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Notable Alumni

Dave "Merf" Merfeld (Photo Kevin Cruff)
Fall 2018

Cornfields to vineyards

“I quit working in 1996,” says master winemaker David “Merf” Merfeld ’13. That was the year he got a job at Bert Grant’s Brewery in Yakima—one of the early craft breweries in the region.

Merf’s passion for fermentation started in his kitchen a few years earlier. He’d driven west to Seattle from the family farm in Iowa. “Thirty, thirty-one hours straight through,” he says, with maybe an “hour stop for a rain storm in South Dakota.” He was in the ’79 Park Avenue his dad gave him: “a great ride, and everything I owned fit in that car.” The first thing he and the buddy … » More …

Caroline Heldman
Fall 2018

Ask Caroline Heldman ’93

 

A leading voice on sexual harassment, Caroline Heldman ’93 has had a busy year. She coauthored the 2018 book Sex and Gender in the 2016 Presidential Election, and the 2017 book Women, Power, and Politics: The Fight for Gender Equality in the United States. And the associate professor of politics—who specializes in the presidency, media, gender, and race at Occidental College in Los Angeles—frequently appears in documentaries and on news programs to speak about the #MeToo movement and harassment—partly because of her own experience.

Heldman, who had been a regular guest of host Bill O’Reilly on The O’Reilly Factor, alleged in 2017 that … » More …

Peony
Fall 2018

Peonies from heaven

Come late summer, Alaska’s farmland blooms with romance and colorful ruffles. It’s the season for peonies in the north country—an unlikely floral industry that, thanks to bridal demand, has given rise to a surprising horticultural gold rush.

The lure is especially tempting for those with small parcels of land. Wayne ’76 and Patti ’75 Floyd, for example, joined the stampede in 2011 with only two acres, and have since created a successful business claiming both national and international markets.

 

“We’d had this farm bug in our hearts from the beginning but we were never in a place that we could do that,” says Patti. … » More …

Fall 2018

Videos and more from Caroline Heldman

Caroline Heldman ’93 appears in several documentaries, writes, and presents on media and gender. She has emerged as a strong voice about the #MeToo movement and harassment, partly because of her own experience. Watch parts of documentaries and learn more about Heldman’s work below. You can also read about her in “Ask Caroline Heldman,” Fall 2018.

 

Miss Representation, a 2011 documentary

 

 

The Mask You Live In, 2015

 

Books

Sex and Gender in the 2016 Presidential Election, 2018

The New Campus Anti-Rape Movement: Internet Activism for Social Justice, 2018, … » More …

Fall 2018

Returns on education

Damien Pattenaude went back to his old school in Renton when there was a need. Now he wants to see even more kids return to Renton classrooms as teachers, just as he did.

It has become an even more urgent concern for Pattenaude (’99, ’05 MA, ’16 EdD) now that he is superintendent of the growing Renton School District. Like other school administrators across Washington and the country, he faces a teacher shortage, especially in special education, math, and sciences. Schools also need more diversity among teachers, to better represent the state’s changing population.

Although teacher shortages are not new, the problem is accelerating» More …

Gladys Cooper Jennings
Fall 2018

Being best

A 9-year-old slave girl fanned her young mistress to keep the flies off her while she learned her lessons. Because she picked up enough education to be able to read and write a little, she ended up teaching other slaves and ex-slaves.

Her daughter became a schoolteacher, married to a Presbyterian minister in segregated Columbus, Ohio. The couple passed on the family mantras to their children: “You must get an education to get ahead” and “you must be a credit to our race.”

Their children, the second generation born free, took the advice to heart, attending college and becoming teachers and professionals. One of them, … » More …

Pete's Dragon
Fall 2018

Architect of other worlds

A green furry dragon named Elliot living in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. A twisted and pathetic creature yearning for a ring in Middle Earth. A monstrous ape, an alien jungle, a future dystopian city.

If any of these cinematic creations will capture the imaginations of moviegoers, they need the magic of visual effects created by wizards like Eric Saindon ’96. Saindon’s own imagination was stirred by animated films as a kid, which led to over two decades designing effects and leading teams of visual effects artists on some of the largest blockbusters on screen.

Much of Saindon’s career has been with » More …

Deer at Twilight book cover
Fall 2018

Deer at Twilight—Poems from the North Cascades

Deer at Twilight book cover

By Paul J. Willis ’80 MA, ’85 PhD

Stephen F. Austin State University Press: 2018

 

Hiking solo through the mountains can be a lonely endeavor. Missing human companionship, some turn to the subtle moods and personalities inherent in the woodland world itself.

Those emotional complexities come alive in this lovely little volume written while author Paul Willis explored the North Cascades National Park during an artist-in-residence program and a subsequent residency with the North Cascades Institute.

His verse covers territory … » More …

Cover of Bound
Summer 2018

Bound

Cover of Bound

James McKean ’68, ’74

Truman State University Press: 2017

 

Bound presents a lyrical memoir about growing up in the Pacific Northwest and the women whose feminine fortitude contributed to the author’s life.

Taking readers into the kitchens and parlors of mid-twentieth-century America, McKean lovingly unpacks the attic trunk, sharing the exploits of his wife, mother, grandmother, and great-great-grandmother-in-law Rachel Cartwright Lee, among others.

At a time when ladies were expected to stay … » More …