“APU helped me realize that writing is not something I do, it is who I am!”
From the very early age of 6, Holly Mance found herself writing plays, short stories, and articles, and, over the years, journeyed toward writing those papers that would earn her a college degree. But like many students, a combination of life and fear kept her from finishing. Fast forward twenty years and find Holly seizing the perfect opportunity to complete her life’s endeavor after being laid off when her company downsized. In 2010, she began her bachelor’s degree program in English with a concentration in writing at APU and is working to complete her program this year. During this time, Holly also began her first book! She is well on her way!
With the help of Holly’s degree thus far and encouragement from amazing professors, classmates, and family members, she saw it fit to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a writer and illustrating children’s books. To date, she currently has two books out: “Lulu Cooks Spaghetti” and “Lulu Bakes Cupcakes!” She plans to write more Lulu books and is working on an animated short for the Sidewalk Film Festival.
In her spare time, Holly works as a freelance web content writer and looks to write more books in the future. “These are things that I could never have achieved without the knowledge and confidence I received at APU!” she said.
Holly, we are excited about your upcoming endeavors and congratulate you on your success thus far! Rock on!
Tom Howard for mayor! APU alumnus and mayor of Winnsboro, Texas, William Tom Howard, better known as Tom, completed his Masters of Public Health in 2012 with honors. He has lived in Texas most of his life, and settled in the great town of Winnsboro!
Aside from his master’s degree from the university, Tom also earned his Bachelors of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas in Galveston. Tom is a strong advocate for education as he believes that in order to prevail and be successful in life, higher education is a must. He is currently the Director of Quality and Risk Management at Trinity Mother Frances Hospital. Tom said, “I am in the running for the Chief Nursing Job at Trinity Mother Frances Hospital in Winnsboro because of my newly acquired MPH from APU. Lots of great things going on in my life!”
Also a community advocate, Tom began doing charity work for the citizens of Winnsboro. He served not only as director on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, but was elected as president of the Chamber of Commerce this year. He is actively involved with many events and planning for the businesses of Winnsboro through volunteer work. The community members noticed his contributions and dedication, and Tom was approached to run for mayor. He threw his hat in the ring and was elected Mayor of Winnsboro this year. He will be sworn in on May 17 at 10 a.m. at City Hall!
He is excited about the next chapter in his life and all that is to come! Although he is not a native of Winnsboro, he resides there with his wife Rhonda; they celebrated 10 years of marriage this year in March! Tom has three children, three stepchildren, and six grandchildren.
Tom hopes to bring a fresh new perspective to Winnsboro during his term as mayor. “As mayor,” he says, “my vision is for the city government to be more transparent; be fair with ordinance enforcement; be accessible and make the council more accessible; but more importantly, to listen to the people through town meetings and face-to-face contact.”
We truly wish Tom the best and are proud to know that we have an alumnus who is leading others as mayor!
Hello phenomenal; meet Dr. Dionna Hancock-Johnson! She is a doctor, wife, mother, certified life coach, motivational speaker, professor, scholar, community activist, founder, and author extraordinaire, all by the tender age of 33. She is on a mission to conquer and help! She has dedicated her life to helping those who are not self-motivated and energized about making a new start in their life. She gives her clients the support they need to help create a personalized action plan for their personal situations; she gives them a purpose!
Her passion in life is working with young women and men, helping them find their purpose in life. In 2010, Dionna founded Energetic Life Coaching (ELC), LLC. She is in the process of building her second company, Dr. Dionna Hancock-Johnson International, LLC. Both companies offer several life coaching programs for individuals from all walks of life. She is also a motivational speaker and has presented at speaking various speaking engagements on topics related to blended families, motivation, molestation, abuse, building positive energy, and making difficult life decisions. She is currently volunteering her time as a life skills counselor at Pasadena Recovery Center, where she runs her own life skills group once a week.
Dionna also reaches out to help a wider audience with several publications. Her first children's series, “Where did my half-brother come from?” is designed to help children ages 4-8 in blended families embrace their half-siblings when they are introduced to their family through a difficult parenting situation and or live outside of the home due to divorce or separation. Dionna has also published her first self-help title and second book, “Be Your Own Life Coach: How to Life Coach Yourself Into What You Want,” which is designed to help readers understand their purpose in life, what they want out of life, and strategies to start reaching their goals.
“That would be enough for most people, but there is much more to the life of this doctor!” said Dionna, who has always been a lifelong learner and high achiever. She is currently an associate professor here at APUS, teaching child and family development courses, and previously instructed at Iowa State University. She earned her B.A. from the University of Oregon in psychology and sociology, a M.S. from Iowa State University in human development and family studies with a specialization in family studies, and a Doctorate of Education (EdD) in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Counselor Education and Supervision. She has also gained additional certification as a Life Strategies Coach (LSC) in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA.
Dionna is a Washington, D.C. native, though she recently relocated back to the sunny hills of California to build up her empire. She is married to the love of her life and, together, they have a seven year old son. They enjoy trying new family activities together in the Los Angeles area and hanging out with their Maltipoo, Skippy.
We say bravo to Dionna for all of her hard work and dedication inside the classroom and out!