Meet the Class of 2016
Cynthia (Paris) Burkhead, Raytown High School, Class of 1975
Dr. Cynthia (Paris) Burkhead graduated from Raytown High in 1975. She received her Associate of Arts in English in 1993, Bachelor of Arts in English in 1994, Master of Arts in English and American Literature in 1997, and her Ph.D. in English from Middle Tennessee State University in 2010.
Dr. Burkhead believes rebooting her life at the age of 32 is her greatest accomplishment. It was at that point that she decided to re-envision her future, starting college as a single mother of two toddlers.In the past 25 years, Dr. Burkhead has published two monographs and two collected
In the past 25 years, Dr. Burkhead has published two monographs and two collected essays, earned her Ph.D., and is currently the English Department Chair of the largest academic department at the University of North Alabama. Her specialized experiences include serving as the Assistant Editor in 1996 for Sou‘wester Magazine and the Poetry Editor in 1997. She was the Faculty Editor for Muse Literary Magazine in 2000. She is the author of Dreams in American Television Narratives: from Dallas to Buffy and Student Companion to John Steinbeck. She is co-editor of Joss Whedon: Conversations and Grace Under Pressure: Uncovering Grey’s Anatomy.
She is the author of Dreams in American Television Narratives: from Dallas to Buffy and Student Companion to John Steinbeck. She is co-editor of Joss Whedon: Conversations and Grace Under Pressure: Uncovering Grey’s Anatomy.
Dr. Burkhead is the recipient of three University of North Alabama Service Awards. In 2008, she was awarded the Academic Affairs Award for Outstanding Service followed by the University Outstanding Service Award in 2009. She was the winner of No’Ala Magazine’s Renaissance Award for Education in 2010 and the W.T. McElheny Award for Service to the Student Government Association in 2013.
She was the President of Shoals for Humanity from 2012-2013 and the Vice-President/President Elect for Whedon Studies Association from 2014-2016. Dr. Burkhead is a member of the Popular Culture Association and the Popular Culture of the South. She is a published author and has presented numerous times across the United States and London.
Mark Corey, Raytown High School, Class of 1986
Mark Corey graduated from Raytown High in 1986. He later continued his education at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, receiving a Bachelor’s in Communications in 1998.
Mark Corey graduated from Raytown High in 1986. He later continued his education at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, receiving a Bachelor’s in Communications in 1998. Corey is a multi-award winning journalist, producer, and photographer. He currently serves as the Investigative Producer and Photographer for the CBS affiliate, KRQE, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Corey is a multi-award winning journalist, producer, and photographer. He currently serves as the Investigative Producer and Photographer for the CBS affiliate, KRQE, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
As a producer, he handles all of the computer-assisted research, secures permission for use of outside video sources, and supervises the visual elements of each investigative project including editing and graphics design. As a photographer, Corey is responsible for maintaining high-quality light and sound for all of the unit photography including on-camera interviews, video surveillance, and undercover video.
Corey has participated in 17 back-to-back Bike MS events, raising $26,575 for Multiple Sclerosis and is consistently among the top ten fundraisers for the New Mexico event. Beyond collecting and managing donations, Corey has donated over $2,575 of his own money to fight this deadly disease.
Corey has been an active member of the Santa Fe Men’s Camerata Choir Group. They regularly perform at retirement homes as part of the group’s community service outreach.
Since 2008, Corey has received 23 awards for his work. In 2008, he received the Lin Television Circle of Excellence Award for outstanding leadership, professionalism, and commitment to Lin TV. In 2011, Corey was awarded the Edward R. Murrow Award for News Video Series, Air New Mexico.
He is the recipient of 19 Rocky Mountain Southwest Emmy Awards and received five nominations in this year’s round of judging. In 2014, he was recognized for outstanding journalism at Media General, receiving the D. Tennant Bryan Award for investigative reporting. He received the 2016 Award of Excellence in Television for “E.R. Wait Times” from the American College of Emergency Physicians.
Dr. Mark Hoffman, Raytown South High School, Class of 1987
Dr. Mark Hoffman graduated from Raytown South High in 1987. Graduating from William Jewell, summa cum laude in 1991, he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Molecular Biology. He continued his education in 1996 receiving a Doctorate of Philosophy in Bacteriology with a minor in Biotechnology from the University of Wisconsin.
Dr. Hoffman’s career has varied from formal scientific training in microbiology to a fascinating and satisfying career as a business executive and academic leader in applied bioinformatics. He assembles and leads teams to build transformative systems that are widely utilized, whether in managing clinical molecular diagnostic labs, supporting clinical research initiatives or improving public health through better disease surveillance.
He is an expert in the development and application of new technologies in health care. He joined the Cerner Corporation in 1997 as an application developer in microbiology, working his way up to Vice-President of Personalized Medicine in 2013. His specialties include medical informatics, bioinformatics, personalized/precision medicine, translational medicine, clinical research, and outcomes research.
Dr. Hoffman is an inventor on 19 issued patents and has several pending. He is a published author and lecturer, including a TED presentation. In 2004, he was awarded the Cerner Outstanding Intellectual Property Achievement Award and the Cerner Innovation of the Year Award, along with other inventors and Cerner’s legal department for the “Patent Program.” He was recently inducted into the National Academy of Inventors.
Currently, Dr. Hoffman is the Chief Research Information Officer for Children’s Mercy Hospital. He is also an Associate Professor of Biomedical and Health Informatics at the University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Medicine.
Dr. Hoffman enjoys mentoring students and contributing to “light bulb moments” of insight through both research and teaching. He and his wife, Ruth, also a graduate of Raytown South, are proud parents to two wonderful daughters, Jordan and Sophia.
Jim Martin, Raytown High School, Class of 1971
Jim Martin graduated from Raytown High in 1971. He is proud to say he received “1” ratings at the State Music Contest all fours years in high school. He received the State Industrial Arts “Grand Prize” award as a sophomore, designing and building a walnut roll-top desk.
Martin received his Bachelor’s in Aerospace Engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, in 1975 and immediately entered the Navy’s Aerospace Engineering Office program. Later, he received two Master’s, one in Education and the other in Management Science.
Competing against all the test pilots at the Naval Air Test Center, Martin was awarded the Admiral Merlin O’Neill “Officer of the Year” award. As an Aerospace Engineering Officer in the United States Navy, he served more than seven years at sea during his 22-year tenure, along with five combat theaters. He crossed the equator, the International Date Line and the Arctic Circle several times. He has visited all 50 states, six Canadian provinces, and 36 countries.
At the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Office, Martin was the Senior Program Manager leading a group of Intelligence Analysts providing integrated analytic assessments of multi-agency counter-terrorism IED efforts. He was also the Programs Reviewer exercising oversight of a $6 billion portfolio of 475 programs focused on attacking Improvised Explosive Device (IED) terrorist networks.
Martin was the Senior Logistics Manager for the U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force where he produced, delivered, and installed 600 projects providing solutions to gaps in combat capability. His duties included combat deployments to Iraq.
He enjoys playing rugby, flying, parachuting, and scuba diving. Martin still plays drums with the Kansas City Celtic Pipes and Drums and was the orchestra pit percussionist in the Raytown Arts Council’s production of “Brigadoon” in 2015. He and his wife, Karen, also a 1971 Raytown High School graduate, reside in Kansas City.
Mike Swanson, Raytown High School, Class of 1972
Mike Swanson graduated from Raytown High in 1972, later attending the University of Kansas. In 2007, he began as the Vice President for Communications and Broadcasting for the Kansas City Royals, the 2014 American League Champion and 2015 World Series Champion. Known as “Swanee,” he worked in the Royals Public Relations department in the 1970’s and returned to Kansas City after nine seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he was the Senior Director of Public Relations, a stint that included Arizona’s World Series title in 2001.
Prior to his start-up role with the Diamondbacks, Swanson had a similar experience with the Colorado Rockies, joining their staff in 1992, a year before they played their first game. He also worked in public relations with the San Diego Padres.
Swanson was the Public Relations liaison for the Major League Baseball All-Star squad that played an eight game All-Star series throughout Japan in November 2000.
He was also the Public Relations liaison for the Dominican Republic team that went 8-0 to win the 2013 World Baseball Classic and will again serve in that role for the 2017 WBC when the Dominican Republic defends its title.
In the last few years, Swanson has been invited to speak at the Major League Baseball Rookie Career Development Program in Leesburg, Virginia, becoming the first club Public Relations representative to serve on the panel. In 2002, Swanson earned the prestigious Robert O. Fishel Award for Public Relations Excellence. The award, named after the long-time baseball executive, goes to the “Active, non-uniformed representative of Major League Baseball whose ethics, character, dedication, service, professionalism, and humanitarianism best represents the standards of Mr. Fishel.”
He and his wife, Renee, have one teenage daughter, Rachel, and they reside in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.
Dr. Starnes Walker, Attended Raytown Schools K-11
Dr. Starnes E. Walker attended Raytown Schools through his junior year, moving to California to graduate in 1965. During his high school years, he was active in academics and sports. Dr. Walker holds a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. in physics from the University of California and an Honorary Degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Missouri, Rolla.
Dr. Walker is a senior executive with 35 years of leadership and executive management. Working within the U.S. Departments of Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, and industry, Dr. Walker’s assertive leadership in research, development, and engineering has resulted in enhanced national security. He is a leading national expert in cybersecurity, science and technology, defense, and intelligence.
Developing critically important strategic national and international programs for the U.S. Government, industry, and academia while working closely with international government leaders and industry partners, Dr. Walker has contributed to transforming the U.S. defense and security posture.
His achievements have led to strategic partnerships with the U.K., Australia, Singapore, Israel, Canada, Sweden, EU, and NATO for an integrated approach to national security.
In 1999, Dr. Walker served as the Senior Executive standing up the newest DoD Defense Agency, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. He then served as the Executive Director and Chief Scientist at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) overseeing ONR and the Naval Research Laboratory from 2004-2006 and then served as the Department of Homeland Security Director of Research from 2006-2010.
From 2010-2013, Dr. Walker served as the Chief Technology Officer and Technical Director of the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and U.S. 10th Fleet, as the Senior Executive Service (SES) Member for Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community at Fort Meade, Maryland. Currently, he is the Founding Director of the University of Delaware Cybersecurity Initiative and Professor-Electrical and Computer Engineering.