Spring 2014

Class Notes


Leonard Askham, 1963, Forestry, is Professor Emeritus in the Colleges of Agriculture, Science and Graduate Faculty at Washington State University. Askham has produced 150 peer reviewed scientific journal publications, proceedings, books, book chapters, popular articles and education videos. His research includes environmental toxicology, pesticide efficacy and environmental fate population dynamics and alternate pesticide management strategies. He holds two patents and one federal pesticide registration for the first biochemical bird control repellent for agriculture. Askham is a member of Xi Sigma Pi, Sigma Xi, the Society of American Foresters, the Society for Range Management and the Northwest Science Association. In 1987, Askham was a representative on African Agricultural Rodent Control for the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization/Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, in Rome. He is also the founder, president and CEO of Bird Shield Repellent Corporation with offices in Pullman, Wash., and San Francisco. He is the father of three, grandfather of six, and great-grandfather of 10.


Steve Brudney, 1970, Philosophy, might just have the first Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy. About the same time Brudney refused induction into the war in Vietnam. Later he earned Master of Arts in philosophy at UC Davis. Brudney wrote to 263 community colleges, found eight openings, got one interview, and was not hired. Instead, Brudney worked at Pacific Lumber Company for 19 years and then for the county. Now he’s writing a book on Christian fundamentalism. He draws from decades of experiences with fundamentalists, his training in philosophy, and over 33 years studying Bible scholarship, the historical Jesus, Christian beginnings, and the formation of the New Testament.

DARVIN DESHAZER, 1972, Biology, is Chairman of the Science Department at St. Vincent High School in Petaluma, Calif., and for over 20 years has taught Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Honors Chemistry. Professor David Largent guided his scientific training. He was one the cofounders of the Sonoma County Mycological Association (SOMAmushrooms.org) and serves as its science advisor. His expertise in mushrooms stems from more than 30 years in the field and has published over 5,000 color photos of fungi at MushroomObserver.org. Deshazer has coauthored several publications about fungi, including 100 Edible Mushrooms. He teaches workshops in mushroom identification, truffle ecology and fungal microscopy.

Gary Joseph Stebbins, 1972, Wildlife, has reentered the world of public education as principal of the Greenville, Calif., and Taylorsville, Calif., elementary schools after a career in public education as a teacher and administrator, and then professor of Educational Leadership at San Jose State University. Stebbins and his wife, Maureen, (a Humboldt alumna) built their retirement home at Lake Almanor, Calif., with the help of family. Stebbins enjoys his “born again” role as principal and Maureen also volunteers at the schools several days a week.

Samuel M. Navarez, 1975, History, is getting ready to retire after 38 years of teaching history and other social science classes.  Navarez has taught for the last 25 years in the Gilroy Unified School District at both the middle school and high school levels. He is currently teaching at an early college high school, called Dr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy, which opened in 2007. Navarez has been married to a wonderful lady for the last 34 years and together they have three grown children, Crystal, Michael and Aaron; two are married to wonderful people. Navarez and his wife, Sally, are also raising their 5-year-old grandson.

Ed Scantling, 1979, Kinesiology & Recreation Administration, is in his eighth year as Dean of the College of Education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Scantling appreciates greatly the education he received at HSU, which created a strong foundation for a wonderful career as a teacher, coach and university administrator. Scantling and his wife, Eve, have two daughters, Hilarie and Ashley, and two granddaughters, Izabella and Gabbie.

Emily Kratzer, 1976, Journalism, accepted a buyout offer in 2012 during a round of Gannett Company layoffs. While enjoying retirement, Kratzer now volunteers with WCTV.us, community access TV, among other things.

Jamey Brzezinski, 1978, Art, recently retired from teaching after a 32-year career as a professor of Studio Art for various California colleges and universities. For the last 20 years he taught for Merced College, chairing the Art, Music, and Drama departments for 12 of those years. Brzezinski was the editorial cartoonist for The Lumberjack from 1977 to 1978 and Northern California editor of Artweek Magazine from 1991 to 1992. He lives with his wife, also a retired art professor, in Pacifica, Calif. He spends his time making art, playing jazz ukulele and bass, writing, and curating art exhibits for the California State Court Building in San Francisco.


Tracy Jordan French, 1983, Geography, is the administrator of United States Servas, a nonprofit membership organization fostering understanding of cultural diversity through a global person-to-person network promoting a more just and peaceful world. Servas hosts and travelers are located in more than 120 countries worldwide.

RON MILLER, 1983, Forest Management, is a supervisory forester on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona. His 30-year career has included working for the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Miller has published articles in both American Forests and the Journal of Forestry. He is also the nominator of the largest Chihuahua pine in the United States. Recent travel includes time in Costa Rica and Panama in Central America and Ecuador and Peru in South America.

Cynthia Rawlings (previously Rawlings Rohde), 1983, Art, received Citizen of the Year recognition from the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce in 2013 for organizing the Downtown Coos Bay Wine Walk. Since 2007, the event has earned more than $130,000 to support local nonprofit organizations including Coos Art Museum and the Egyptian Theatre Preservation Association. Rawlings has lived in the Coos Bay-area since 2001 and has worked at The World newspaper for nearly eight years. She was president of the Bay Area Rotary club in 2010-11.

Leonard A. Brennan, 1984, Wildlife, has been a professor at the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, at the Texas A&M University, Kingsville, since 2001, where he holds the C.C. Winn Endowed Chair for Quail Research. Brennan teaches graduate classes in Ecosystem Function and Models in Wildlife Science. His past positions include Director of Research at Tall Timbers Research Station in Tallahassee, Fla. (1993-2001), and small game research scientist at Mississippi State University (1989-1993). He served terms as editor-in-chief of The Journal of Wildlife Management (2001-2002) and Wildlife Society Bulletin (2012-2013). Since graduating from HSU, Brennan has published more than 160 peer-reviewed articles, five books and more than 100 extension articles.

Ken Hansen, 1984, Natural Resources, retired in 2012 after 25 years with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement, in Kodiak, Alaska, where he supervised fisheries law enforcement activities in the Central and Western Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea. Currently he is conducting fisheries research projects. He also operates a home business, Kodiak Bones and Bugs Taxidermy, which uses flesh eating beetles to clean animal skulls, as well as selling the insects all over the world. With his wife, Deb (’85, Natural Resources), they raised two boys on Kodiak Island.

Mark D. Childress, 1985, German and Political Science, is terminology manager in the language services team at SAP, the world’s largest enterprise software company. SAP’s multilingual term management approach is well regarded, resulting in invitations to teach and lecture in places as diverse as Ireland, Poland, Russia, South Africa, India, and Kazakhstan. Although Childress is a native English-speaking American, he was elected president of the German Association for Terminology (Deutscher Terminologie-Tag), a nonprofit organization that promotes the use of the German language in terminology work and provides consulting on best practices in term management. Childress lives near Heidelberg, Germany, with his wife and their two teenage children.

Julie King (née Reich), 1985, Music, went on to earn a master’s degree in music (choral conducting) but pivoted her career to the nonprofit sector. King is currently vice president of Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group and engages in executive search as well as advising nonprofits on capacity building. She also serves on the Board of Directors of BeadforLife, a social enterprise serving women living in extreme poverty in Uganda. King and her husband, Chuck, live in Redwood City, Calif., where Julie rows on Bair Island Aquatic Center’s competitive crew team.

Robert M. Danno, 1986, Education, is currently a National Park Service Ranger and federal whistle-blower who has written a new book, Worth Fighting For: A Park Ranger’s Unexpected Battle Against Federal Bureaucrats & Washington Redskins Owner Dan Snyder.

MELISSA MILLER, 1986, Natural Resources Planning & Interpretation, is currently an instructional coach at an elementary school on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona. Since graduating from Humboldt State, she has earned a post-bacculearate and master’s degree in Education. Melissa has applied her diverse educational background in a Montessori setting and working with Native American students in public school. She also currently enjoys living in the White Mountains of Arizona.

Meg Godlewski, 1987, Journalism, was nominated for the National Flight Instructor of the Year award, which recognizes the top 20 flight instructors in the United States. Godlewski also writes for national and international aviation magazines and is still in touch with the marching band and plays drums to this day.


Jana Rivers-Norton, 1991, English, is now a tenure-track, full-time English instructor at Cochise Community College in Nogales, Ariz., after graduating with a Master of Arts degree in English from Humboldt State in 1991. Rivers-Norton also earned a Doctorate in Human Sciences at Saybrook University in 2002.

Allison Castner, 1994, Theatre, Film & Dance, has been teaching drama at a K3-12 grade Christian school in the San Fernando Valley for the last 18 years. Castner writes that she is grateful that Humboldt’s Theatre Arts program allowed her to take a wide variety of classes. In a small school, the drama program director is the play producer, director, technical director, production stage manager (training new stage managers every show), scenic designer, lighting designer, sound designer, props procurer, costume procurer, publicity crew, house manager, and trainer of all the actors and technical crew, usually with less than three days for tech week.

Jason W. Cooley, 1994, Biological Sciences, is currently a professor of Chemistry at the University of Missouri.

Andrew Jensen, 1996 and 2000, Fisheries Biology, and Melanie Jensen, 1996, Wildlife Biology, met in an Icthyology class in 1992. Then 10 years passed and they bumped into each other in a grocery store in Santa Rosa, Calif., and exchanged phone numbers. After a year or so they got together for dinner, spent several months becoming friends, and got married in 2004. Andrew now works as a senior environmental scientist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife working on anadromous fish restoration, and Melanie works for PG&E in the Gas Service Engineering Department. They settled in Redding, Calif., and have two daughters and several pets. In September 2013, they visited HSU and showed their girls where they had met, and let them run around on the soccer field near the Fisheries and Wildlife Building. Andrew writes that HSU was a wonderful place to go to college, and hopes their girls will pick HSU for their college education. Interestingly, Melanie’s mother, Dolores Mattax, and aunt and uncle, Patricia Mattax and Jim Ingram, also attended HSU in the early 1950s. Patricia and Jim ended up getting married, and Jim is in the Hall of Fame as a football player and coach for HSU.

Nicole (D’Virgilio) Josselyn, 1996, Nursing, graduated from UCSD/SDSU’s nurse-midwifery program. Josselyn currently runs a small, home-based practice, Exodus Homebirth Service. She lives in Iowa on 21 acres of grass with her husband, (who works for Deaf Missions as a video producer) and five home-educated children, two of which were adopted from Liberia. She and the family are learning how to sustainably grow their own food and love their cows and chickens.

David E. McLean, 1996, Biological Sciences, is the current president of the Vermont State Dental Society and a delegate to the American Dental Association. McLean earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery in 2000 and now lives in South Burlington, Vt.

Kristi Boring Shelton, 1996, Environmental Resources Engineering, worked for Montgomery Watson (now MWH) from 1996 to 2006 in the Federal Unit in Sacramento. Her work included groundwater and soil investigations at various Army and Air Force bases. Then Shelton worked at Secor (now Stantec) from 2006 to 2007 doing underground storage tank cleanups in the Sacramento area. Currently she is working as a water resources control engineer for the Central Valley Regional Water Board.

Jennifer Wood (née Berman), 1996, Botany, helped develop and co-write the Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility. She went on to earn a Master of Science degree in Soil Science and became a soil scientist with U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service. After 10 years, Wood accepted a position with the Arcata Soil Survey Office. While in Humboldt she founded the Climate Action Project through the Redwood Alliance. In collaboration with Humboldt State students she held a Focus the Nation event about global climate change science and solutions. In 2011 she moved to a position at the USDA-NRCS state office in Davis, Calif. She continues her climate advocacy by leading the Sacramento chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby.

Deanna Carpenter (née Wade), 1997, Environmental Resources Engineering, is married to Mark Carpenter, 1998, Wildlife Management, and was recently promoted to the rank of Commander with the U.S. Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps in Newport, R.I. Carpenter is currently serving as chief staff officer of the Seventh Naval Construction Regiment.

Kevin Orris, 1998, Mathematics, first went to Humboldt in 1984 as a Wildlife Management major, at which time he met his wife, Bonnie. He returned to Humboldt in the mid ’90s and received a degree in Mathematics and his teaching credential. He has been teaching math at Golden Sierra High School for the last 12 years. He loves every minute and is very proud that he has encouraged several students to attend Humboldt.


Anthony Medrano, 2000, Politics, worked at Ohio University for a few years and moved back to Hawaii before finally settling down near Lake Mendota, Wis., where he is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Currently, Medrano is several miles away in Malaysian Borneo, conducting dissertation research as a Fulbright fellow. Medrano’s interest in the social history of oceans stems from his formative years at Humboldt and its intellectual ecology.

Amanda (née Lang) Eldridge, 2001, Journalism & Mass Communication, lived in four major cities since graduating. She’s now married with two children and finally settling down in Denver.

Joshua Allen, 2004, Natural Resources Planning, followed his Humboldt experience with a few years of AmeriCorps service through the University of Oregon. Allen has recently started a new job, far, far away from Humboldt. He is now working for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough in Palmer, Alaska, as a planner. This position is an exciting move for Allen, as he is highly involved in projects that will shape the landscape of Alaska for generations to come, and he reflects upon the lessons learned at HSU to implement lasting change.

Aquila Flower, 2004, Geography, lived out of a backpack in New Zealand and South America, in a coffee shack in Hawaii, and on a tiny sailboat in the San Juan Islands after graduating. Flower then moved to Victoria, British Columbia, where she completed a Master of Science in Geography and worked as a geospatial and statistical analyst at a climate change research institute. She fell in love with teaching and with dendrochronology research, and is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Oregon. Flower has accepted her “dream job” as assistant professor of Geography at Western Washington University in Bellingham, where she teaches Physical Geography and geographic information systems.

CHRISTINA CASTANEDA, 2005, Political Science, and Steven Hull, 2005, Mathematics, were married in June in Oakland, Calif., on the ninth anniversary of meeting at the Humboldt Orientation Program. While in college, they both worked for HOP and their romance blossomed.

TERESA STOEPLER, 2006, Botany, moved to Washington, D.C., where she earned her Ph.D. in Biology at George Washington University in 2012 after completing a Bachelor of Science in Biology/Botany at HSU. Stoepler is currently a postdoctoral scientist at Virginia Tech where she researches the ecology of grapevine yellows, a lethal disease of wine grapes.

Jed Haley-Brooks D’Abravanel, 2007, Politics, is currently attending law school at American University.

LELA ANNOTTO-PEMBERTON, 2008, Dance Studies, is currently in her fist year as a Master of Fine Arts candidate for Dance at Mills College with an emphasis in Choreography and Performance.

Ali R. Chaudhary, 2009, Sociology, went on to earn a Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of California, Davis. In 2013, Chaudhary advanced to candidacy and started dissertation research on migrant-serving nonprofit organizations in London, Toronto and New York. While conducting fieldwork, Chaudhary has been hosted as a visiting scholar at the Munk School of Global Affairs, the University of Toronto and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. In fall 2013 Chaudhary was a visiting fellow at the University of Oxford’s International Migration Institute. Chaudhary’s first sole-authored, peer-reviewed journal publication will appear in the International Migration Review in summer 2014.

Monica Topping, 2009, Journalism, launched the Small Town Big Art calendar project after successfully funding the project via KickStarter. The calendar profiles prominent Humboldt County artists. Topping was inspired to start the project after the U.S. Census published a statistic that Humboldt County has more working artists per capita than any other county in California.


Christopher Bennett, 2010, Journalism & Mass Communication, worked for Bleacher Report, the online sports site, as a featured columnist. Bennett covered both the San Jose Sharks and Golden State Warriors, and was published on numerous sites, including CBSSPORTS.com. Bennett then attended law school in the Bay Area, where he focused his studies on intellectual property and corporate law. He graduated law school in 2013 and currently works in-house for Geosyntec, an environmental engineering firm.

Jessica Peters, 2010, Anthropology, received a Master of Arts degree in Anthropology in 2012 at UCLA. Peters also presented research at the American Anthropological Association 2012 meeting, and at the Interdisciplinary Conference in the Humanities at the University of West Georgia.

Gabriela Girona, 2010, International Studies, was accepted into the Syracuse University School of Law and, now that the state has legalized equal marriage rights, Girona is engaged to her partner of more than two years. She will pursue her international passion in her second and third years at Syracuse University and hopes to earn two degrees (a Juris Doctor and a master’s in international relations) via the school’s dual-degree program. She also hopes to earn a certificate in post-conflict reconstruction through SU’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism.

Salina Cuddy, 2011, English, has begun a Master of Arts program in Socio-linguistics at the University of York in England. Cuddy’s focus is language and power, looking particularly at language and gender as well as language and class.