Conference Speaker and Organizer Biographies

Senator Stabenow headshot

Senator Debbie Stabenow

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan will appear via video conference as the featured speaker of this year's conference. Read more about Senator Stabenow on the Featured Speaker page or on her website.

Davie headshot Sheri Davie

Sheri Davie retired in 2010 after spending 10 years as the U.P. Regional Manager for U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. Prior to serving for Senator Stabenow, Davie was a member of Educational Support Personnel at Lake Superior State University, served on numerous school boards, was a founding member of Woodside Community Women’s Club and Women Business Owners’ Forum and was a member of two historical societies. Currently, Davie is the Vice-chair of the Marquette Democratic Party, a consultant to the Michigan Association of School Boards and executive director of the City of Marquette’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. She was also a recipient of the OPIE (Outstanding Person in Education) award from the Michigan Education Association.

Kathy Davis

Kathy Davis

Kathy Davis is a retired high school biology teacher. She is active politically and involved with several environmental issues. The only public elected position she has held is as a Democratic Party precinct delegate. She has been a precinct delegate for 36 years. She belongs to Emily’s List (a group of people who financially support campaign efforts of pro-choice Democratic women seeking election to state and federal office), N.O.W. (The National Organization for Women), the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and AAUW (American Association of University Women). She is a former board member of PPNM (Planned Parenthood of Northern Michigan). She now serves as the membership co-chair of the Marquette Branch of AAUW. She also belongs to UPEC (The Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition), the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, the Michigan Audubon Society, the Center for Biodiversity and the Nature Conservancy of Michigan.

Thoune headshot

Dani Thoune

Dani Thoune is a senior at Northern Michigan University pursuing a double major in Special Education and Art Education with the plan of working in art therapy. She has been an active member of the Lake Effect Show Choir for the past two years and a member of the Associated Students of NMU for all four years. This year she sits on the executive board as Chair of the Assembly, a position voted upon by the recently elected ASNMU general assembly. In 2011 she received the Michigan Campus Compact Award.

Dr. Judith Puncochar

Dr. Judith Puncochar

Judy Puncochar is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at Northern Michigan University. She enjoys an active research program, engages in grant writing, and loves teaching educational psychology, instructional strategies and research methods. She received the 2012 Michigan Campus Compact Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Award, the 2008 TLC Award for exemplary use of NMU's notebook computers in teaching, research, and community service, 2008 Distinguished Service Team Award for her work on the Academic Service Learning Committee, and the 2007 Distinguished Service Team Award for chairing the Planning Committee for NMU's UNITED Conferences (Uniting Neighbors in the Experience of Diversity, www.nmu.edu/united). She currently serves on the Faculty Advisory Committee for the Center of Native American Studies, Academic Service Learning Committee, and the UNITED Conference Planning Committee. She is an active proponent of gender equity in the classroom, boardroom, and government.

Anne Stark

Anne Stark

Anne Stark has been the marketing director for Northern Michigan University since 2005. In that role, she serves as Northern's chief marketing adviser, creating Northern's messaging strategy, planning and purchasing student recruitment advertising and is Northern's social media strategist, coordinating NMU's presence on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, Wikipedia, Google Places, iTunesU and blogs. She launched NMU's Facebook fan page in 2009, taking it from 0 fans to 5,000 fans in 5 months. On campus, she is the NMU Panhellenic Council adviser. In the community, she serves as a board member to the Lake Superior Community Partnership and is a co-chair on the board's membership and marketing committee. Anne is a co-chair of the community fundraising committee for the Marquette Area Skate Plaza project. She is a member of the Marquette Econ Club, Marquette Unitarian Universalist Congregation and can twist 30+ balloon animals. After graduating from Kansas State University, Anne worked as a media buyer-planner at Leo Burnett in Chicago. She returned to K-State to earn her MBA and has served as an adjunct instructor for principles of marketing at K-State and University Minnesota Duluth. Immediately prior to coming to Northern, Anne was the marketing coordinator at Kansas State University's Division of Continuing Education. She is the very proud mom to three kids, Calvin (19), Kedzie (16) and Holton (11). She is married to Gary Stark, Ph.D., associate professor of management at NMU.