New Employee Introductions 2022

Kathy DeanNews

MOBILE, Ala. – The University of Mobile announced new faculty for the 2022-2023 academic year. 
New faculty are:

College of Arts & Sciences

Dr. Lynne LeonardProgram Coordinator, Marine Science
College of Arts & Sciences

Dr. Lynne Leonard joins the College of Arts & Sciences as program coordinator of the Bachelor of Science in Marine Science program. 

Lynne was born in Cheektowaga, New York, and moved to Mississippi when she was 16, then attended Mississippi State University and graduated with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.  She opened a veterinary practice in Semmes and has been in private practice for over 30 years. Lynne and her husband have 4-legged children – 3 dogs, and 2 cats – plus one spoiled chicken. Her hobbies include kayaking, backpacking and trail running, and she dabbles in flame working and pottery. This year she started an adventure in beekeeping. 

School of Education

Dr. Jessica FreelandAssistant Professor of Education
School of Education

Dr. Jessica Freeland joins the School of Education as Assistant Professor of Education.

Jessica holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Elementary Education, and earned her doctorate in Instructional Design and Development. She taught elementary school for six years, where she has been a grade level chair, PowerSchool/Schoology lead teacher, and mentor teacher to student teachers. Her specialty is arts integration, and she served as the coordinator of the Arts in Education professional development program at the University of South Alabama for over seven years. She has also worked as a grant development specialist and has experience in both writing and managing grants, which she plans to continue at UM. 

School of Nursing

Dr. Martha (Marty) GibsonAssociate Professor of Nursing
School of Nursing

Dr. Martha Gibson joins the School of Nursing as Associate Professor of Nursing.

Marty graduated from the University of South Alabama with a Bachelor of Science in math/secondary education, then earned an Associate Degree in Nursing from Bishop State Community College. She went on to receive a Master of Nursing from USA. She taught for 20+ years as a private and public school math teacher, and added school nursing to the mix after becoming a registered nurse.  In 2004, she moved to Texas and worked in rural nursing and as an assistant professor in nursing at Midwestern State University.  She attended Texas Woman’s University and earned a PhD in Health Studies, then moved back to Mobile to begin as an associate professor of nursing at Spring Hill College. Marty has a son and daughter, both married, and 6 wonderful grandsons. In addition to loving her family, she enjoys singing, gardening, traveling and playing with the animals on her farm. 

Laurie Houston

Laurie HoustonAssistant Professor of Nursing
School of Nursing

Laurie Houston returns to her alma mater as Assistant Professor of Nursing in the School of Nursing.

She is an obstetrical nurse with a passion for teaching. Laurie earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Mobile, and spent 9 ½ years serving in the military as an Army Nurse. Her journey in nursing education began upon her return to Mobile in 2000. She taught nursing students in the clinical setting at Spring Hill College, the University of South Alabama, and Bishop State Community College. She continued to teach in the classroom setting at Virginia College and Bishop State, where she spent the last nine years instructing nursing students. Laurie is a Mobile native who enjoys living on the Gulf Coast surrounded by friends and her beautiful family, which includes one spoiled dog and a very pertinacious nephew.

Dr. Melinda McGaughy

Dr. Melinda (Lindi) McGaughyAssociate Professor of Nursing
School of Nursing

Dr. Melinda McGaughy joins UM as Associate Professor of Nursing in the School of Nursing.

Lindi earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from The Ohio State University and is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner. Her nursing experience has been in neonatal intensive care, pediatric primary care, retail health, and family practice. She served full-time in the graduate school on the Family Nurse Practitioner faculty at Ohio State for 6 years before relocating to Alabama.  Lindi completed a Post-Master’s certification in Advanced Practice Nurse Education and a Doctor of Nursing Practice from Otterbein University with a project focused on integrative advanced practice nursing education.  She is on the advisory board for the Center for Integrative Medicine at Ohio State. She presents regularly at national nursing organizations, and her research interests include peer review in nursing education, faculty civility in higher education, and integrative health.  Lindi and her husband, David, have been married for 40 years. They have 3 children and 7 grandchildren, and together they have parented or fostered 79 children.  

Alabama School of the Arts

Dr. Michael HendrickAssociate Professor of Music
Alabama School of the Arts

Dr. Michael Hendrick joins the Alabama School of the Arts as Associate Professor of Music. 

Michael earned an undergraduate degree in music education and two graduate degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (a Master’s in Vocal Performance/Artist Diploma in Opera Performance). After an illustrious career as a full-time performing tenor soloist in opera and classical music for 27 years, he returned to higher education to earn a Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance (Vocal Pedagogy) from Louisiana State University. Michael has performed on stages worldwide including leading roles at The Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Washington Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, and the National Orchestra of Spain. Having learned first-hand about the challenges and complexity of the music industry, he is excited about the opportunity to teach and guide the up-and-coming diverse generation of students at UM.

Alexandra TrosperVisiting Professor of Music
Alabama School of the Arts

Alexandra Trosper joins the Alabama School of the Arts as Visiting Professor of Music. 

Alex is in the final stages of completing her Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance at the University of Mobile. She earned a bachelor’s degree in music education and master’s in vocal performance from Colorado State University. As an educator, she served as musical and choral director for Battle Mountain High School in Vail, Colorado, taking the choir to a 2nd place finish at the Anaheim Choral Festival in California. She has an extensive performance career, including international appearances in Germany and China. Alex was selected as an apprentice artist for Opera Fort Collins, and has been a featured artist for the Harbor Springs Opera House in Michigan, the Charles and Rita Ralph Opera Center in Colorado, the Boulder Symphony, and was a soprano soloist for The Messiah in Grand Junction with the Handel Choral Society, among others.

New Staff

Athletic Department

Rob DeLongHead Athletic Trainer
Athletic Department

Rob DeLong, MEd, ATC, is UM’s Head Athletic Trainer. 

Rob has been a certified athletic trainer for more than 26 years. His experience began in the NFL as an intern and spanned over many other settings such as collegiate head athletic trainer, high school head athletic trainer, clinical settings, and most recently an industrial athletic trainer. Rob is excited to return to his roots as an “athletic” athletic trainer. He is married to Lori DeLong and has two children, MacLynn and Braeden.  

Dana EvansMen’s and Women’s Bowling Coach
Athletic Department

Dana Evans joins the Athletic Department as our first Men’s and Women’s Bowling Coach.

This is our first year for Men’s and Women’s Bowling, giving us 21 NAIA competitive sports. Dana graduated from UM with a Bachelor of Science in health, physical education and recreation with a teaching certificate. She holds a master’s in special education from the University of South Alabama. She has coached Special Olympics in the Mobile County Public School system in addition to bowling, basketball and volleyball and comes to UM from Marry G. Montgomery High School, where she assisted a bowling program that earned an area championship. She has 3 sons: Dustin, Cody and Joshua, a daughter-in-law and grandson. Her son Cody played baseball at UM under Head Coach Mike Jacobs. Joshua plans to attend UM as a future bowler.

Matt McArthurAsst. Coach Men’s Soccer
Athletic Department

Matt McArthur joins the Athletic Department as Assistant Coach for Men’s Soccer.

Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Matt moved to the US in 2015 as a member of the UM Men’s soccer team and graduated in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology with teacher certification. He worked as a physical education teacher, then enrolled full-time to graduate in 2022 with a Master’s in Business Communication and Leadership. Matt currently holds a UEFA B License Coaching qualification and a US D License and is continuing to complete his soccer coaching qualifications with additional licenses in 2023.

Jordan Sinclair Asst. Coach Women’s Soccer
Athletic Department

Jordan Sinclaire is a former UM soccer player who joins the Athletic Department as Assistant Coach for Women’s Soccer.

Jordan is originally from Glasgow, Scotland and moved to the US in 2015 to play soccer on our men’s team. He earned his undergraduate degree in kinesiology, then moved into a graduate assistant position with our men’s soccer program and completed a master’s in education. He is also part of the staff at McGill-Toolen’s girls soccer program.

Leith RawsonAsst. Coach, Men’s & Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field
Athletic Department

Leith Rawson was a member of UM’s cross country and track & field programs, and he joins the Athletic Department as assistant coach for cross country and track & field.

While at UM, Leith became the first Ram since 2008 to qualify for the NAIA Cross Country National Championships, while earning All-Conference honors. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in business administration and recently received his MBA from the University of Mobile.

Advancement Office

Reagan HydeData Processing/Social Media
Office for Advancement

Reagan Hyde joins the Office for Advancement and is responsible for data processing and social media.

Reagan is 2022 graduate from the University of Mobile, having earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. She currently is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration from the Grace Pilot School of Business, and is on pace to complete her graduate work in 2024. Reagan is responsible for UM Donor data entry, and collaborates with the marketing office to manage the university’s alumni social media accounts. She is from Milton, Florida, and was a student-athlete playing on the UM Women’s Soccer team.

Business Office

Jillian LaneAssistant to the Associate VP for Business Affairs and Plant Accountant
Office for Business Services

Jillian Lane is Assistant to the Associate Vice President for Business Affairs and Plant Accountant in the Office for Business Services.

Jillian started working for the UM Business Office in December 2021, while pursuing her degrees in accounting and business administration, and graduated summa cum laude in August 2022. Her journey with UM began when she was a 15-year-old homeschool student taking Early Enrollment classes, which enabled her to graduate a year early. In the Business Office, Jillian works with the student book voucher program, international student insurance program, international student tax reporting, 1099 tax reporting, and managing capital improvement accounting and UM campus cash program, and is helping students get acclimated to the new student billing system. Jillian is a member of West Mobile Baptist Church where she has served as the pianist for the past seven years and teaches AWANA on Wednesday nights. She recently earned her 3rd Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo.

Enrollment Services

Rhiannon Combs Admissions Counselor 
Office for Enrollment Services

Rhiannon Combs has joined the Office for Enrollment Services as an admissions counselor. Rhiannon is a 2022 UM graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Intercultural Studies.  

Grace WhittingtonAdmissions Counselor 
Office for Enrollment Services

Grace Whittington has joined the Office for Enrollment Services as an admissions counselor. Grace is a 2022 UM graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and minors in Psychology and Music.

Abbie WilliamsAdmissions Counselor
Office for Enrollment Services

Abbie Williams is also a new admissions counselor in Enrollment Services. She graduated in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/Marketing.

Financial Aid Office

Ayeshia AbrahamFinancial Aid Counselor
Office for Enrollment Services

Ayeshia Abraham joins the Financial Aid Office as a Financial Aid Counselor.

Ayeshia is in graduate school in the Grace Pilot School of Business. She will graduate in May 2023 with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration.

Marketing & Public Relations

Emily DealSocial Media Specialist
Office for Marketing & Public Relations

Emily Deal returns to her alma mater as the Social Media Specialist in the Office for Marketing & Public Relations.

Emily handles all of the social media for the university’s flagship accounts and produces a variety of content promoting the university across all platforms. She graduated from UM in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design. While still a student, she started working as a freelance graphic artist. Before joining UM, Emily was a Studio Design Specialist at Red Square Agency in Mobile where she gained a broad understanding of branding, content creation, project management and campaign-oriented strategies. Emily and her husband, Alex, are active at Mars Hill Church.

Residential Life

Michael ZonaArea Coordinator/Coordinator for Health and Wellness and Intramurals
Residential Life

Michael Zona graduated from UM in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing and a minor in theology.  He will oversee Samford Hall along with intramural sports on campus. He enjoys photography, hiking and camping, and  investing in students and developing them into the best leaders that they can become.

Information Technology

Marvin RuggsHelpdesk Support
Office for Information Technology

Marvin Ruggs joins the Office for Information Technology as Helpdesk support.

About the Author

Kathy Dean

Kathy Dean is associate vice president for university communications and has helped tell the University of Mobile story since 1993. She is an award-winning public relations professional and former journalist. Her husband and daughter are UM graduates. She loves playing in the yard – planting flowers, picking blueberries, pulling weeds and petting her two mini-schnauzers.