Spring 2017

Class Notes


David W. Heiser, 1963 and 1965
Fisheries Biology, retired in 1997 from Washington State Parks. Prior to that, he served with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Idaho Department of Fish, Game and Wildlife. Since 2006, Heiser has lived in Arizona.

Robert T. Lackey, 1967
Fisheries Biology, was recently named a Fellow of the American Fisheries Society at the society’s 146th Annual Meeting in Kansas City, Missouri. He has worked on an assortment of natural resource issues from various positions in government and academia. Most recently, he retired after 27 years with the Environmental Protection Agency’s national research laboratory in Corvallis, Oregon, where he served as deputy director, associate director for Science, and in other senior leadership positions. Dr. Lackey has long been an educator, having taught at five North American universities and, currently, he teaches a graduate course in ecological and natural resource policy at Oregon State University. He has published over 100 articles in scientific and professional journals.

Ron Fritzsche, 1967
Zoology, recently contributed a section of the “Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes” published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Fritzsche is an Emeritus Professor of Fisheries Biology. He was the HSU Outstanding Professor in 1991 and served as an administrator including dean for Research, Graduate Studies and International Programs. Fritzsche also served as assistant to the provost for faculty affairs and space and facilities. He is currently an elected board member for the North Humboldt Recreation and Park District and the local Timber Heritage Association. Fritzsche met his wife, also an HSU graduate, in John Van Duzer’s Speech 1 class.

Michael T. Rains, 1968
Forestry, recently retired from the U.S. Forest Service after 48 years of public service. Rains began his career as a wildland firefighter and rose through the ranks to become deputy chief of the agency. His last assignment with the Forest Service was director of the Northern Research Station and the Forest Products Laboratory. Rains is known for his authorship role in the National Fire Plan for the Department of Agriculture and advancing biomass uses—cellulose nanomaterials, green building construction, advanced wood for energy —as a way to help America’s forests become more resilient to disturbances. Along the way, Rains earned a master’s degree in Secondary Education and now enjoys substitute teaching math and science at the middle school level in Pennsylvania.


James Donlon, 1970
Theatre & History, has had a 47-year career as an internationally renowned performing artist presenting his original physical theatre work throughout the United States, Europe, and Latin America, having just returned from Cuba. Donlon has been a master teacher in many national and international acting conservatories such as the Yale School of Drama and American Conservatory Theatre, and at UC Santa Barbara. He has also been a film movement coach for Oscar winners Kathy Bates and Javier Bardem, and film star Benjamin Bratt.

Peter Cowper, 197
Business, has served as a member of the board of directors of the Sequoia Riverlands Trust since 2013. The trust is a regional nonprofit land trust accredited by the Land Trust Alliance, which is dedicated to strengthening California’s heartland and the natural and agricultural legacy of the southern Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley.

Daniel R. Mandell, 1979
History, received the Distinguished Literary Achievement Award from the Missouri Humanities Council for his six books and many articles on Native American persistence and adaptation in New England, 1600-1900. Those books include King Philip’s War: Colonial Expansion, Native Resistance, and the End of Indian Sovereignty (2010), Tribe, Race, History: Native Americans in Southern New England, 1780-1880 (2008)—which was given the Lawrence Levine Award by the Organization of American Historians for best book on U.S. cultural history—and Behind the Frontier: Indians in Eighteenth-Century Eastern Massachusetts (1996).

Jim Parsons, 1979
Fisheries Biology, is an owner/partner in Troutlodge, Inc., the world’s largest supplier of rainbow trout eggs to the commercial and agency sectors. He was also elected president of the National Aquaculture Association in 2016.


James A. Freeman, 1980
English, recently published Biblical Time Out of Mind: Myths, Maps, and Memories with co-author and HSU Emeritus Professor Tom Gage.

Thomas J. Hatton, 1981
Natural Resources and 1983 M.S. Natural Resources, was recently elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. Hatton immigrated to Australia after earning his Ph.D. from Utah State University in 1986. He retired in 2014 after a 25-year career in environmental research and natural resource management. For his contributions to water resource science and management, he was awarded the Australian Public Service Medal in 2008. He now serves as Chairman of the Western Australia Environmental Protection Authority and holds an Adjunct Professorship at the University of Western Australia where he is a member of their Oceans Institute Advisory Board and the Board of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy.

Neil Tarpey, 1983
M.A. English and 1995 M.A. Psychology, recently had his first book, “Flashes of Lightning,” published by Fithian Press. The book is a collection of 52 flash/micro fiction stories, 20 of which have been published previously in print or online. The book hit Humboldt County bookstores in October and is also available from online bookstores.

Kay Sinclair, 1983
Master’s of Business Administration, recently left a 30-plus-year career as an IT manager with General Electric, Martin Marietta, and Lockheed Martin, in Utica, New York. She has been teaching IT-related management courses at State University of New York Polytechnic Institute as an adjunct professor, while also continuing her nonprofit work in the community. Sinclair is currently the president of the board at the Women’s Employment and Resource Center. She is also involved in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) activities in the area, including co-teaching summer workshops for middle school students such as 3D Daze for Girls and Nanotechnology. Last April, Kay was delighted to receive the Unsung Heroine Award from the Young Women’s Christian Association of the Mohawk Valley at its annual Salute to Outstanding Women luncheon.

Leonard A. Brennan, 1984
Wildlife, recently published his sixth book, The Upland and Webless Migratory Game Birds of Texas with Texas A&M University Press. Brennan has been conducting quail research for the past 34 years, beginning with his graduate project that began at HSU back in 1982.


Jon Pede, 1990
Social Science, lives in Tigard, Oregon, with his partner. He recently completed his doctoral degree at Lewis & Clark College in Portland. His dissertation is titled, “Morals, Values and Ethics: Their Impact on the Decisions of the School Principal.”

Gary B. Perlmutter, 1991
Zoology, graduated from North Carolina State University with a Master of Science in Natural Resources.

Michael Harmon, 1992
Photojournalism, is semi-retired from journalism and photography though he still does an occasional job here and there. Harmon taught English as a Second Language for nearly eight years in Henan Province in Central China. He has been back in the U.S. for about three years and cannot wait to return to China.

Don Rowan, 1992
Fisheries Biology, is in his 17th year of science teaching. For the last three years, Rowan has been teaching Advanced Placement (AP) Biology, Biology, Biology 2, and AP Environmental Science at Bishop Union High School. He is also the Associated Student Body director and has recently been a peer reviewer for the Journal of Fisheries and Wildlife Management.

Conrad L. Huygen,
Lt. Col. (ret.), USAF, 1994
Geography, has returned to Washington, D.C., and is the deputy chief of the Defender Services Office at the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Dedicated to providing the assistance of counsel for individuals who cannot afford a lawyer, his office funds, trains, and supports the more than 3,600 federal defender personnel and 10,000 private panel attorneys appointed to represent clients under the Criminal Justice Act. Conrad’s wife, Julie, has been promoted to Colonel and is the chief of the Air Force’s Military Justice Division at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. The Huygens live in Alexandria, Virginia.

Stephanie Foster, 1995
Wildlife, is currently working at the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley. The center provides care and rehabilitation for injured, sick, and orphaned wildlife.

Gage Dayton, 1996
Wildlife, was recently appointed to the Wilton W. Webster Jr. Presidential Chair for the UC Santa Cruz Natural Reserves. Dayton has served as administrative director of the UCSC Natural Reserves since 2008.

Matt Krupnick, 1998
Journalism, currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. Krupnick lives with his wife, Jennifer Kho, who is also a Journalism graduate from HSU. Krupnick is a freelance journalist for The New York Times, Guardian US, and Hechinger Report. Krupnick and Kho recently visited HSU and wished they still lived in Humboldt County.

Jennifer Kho, 1999
Journalism, and husband, Matt Krupnick, are currently living in Brooklyn, New York. Kho is the managing editor of the Guardian US. Kho and Krupnick were previously living in Oaxaca, Mexico, for nearly a year.


Beth Downing Chee, 2001
Journalism, was recently hired as the director of marketing for Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California.

Hero Burke Smith, 2003
Art, is working in the media and textile industry, developing scripts for Mad Libs games about newish products.

John Giraldes, 2003
Chemistry, graduated from University of Minnesota with a degree in Medicinal Chemistry in 2006 and went on to work for Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research, Global Discovery Chemistry, Oncology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, until 2015. Giraldes then relocated to Baltimore, Maryland, and is currently working as a Project Manager and Scientific Analyst for the National Cancer Institute’s Experimental Therapeutics (NExT) Program.

Laurie Shaw, 2003
Fisheries Biology, emphasized in Aquarium Sciences and Marine Fisheries. Shaw is currently the head of the Animal Health Department at the California Academy of Sciences. As the senior manager of the Animal Health and Aquarium Operations, Shaw runs her own team of seven members known as the “pit crew of the aquarium.” Shaw’s team is in charge of the museum’s 48,000 living creature collection, which includes fish, birds, penguins, frogs, butterflies, alligators, and sharks. Every living creature that enters or departs the museum goes through Shaw’s department, where they are registered, quarantined, fed, treated, and protected during their stay. In her spare time, Shaw serves on several aquarium-related boards and committees, like the Aquatic Animal Life Support Operators and the Bay Area Life Support Alliance.

Heather Sundblad-Rhoade, 2003
Journalism, served on many nonprofit boards, and then as a paid staff member serving as development director for the Education Foundation of Forest Grove after graduating. After two years, she shifted career focus and accepted a seat on the foundation’s board as communications director. In 2016, she became the marketing and tasting room manager at the award-winning Plum Hill Vineyards in Gaston Oregon.

Colin Brayton, 2004
Wildlife, recently started Alaska Fjord Charters, in Seward, Alaska, and takes guests to the Kenai Fjords National Park.

Tobin Fulmer, 2005
Biological Sciences, has taken a position with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality at the El Dorado office.

Manolo Platin Morales, 2005
Politics, recently began a new job. Morales is the vice president for State Government & Industry Affairs with Chubb North America.

Gordon L. Bussell, 2006
Native American Studies, is working to revitalize the Hupa language by teaching teachers in the Early Childhood Program. Bussell is also working to create a first-level immersion program targeting 0 to 6-year-old children on the Hoopa Reservation. As a Curriculum Specialist, Bussell is charged with implementing and designing all curriculum with the help of one assistant.

Kevin Farley, 2006
Journalism, moved on to working in Olympic weightlifting after a decade in TV news. Farley manages the website, social media, and other communications for USA Weightlifting, the national governing body for the sport of Olympic Weightlifting in the United States.

Eric Spieth, 2006
Business, has been teaching at the college level for the past decade. Spieth has been specializing in entrepreneurship, management, and marketing. For three years he was CEO of Mad River Brewing in Blue Lake, California, and was a business consultant in California and Oregon for 10 years. Spieth is currently the new director of the Enterprise Center at Plymouth State University. Prior to that position, Spieth was a professor and the program director for the Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence and Development at Central Oregon Community College.

Robert Deane, 2007
History and Journalism, is a library technician at the Oregon Institute of Technology, after working for the Butte Valley Unified School District as the district library technician for six years. He is currently looking to return to school to earn his master’s degree in teaching from Western Governor’s University.


Robert P. Parker, 2011
Fisheries Biology, began working for the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality as a Clean Water Act Section 401 coordinator.

Kyle Ryan, 2011
Theatre, moved to Chicago with only a suitcase and lived in a one-bedroom apartment with four other HSU grads. Ryan was accepted into Second City’s Conservatory Program and then was hired to perform sketch comedy and improv aboard Norwegian Cruise lines for The Second City. Ryan has performed all over the world and is currently performing for The Annoyance Theatre in Chicago. He currently works at a digital media arts college giving workshops to high school artists all over the Midwest.

Justin Tretten, 2012
English, moved back to Colorado after graduation. In Colorado, Tretten earned his teaching license. He now teaches sixth-grade language arts in a middle school.

Ryan Bieker, 2013
Political Science, began working at the California Public Employee Retirement System as an associate governmental program analyst administering the Affordable Care Act with public agencies and state departments. Bieker also provides customer education, retirement and health program counseling, and responses to customer inquiries.

Jocelyn Keranen, 2013
Geography, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania, where she worked on agriculture and gender empowerment projects in a small village near the Great Rift Valley and Masai Steppe. After two years living in a village, she added another year onto her service. Currently, Keranen is serving in Dar es Salaam as the national malaria coordinator. After her service, she plans on pursuing a Master of Public Health in Global Health.

Deborah Wynn (Graaff), 2013
International Studies, got married and started medical school with her partner. She is currently in her third year and is preparing for the first step of the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam before starting clinical rotations.

Misha Burke, 2014
Journalism, currently works at the California Association of Health Facilities as a Marketing & Communications Specialist.

Noel Eaton, 2014
Environmental Management & Protection Planning, moved back home to Billings, Montana, and worked for an analytical lab testing water samples. Eaton is now a city planner in Laurel, Montana and loving every minute of it.

Allison Formica, 2014
Biological Sciences, is working as a Life Science Research Professional in the Genetics Department at Stanford University studying the cellular and molecular biology of the cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis, which is a critical relationship to the lives of reef-building corals. She was recently promoted to laboratory manager and is assisting in developing a reliable spawning protocol for the sea anemone, Aiptasia, in an attempt to improve spawning efficiency and predictability in the lab.

Holly Leopardi, 2014
Physics & Astronomy, recently won first place for her paper “Er:fiber frequency comb for synthesis of optical frequencies at the 10^-18 level,” at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Photonics National Conference. Leopardi is currently a graduate student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, conducting research in optical frequency comb development at the Time and Frequency Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology with Scott Diddams. She is a student member of the IEEE, and a recipient of the 2016 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship.

Cherrish Robinson, 2014
Critical Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies, graduated from Michigan State University with a Master of Arts in Student Affairs Administration. Robinson wishes to pursue a career in the education pipeline (both K-12 and postsecondary education), specifically in the administrative or policy-related capacity.

Leticia-Andrea Snoots, 2014
English, is in her final year of graduate school at the University of Pacific. Snoots is working on her Master of Education Degree with a concentration of Student Affairs. Snoots is supported on this journey by her partner of five years, James, who she met as an undergraduate at Humboldt State.

Billy Wright, 2014
Communication, is currently teaching and coaching in Kerman, California, at Kerman High School. Wright was recently invited to coach a high school All-American game played at the Oakland Raiders’ stadium where he will coach alongside guys who played or coached in the NFL.

Julia Clark, 2015
Environmental Science & Management, was elected to the board of directors of the Society for Conservation GIS, a nonprofit organization that assists conservationists worldwide in using geographic information systems through communication, networking, scholarships, and training.

Kira Marie Yeomans, 2015
Environmental Studies, is currently enrolled in the Environmental Studies Master’s program at Antioch University in New Hampshire. She is also part of the Master’s International program, and is under consideration for working in Malawi as a forestry volunteer for the Peace Corps where she will complete her internships. She currently works for the university on the Sustainability and Social Justice committee as well as the development director for the Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation.

Kamilah Barajas, 2015
Critical Race, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, is on the steering committee for Next Generation Eureka, a nonprofit that works to make Eureka, California, a more attractive place for young adults. Barajas worked at North Star Quest Camp for girls following graduation and just recently started at North Coast Rape Crisis Team as a full-time Client Advocate.

April Alexander, 2015
Social Work and 2016 Master of Social Work, is a Clinical Social Worker at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Eureka. She recently presented at the Association of Community Cancer Centers 33rd National Oncology Conference. Alexander’s presentation, “Rural Chemotherapy Clinic Student Volunteer Support Program,” was a program she designed and implemented in collaboration with the HSU Social Work Department in the infusion clinic at St. Joseph Hospital’s Cancer Program to better serve the patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment and to support the medical staff in the clinic. The conference was attended by more than 600 cancer care professionals from across the country.

Rocio Avila, 2016
Politics, started working with Humboldt County’s North Coast Rape Crisis Team as an advocate for survivors.

Robert Brundage, 2016
English, has officially accepted enrollment at the University of San Diego where he will pursue a Master of Education in the Teaching English as a Second Language, Literacy and Culture program. With this degree, Brundage hopes to be a competitive candidate for English teaching jobs all around the globe.

Mason Gedanken, 2016
Geography, landed a job with a consulting company as an intern, where he has learned quite a bit about utility poles, and how telecommunications works.

Mia Kennel, 2016
Anthropology, started graduate school at the University of Wiscons at Madison’s Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies. Kennel is in the graduate Environmental Conservation program, widely considered the best program of its type in the United States.