Meet Hancock Symposium Alumni Presenters Mitchell, Oyerly and Rollins

Last week began the first round of introductions of Westminster alumni who will speak at the 14th annual Hancock Symposium on Sept. 18 and Sept. 19. The extensive alumni list includes Derick Dailey ’11, Gretchen Kinder ’94 ΚΑΘ, Ian Mackey ’09, Bailey Mitchell ’17 ΚΑΘ, Karen Oyerly ’99, John Rollins ’87 ΦΔΘ and Jessica Sanders ’06.

This week, Westminster Today proudly features Mitchell, Oyerly and Rollins.

Bailey Mitchell ’17 ΚΑΘ
Bailey Mitchell will discuss the path from her liberal arts education at Westminster College to her current job at CapTech, where she helps some of the largest financial firms in the country migrate to the Cloud. From playing basketball in the Historic Gymnasium to presenting her analysis on a Rockets vs. Warriors matchup to work with ESPN Data and Analytics, Mitchell’s lecture will highlight where a liberal arts degree and experience can lead. Mitchell graduated from Westminster College with a double major in English and mathematics. She then completed her Master of Science degree in business analytics at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA, where her love of statistics, data and storytelling became a true career path. After her experience as the only female finalist at the 2018 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Mitchell knew she wanted to continue working in the male-dominated tech industry as one of the growing number of women in STEM fields. Mitchell is a data scientist consultant at CapTech. Her talk is titled “Break Through the Glass Cloud: What it means to be a Woman in Tech.”

Karen Oyerly ‘99
Karen Oyerly is a forensic scientist who works in DNA analysis at the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation in Oklahoma City. Oyerly’s Hancock Symposium presentation will explore her work of the past nine years in using DNA analyses to solve crimes and how the practice has developed in the last 40 years, altering the criminal justice system. Originally from Wathena, KS, Oyerly majored in biology at Westminster and minored in classical studies. She is a member and past president of the Oklahoma City Modern Quilt Guild and says quilting is a break from forensics that offers her a creative outlet while challenging her puzzle-solving and math skills.

John Rollins ’87 ΦΔΘ
John Rollins is an attorney and award-winning travel, nature and wildlife photographer from Kansas City, MO. He was chosen as one of National Geographic’s Travel Photographers of the Year in 2016 and has been named one of the Top 10 Travel Photographers in the World. His striking image of a mother polar bear and her yearling cub on an Arctic iceberg received an Honorable Mention in the “Nature” category of the 2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Competition and was featured in the National Geographic story “Pristine Seas.” Rollins’ photos have been featured on travel and expedition websites and in publications throughout the world. An attorney practicing in Kansas City since 1991, Rollins enjoyed photography for many years but has only been a serious photographer for about a half dozen. Rollins will address the importance of finding our creative potential by telling his story of finding his own inner artist. He will also discuss ways that his photography has both expressed and deepened his connection to the natural world.

Other Alumni Presenters

To look back at last week’s profiles of Dailey, Kinder and Mackey, go here.

And keep an eye out for next week’s issue, where we will feature alumna Jessica Sanders ’06, longtime faculty member and Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies Dr. Bill Young and the first female graduate of Westminster College, Janice Mathews Gordon ’81.

Hancock Symposium Livestreaming and Complete Schedule

Finally, if you can’t attend the Symposium in person, check out our Facebook Live livestream of the first female U.S. Secretary of State, Dr. Madeleine K. Albright, as she gives the 59th annual John Findley Green Foundation lecture. Kinder’s Executive Session also will be livestreamed. Access can be found here.

Feel free to ask questions live with the hashtags #WCSymposium2019 or #AskAlbright.

Go here to view the Hancock Symposium schedule in its entirety.


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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.