When Kysha Mounia ’98 and her sister D’Anna moved west to Arizona, they were dismayed to find that the kind of rich African-American culture they had grown up with in Gary, Indiana, was all too rare.

So the women, both entertainment-industry professionals, began thinking about ways to build connections between young African-Americans and their heritage. 

The result is Quiztory, a brainy black-history multimedia app cleverly disguised as a trivia game for teens.

It started with an ad on Craigslist from a campus-area restaurant that wanted an elaborate and artistic chalkboard menu. Ashley White ’09 responded and spent the next couple of weeks with chalk in her hand. Word of her talent spread — and she’s been busy ever since. 

Of course, the concept for her hand-lettering and illustration company, Modern Aquarian, had been building for years. “I’ve always drawn, since I was a kid,” she says. 

“I love making art for other people.” 

Remove the top of one tomato plant and graft it to the root of another and what do you get? A stronger, more resistant tomato plant that yields great-tasting fruit. 

Try the Lemon Boy or Early Girl tomatoes created by Grafted Growers, a local Tucson startup owned by alumni entrepreneurs. These grafted tomatoes produce a yellow-colored tomato with a sweet and tangy taste or a flavorful red tomato perfect for sandwiches and salads. 

Geoff Hale ’77 is a healer — a grape doctor — for wine orchards that make delicious cabernets and pinots along California’s northern and central coasts. He works as a consultant to vineyards, wineries, and farms to harvest healthy grapes. 

Grant and Michelle Senner had always planned to give back to their alma mater — but neither envisioned making a major gift before age 40. 

However, the Senners recently gave $280,000 in endowed funds to the University of Arizona Foundation in support of the Arizona Health Sciences Center’s precision health program. 

“The talent and drive are here,” Grant Senner says of the UA’s targeted research in precision health. “We knew the time was right to support this groundbreaking program, which is vital for the University’s trajectory and the future of precision care.” 

When Pamela Hickey ’75 and Dennys McCoy ’75 met at Tucson’s Catalina High School, they quickly found that they had more in common than their lunch hour. “We were the only people we knew who knew the credits of writers for comedy shows,” says McCoy. 

The pair began writing jokes and plays together. Later, they both attended the University of Arizona. Hickey earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and English literature, while McCoy earned his bachelor’s in creative writing. 

When UA students gaze beyond graduation day, they might imagine themselves developing revolutionary software or the next global coffeehouse sensation. Their future visions might not include spinning brushes, wheel polish, or HotShine Carnauba Shield, but one alumnus is working to change that.

In 1980, when he was 28 years old, Rufus Glasper became the director of financial planning and budgeting for the Chicago Public Schools. “I oversaw a $2 billion budget in a system with 46,000 employees and 600,000 students,” he recalls. “I thought life couldn’t get any better. I thought that this is the pinnacle of my career.”

Ken Pisani’s career has bounced from graphic design to stand-up comedy to television writing, producing, and directing, all before returning to his passion: comic books. 

After more than two decades in the entertainment industry, Pisani turned his efforts to making a comic book and started writing Colonus, a futuristic tale of a dead Earth and colonies on Mars and Venus. The dark sci-fi comic became a hit, winning the 2013 Geekie award for Best Comic Book/Graphic Novel, and will be published by Dark Horse Comics. 


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