Alumni Awards 2013

MISSION STATEMENT: Wartburg College has traditionally encouraged its faculty, staff, students, and alumni to serve others in response to God’s grace. Alumni awards have been established to recognize alumni and friends of Wartburg College for their special achievements and contributions to the college, the church, their community, and the workplace. By recognizing these special achievements, we give living testimony to the goals and ideals of Wartburg College.

Award Nominations

2013 Young Alumni Award Recipients



Sarah Albertson-Corkery ’98 , Cedar Falls, Iowa
Sarah majored in communication arts at Wartburg and received the coveted “Maggie” award in 1998 as an outstanding senior in communication arts. After graduating, she joined ME&V, a Cedar Falls public relations firm, and was named director of its healthcare marketing division in 2004. That same year, she was recognized among the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier’s Twenty Under Forty award winners.

In 2009, she was one of four individuals to receive the Iowa Jaycees’ Outstanding Young Iowan award. She is a member of the Iowa Society for Healthcare Marketing/Public Relations (ISHMPR) and the American Hospital Association’s Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development. She has spoken to hospital marketing groups in Iowa and Kansas.

Sarah volunteers for the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women, United Way Women in Philanthropy, and Allen Foundation. She serves on the board of directors for Beau’s Beautiful Blessings, a nonprofit organization that helps children with intellectual disabilities, epilepsy, and brain abnormalities. She is also a member of TASH, an organization promoting equity, opportunity, and inclusion for people with disabilities.

In her free time, Sarah writes SoMadIStartedABlog.com, which has been published on HuffingtonPost.com. In it, she chronicles her journey as a breast cancer “previvor” and the parent of a child with special needs. She and her husband, Chris, have two children, Lucy and Jude.


Dr. Jamie Bakkum-Gamez ’98 , Byron, Minn.
Jamie graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine in 2002. She was one of four national and international medical school graduates selected for a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education. She was one of two national and international candidates selected for a Mayo fellowship in gynecological oncology.

She joined the Mayo College of Medicine as an assistant professor of obstetrics-gynecology in 2009. She earned master’s faculty privileges in obstetrics-gynecology in the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education in 2011 and since 2009 has served as a consultant in the Mayo Clinic’s Division of Gynecologic Surgery.

Jamie is a two-time recipient of the Ann Harris Research Award from the Mayo Clinic Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She received the 2012 Career Development Award from the Mayo Clinic Women’s Health Research Center. She is a primary investigator for investigator-initiated clinical trials funded by the National Institutes of Health and an institutional primary investigator for the Gynecology Oncology Group at Mayo Clinic. She makes frequent presentations at national and international conferences, and her peer-reviewed articles have been widely published in professional journals. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a member of numerous professional organizations.

Jamie’s award nomination describes her as a caring physician who prides herself on taking the best possible care of her patients and treating them with dignity and respect — even taking the time to lead a family in prayer prior to surgery at their request. In her free time, she is an avid runner and enjoys gardening.


Ryan Hess ’00, Belle Chasse, La.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Ryan Hess turned his fledging Pro Tree Services company into a major player in the cleanup of Lousiana. In the process, he embarked on a career path that led to his current position as chief executive officer of Alliance Consulting Group, LLC.

Within days of beginning hurricane clean-up work in his hometown, Ryan’s effective management resulted in several contracts to lead the massive effort. He brought in his father, Gary, to help shore up operations. When the chaos of the initial emergency began to settle in 2007, Ryan began putting a bigger picture into action, developing Integrated Pro Services, LLC, a full-service company that branched out into several facets of construction. His brother, John, returned from a tour of duty with the Marine Corps to join the business.

Ryan’s next step was to establish Alliance Consulting Group, LLC, parent to the smaller, independently operated entities, each driving its own bottom line. The Alliance Consulting Group executive committee governs the subsidiaries, and the Alliance team provides critical business services, including human resources, accounting, and business development. Under Ryan’s leadership, the company has grown from a mom-and-pop business into a multimillion-dollar, vertically integrated construction company.

Wartburg wrestling coach Jim Miller describes Ryan as the only married student-athlete he ever coached. The NCAA All-American wrestler returned to Louisiana and coached wrestling from 2000 to 2005 at New Orleans area high schools.

Since Katrina, Hess’s companies have been involved with cleanup of the Gulf oil spill as well as the more recent Hurricane Isaac. Ryan often hires Wartburg graduates to work for his companies, and he actively recruits prospective students. Coach Miller describes it as no coincidence that five student-athletes on the current Wartburg wrestling team are from New Orleans.