2016 Distinguished and Outstanding Young Alumni Awardees


The University of Missouri–St. Louis Alumni Association honored five alumni with a 2016 Distinguished and Outstanding Young Alumni Awards at the university’s Founders Dinner on Thursday, September 22, 2016. This year’s award recipients include the following individuals:


Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Patricia J. Amick, BS physics 1974

Technical Fellow
The Boeing Company

Patricia Amick was the fourth woman ever hired as an engineer at Boeing (formerly McDonnell Douglas Electronics). She has spent her career advocating improvement of work place conditions for women in STEM jobs and mentoring women and men in engineering.  She has held multiple leadership positions on teams for more than 20 years and donates her treasure and talent to many national charities. Amick is a published author of several technical handbooks and papers on manufacturing readiness assessments, performance based logistics, and technology fabrication. She has received 2 patents and numerous awards by McDonnell Douglas/Boeing. She is currently a technical fellow in electronics manufacturing at Boeing Aerospace Programs—supporting both military and commercial aircraft and missile programs.


Joseph A. Bergfeld, BA political science 1970

President & CEO
Pittsburgh Pipe & Supply Corporation

Joe Bergfeld established Pittsburgh Pipe & Supply Co. in 1977 with his business partner, Bill Manser. Since that time, Bergfeld has grown the company from one location with 3 employees to a team of over 70 employees and revenues in excess of $30 million. He has been recognized by the Young President’s Organization (YPO) and by his industry, receiving the Award of Excellence from the Association of Steel Pipe Distributors in 1998. He is past president and lifetime board member of the National Association of Steel Pipe Distributors.

Bergfeld is passionately committed to the St. Louis community and has a long history of serving on not-for-profit boards and professional organizations including: UMSL College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Leadership Council, Forest Park Master Plan Committee, St. Louis Ambassadors, Kilo Diabetes & Vascular Research Foundation Board, and Laumeier Sculpture Park.


Sharonica L. Hardin, PhD education 2014

University City School District

With 20 years of experience, Dr. Sharonica Hardin is an exemplary example of a forward-thinking leader in higher education. She is a passionate advocate for kids and works tirelessly to insure that all children have access to quality education. As the former assistant superintendent for human resources and leadership development for the Ritenour School District, Hardin has a history of leadership and community service. She has overseen the hiring and professional learning of all staff in the district, led contract negotiations with unions, and has played a lead role in the district’s work around social justice and high school students. She also has been in the national spotlight for her service to the Ferguson Commission’s Child Well-Being and Education Work Group. Hardin stepped into her new post as superintendent for the School District of University City on July 1 of this year. 



Robbyn G. Wahby, MPPA 1998, BSBA organizational behavior 1989

Executive Director
Missouri Charter Public School Commission

Robbyn Wahby serves as the founding executive director of the Missouri Charter Public School Commission, a newly established agency that has statewide authority to sponsor charter schools. Prior to her appointment to MCPSC, Wahby served as Deputy Chief of Staff to St. Louis City Mayor Francis Slay where she provided strategic direction and advice on education and children’s policy. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, Wahby held a variety of leadership positions in public, private and non-profit organizations and served as the director of Alumni Relations at the University of Missouri-St. Louis from 1996 to 2001.


Outstanding Young Alumni Award Recipient

John J. Waterhouse, BSEE 2006

Associate Engineer
Ameren Corporation

At age 31, John Waterhouse is part of the Ameren Transmission Project Management Team. He is responsible for the construction of 10 substations on the Illinois Rivers Program. The project will bring electricity from wind turbines in Iowa to homes in Illinois. The 1.4 billion dollar initiative is the second largest program in Ameren’s history.  John has the distinct challenge of leading a very complex and diverse group of organizations, all in different locations, both internal and external to Ameren.

Waterhouse also is very active in the St. Louis community, devoting his spare time to several non-profits. He is an active member of the Board of Directors for the Center for Hearing & Speech, where he chairs their strategic planning committee. He is a former board member of the UMSL Alumni Association Governing Board of Directors and chaired its Student Engagement Committee.