Seen and Heard archive

WWU alumni in the news


Have you or a fellow WWU alumnus been in the news? Share your story!
Your career milestones are an inspiration to current and future WWU students.
Send an email to  westwind@wallawalla.edu.


Ginger Ketting Weller
1985| Elementary Education

John K. McVay
WWU president 

Ginger Kettng Weller and John K McVay are two of five individuals selected to receive the Charles Ellioa Weniger Award for Excellence and become members of the Charles Ellioa Weniger Society for Excellence, a 195-member society to date. The award will be presented at the annual award presentation on Sabbath, February 17, 2024, in Loma Linda, California. All are welcome to attend. The program will also be streamed live at LLUC.org
 

Ryan Washburn
2017 | Master's of Social Work 

Ryan Washburn was awarded the 2023 Violet Lumley Rau Outstanding Alumni Award by Heritage University for his "exceptional service to his country and community." 
Read more >

 

Elena Harris
2021 | Business Administration 

Elena Harris received the 2022 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce. 
Read more >

 

Makena Horton
2021 | Strategic Communication

Makena Horton received the 2022 Young Professional Award at the 33rd Annual Society of Adventist
Communicators Convention. 
Read more >

 

Dominic McFall
2018 | Civil Engineering

McFall was highlighted on Eyewitness News as a Bahamanian joining KPM Franklin's team of engineers in Orlando, Florida, as a project manager.
Read more >

Rachel Smith
2008
 | Art

Rachel is the recipient of a 2022 National Institute for Staff and Organization Development (NISOD) Excellence Award.
Learn more >

Gary Curtis
1959 | Engineering

Gary was featured in KING 5 News for his work in the design and renovation of the Seattle Space Needle. 
Read more >

 

 

William Logan
2009
 | Engineering

Logan published his first book, "A Technological History of Cold-War India, 1947-1969", examining the indigenization programs' contributions to India's industrialization.
Read it here >

Lynelle Ellis
1990
 | Mass Communications

Ellis was featured in the October 2021 issue of Adventist Journey Magazine.
Watch here > 

Kerry Heinrich
1980
 | History

Kerry Heinrich has been named CEO of Adventist Health.
Read more > 

Rick A. Jordan
1987
| Theology

Rick will be the Associate Ministerial Director for the Oregon Conference beginning July 2021.
Read more > 

Robb Coffee
Att. 2007-2008, 2016-2017
| Engineering
Jessica Craik Coffee
2003 | Graphic Design

Robb and Jessica Coffee are the owners of Jessica Cloe Miniatures. Their work was recently used as an editorial illustration in the May 27, 2021, "cloffice" article in the Washington Post. 
Read more > 
Read more >

Maureen Hayden
2017 | Biology

Hayden was featured on KXXV Channel 25 and in Texas A&M News about finding ways to continue her research on the health of oceans while dealing with retinopathy prematurity.
Read more >
Read more >

Kraig Scott
1984 | Music Performance
Amy Dodds
1997 | Spanish

Scott conducted the first livestream concert for the Walla Walla Symphony in March 2021. Performers included Dodds, former WWU faculty member Lyn Ritz, and Jinhyang Park, assistant professor of music.

Lloyd Trueblood
2002 | Biology
Kirk Onthank
2006 and 2008 | Biology

Lloyd Trueblood and Kirk Onthank were featured in the March 15, 2021, issue of the Adventist Review in an article highlighting their collaborative research on octopuses.
Read more >

Rachel Ruggeri
Att. 1992-1995 | Business

Rachel Ruggeri has been promoted to executive vice president and chief financial officer for Starbucks Corporation, making her the 91st female CFO of a Fortune 500 company.
Read more >
Read more >

Jason Satterlund
Att. 1987-1992 | Communication

Jason Satterlund was interviewed by The New York Times about his live-action fan film about Obi-Wan Kenobi with nearly 6 million views.
Read more >

Randy Castleman
Att. 1993-1996 | Preprofessional (physical therapy)

During a Major League Baseball game, commentators credited Randy Castleman with assistance in the recovery of Los Angeles Dodger’s pitcher Blake Treinen. (Timestamp 0:45)
Read more >

Todd Fletcher
1989 | Business

Todd Fletcher has been named the new president of Life Care Centers in America and will begin his new role on Nov. 2, 2020.
Read more >

Sarah (Caldwell) Gorton
2015 | Nursing

Sarah Gorton was interviewed about her work in a respiratory cardiology unit during the coronavirus pandemic.
Watch and read more >

Richie Brower
1995 | Theology

Richie Brower develops ActivityOutpost.com for parents of young children looking for activities during physical distancing.
Read more >

 

Brent Davis
2008 | Business administration (pre-law)

Brent Davis was named vice president and chief financial officer for the AdventHealth Central Florida Division - North Region.
Read more >

Tim Kosaka
2018 | Business administration

After graduating from college and discovering the challenges of staying connected to the Adventist church as a young person, Tim Kosaka developed Adventist Young Professionals as a way for young Adventists from around the world to share inspirational digital content with each other.

Ginger Ketting Weller
1985 | Elementary Education

Ginger Ketting Weller named eighth president of the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies in the Philippines
Read more >

Kevin Coleman
2009 | New Media Imaging

Coleman develops app to inspire random good deeds and a positive perspective
Read more >

Carrie Ojanen
2007 | English and French

Ojanen publishes new book of poetry

Kevin Wilfley
1979 | Theology

Wilfley receives Excellence in Ministry award
Read more

Archie Harris
1988 | Elementary education

Harris named associate superintendent of education for Upper Columbia Conference

Elizabeth Jones
2013 | Business and pre-law

Elizabeth Jones announced as a Supreme Court Fellow
Read more

Chris Wagner 
2018 | Nursing 

Chris recently authored a book titled "Self-Care Rx for Healthcare Professionals: Proven Strategies to Combat Stress and Burnout." Chris has also set up a corresponding blog here to further delve into the topics discussed in the book.

 Read More >

 

Elmar Sakala
1965 | Business Administration 

Dr. Elmar Sakala '65 and '68 was honored as Loma Linda University's 2023 Alumnus of the Year! You can watch the video honoring Dr. Sakala here

Dr. Sakala was featured in a Westwind article. Read More >

 

Andrew Gildersleeve
1999 | Humanities & Pre-law 

As Chief Executive Officer of the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe, Andrew Gildersleeve used 3D technology to stop logging work in Alaskan Tribe lands. His project was featured in the Ted Radio Hour from the National Public Radio. 
Read more >

Andrew Nelson
2000 | Business Administration and Pre-med 

Andrew Nelson was elected as the 2022 Physician of the Year by Adventist Health Tillamook medical providers. 
Read more >

 

Bert C. Connell
1968 | Food and Nutrition

Bert C. Connell received the Distinguished Service Award from Loma Linda University, honoring his commitment to the school for over four decades. 
Read more >

 

Paul Rhynard
2004 | Business Administration

Paul has been named CEO of Walla Walla-based company Wilkinson Bread Company (WBC).
Read more >

Landon Schnabel
2010 | Theology

Landon has been appointed to the Executive Resource Cabinet for Spectrum magazine and the Adventist Forum.

Kristyna Hyblova
2021 | Engineering

Kristyna has been awarded a highly competitive graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation.The grant covers 3+ years of graduate study, which she will be doing at the University of Notre Dame.

Bill Gerber
1984 | Business Administration

Bill Gerber was interviewed by CTV News to share about the evacuation efforts and services by Camp Hope during Hwy 7 mudslide closures.
Watch here >

Marc Harrington
1989 | Mechanical Engineering

Harrington promoted to the top civilian position at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
 

Shawna Malvini Redden
2004 | Mass Communications

Shawna recently published a book about airport security and the TSA.
Read more >

Earl Bolton
1936 | Physics

At age 106, Bolton was featured in The Columbian as Clark County’s oldest man to be vaccinated for the coronavirus.
Read more >

Randy Haffner
1989 | Business

Randy Haffner was named president and CEO for AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division.
Read more >

Deisy Haid
2010 and 2011 | Social Work

Deisy Haid, WWU assistant professor of social work, was featured in the October/November 2020 issue of the Social Work Advocates magazine.
Read more >

Kyle King
2006 | Health

Kyle King has been named president of Adventist Health Portland.
Read more >

Aaron Poole
2009 | Business

Aaron Poole was named chief financial officer for St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, Idaho. 
Read more >

Elias Lozano
1987 | Engineering

Elias Lozano was featured in the September 2020 issue of MD Tech Review in an article about Esvyda, a telehealth and remote patient monitoring system, where he works as the CEO. (pg. 24-25)
Read more >

Katie Wagner
2020 | Theology

Katie Wagner was named as the first Adventist Health mission leadership intern.
Read more >

Philip Phillips
1979 | Chemistry and Mathematics

Philip Phillips was named to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in the mathematical and physical sciences class, physics section.
Read more online and in the Summer 2020 Westwind >

Paddy McCoy
1999 | Religion and speech communication

Paddy McCoy will lead Crosswalk PDX, a new church in Portland, Oregon.
Read more >

Christy Billock
Att. 1990–93 | Preprofessional (occupational therapy)

Christy Billock was interviewed on ABC7 News on April 10, 2020, regarding strategies to copy with stress brought on by life changes as a result of COVID-19.
Watch here >

Vesna Dodge
1997 | English and history

Vesna Dodge has been promoted to the position of executive vice president/Baker Boyer asset management for Baker Boyer Bank.
Read more >

Bethany Logan Ropa
2006 | French

Logan Ropa featured in American Builders Quarterly for leadership and pioneering work at UBS Investment Bank
Read more >

Tom Evans
1990 | Theology and Speech Communication

Evans named Outreach Ministries Director for Oregon Conference
Read more >

Jason Courtright
1996 | Mechanical Engineering

Tom Hamel
1996 | Mechanical Engineering

Wes Georges
1997 | Mechanical Engineering

Colorado Springs defense contractor Apogee Engineering lands $190 million in contracts.
Read more >

Brandon Spangler
2016 and 2017 | Social Work

Counselor draws on personal experience
Read more

Myron and Candace Isemeinger
1986 | Theology, Education

Myron Iseminger, World Church Undersecretary, returns to Egypt as new field president
Read more​​

Elta Jackson-Henry
1995 and 1996 | Social Work

Jackson-Henry shares personal experiences during MSNBC Town Hall segment on racism in America
Read more

Matthew Klein
2008 | Engineering

People of Reclamation: Meet Matthew Klein, Professional Engineer

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Annette Gibson
1968 | Business administration

Gibson coauthors textbook on business ethics
Read more >

Jay Wintermeyer
1996 | Mass communication major

Wintermeyer named communication director for North Pacific Union Conference
Read more >

Melanie Marino
2023| Engineering 

 

 

Melanie Marino's experience with Engineers Without Borders during her undergraduate experience at WWU got her featured at Northeastern University where she is pursuing advance degrees, click here to Read more >

 

Austin Nordman
2018 | Engineering

 

Austin received the NASA Early Career Achievement Medal for his work developing the SHERLOC click here to Read more >

 

Stephanie (Lampson) Holmes
2015 | Business Administration

Stephanie (Lampson) Holmes currently serving as the director of finance for Centura Parker Adventist and Littleton Adventist hospital, is the recipient of the Centura Health Performing Exceptional Tasks & Affirming Lives (PETAL) Award for exceptional staff members.  
Read more >

 

Jason Panasuk
2008 | Aviation Management  

Jason Panasuk has been selected as the new finance officer for Adventist Health Portland. 
Read more >

 

Greg Cheney
2004 | History

Greg Cheney was elected as the Washington State Representative for the 18th Legislative District, Position 1 in this year's election. 
Read more >

Shintell Izquierdo
2016 | Theology

Upper Colombia Conference welcomed Shintell Izquierdo as the first female lead pastor in conference history. 
Read more >

Tamara Thomas
1983 | Biology

Tamara, currently serving as dean of the School of Medicine as well as executive vice president of medical affairs at Loma Linda University, was recently featured on the School of Medicine's Evening Rounds podcast.
Watch here >

Melissa Clubb
2020 | Business Administration

Gary Petersen 
1985 | History 

Clubb and Petersen are two of Coldwell Banker 2021 Award Winners.
Read more >

Kevin Krueger
1987 | Mass Communications

Jerry Woods
1997 | Mass Communications

Krueger and Woods played important roles in helping WGTS 91.9 be recognized as ‘Religious Station of the Year 2021’ by the National Association of Broadcasters’ Marconi Radio Awards.
Read more >

Allan Fisher
1980-1986 | Industrial Technology and Aviation Program Director
1986-2008 | Associate Director of Development

Allan Fisher was presented The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award by the FAA. 
Read here >

Emily (Wilkens) Poole
2010 | Health

Stories from Poole’s 2011 book African Rice Heart about her student missions experience were read on Spokane Public Radio.
Listen now >

Kirk Onthank
2006 and 2008 | Biology

Kirk Onthank’s research on the effects of ocean acidification on octopuses was published in Physiological and Biochemical Zoology.
Read more >
Read more >

Joyce Wilkens
1978 | Office Administration

Joyce Wilkens was featured in Spokane-based publications INLANDER and The Spokesman-Review and shared about her new book Poetry Pie. 
Read more from INLANDER >
Read more from The Spokesman-Review >

Aric Cooksley
2002 | Speech Communications

Aric Cooksley was featured in Valley Journal for his leadership in building a Boys and Girls Club center in Polson, Montana.
Read more >

Kirt Onthank
2006 and 2008 | Biology

Kirt Onthank was interviewed by the South Whidbey Record for helping to identify a rare seven-armed octopus found on a Whidbey Island beach in Washington state.
Read more >

Christy Billock
Att. 1990–93 | Preprofessional (occupational therapy)

Christy Billock received the Award of Excellence from the Occupational Therapy Association of California, which recognizes an occupational therapy practitioner who has made significant contributions to the advancement of the profession.
Read more >

Anthony Stahl
1990 | Business administration

Anthony Stahl was named president of Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Read more >

Carrie Ayagaduk Ojanen
2007 | English and French

Carrie Ayagaduk Ojanen’s poem “the pomegranate’s decimation” was posted on poets.org, part of the Academy of American Poets.
Read more and listen here >

Victoria Burghart
2016 | Biology

Victoria Burghart, during her fourth year of medical school studying psychiatry at Loma Linda University, was interviewed on the podcast “Psychiatry & Psychotherapy” on the topic “Is Social Media Good for Mental Health?”
Read more >

Carl Wilkens
1981 | Industrial Education

Carl Wilkens was awarded the 2019 Abarinzi b’lgihango (Protectors of Friendship Pact) award for his courage in protecting thousands of Rwandans during the 1994 genocide and for promoting reconciliation in its aftermath.
Read more >

Lori Ciccarelli Stotko
1981 | Communication Media

Lori Ciccarelli Stotko’s book  “Myself, My Responsibility: Tools to Self-advocate” was named as a finalist in the 2019 Best Book Awards, Children's Educational category, sponsored by American Book Fest
Read more >

Michael Woodruff
2013 | Business Administration

Christopher Lindsey
2016 | Biology

Woodruff and Lindsey break records by documenting 146 bird species in Pend Oreille County in 24 hours.
Read more >

Jason Wells
1996 | English, religion minor

Wells to preside over Ukiah Valley and Howard Memorial in the new year
Read more

Andray Abrahamain
2000 | History and mass communications

Abrahamain named 2018–19 Stanford University Koret Fellow
Read more >

Peter McPherson
1996 | History, religion minor

McPherson named chief deputy in Idaho State Department of Education
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Monte Saxby
1982 | Math

The Big Ride to Chicago
Read more

David Vixie
1977 | Elementary education

Pioneer Days teaches immigrant history with fun and games

Read more

Sara Archer
1991 | Communication

Archer receives Women in Business Inspirational Woman Contest from Walla Walla Chamber of Commerce
Read more >

Craig Foster
1990 | Business administration, history minor 

Sheltair aviation announces Craig Foster as general manager of their new FBO at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (KBJC)

Read more

Forrest Sheperd
2019| Biology Pre-medicine

Forrest was featured in a February 8, 2024, article in Business Insider for a discovery he made at 13 years old. The discovery has now led to the identification of an ancient species of walrus,which scientists named Valenictus sheperdi in Forrester's honor, in a recent paper published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.  To read the entire Business Insider article click Here >

John Volyn
1998 | History 

John Volyn has been elected judge for the Chelan Country District Court. 
Read more >

Parker Pridgen
2010 | Business Administration

Orlando Medical News announced Pridgen was named CEO for AdventHealth Apopka on the West Orange/South Lake team. 
Read more >

Kyle Chiasson
2015 | Business Administration

Kyle was awarded the 2021 Small Business of the Year Award by Colorado’s Northwest Douglas County Chamber & Economic Development Corporation. 
Read more >

Jordan Brooks
2017 | Biochemistry and Pre-pharmacy

Jordan Brooks was awarded the Bowl of Hygeia Award, the highest honor given to a graduating student in the School of Pharmacy at UCSF.
Read more >

Jason Newmyer
2004 | Business

Jason has been named president and CEO for a new 80-bed AdventHealth Hospital in Riverview, Florida, and will begin serving in that role on November 7, 2021.
Read more >

Rachel Scribner
2013 and 2019 | Communication and Religion

Scribner directed “Reliving Mark: Discovering Jesus in Israel,” a six-episode documentary drama series filmed in the Middle East, which premiered on the Hope Chanel in February.
Read more >

Karen Clausen-Brown
2007 | English and Biblical Languages

Clausen-Brown received the James Holly Hanford Article Award from the Milton Society for her article, “Not in their idol-worship, but by labor: The Sabbath and the Book of Isaiah in Samson Agonistes.”

Don Zabudsky
1994 | Business

Don Zabudsky was recently promoted to executive director at Morgan Stanley and was selected by Forbes as one of Oregon’s Best-in-State Wealth Advisors 2020. 
Read more >

Rosalie Contreras
1997 | Music and Business

Rosalie Contreras has been appointed vice president of public affairs for The Juilliard School.
Read more >

Randy Folkenberg
2016 | Theology

Chantel (Mote) Folkenberg
2015 and 2016 | Social Work

And five additional WWU alumni!

Seven WWU alumni were featured in the film “Worth It: A Michigan Ski Film (Documentary)” that was named Spotlight winner by Outdoor TV.
Read more >
Watch now >

Jon Rittenbach
Att. 1992–95 | Biology

Micaiah Kuzma
1998 | Biology

Micaiah Kuzma and Jon Rittenbach were featured in the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin for running the virtual Boston Marathon in September. Rittenbach ran the virtual race on a treadmill, and Kuzma ran outdoors in Walla Walla.
Read more >

Todd Schoepflin
1997 | Engineering

Todd Schoepflin is a principal engineer at Amazon and served as one of the system architects for Amazon One, Amazon’s technology to use your palm for contactless identity service. 
Read more >

Sonja Rootvik
2014 | Art

Sonja Rootvik (and the entire Rootvik family) was featured in the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin where she shared about fishing adventures in Alaska and the resulting tight-knit family bonds.
Read more >

Joey Barajas
2018 | Theology

Joey Barajas shared the story of how he went from poker player to pastor in the August 2020 issue of Adventist Journey.
Read more >

Joel Libby
2004 | Art

Joel Libby’s painting of New York Giants pitcher Christy Mathewson is on display in the Art of Baseball exhibit in the Frank and Peggy Steele Art Gallery at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.
Read more >

Darryl Masson
2013 | Physics

Daryl Masson coauthored a paper on the search for dark matter, specifically “curious and unexpected events and in the background of the experiment XENON1T.” The research paper, “Observation of Excess Electronic Recoil Events in XENON1T,” has been submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
News summary >

Dennis Huynh
2006 | Graphic Design

Dennis Huynh, creative director for BuzzFeed News, was a medal finalist and co-presenter of the digital awards for the 55th Annual Society of Publication Designers Awards Gala.
Read more >

Mindi Irvine
Att. 1988–90 | Preprofessional (physical therapy)

Mindi Irvine was featured in the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin for her work to provide free health care during the COVID-19 pandemic for those on the front lines caring for us.
Read more >

Jessica Craik Coffee
2003 | Technology, concentration in graphic design

Jessica Coffee’s work on itty-bitty dollhouse home design is featured in The New York Times.
Read more >

Eric and Katie Harris

2008 | Business and Automotive Service

2012 | Nursing
Eric and Katie Harris were featured in the Gleaner, the magazine of the North Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, for their work to establish Bear Canyon Farm, a working farm at Mount Ellis Academy in Bozeman, Mont.
Read more >

Lauren Graham
2004 | Social work

Master of social work graduate Lauren Graham was named the 2019 Social Worker of the Year in Wyoming by the National Association of Social Workers
Read more >

Karl Haffner
1985 | Business and Theology

Haffner named vice president for student experience at Loma Linda University Health
Read more >

Mathieu Wiliams
2012 | Business administration

Meet Hawaii’s 2019 Teacher of the Year

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Darryl Fisher
1987 | Aviation

Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation earns Veteran Supporter of the Month honor

Read more