the halls – in a good way. Churchill set me up for success in life, and also gave me my most lasting friendships. All my friends were joiners, probably too much so. From Marching Band to The Charger Herald, National Honor Society and musical theater – I believe these early collaborative and leadership experiences helped us all establish the ambition that continues to drive us 15 years later. The academic rigors of Churchill served us well, propelling us through college, and for several of us, grad school too. My core group of high school friends have gone on to diverse careers in finance, fundraising, medicine, film, and more. We have scattered across the country, but many of us have found our way back to southeast Michigan in the past year.

Without a doubt, the most valuable thing we walked away with was our friendships (plus the many new friends and partners we brought into the fold along the way). My closest friends from Churchill continue to support and challenge me and know me deeper than almost anyone – we have an enduring bond that cannot be replicated. Long lunches at Sushi House, late night coffee in downtown Plymouth, and concerts downtown – all wonderful memories from our high school years, but we continue to make new ones each year. I know we are incredibly privileged to have received an excellent public school education, and truly enjoyed our high school experience. Few are given such an opportunity.” 

Brandon McCullough, Franklin 2000

Livonia City Council Member (current term – January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2023)

I spent my childhood roaming the streets of South Livonia on my 1992 GT Mach One BMX. I was a regular at Wonderland Mall, Cutting Corner, Daly, Bread Basket, Senate Coney Island and too many more to name. I attended elementary school at Cleveland, middle school at Emerson and high school at Franklin.

During my days at Franklin, I was blessed to meet my beautiful wife Kacie, who to this day claims the only reason she agreed to go on a date was that I was the captain of the Franklin Hockey team. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a degree in Special Education. She loved the education she received from Livonia Public Schools so much she joined the team and is teaching at our alma mater, Franklin High School, in the resource room. Following my incredible Livonia Public Schools education, I attended Lawrence Tech and obtained a degree in Construction Engineering and graduated with honors.

My professional career really took off in 2008 when I served as the Director of Construction for Habitat for Humanity. During my employment, our affiliate renovated and built over 65 homes across Macomb County providing safe housing for many deserving families. My biggest accomplishment at Habitat was leading a project to create Macomb County’s first LEED for Homes Platinum certified project.

Currently, I serve as the Facilities Manager for the Northville Township with the overall management of the Facilities Management Division. This division is tasked with the operations, capital planning, and construction management for all the township’s facilities and grounds. 

My wife and I purchased our family home in Burton Hollow Estates in 2009 and in 2014, we welcomed our one-of-a-kind daughter Harper (Harps) Rose. We are convinced that she will be both the Captain of the USA Women’s Olympic Hockey team and the President of the United States.

Kelly Walblay, Franklin 2011

Kelly is an Epidemiologist at the Chicago Department of Public Health. Her role during the pandemic focused primarily on tracking COVID-19 cases and responding to outbreaks in healthcare settings, specifically nursing homes throughout Chicago.

Reflecting on her work during the pandemic, Kelly said, “Serving in the public health sector during this time has been a whirlwind. I honestly never thought I would be responding to a pandemic in my entire epidemiology career let alone within the first five years. This experience was (and still is) challenging… It has been a time where it truly required “all hands-on deck” and you are working in a fast-paced and high-stakes environment. Even with these challenges, this experience has been a rewarding one. Rarely are you able to see your work validated as impactful and during this time, my team and I contributed directly to city policies and strategic decisions made throughout the course of the pandemic. Although the response was not perfect, I am honored to work alongside such a passionate, devoted team. They all have worked tirelessly for the past two years because they genuinely care about what happens to the communities they serve, and I know this dedication will continue indefinitely, even long past the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Lisa Keith, Stevenson 1997

She attended Taylor Elementary, Holmes Middle School, Stevenson High School (1997), and graduated from Madonna University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.

After college I was hired by the Department of Homeland Security where I worked as an immigration and customs inspector at the Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (The U.S. Government established Ports of Entry in foreign countries, known as “Pre-clearance”, where international passengers clear U.S. immigration and customs prior to arriving in the U.S.) I lived in Montreal for five years and I have lots to say about this experience, but in short, I learned more during this time than I ever did in college, made lifelong friends and learned to speak French along the way.

In 2007, I was hired as a special agent by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and, following a grueling academy, I moved back to Detroit. HSI is the principle investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security with over 6,800 special agents located in 220 cities across the nation and 86 international offices around the globe. HSI investigates transnational criminal organizations that threaten or seek to exploit the customs and immigration laws of the United States. During my career, I have investigated human rights abuses, most notably, a suspected perpetrator in the 1994 Rwandan genocide where I traveled to Rwanda to interview survivors and witnesses; I became a subject matter expert in child exploitation crimes with over 100 investigations involving the sexual exploitation of children; and finally, the investigation I am most proud of is the first ever federal prosecution of 18 U.S.C. 116, Female Genital Mutilation, which led to the State of Michigan enacting its first criminal statute for FGM. In 2017, I was promoted to supervisory special agent. I have supervised investigations involving human trafficking, human smuggling, immigration fraud, human rights violators, financial crimes, narcotics smuggling, and matters concerning national security. Most recently, I lived in Washington, D.C. for an 18 month assignment working for executive leadership at HSI; and a temporary assignment to Operation Allies Welcome at Ft. McCoy, Wisconsin to assist in the largest humanitarian effort in U.S. history following the evacuation of nearly 100,000 Afghan refugees from Afghanistan in August 2021. I have the greatest job in the entire world and I am profoundly grateful for it.

I always knew what I wanted to do in life. My interest was criminal justice, but when you’re young, and female, it can be hard to imagine what that looks like. My dream was to be a special agent. Interestingly, I was very shy growing up. I talk about this part of me often because my shyness could have prevented me from realizing my biggest dream. I worked very hard, and still do, to always push myself outside of my comfort. When you do that, the most powerful growth happens. Finally, I credit my supportive and encouraging parents for my success. They told me I could do whatever I wanted and I believed them.

Garon Cockrell, Churchill 1998

Award-winning Screenwriter, Best-Selling Author, Podcaster/Producer, LGBTQIA, Twitch Streamer

Garon Cockrell is an award-winning screenwriter, producer, best-selling author, blogger, and podcaster living in Los Angeles, by way of Michigan, and chasing that dream of conquering the entertainment industry. He has a lifelong love of pop culture, film, music, games, books, and nearly anything horror related.

You can find him all over the internet on Twitter, Twitch and Instagram @MyNameIsGaron and as a cast member on the award-winning podcast “Never Not Funny” hosted by Jimmy Pardo.

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