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The 2022 Alumni Fellows


School of Nursing

Holly Cobb, bsn ’04, msn ’13 | Topeka, Kansas | Co-owner, Founder, Operator | Oasis Family Medicine Associates

Acceptance Speech

Portrait of Holly CobbHolly Cobb is a family nurse practitioner. Since 2015, she has been the co-owner, founder and operator of Oasis Family Medicine, a direct primary care clinic with more than 2,800 patient members. She and her partner manage the leadership and operation of the clinic, as well as the long-term planning. Prior to that, she held roles within the former St. Francis health system in Topeka from 2004-15. She was a clinical instructor at Washburn from 2011-17 and she completed the point of care ultrasound fellowship in 2021. Cobb was on the Mental Health Advisory Committee for the state of Kansas and has been on the executive board of the Kansas Association of Advanced Practice Nurses. She volunteers on the Race Against Breast Cancer board of directors and was a member of Leadership Greater Kansas class of 2022.

What is your favorite memory of Washburn: My favorite memories are of those in classroom listening to faculty and classmates share clinical knowledge and experiences. It was so exciting hearing about real world experiences and knowing I was building a great foundation for my career. I also have found memories of "asking" my family to be my guinea pigs as I practiced my clinical assessments and procedures. They were good sports!


School of Business

Carlos Gomez, bba ’90 | Kansas City, Missouri | President/CEO | Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City

Acceptance Speech

Portrait of Carlos GomezCarlos Gomez has been president and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City since 2007. The organization meets the needs of the Hispanic small business community, especially Spanish-speaking business owners, lobbies for small business legislation, comprehensive immigration reform and to connect Hispanic businesses and consumers to corporate America, government and others. He has implemented a number of programs that support and help grow small businesses. Gomez was previously in management at Best Buy from 1989-2007. He also served three years as city planning commissioner for the City of Topeka. Gomez has been recognized by the government of Mexico with the Ohtli Award in 2016, won the Martin Luther King Award from the Kansas City Missouri human relations department in 2010 and the Martin Luther King Living the Dream INC Award in 2006 for community service. He was in the Top 50 most Influential Kansas Citians by 435 Magazine 2019 and in the Power 100, Most Influential Business Leaders in Kansas City in 2017, 2018 and 2019 by the KC Business Journal.

How has Washburn contributed to your life or career: Washburn was right for me. I needed a college where I would know my professors, but more importantly, they would know me. I think that’s the key to Washburn University. That’s the success of the students. 


school of Law

Deena Hyson Bailey, jd ’97 | Wichita, Kansas | Managing Senior Counsel | Cargill, Incorporated

Acceptance Speech

Portrait of Deena Hyson BaileyDeena Hyson Bailey is managing senior counsel for Cargill, Incorporated, a global food, agriculture and finance company and the largest privately-held company in the U.S. Her practice focuses on all aspects of employment and labor law matters and includes federal contractor equal employment opportunity requirements, immigration, data privacy, anti-trust and health and safety law. Hyson Bailey was previously in private practice at both Wallace Saunders and Martin Pringle Law Firm. She has served as board president of the Wichita Women Attorneys Association and the Kansas Women Attorneys Association, as well as several community non-profit organizations. She has been honored with the annual achievement awards by the Wichita Women Attorneys Association in 2016 and the Kansas Women Attorneys Association in 2017. During her career, her pro bono efforts have centered on the protection from abuse docket in Sedgwick County and legal work for non-profit organizations such as the Wichita Family Crisis Center and Wichita Animal Action League. She presents on continuing legal education topics including substantive legal topics, mentorship and diversity and inclusion.

What is your favorite memory of Washburn: The openness of the professors, the collegial environment and the friendships made were the best memory of Washburn. I was able to successfully graduate from Washburn Law while balancing being a mother to Kyla.


Washburn Institute of Technology

Steve Kearney, certificate ’72, bs ’81, jd ’83 | Topeka, Kansas | President | Kearney and Associates, Inc.; Kearney Law Office, P.A.

Acceptance Speech

Portrait of Steve KearneySteve Kearney is an attorney, president and founder of Kearney and Associates, Inc. and Kearney Law Office, P.A. Kearney and Associates provides government relations representation to business and non-profit organizations in all aspects of lobbying and administrative relations. Kearney Law Office trains and advises non-profit organizations in compliance with all aspects of the law. He is a frequent contributor to newsletters and magazines on government affairs and non-profit matters. He earned a certificate in radio and television from Kaw Area Technical School, which became Washburn Tech. He worked his way through college while a member of the Topeka Police Department, and after later earning a law degree from Washburn, he worked as a special agent with the FBI. He was also an assistant city attorney and the chief of staff to the Kansas Senate majority leader. He was previously named the Kansas Society of Association Executives member of the year. He is a charter member of the Topeka South Rotary and has served as board president of Shawnee County Crime Stoppers and board chair of Family Service and Guidance Center.

How has Washburn contributed to your life or career: I am a proud graduate of Topeka High School, what is now Washburn Tech, Washburn University and Washburn School of Law. I attribute my education and lifelong relationships gained at Washburn for giving me my foundation for service and success.


College of Arts and Sciences

Kevin Mullinix, ba ’08 | Lawrence, Kansas | Associate Professor | University of Kansas

Acceptance Speech

Portrait of Kevin MullinixKevin Mullinix is an associate professor and undergraduate director of political science at the University of Kansas and has worked there since 2018. Prior to that, he was an assistant professor at Appalachian State University from 2015-18. Mullinix has published dozens of papers, has presented papers at conferences, given talks in his field and been quoted or referenced in numerous news articles. Topics focus on partisan polarization, elections, policing and civil liberties. His forthcoming book, “The Politics of Innocence,” analyzes how politics impacts the adoption of policy reforms designed to reduce the likelihood of wrongful convictions. He is a reviewer for several academic journals in his field. Mullinix was the 2019-20 University of Kansas Ethan and Martha Allen Research Chair in American Politics and the 2016-17 Outstanding Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at Appalachian State.

What is your favorite memory of Washburn: The many one-on-one meetings I had with Dr. Loran Smith. Through numerous conversations, he inspired me to want to better understand politics and its profound impact on people. He had a passion for teaching and mentoring and was always eager to give students his time. He altered the trajectory of my career plans. I absolutely love my job, and he is the one who put me on this path. I will be forever grateful to him for that.


School of Applied Studies

Dillan Soph, certificate ’07, as ’07, bas ’08, ma ’16 | Atchison, Kansas | Clinical Program Director | Valley Hope

Acceptance Speech

Portrait of Dillan SophDillan Soph is a licensed clinical addictions counselor. He has been clinical program director for the Atchison Valley Hope Addiction Treatment and Recovery since 2018 and the Overland Park outpatient location since 2021. He provides supervision to 30 clinicians, chaplains, case managers, peer mentors, interns, assistant director and office personnel who provide programming for a daily average patient population of 180. Prior to that, he was program director in training at Valley Hope in Atchison from 2016-18 and a clinician at Valley Hope in 2008 and from 2013-15. Soph did substance use assessments and probation supervision for the Topeka Municipal Court from 2008-13. There he helped individuals address addiction, legal, family, employment and education complications, as well as supervise individuals sentenced for substance related charges.

What is your favorite memory of Washburn: My first two years at a community college went so poorly (1.5 grade-point average) that I feared it would prevent me from ever obtaining an education. Fortunately, Washburn University was gracious and forgiving, admitting me on academic probation. Rick Ellis in the family and human services department was the first faculty I met at Washburn, and he took a special interest in me, initially becoming my advisor and a friend. Staff and faculty sincerely cared for me, and to honor Washburn’s grace to me – and to meet my own potential – I maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout my time as an Ichabod.

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