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 Tell us what’s new with you, and we’ll publish it in the next edition and online.

Class Note

Mindy Uber - 1997

Mindy Uber, B.S., environmental science, is the senior director of environmental health and safety for Skanska USA Building and was recently appointed to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration's Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health.

Kristin Beck - 2006

Kristin Beck, MiT, is the author of two historical fiction novels, “Courage, My Love” and “The Winter Orphans.” Her third novel, “The Woman on the Mountain,” releases next year. 

Vini Samuel - 1994

Vini Samuel, B.A., English and history, has been appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee to the Grays Harbor County Superior Court. Currently, Vini serves as the mayor of the city of Montesano and has operated a private law firm in Montesano since 2004. Vini is also the 2017 Distinguished Alumna of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.  

Rex Mangiaracina - 2000

Rex Mangiaracina, B.A., political science, recently published a memoir titled “Making Men: Finding Meaning in the Moments that Matter.” 

Meagan Bryson - 2005

Meagan Bryson, B.A., human services and '07, M.Ed., student affairs administration, serves as the first director of the newly minted Academic Advising and Student Achievement Center at Western.  

Paul Allen - 1982

Paul Allen, B.S., computer science, recently retired after more than 38 years as a software engineer at IBM in Rochester, Minnesota. He holds several US and international software patents. 

Karen Triplett - 1969

Karen Triplett, B.A.E., biology – secondary, recently released her new book, “I’ll Be Seeing You.” 

Mindy Pelton - 2004

Mindy Pelton, B.A., anthropology, 2011, M.B.A, has recently been hired as director of the Career Services Center at Western. She has worked at Western for the past 6 years, most recently as the associate director of the Career Services Center and served as the interim director of the center in the 2022-23 academic year.

Becca Lefanowicz - 2013

Becca Lefanowicz, B.A., recreation, has joined the High Fives Foundation, a non-profit that provides grants for rehabilitation support to athletes with life-altering injuries because of mountain sports, as the director of fundraising and media.  

Kevin Bryant - 1980

Kevin Bryant, B.A., speech communication, and '90, M.Ed., student personnel administration, is a former basketball player at Western from 1976 to 1980 and will be inducted into the Oregon Athletic Directors Association Hall of Fame at Sunriver, Oregon, this April. Kevin has worked for high school athletic administration for school districts in Aloha, Tigard, Hudson's Bay, Redmond and Centennial. 

Kate Brotten - 2005

Kate Brotten, B.A., Spanish, has published her first book, “Vinnie and his Weird Ear: Adventures with the dog who saved my life.” Vinnie is a rescued shelter dog who saved Kate’s life during a medical emergency. 

Daniel Hornbuckle - 2023

Daniel Hornbuckle, B.A., journalism-public relations, has signed a professional contract to play basketball for BKM Lučenec in the Slovak Basketball League in Europe. He will play the 2023-2024 season.  

Jeffery Wiggins - 1988

Jeffery Wiggins, B.S., industrial technology, is a professor at the University of Southern Mississippi School of Polymer Science and Engineering and is this year’s recipient of the university’s T.W. Bennett Distinguished Professor in support of his internationally recognized research. Jeffrey is also the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Science and Engineering.  

Genay Bell Niebusch - 1987

Genay Bell Niebusch, B.S., visual communication, owns Genay Bell Interior Design in Snohomish. 

Michael Suarez - 2004

Michael Suarez, B.A., history, teaches middle school social studies and world history in the Sonoma Valley in California. He also teaches education and Chicano/Latino studies at Sonoma State University and is working toward a doctorate in educational foundations, policy and practice at University of Colorado Boulder. 

Cassandra Hiller - 2003

Cassandra Hiller, B.S., environmental science, was recently named the village administrator for Salem Lakes, Wisconsin. Previously, Cassandra was the assistant county administrator for Lake County, Illinois. . 

Olivia Hicks - 2022

Olivia Hicks, B.A., environmental studies/journalism, is a features writer for the automotive news site TopSpeed

Zach Suderman - 2004

Zach Suderman, BAE, mathematics - secondary, was recently named principal of Tumwater High School. 

Kendra Budd - 2019

Kendra Budd, B.A., creative writing and theatre, is the editor of Working RE Magazine and the marketing coordinator of OREP insurance company. 

Jen Reeves - 2006

Jen Reeves, B.A., psychology, owns Little Knitty, a yarn shop in Auburn that recently won a Best of Auburn award.