Jack DeWitt (’60 MS Agro.), a farmer for over 50 years, recently published World Food Unlimited, a book that discusses the ways in which farmers have changed their practices over the past 70 years in order to combat soil erosion and grow food more sustainably using fewer resources.
George Murdock (’64 Ag.) received the 2018 Pendleton Man of the Year award for his contributions to the community. He has been a cattle rancher, publisher for the East Oregonian, superintendent of the InterMountain Education Service District, and involved in a number of organizations. Murdock is also in his second term on the Umatilla County Board of Commissioners.
Greg Stewart (’71 Ag.), president and general manager of the Central Washington State Fair in Yakima, was recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Washington State Fairs Association. He has spent 46 years in service to the organization.
Edmund Schweitzer III (’77 PhD Eng.) was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame for power grid advancements. The ceremony will take place in Washington, D.C., in May. He is being recognized for his invention of the digital protective relay, a breakthrough technology for electrical power grids.
Claire Wilson (’79 Food Sci. & Hum. Nutr.) was recently sworn into the Washington state senate and and was appointed as vice chair of the Senate Early Learning & K–12 Education Committee. Wilson has specialized in early education and family involvement for 25 years. She has experience teaching pregnant and parenting teens at Mount Tahoma High School, and also serves on the Federal Way School Board, which oversees the fifth most diverse student population in the nation.
Rolf Westly (’80, ’82 MS Ani. Sci.), a longtime U.S. Department of Agriculture employee based in Spokane, retired last December. He worked throughout his career to assist ranchers facing animal disease. Westly’s duties included emergency disease response, international movement of livestock or products, import of research products, and various disease programs.
Mike Willett (’81 MS, ’95 PhD Hort.), manager of the Washington State Tree Fruit Research Commission was crowned the 2019 Cherry King at the Northwest Cherry Growers’ Cherry Institute in Yakima on January 18. He began his career picking peaches in Orondo in 1969. Willett returned to the state in 1983 when went to work with WSU Extension in Yakima as a service agent for tree fruit and integrated pest management. He plans to retire in June.
John Martins III (’82 Hum.) received first place in the Family/Teen/Animation category of the eleventh annual StoryPros Awards Screenplay Competition for his script Arizona Sunrise.
Kelly Fuhrman (’87 Nursing) opened Lakeside Medicine and Aesthetics in Sandpoint, Idaho. She aims to solve the patients’ immediate medical needs whether or not they are covered by insurance. Fuhrman, a nurse practitioner, previously worked at Holy Family Hospital in Spokane and then for a Sandpoint doctor.
Sally Bryant DeChenne (’89 English) was recently promoted to president and CEO of Bryant Group, a leading executive search and talent development firm specializing in the advancement field in higher education, healthcare, and not-for-profit institutions.
Bryan Grenon (’89 Soc. Sci.) has been promoted from captain to brigadier general in the Washington State National Guard. He is now the land component commander and will be responsible for the training of over 6,000 soldiers.
David Beach (’91 Poli. Sci.) has been named city manager of West University Place, Texas. He has worked in the community since 2005.
David Christenson (’91 Soc. Sci.) was recently named golf director of Circling Raven Golf Club located in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He attended WSU on a golf scholarship and soon after graduation, began his career as an assistant pro at Inglewood Country Club in Seattle
Darron Page (’91 Acc.) has been named senior vice president for J.R. Simplot Company. He has been with the company for 26 years and is looking forward to taking on this new position
Lillian Perez Posadas (’93 MN Nursing) has been appointed as the new administrator at Guam Memorial Hospital. She had worked as a registered nurse for United Airlines. She also served as a member of Guam Memorial Hospital Authority Board of Trustees from July 2016 to December 2018.
Nicole (Summerfield) Cecil (’96 Int. Des.) was recently elevated as a board director for CSHQA, a full-service architecture and engineering firm based in Boise, Idaho. Cecil will be serving a two-year term in this position.
Aaron M. Schutt (’96 Civ. Eng.) has been appointed to the board of directors at Northrim BanCorp—a mortgage and brokerage company based out of Alaska. He is currently president and CEO of Doyon, Limited, an Alaskan Native Regional Corporation and one of the state’s largest land owners. Schutt, a Koyukon Athabascan and an enrolled member of the Native Village of Tanana, earned a master’s degree in civil engineering and a law degree at Stanford after his undergraduate degree at WSU.
James M. Malcolm Jr. (’98 Crim. Jus.) was appointed to the role of director of probation services for the Skagit County District Court in Mt. Vernon.
Seyi Onagoruwa (’99, ’01 MS Mech. Eng., ’04 MS Eng. Mgmt.), a senior manager at Boeing, has recently been presented with the technology leader award. He has demonstrated outstanding performance in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Steve Gleason (’00 Busi.), a former Cougar football player diagnosed with ALS, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal—the highest civilian honor the legislative branch can give in the United States, due to his advocacy for people with the paralyzing neuromuscular disease.
Matthew Staples (’00 Biol.) has been elected as a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, an international law firm headquartered in Palo Alto, California. Based in Austin, Texas, he advises companies in various industries regarding privacy, data protection, cybersecurity, and other information security issues.
Peter Salamone (’01, PhD Gen. & Cell Biol.) is the CEO of nonprofit Research Oenovation Collective (ROC), which is focused on the advancement of practical winemaking by providing a collaborative platform for applied research and innovation. ROC will deliver continuous improvement through interdisciplinary applied research linking scientific discovery to winemaking innovation.
Carolina Torres (’01 MS, ’05 PhD Hort.) has been named WSU’s first endowed chair in tree fruit postharvest systems. Her main responsibilities will include helping Northwest tree fruit growers and packers bring their best produce to consumers more profitably and sustainably.
Adam Orth (’03 Comm.) was promoted to vice president of sales, sports, and automotive for iHeartMedia in the Pacific Northwest region. He will oversee advertising sales and strategic partnerships for sports radio and is responsible for leading teams in the automotive category throughout Washington, Oregon, and Alaska.
Merrill Lynch announced that Troy Braga (’04 MBA) has been awarded the certified plan fiduciary advisor credential offered through the National Association of Plan Advisors. He is based out of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Sean McCallister (’05 Health Policy & Admin.) has taken on the role of CEO at the Johnson County Healthcare Center in Buffalo, Wyoming. He has extensive experience in administration for regional critical access hospitals.
Meagan Baker (’06 Arch.) has been promoted to an associate position with Soderstrom Architects. She has over 12 years of design and planning experience and is currently working on the new Meadow Ridge Elementary School in Mead, Washington.
Brad Liebrecht (’07 History, Soc. St., ’13 MEd), journalism and history teacher at West Valley Junior High School in Yakima, has been selected to participate in the 2019 “Memorializing the Fallen” program through National History Day. Liebrecht was the only educator from Washington state to be selected and will travel with other participants to Europe to study World War I and develop lesson plans that will be available next year.
Daniel Baker (’08 Civ. Eng.) has been hired as engineering and architecture company HDR’s new North Idaho transportation lead. He will be based out of the company’s Coeur d’Alene location and will oversee the local transportation team there.
Luke Schueler (’09 Soc. Sci.) founded Flying Squirrel sports in 2015 with his brother Cody and recently opened a new facility in Spokane Valley. They have been entrepreneurs in the trampoline park industry for nearly 10 years since founding Shock Trampoline Park. They have been able to make the industry safer with their new innovations and as a result, the business is growing rapidly.
Chelsea Schull (’09 Poli. Sci.) will oversee state scheduling and operations at the state offices of freshman U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson of South Dakota. She previously worked for Representative Darrell Issa and as a field representative for the National Republican Congressional Committee. After WSU, Schull earned a master’s degree in political science from the University of Texas at Dallas. She will be based out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Karina Vega-Villa (’09 PhD Pharm.) has been selected as a member of the Wenatchee School Board. A biology instructor at Wenatchee Valley College, she brings experience in education, particularly in STEM fields. Vega-Villa also serves as the community outreach liaison at Lewis and Clark Elementary School.
Mo Zhang (’09 MA Ed., ’12 PhD Ed. Psych.) recently earned the National Education Award. Zhang is a research scientist for the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, New Jersey. The team she works with extensively focuses on the validity and measurement issues related to automated scoring of open‑ended questions.
Brenden Koch (’10 Hum.) has just joined the city of Walla Walla as their communications manager. He has experience with graphic design as well as editing. Koch previously worked more than seven years as an editor at the Union-Bulletin.
Justin Overhoff (’11 Biol., Gen. & Cell Biol.), a nationally board-certified physician assistant, recently joined North Idaho Urology. Justin specializes in urologic conditions that include UTIs, kidney stones, BPH, incontinence, overactive bladder, voiding dysfunction, and erectile dysfunction.
Kylie Allen (’13 PhD Biochem.) has been named assistant professor of biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. She focuses her research on characterizing unusual enzymes and coenzymes in methanogenic archaea using enzymology and molecular genetics techniques.
Viticulture and enology specialist David Hess (’13 Viti.) has been hired by Westport Winery to assist with their winemaking program. Hess previously worked in Napa, New Zealand, Walla Walla, and Australia.
Nick McShane (’13 Mgmt.) has recently been promoted to assistant vice president at Baker Boyer Bank. He originally started with the company in April 2010 as a college intern in the audit department and was hired into a full-time position in 2011. Throughout his first three years, he was simultaneously working on completing his bachelor’s degree.
Quinn Stadshaug (x’14 Hospitality Busi. Mgmt.) has accepted the position of rooms operation manager for Marriot headquarters. She will be part of an operations and support resources team.
Phillip Travis (’14 PhD History) has been promoted to associate professor of history at State College of Florida. He has also launched a public access television program called Lectures in History and is also the author of the 2017 book, Reagan’s War on Terrorism in Nicaragua: The Outlaw State. In addition to this, he wrote several peer-reviewed articles with the Oxford Encyclopedia of Latin American History and the Journal of Terrorism Research.
T.J. Griggs (’16 Civ. Eng.) has recently been hired by Gibbs & Olson as a project engineer. He is currently working on road, site, sanitary sewer, and water design project elements. He is also analyzing and designing stormwater detention and treatment systems.
Heather Sweet (’17 Ed.) has been chosen by Ocosta School Board as the new district superintendent. She has been working within the district for 11 years.
Jason Torey (’17 MBA), a former Navy SEAL who served 26 years in naval special warfare, is cofounder of Randori—a professional development firm that specializes in creating, evolving, and inspiring elite leaders. They have recently partnered with RStor, which is the only multicloud platform built for enterprise performance computing.
Samantha Ballard (’18 Busi.) has been welcomed by Davidson & Associates Insurance Agency of Vancouver as a life and disability account manager.
Emma Epperly (’18 Comm.) is now an intern with the Columbia Basin Herald of Moses Lake and is covering this spring’s legislative session. She hopes to focus on mental health in schools, an important topic at the intersection between education and healthcare.
Trevor Redden (’18 DVM) has recently begun working at Peak View Animal Hospital alongside fellow veterinarian Rick Leone in the Arkansas Valley of Colorado. The clinic offers nutritional, reproductive, and health consultation services for cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, llamas, and alpacas.
Jessica Roth (’18 Digi. Tech. and Culture) recently joined real estate firm Thornton Oliver Keller as an administrative assistant. She will provide customer service to the firm’s professional commercial real estate agents and managers as well as their clients.