The Western campus viewed from the air looking out towards the islands and Bellingham bay

Class Notes

Class Notes include professional accomplishments, awards, retirements, weddings, obituaries and other news about Western Washington University alumni; they’re gathered from published reports and communication from alumni themselves.

If you have an update you’d like us to share in Class Notes, please email it to window@wwu.edu. Tell us what’s new with you, and we’ll publish it in the next edition and online.

Class Note

Tyler Schroeder - 2004

Tyler Schroeder, B.A., political science, recently became the director of economic development for the Port of Bellingham's Regional Economic Partnership. Previously, Tyler was the deputy executive for Whatcom County. 

Kathleen Petrzelka - 2011

Kathleen Petrzelka, B.A., art history, was recently named the executive director of the Skagit Valley College Foundation. Kathleen has worked with the foundation since 2022 as the director of philanthropy. Before that she was a marketing and outreach coordinator for the Mount Vernon Downtown Association. 

Todd Naskedov - 2000

After coaching baseball in high school and college for more than 20 years, Todd Naskedov, BAE, English - secondary, is a pitching coach with the Class AA Chattanooga Lookouts, part of the Cincinnati Reds organization. He's also worked for the Houston Astros as a rehab pitching coach in West Palm Beach, and with the USA Baseball national team. 

Christine Quemuel - 1993

Christine Quemuel, B.A., Fairhaven interdisciplinary concentration, is the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa's interim assistant vice provost for student diversity and inclusion. She was recently honored by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators with a Pillars of the Profession award. 

Jana Ganion - 1991

Jana Ganion, B.A., English, was recently appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to be the state's senior advisor for offshore wind. Previously, Jana was the director of sustainability and government affairs at the Blue Lake Rancheria in Humboldt County, California. She also co-chairs the U.S. Department of Energy, Indian Country Energy and Infrastructure Working Group. 

Alexandra Mather - 2009

Alexandra Mather, B.A., sociology, became the director of government and community relations at C-TRAN, Clark County public transit. In addition to intergovernmental affairs, community relations and outreach, Alexandra will lead lobbying efforts on critical projects such as the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program. 

Daniel Lyons - 2016

Daniel Lyons, B.A., creative writing, is an editor and contributor at Phlexible Philosophy, an interdisciplinary platform that publishes articles and podcasts exploring politics, science, history, art and religion. Daniel is also studying information management at the University of Washington. 

Kate Blystone - 2006

Kate Blystone, B.A., general studies, was recently appointed planning director for Maui, Hawaii. Previously, she worked as a program officer with the Hawai'i Community Foundation and as a senior planner with Maui County. 

Janet West - 1980

Janet West, B.A., elementary education, plans to retire in August after a 40-year career at Salem Child Development Center in Salem, Oregon, where she taught in the private kindergarten for 32 years, and supervised and worked in the school age care programs. Janet traveled extensively with her husband and served on short-term missions trips to Nepal and Peru. After retirement, Janet and her husband plan to continue to travel and enjoy their home/garden by the creek. She also enjoys her family of three children and eight grandchildren.

Eric Warn - 1967

Eric Warn, B.A., speech communication, was named 2023 Volunteer of the Year by the Lakewood YMCA. Eric teaches a chair class three times a week to older adults. 

Gary W. Axtell - 1966

Gary W. Axtell, 80, a retired teacher, coach, principal and assistant superintendent, on Jan. 17, 2024, in Stanwood. 

Sarah Yates - 2020

The Unknowns, a five-person band that includes Kim Bowman, '09, B.A., music, Sarah Yates, B.Mus., music - history and literature, and Allison Bowman, is taking their vintage jazz, blues and pop sounds, on tour this summer to Montreal and Europe, including a stop the Aarhus Jazz Festival in Denmark. 

Kim Bowman - 2009

The Unknowns, a five-person band that includes Kim Bowman, B.A., music, Sarah Yates, '20, B.Mus., music - history and literature, and Allison Bowman, is taking their vintage jazz, blues and pop sounds, on tour this summer to Montreal and Europe, including a stop the Aarhus Jazz Festival in Denmark. 

Kurt Grichel - 1997

Kurt Grichel, B.A., business administration, became head of Americas retail practice for Bain & Co. Kurt has worked with Bain for 18 years. 

Joseph Hattrick - 2000

Joseph Hattrick, B.A., human services and '07, principal's certificate, was recently selected to be superintendent of the Ashland School District in Oregon. He'll begin in July. 

simone calais-staley - 2012

simone calais-staley, B.A., recreation, recently became Western's assistant director of Multicultural Student Services, supporting the Black Student Coalition and the Ethnic Student Center. 

Michelle Henderson - 2011

Michelle (Terry) Henderson, B.A., psychology, co-authored “DBT for Everyone: A Guide to the Perks, Pitfalls, and Possibilities of DBT for Better Mental Health,” published in November 2023 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Michelle also co-hosts a popular mental health podcast “DBT & Me," with 750,000+ downloads worldwide.

Lindsie Fratus-Thomas - 2006

Lindsie Fratus-Thomas, B.A., geography - environmental resource management, is a watershed restoration coordinator for the Nooksack Indian Tribe. She and her husband own an 87-foot wooden power scow that works as a salmon tender in Bristol Bay and southeast Alaska. She was a panelist on a recent WWU Environmental Speaker Series, "Our Working Waterfronts." 

Jesse Nichols - 2017

Jesse Nichols, B.A., visual journalism, is a video producer at Grist, a non-profit online news organization focusing on climate solutions and a just future.  

Ian Moran - 2018

After conducting his doctoral research at Oregon State University, Ian Moran, B.S., environmental science - toxicology, is back at Western as a visiting assistant professor in the Environmental Sciences Department.