Fall 2012

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Class Notes


LEWIS (LEW) SBRANA, 1956 Music Education, continues to direct the New Horizons Band of Sonoma County, a unique concert band for seniors only. He founded the band in 1999 and has seen it grow from 12 to the present 65 members. He says making music is a wonderful outlet for retired folk, and is outstanding for brain stimulation and helping to keep fit. Sbrana says it is a rewarding position in a positive and encouraging social environment.


FERNANDO R. ELIZONDO, 1967 Education, retired from being a California superintendent of schools. He recently completed a yearlong term as foreperson of the 2011 Monterey County Civil Grand Jury. Fernando is also President and CEO of his own company, Elizondo Education Strategies, Inc.

TIMOTHY H. PROVAN, 1968 Wildlife, moved to Utah after graduation and completed his Master of Science in Wildlife Sciences at Utah State. He worked 30 years for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and became director in 1989. He then moved to Redding, Calif., where he worked seven years for Ducks Unlimited as regional director. He retired in 2004 and continues to hunt and fish while enjoying the beauty of Northern California.

DONALD C. JENSEN, 1969 Natural Resource Management, recently retired from the U.S. Forest Service, but was previously assigned to assist the Federal Emergency Management Agency with Typhoon Sudal cleanup on the island of Yap in the South Pacific, a few hours west of Guam. He was assigned to be a forklift operator in a warehouse, and supervised the teaching of chainsaw skills to natives working on the cleanup. Jensen says it was an amazing experience that he will not soon forget.


JOHN M. ALCALA, 1970 History, earned his teaching credential a year after graduating from Humboldt State University, then started his teaching career at Delano High School in Delano, Calif., immediately following. He taught history and developed the school’s Mock Trial program, and eventually became department chairman. Alcala retired in 2008 after 38 years in education.

RONALD D. MELIN, 1971 Geography, retired from teaching, but is still working parttime for the city of Torrance, Calif., doing restoration on Madrona Marsh. He recently backpacked with friends and fellow HSU alumni Brent McGhie, Frankie Watts, Wayne Stanfield and Richard Morris in the Russian wilderness in July to check out the 17 species of conifers that were observed by Professor Sawyer.

TIMOTHY (TIM) A. PENDER, 1971 Wildlife Management, has enjoyed five years of retirement after working for 32 years as a wildlife manager with the Arizona Fish and Game Department. He is now able to spend more time with his wife of nearly 35 years, Dianne, and his five children and 16 grandchildren. Pender now enjoys leisure time hunting and fishing, both in solitude and with family and friends. He says, “If anyone wants to come see the Grand Canyon, give me a call!”

DR. GARY JOSEPH STEBBINS, 1972 Wildlife, couldn’t stay away from education after a career in public education as a teacher, administrator, and professor of Educational Leadership at San Jose State University. Stebbins and his wife and fellow alum, Maureen, built their retirement home at Lake Almanor, but after a brief retirement of several months, Stebbins returned to the world of public education as principal of Greenville and Taylorsville Elementary Schools. He enjoys his “born again” role as principal and Maureen also volunteers at the schools many days a week. “We love working together and keeping active … this is not a forever career move, but it sure keeps us young.” The couple also enjoys meeting the many HSU alumni working with the agencies in Northern California.

RONALD J. WOYCHAK, 1974 Wildlife Management, retired after 34 years with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. He spent the bulk of his career in fire and resource management, incident management teams and two deployments to Australia to provide U.S. assistance during fire siege in 2009/2010.

DOUGLAS J. GALATI, 1975 Psychology, says, “You can take the man out of the redwoods, but you can’t take the redwoods out of the man.” Galati is retired from a Southern California gas company and enjoys the leisure time surfing the waves of Carpinteria, Calif.

DANIEL E. SEALY, 1975 Natural Resources Planning & Interpretation, worked at both Middle Tennessee State University and Pennsylvania State University for eight years. After his career in academia, he took a position as an outdoor recreation planner with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Over the last three years, Dan has worked on licensing new hydropower projects, decommissioning outdated projects, and compliance issues associated with ongoing operations around the country. While Dan’s specialty is outdoor recreation, he says he has the opportunity to be involved in a variety of natural resource management issues.

SYLVIA ANN MONTGOMERY, 1976 English, co-founded the magazine BioProcess International, a peer-reviewed trade publication that reaches 30,000 readers in the biopharmaceutical industry. This year is the tenth anniversary of the publication, now owned by Informa, a London-based company. Montgomery works from her small farm in Dexter, Ore., where she provides homes for two or three geriatric llamas at a time.

DALE K. HOFFMAN-FLOERKE, 1978 Fisheries Biology, started working for the California Department of Water Resources as a student in 1977, working her way up to deputy director in 2010. She oversees a staff of over 450 scientists, engineers, technicians and administration in a variety of activities, involving environmental compliance, restoration and water management focused on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Hoffman-Floerke has been married 34 years to Rob Floerke, retired Department of Fish and Game game warden and deputy director. After graduation, she worked in Sacramento and Fresno before moving to Davis in 1991, where their two sons were raised. Hoffman-Floerke cherished her outdoor studies at HSU and even though she’s in management, relishes any opportunity to get out in the field. She still enjoys coming back to Arcata to visit. She says, “I feel very fortunate to have been able to work my entire career in my chosen academic field.”

GARY A. KILGORE, 1979 Theatre, Film & Dance MFA, spent 30 years in the United States Army before working in the education system.

DANIEL R. MANDELL, 1979 History, will be a research fellow at the American Antiquarian Society (AAS) in 2012-13 thanks to an AAS-National Endowment for the Humanities grant, and will also be a visiting scholar at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies. Mandell’s project is a study of the shifting notion of equality in America, circa 1600 to 1880. Two years ago, his sixth book, “King Philip’s War: Colonial Expansion, Native Resistance, and the End of Indian Sovereignty,” was published by Johns Hopkins University Press for general readers and college survey classes; it was named an “Outstanding Academic Title” by Choice magazine.

RICHARD MAZZANTI, 1979 Forestry, is regional sales manager of national accounts with Overhead Door Corporation, a national manufacturer of garage, commercial, and industrial doors. In 2011, he celebrated 30 years with the company and working in many different capacities. Mazzanti and his wife, Betsy, have been married for 30 years and have two sons.


MAY TUAN TUCKER, 1981 Music, works for Bethany Presbyterian Church in Sacramento as music director.

CRAIG R. DUNN, 1983 Forest Resource Management, spent three years working for the U.S. Forest Service before moving on to a career as a software development project manager. He says he uses his project management skills to get away from the office by organizing and leading hiking, camping, and backpacking trips throughout the year. Dunn says his well-rounded HSU education has served him well, and he looks back with fondness on those early college years that shaped his life.

SUZANNE W. LARSON, 1983 Journalism, plans to retire at the end of March and looks forward to visiting Humboldt County. She says, “Once I get there, I may never leave again!”

GARY E. PERLESS, 1984 Geography, spent two years in Latin America. Perless has maintained his Spanish fluency through travel, friendships, and teaching. He teaches Spanish and World Geography and World History at West Sound Academy, a private international grade school (6-12) in Poulsbo, Wash. Perless lives just outside Port Townsend, Wash., with his wife, Jocelyn, and their two children William and Serena. He says he would love to hear from any fellow Geography or Oaxaca Program graduates.

ERIC GOODRICH, 1985 Geography, sends in the following: All of us in this photograph are very proud of our Humboldt State education. We have used it and our college experiences to provide service to the visitors of Santa Clara County Parks, and to protect and preserve our natural and cultural resources.

From left to right: Carrie (Gilsdorf) Grisenti, 1995 Wildlife Management, outdoor recreation program coordinator; Tracy Cline, 1999 Wildlife Management, natural resource technician; Don Rocha, 1993 Wildlife Management, natural resource program supervisor; William Burr, 1984 Wildlife Management, senior park ranger; Julie (Heffner) Lee, 1994 Natural Resources Planning, interpretive program supervisor; Eric Goodrich, 1985 Geography, 1988 Master of Business Administration, supervising park ranger.

JENNIFER WILLS-MARTIN, 1987 Psychology, served as the principal of St. Lucy School, a K-8 school in San Jose, Calif. She was appointed to the role of president of Carondelet High School, an all-girls Catholic school of 800 students located next to its partner boys’ school De La Salle in Concord, Calif. After graduating with a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology in 1990, she served as the dean of students and head counselor at Presentation High School, San Jose, for 12 years. Following that, she was the academic dean at Woodside Priory School in Portola Valley, Calif., for three years, then moved into the principalship at St. Lucy School. She is proud to say that she is using her training in counseling psychology in her work every single day.

HALEY M. GOETSCH, 1989 Psychology Master of Arts, has been working in California for the past 10 years as a school psychologist and school counselor. After working in Lake, Calaveras and Mendocino counties, she moved back to Humboldt in 2007 with her daughter, Sonja. Goetsch became engaged to Greg Beaumont, a local photographer and computer technician, in August of 2010. Sonja, who started kindergarten at Sunset Elementary School and graduated from Arcata High School in June, has been accepted to HSU. “Go Jacks!”


YVETTE M. KEMP, 1991 Interdisciplinary Studies in Animal Behavior, has been working as mammal and hospital keeper at the San Diego Zoo since 1993. She is also president of the San Diego chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers, a nonprofit organization of animal care and conservation professionals.

CARRIE L. LEONARD, 1992 Oceanography, was recently named director of advancement concepts for BAE Systems in Honolulu. In this role, she meets with the user community to develop technical solutions to its needs. She has also been named the vice president of the Society of Women Engineers, Hawaiian Island Chapter. On a personal note, she is also a soccer coach (U8 American Youth Soccer Organization), baseball and water polo mom, and active triathlete.

ETHAN A. DERNER, 1993 Media Production and Environmental Ethics, has been an adjunct faculty member for the Art Institute of Portland since 2009, teaching classes in editing and multi-camera production for digital film and video. His freelance career mosaic includes producing and directing for clients such as Nike and the Presidio Trust, as well as a feature documentary he is editing for the international markets.

JESSE I. ETTINGER, 1993 Journalism and Mass Communication, became the online and finishing editor at NBC Universal/Bravo Network in September, 2011.

THIERRY D. MANN, 1993 Chemistry, received his doctorate from University of Arizona in 1998, and has been living in Switzerland since 2011.

CAROL M. TAYLOR, 1993 Business Administration, is retired but staying active with her Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers. Until her retirement this winter, she was the ethics officer of the Homecare Division. She plans to spend most of her year in the political scene, working to get two healthcare initiatives on the ballot. She is also involved in working toward the California Assembly new District 2 campaign, which includes part of Sonoma and Humboldt counties.

ERICK J. HERRMANN, 1994 Spanish, is an educational consultant, helping schools and administrators to better meet the needs of English language learners in classrooms in the United States. Herrmann is also a Professional Association of Diving Instructors scuba instructor with Seven Seas Scuba in Monterey, Calif.

JANN RONIS, 1996 Religious Studies, is a postdoctoral fellow at University of California Berkeley’s Center for Buddhist Studies. His work involves research in Tibetan and Himalayan Buddhism. He received his doctorate in Buddhist Studies from the University of Virginia in 2009, and has been actively involved for many years with Himalayan Buddhism through frequent visits to the region, language study, and community involvement.

KENNETH L. SHONK JR., 1996 History, earned his doctorate in Irish History from Marquette University in May of 2010, and upon graduation, accepted a position as assistant professor of History and Social Studies Education at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. In addition to courses on global and Irish history, Shonk supervises student teachers and offers courses in the methodologies of social studies education. In 2009 he served as a research fellow with the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Learning.

JASON M. FANCHER, 1998 Theatre Arts and Anthropology, completed his doctorate in Anthropology at Washington State University in 2009. His doctoral dissertation is an analysis of animal bones butchered by modern Aka and Bofi hunter-gatherers of the Central African Republic. Fancher is currently teaching Anthropology at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham, Ore.

LISA L. GONZALEZ, 1998 Business Administration, is a project analyst in the Workforce Management Department for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. She is currently based in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., but assists with projects for all segments of the parks and resorts division. Her oldest daughter, Kaitlyn, is a freshman at Florida State University. Her other two children, Nick and Mikayla, attend Davenport School of the Arts.


NICOLAS E. HAVLIK, 2001 Forestry and Wildland Resources, is program manager for the Integrated Training Area Management program at Parsons Corporation in Fort Bliss, Texas. The program focuses on erosion and sediment control, native grass reseeding, vegetation monitoring, maneuver trail maintenance and reconfiguration, and protection of sites both of cultural and biological significance. It also provides education to the military on the importance of being good stewards of the 1,500 square miles of training land that encompass Fort Bliss.

VERENA KELLNER, 2001 Geography, is a hydrographer currently on sailing sabbatical. She is taking time with her fiancé, Mike, to sail their 38-foot sailboat from Mexico to Australia via the South Pacific Islands.

RONALD ANDERSON, 2002 Physics and Astronomy, works for a naval shipyard as a dosimetry technician, doing mostly radiological work.

CINDY A. MCKINNON, 2003 Elementary Education, has been working in the Klamath/Trinity Joint Unified School District since graduating from HSU. She feels that she was well prepared for her career and thanks HSU and ITEPP. She says she is happy to be in such a good place.

JOSHUA W. ALLEN, 2004 Natural Resources, received a Master of Public Administration degree in May of 2012. His studies focused on local governmental administration and planning. His professional project paper was entitled “Social Justice: Can Public Participation Increase It?” He hopes to find employment as a dedicated public service worker to build better communities.

MELANIE M. BETTENHAUSEN, 2005 Sociology, was promoted to outreach director at the North Coast Co-Op. She is now responsible for marketing and membership. Bettenhausen uses her background in sociology to inform her work in the community around access issues.

ERIC B. BURKE, 2005 Forestry and Wildland Resources, is a registered professional forester and working for the Plumas National Forest, Feather River Ranger District, as a timber sale administrator.

JONATHAN C. SHULTZ ,2005 Rangeland Resource Science, was recently promoted to district conservationist with the U.S.Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Eureka. He says, “Thanks, Susan and Ken!”

CHERYL B. MILLETT, 2007 Wildlife Master of Science, coordinates the python control effort for southern Florida in the Python Patrol program. She developed and coordinates trainings for state, federal, and local law enforcement on how to capture pythons.

GLENN E. SONNTAG, 2007 Environmental Science, obtained a Master of Public Administration, Environmental Science, and Policy from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs in 2008. He then received a two-year appointment as a presidential management fellow at the Department of Energy in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and a six-month detail assignment at the Department of the Interior’s Office of Policy, Management and Budget, all at Columbia University. Shortly after completing his fellowship, he led a delegation of U.S. biofuel scientists on a trip to several locations in India to meet with government officials, academic specialists and industry experts. They participated in the 2010 Delhi International Renewable Energy Conference (DIREC). Sonntag now works as a sustainability program analyst in the DOE’s Sustainability Performance Office, which is working to make the DOE’s own programs and operations more environmentally sustainable.

MARK T. MARTINEZ, 2009 Anthropology, works with youth to advocate nonviolence and encourage empowered, healthy choices. Martinez was inspired to become a mentor with the Tariq Khamisa Foundation through his education in anthropology of development. He hopes to continue his work with nonprofit organizations while obtaining his Master of Social Work degree.

SOFIA M. PEREIRA, 2009 Communication, recently took part in a political fellowship in Washington, D.C. with the Women’s Campaign Fund. Pereira has also joined the staff of Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (D-North Coast) as a field representative in the First Assembly District’s Eureka District Office. A former Associated Students president, Sofia formerly was an intern in that office and also in the Eureka District Office of Representative Mike Thompson (D-Calif.).


ASHLEY BAILEY, 2010 Journalism, joined KPCC-FM as an assistant producer for Morning Edition in January. KPCC is a National Public Radio-affiliated nonprofit radio station in Los Angeles. Bailey has covered stories such as Occupy L.A., the L.A. windstorms and the recent L.A. arson fires and had her work featured on NPR. Bailey’s new duties include gathering audio for breaking news, writing scripts for news anchors, pitching story ideas and booking radio show guests.

STEWART G. WILSON, 2010 Forestry and Wildland Resources, is a Master of Science student and research assistant at University of California, Davis, in Soils and Biogeochemistry.

NATHAN F. RASMUSSEN, 2010 Physics and Astronomy, says attending HSU to study Physics was the best decision of his adult life. He became confident in his problem-solving abilities and academic field, and also enjoyed the experience with the amazing faculty. After graduation, he was hired to teach in the physics lab, and he is now in a doctoral Physics program at Washington State University.

E. SAFIYA BAL, 2011 Anthropology, has been working as a substitute teacher for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District since December 2011. As of April 2012 she was hired as field technician for Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., based in Davis, Calif. The project is in Vacaville, Calif.

JENNIFER HUMPHREYS, 2011 Anthropology, is earning her Master of Science in Primate Behavior at Central Washington University, specializing in molecular primatology. Eventually, she will be heading to the forests of the Republic of Suriname in South America to study gene flow through conservation corridors.

RANI RAM, 2011 Wildlife, has been busy since graduation applying for Anthropology graduate programs and scholarships to specialize in Primatology. Ram has been accepted to Kent State, where she will be studying the feeding ecology of saki monkeys in the Republic of Suriname with Dr. Marilyn Norconk. Ram says although she did not follow a traditional degree path, what matters most is achieving her desired goals by persisting with education.

JESSICA A. WHATCOTT, 2011 Environment and Community Master of Arts, was hired as a temporary lecturer for the new department of Critical Race, Gender, and Sexuality Studies after receiving her master’s degree. Whatcott is excited to be involved in this new program by engaging students in intersectional critical analysis.

SARAH G. WOOD, 2011 Biology, accepted an offer from Florida State University to become an advisor in the Developmental Psychology program with Dr. Richard Wagner. Her doctorate will focus on dyslexia, and she will work within the Florida Center for Reading Research through the National Institutes of Health Multidisciplinary Learning Disabilities Center. Wood says she could go in a few different directions with her research, including molecular and behavioral genetics, classification and classroom intervention, but no matter which direction she takes, her research will improve the lives of people with these disabilities. Florida State contains one of the most diverse data sets of people with learning disabilities all over the world. She says she is pleased to continue her commitment to make a lasting impact for all underrepresented student groups.


ALISON MORSE, 2012 Art, was featured in the February edition of The Santa Clara Review, a biannual publication of poetry, writing, art, and music through Santa Clara University. Morse’s piece, “Strawberry Seed Holder,” was featured in the visual arts section. Additionally, Morse’s copper, “Strawberry Seed Holder,” was selected in April for inclusion in the Cu|29 exhibition at Mesa Contemporary Arts, Mesa, Ariz.