Alumni Profile: Jordawn Jones

WOU alum Jordawn Jones smiles for a photograph. Jones is wearing a black shirt, and has long brown hair.
As part of our ongoing alumni feature series, we spoke with 2014 graduate, Jordawn Jones, who majored in Exercise Science with a minor in Human Biology. Jones is now working as the Head Athletic Trainer and adjunct faculty at Sierra Nevada University. Why did you choose WOU? I planned to attend WOU to play basketball [more…]

Alumni Profile: Casey Brown

WOU alum Casey Brown smiles in his red graduation cap. He is wearing a black WOU shirt with red lettering, and a tan tassel hangs from his cap, displaying his graduation year (2020)
As part of a new feature series, we are catching up with WOU alumni to see where life has led them after graduation. Next up is Casey Brown ’20, from Independence, Oregon. Since graduation, Casey has been working as a financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual, and as a supervisor at Little Caesars on the weekends. [more…]

Alumni Profile: Curtis Holbert

Curtis Holbert graduated from WOU in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in History and a minor in Writing. Holbert is from Burns, Oregon, but currently works as a Title Examiner in Redmond, Oregon.   What is your current position?  Title Examiner. I research deed records, as well as other public record items to issue reports [more…]

Alumni Profile: Kelsee Coito

Kelsee Coito graduated from WOU in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Business. Coito is originally from Mililani, Hawaii, but currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, working as a Marketing Ambassador for Topgolf.   Why did you choose WOU? I originally chose WOU for the cheerleading program.    What advice do you have for future [more…]

Alumni Profile: Tiffany Hendrix Blackmon

WOU alum Tiffany Blackmon smiles outside. She is wearing a purple shirt with a black blazer.
As a continuation of our alumni profile series, we are featuring Tiffany Hendrix Blackmon, ’10, a psychology graduate from Portland, Oregon. We spoke with Hendrix Blackmon about her experiences at WOU, her journey through law school and into her law career, and what advice she has for her fellow Wolves. Check out her answers below. [more…]

Two WOU Business Owners Use Creativity To Create Community During Pandemic

Tables with umbrellas in a parking lot
Two Western Oregon University alumni business owners have found there’s a solution to every problem, even one that seems like it is taking them on a wild, stop-and-go roller coaster ride. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered how Dawson Officer ’06 of 4 Spirits Distillery in Corvallis and Angela Anderson ‘99 of Syndicate Wine Bar in [more…]

Alumni Award of Excellence: Micheal Morgan

Man in a woodworking shop
Dr. Micheal Morgan ’70 has a simple explanation for why he goes above and beyond in everything he does. “It’s innate,” he said. “I was raised to work hard, do a good job, help others and do what’s right.” The recipient of the 2020 Alumni Award of Excellence, Morgan has been a  staunch supporter of [more…]

WOU Alumna Finds Herself in the Spotlight

People at a press conference
Western Oregon University alumna Colleen Thayer’s new high-profile assignments have placed her in a spotlight that’s slightly outside of her comfort zone. Even so, she gladly accepts the challenge, because she believes it’s important to provide accurate information to the deaf community during this unprecedented moment in history. A Certified Deaf Interpreter, Thayer has been [more…]

WOU Alum Jay Bates Graduates From FBI National Academy

World map with country flags in place of each country
After earning his bachelor’s in Business Administration, Western Oregon alum Jay Bates ’93 took a job with a finance company, where he quickly learned he didn’t enjoy the corporate world. As a former WOU baseball player and high school athlete, Bates found himself missing the team atmosphere. He also remembered the advice of a WOU [more…]

Recent InfoTech Graduate Helps Educators Navigate Emergency Shift to Online Learning

Person in a WOU sweatshirt standing outside in front of tall rocks
By Anthony Rimel Kaitlin Lucas graduated from WOU’s Information Technology M.S.Ed. program in December 2019. And just a few months later she would be on the frontlines of one of the biggest moments in the history of educational technology: the unprecedented shift to online learning following the global outbreak of COVID-19. Lucas, who also earned a certificate [more…]

WOU Grad Encourages People to Conquer Their Challenges

Western Oregon University alum Kacey McCallister ’12 knows how quickly a person’s life can unexpectedly change, leaving no discernable path forward. When he was 6 years old, McCallister attempted to run across a divided highway and was struck by a semi-truck. He believes he was incredibly lucky to survive; the accident severed his left leg, [more…]

WOU Alum named National Superintendent of the Year

Man standing at podium and speaking
Congratulations to WOU alum Gustavo Balderas ’90 was just named the 2020 National Superintendent of the Year! This significant recognition speaks to his dedication to Oregon’s youth. Balderas is the son of a migrant family from Mexico who settled in Oregon. Balderas works for the Eugene School District and he’s the second WOU alum to [more…]

Leadership at WOU: An Alum’s Impact on Campus

Felicia Dickinson stands in front of the ASWOU emblem in the WUC.
“Leadership isn’t something you go into lightly. It’s a choice. We make a choice to be leaders.” Felicia Dickinson is a WOU alum who exemplifies student leadership. A native Oregonian and a transfer student from Lane Community College, she attended WOU for three years, with a major in Political Science and a minor in Communication [more…]

CLASS NOTES

1970s Linda Johnston ‘70 just completed 12 years of service on the Woodburn School Board. She has recently been appointed as garden coordinator for the First Presbyterian Church Community Garden. She works with students from Head Start through high school growing food for the local food bank. Sheila Daniels ’75, ’93, retired in 2017 after [more…]

Jeanne Carver ’75

Coach, teacher, businesswoman, and thrives on obstacles  Jeanne (Zumwalt) Carver and her family moved around a lot, following the timber industry’s demand for new access roads to logging sites. “My father was a road contractor,” she explained. “He started his own company. It was a startup way back in the ’50s.” Carver’s mother was a [more…]

Community Builder: Bec Williams ’98

While pursuing a degree in health education with a minor in business, Bec Williams ’98 spent all four years at Western Oregon University working at Campus Recreation. Many years later, as owner of Eugene’s Playground Sports, which offers recreational sports leagues for adults, this experience has served her well. “I had a lot of skills [more…]

WOU Alum Volunteers with Peace Corps in Eswatini

Amy Watkins standing in the middle of a group of people, teaching at Grassroots Soccer Camp in Eswatini.
Amy Watkins, a 2017 Community Health Education graduate, is currently serving with the Peace Corps in Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland. In Eswatini, she is participating in the Community HIV/AIDS Mitigation Project (CHAMP), where she works to support individuals living with HIV, as well as implement projects in order to prevent the spread of the [more…]

Two Young Adult Authors Found Inspiration at Western Oregon

Hardcover books of "Tarnished are the Stars" and "The Bone Houses" on a stone bench with a WOU Wolfie doll.
A 17-year-old gravedigger and three futuristic teens can trace their stories’ beginnings to their authors’ experiences at Western Oregon University. The gravedigger protagonist belongs to the imagination of Emily Lloyd-Jones ’10, and the space-age tech and steampunk-style clockwork teens to Rosiee Thor ’14. Both authors released young adult novels this fall. Lloyd-Jones’ fourth novel, The [more…]

PHS Grad Lucas Sinclair Returns as Police Officer

By Brad Fuqua; published in the Philomath Express Patrolling Philomath’s streets and responding to calls overnight on graveyard shifts, 23-year-old rookie police officer Lucas Sinclair has a high degree of familiarity with the lay of the land. A little more than five years earlier, Sinclair had received his Philomath High School diploma to embark on [more…]

WOU in the News: Oakland’s Dominique Harrison Among Sugar Skulls Newbies Hoping to Make Instant Impact

Roster turnover happens often in any nonmajor professional sport. One week a player could be the best for a franchise and by the following week, they can find a new opportunity in a different league. It’s “the nature of the business” as Sugar Skulls coach Marcus Coleman puts it. When the Sugar Skulls (3-2) host [more…]

WOU in the News: Who Will Lead Our Schools?

An opportunity to meet and greet the remaining candidates for Gervais School District superintendent drew dozens to the district’s elementary school Thursday, Feb. 28. Attendees with an appetite enjoyed a modest dinner, and seconds if they liked, prior to being entertained by successive performances from each of a trio of educators vying to lead the [more…]

WOU in the News: Heine Joins PIDB as VP

Hagatna, Guam- Pacific Islands Development Bank (PIDB) is proud to announce and welcome Dwight P. Heine as the Bank’s Vice President.  In that capacity, Mr. Heine will be assisting the President & CEO in leading the overall management and operation of the bank.  Specific duties and responsibilities include strategic planning and budgeting, lending, staff management [more…]

WOU in the News: Oakland Raiders Sign Wide Receiver Tyrell Williams

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed unrestricted free agent WR Tyrell Williams, the club announced Wednesday. Originally an undrafted free agent following the 2015 NFL Draft, Williams signed with the San Diego Chargers and spent the first four seasons (2015-18) of his career with the club. Over his four-year career, Williams has appeared [more…]

WOU in the News: To Improve Teacher Diversity, Salem-Keizer Focusing on Training its Own Students, Classroom Aides

Jessica Zamarron helps students with a math assignment in a bilingual Swegle Elementary School classroom.
Jessica Zamarron was inspired by her first-grade teacher at Swegle Elementary. Seeing Karina Rodriguez, another bilingual Latina, in front of the classroom, Zamarron knew her teacher had similar life experiences. If she had a problem at home or needed advice, Rodriguez was the teacher she went to. “I related to her,” Zamarron said. She remembered [more…]

WOU in the News: Kaiser Permanente Names Patient Care Leader

A head shot picture of Tae Abate smiling at the camera.
Tae Abate has been named care experience practice leader of the Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center, overseeing development, planning and oversight of patient care experience. Abate, who has made a career as a program coordinator and consultant for gender equality, violence against women issues and LGBTQ and human rights, is responsible for patient satisfaction. [more…]

WOU in the News: Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union CEO Retires After 43 Years of Service

Al Strawn with his wife Gretchen.
PALMER— Al Strawn stepped down from his position as CEO of the Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union in October. He is still figuring out what his retirement is going to look like in the coming years but he does know one thing — he enjoys having more time on his hands. “I’m discovering that I [more…]

WOU Alum Travels the World but Comes Full Circle

Dwight and Maggie Triplett
Oregon College of Education (OCE) alum Dwight Triplett ’66 is the embodiment of what can happen when you take life’s opportunities as they come. Even today, Triplett embraces the idea that taking chances and saying “yes” can lead you to places you never imagined. For him, that place was Asia, which was a long way [more…]

WOU Master’s Degree from Home? Yes, Please!

Amber Deets
If the idea of attending grad school classes at home while wearing pajamas is appealing, read on. Western Oregon University offers several online master’s degree programs that can completed on students’ own timeline and in the comfort of their own home. The dress code is up to them. One of WOU’s most popular online grad [more…]

Feature: Alum Turns Hobby into Career, then Cruises into International Market

Longboard Larry
Larry Peterson ’05 doesn’t seem like a celebrity from the outset. The Western Oregon University alum is in his mid-40s, works in Independence and has a wife and four sons. But if you ask anyone who’s a fan of longboards—skateboards with extra length and interesting shapes—“Longboard Larry” is a well-known figure. He’s not convinced, though. [more…]

WOU in the News: Tyrell WIlliams Shares NFL Knowledge During Camp at Western Oregon

Tyrell Williams leads football camp
Tyrell Williams’ journey to the NFL is a feel-good story from the Mid-Valley. The former standout at Cascade High School and Western Oregon University went undrafted in 2015, but the San Diego Chargers signed him and gave him a shot, and he made the most of it. Williams led the Chargers with 1,059 receiving yards [more…]

Social Media Manager Devotes Days to Outreach

Lisa Catto with Wolfie on the 2017 Giving Day
Lisa Catto ’10 has been a fixture on the Western Oregon University campus for 12 years, though her title and office location have changed multiple times. Since the creation of Strategic Communications and Marketing in September, Catto has been the manager of media relations and social media, a title she describes as the most accurate [more…]

WOU alum wins National Superintendent of the Year Award

Western Oregon University alumnus Matt Utterback ’89 has won the National Superintendent of the Year Award from the American Association of School Administrators. The award was announced March 2 in New Orleans. Utterback has been superintendent at North Clackamas School District since 2012, and during that time the district has made major gains in graduation [more…]

Ryan Kingsella strives for MICC-WOU cooperation

Ryan Kingsella
Ryan Kingsella ’16 started as the executive director of the Monmouth and Independence Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center at the beginning of the year. The Western Oregon University alumnus is ready to build a stronger connection between the two towns and the university. A bond already exists, the 28-year-old early childhood education major said. WOU [more…]

Laura Gage: anthropology alumna on the go

Most of what people need to know about 2010 grad Laura Gage’s world view can be found in the title of her YouTube channel: “Laura the Explorer.” She’s a world traveler, and she attributes her adaptability to her time at Western Oregon University. Gage has taken the knowledge gained during courses for her anthropology major [more…]

WOU in the news: The man behind ‘Oregon, My Oregon’

A black and white picture of John Andrew Buchanan
John Andrew Buchanan was a teacher, attorney, poet, state representative and municipal judge, but he’s best known as the lyricist behind the state song, “Oregon, My Oregon.” His granddaughter, Carol Lambert, 85, is the proud keeper of his legacy. She’s raising money to erect a two-sided, granite memorial at his grave in Warrenton’s Ocean View [more…]

WOU in the news: An Anchorage police officer tries a new approach to tackle neighborhood crime concerns

Picture of Robin Nave standing against a fence in the city of Anchorage.
As a crime prevention student at an Oregon college, Robin Nave researched local crime concerns with a door-to-door survey. Nearly two decades later, Nave, now a 12-year veteran of the Anchorage Police Department, is bringing back her college research technique to help Anchorage residents feel safer. Earlier this year, Nave created a crime survey for [more…]

WOU in the news: Science teachers net prestigious awards

Terry Evers and Toni Hanson both demonstrating a science experiment with a foam airplane and measuring tape.
Science teachers Terry Evers and Toni Hanson have quite a bit in common. Both have spent their entire careers in the Newberg School District, at Ewing Young elementary and Mountain View middle school, respectively, and split their time between the classroom and serving as instructional facilitators. Each is also known for designing hands-on learning activities [more…]

Homecoming 2016 Preview

Full Stadium at homecoming game
Homecoming week is a great time to celebrate what it means to be a Wolf, for students and alumni alike. Here is a run down of what you can find around campus the week of October 17! Student Schedule: Monday October 17 Fifth Annual Fundie Run – Starts at 5: 30pm the Stadium and ends at the [more…]

WOU in the news: Gut wrenching images: Rick Bartow’s ‘Things You Know But Cannot Explain’ exhibition

Rick Bartow
Rick Bartow walked onto his spirit journey on April 2, 2016 due to congestive heart disease. He had suffered two strokes, the last in August 2013. According to the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, this life-changing event affected his work and we see it in the collection as “exciting examples of Bartow’s production since [more…]

WOU honored most dedicated donors at annual President’s Club Dinner

On July 8, 2016, Western Oregon University’s most dedicated financial supporters were honored at the annual President’s Club Dinner. The event was held at Illahe Hills Country Club and featured toasts by Paul Kyllo, WOU Foundation Board chair, recent alumna Dominique Figueroa, President Rex Fuller, and Jim Baumgartner, chair of WOU’s Board of Trustees. Music [more…]

Alumni Award of Excellence: Dennis Tichenor

Dennis Tichenor
Dennis Tichenor has dedicated his life to serving others. This year’s recipient of the Alumni Award of Excellence, Tichenor has made a lasting impression on the lives of countless children and young adults. He learned that lesson from his parents, who told him, “If you’re going to do anything, give some things back.” He found [more…]

WOU in the news: Western students step into shoes of the homeless

Western students step into shoes of the homeless
Application. Waitlist. Overqualified. Underqualified. Wait in line. These words and phrases were repeated over and over again as students at Western Oregon University took on the personas of the homeless Thursday evening. The university’s Education Club organized the homeless simulation, modeled after a Habitat for Humanity program. The group said they wanted to spread awareness and help those [more…]

WOU in the news: Native American artist Rick Bartow turns pain into art

Rick Bartow art
Despite battling post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism spawned by serving as a soldier during the Vietnam War, Rick Bartow was not afraid to use his artistic talents to address painful aspects of life. It’s a sentiment art enthusiasts may see as they view the Native American man’s art, which is on display through July 13 [more…]

WOU in the news: Relay gets ready to paint the town purple

Cancer Commandos
Uniting communities across the globe, Relay for Life celebrates those who have battled cancer, remembers loved ones lost to the disease and fights back by raising money to support research and help those afflicted by the illness. The signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, the event is often an overnight activity — signifying that [more…]

WOU in the news: Graduate exposed to Syrian refugee crisis

Published by: Statesman Journal by: Natalie Pate It was always a dream of Eriqa Hermen’s to backpack across eastern Europe. When her friend wanted to go, too, they planned for the month-long adventure. Hermen was ready and raring to go. But instead of simply crossing an item off her bucket list, the recent college graduate and former Western [more…]

Wolfie’s got a new look

Western Oregon University is thrilled to welcome its incoming student class. This year is particularly special as the class includes a “new face” for Waldo “Wolfie” Wolfe, the beloved WOU mascot. The old costume officially graduated with the class of 2015. You have five opportunities this fall to check-out Wolfie’s new look. First is at [more…]

WOU in the news: Seidel Excited To Make Her Return To Monmouth

Published by: Polk County Itemizer-Observer By: Emily Mentzer Kim Seidel is thrilled to return to Monmouth to work as the principal at Monmouth Elementary School. “I went to Western Oregon University,” she said. “My husband and I met here. We both said if we ever have the opportunity to live back in Monmouth, we’d do [more…]

WOU in the news: From students to teachers

Published by: Albany Democrat-Herald By: Jennifer Moody SWEET HOME — The toughest part about being new teachers won’t be managing classrooms of teens only a few years younger than themselves — some of whom they used to know as fellow students. The real challenge, say Drew Emmert and Ryan Graville, will be learning to call their colleagues [more…]

WOU in the news: A Fantastical Exhibition of Extraordinary Art and Ingenious Contraptions

Story published on WillametteLive.com What if the industrial revolution never really caught on?  Imagine a world where devices and technology were powered mainly by steam.  Imagine fashions based on Victorian clothing, but without the weight of strict Victorian social and gender roles.  Imagine a world which might include a bit of magic, where there are [more…]

WOU in the news: Q & A with Hillsboro athletic director Steve Drake: ‘Our kids now believe we’re going to win.’

Steve Drake
Story published in the Oregonian By Jeff Smith Hillsboro High School athletic director Steve Drake arrived at the school as a coach in 1984 and was promoted to his current position in 1997. Drake, 57, said the success of his athletic programs over the past couple of years has rejuvenated him and he can’t wait [more…]

WOU in the news: Concert band welcomes Pink Martini founder, Latin music

Kurleen Nowickas
Published in the Statesman Journal By Tom Mayhall Rastrelli Tickets go on sale Monday, July 20, for Salem Concert Band’s upcoming special-event concerts “Thomas Lauderdale Plays Gershwin” and “Pinots of the Caribbean.” ‘Thomas Lauderdale Plays Gershwin’ Lauderdale is the founder of the internationally renown band Pink Martini. He’ll join conductor John Skelton and the Salem Concert [more…]

WOU in the news: Hess takes over a program that is in great shape

Greg Hess
Story published in the Clackamas Review By John Denny Hess, 45, had assisted Thomas in coaching Gladstone’s girls soccer team since 2003, and he’s been the head boys track coach at Gladstone High School since 2010. “This program is in good shape,” Hess said. “Steve did a tremendous job of building the program up over [more…]

WOU in the news: Salem business news: Redhawk winery, ‘Art in the Garden’

Salem Chamber of Commerce
Story published in the Statesman Journal Redhawk Vineyard & Winery celebrating 10 years with Pataccolis Redhawk Vineyard & Winery will celebrate its 10th anniversary with owners John and Betty Pataccoli. The celebration, which is open to the public, will be 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, July 24, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 25. [more…]

WOU in the news: ’80s rockers Quarterflash back in Bend, Oregonian band kicks off Alive After 5 series

Quarterflash
Story published in The Bulletin Most of the world remembers Quarterflash for their ’80s-era hit “Harden My Heart,” with its aching saxophone leads, and their ’80s style (particularly hairstyles — check out some recent TV interviews with the group). In this part of the country, the group — centered around husband-and-wife songwriter and singer team [more…]