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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.

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Class Notes (General)

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. 

Melissa Beedle - 2005

Melissa Beedle, B.A., accounting, became the Audit managing director at KPMG in Anchorage, where she has worked since 2005. 

Julia Furukawa - 2020

Julia Furukawa, B.A., journalism - news/editorial, hosts "All Things Considered" for New Hampshire Public Radio in Concord, New Hampshire. 

Jennifer Chapman - 1971

Woodhall Press recently published Jennifer Chapman's novel, "Dying for a Second Chance," a psychological thriller. Jennifer, BAE, elementary education, spent her career in education, working in the U.S. and Guatemala and establishing several intergenerational programs. 

Jeff Bullock - 1987

Jeff Bullock, B.S., chemistry/biology, and '94, M.S., chemistry, who teaches agriculture at Wenatchee Valley College, was named the college's acting dean of Math, Science and Engineering. 

Katie Trent - 2005

Katie Trent, B.A., political science, is CEO of Gene Juarez Salons and Spas, which has 12 locations in Puget Sound. 

Ibidunni Ojikutu - 2004

Andrew Garratt, '23, B.Mus. musical performance, and the Seattle Opera's Ibidunni Ojikutu, B.A., music, performed over the summer at garden parties for the Sun Valley Opera in Hailey, Idaho. Andrew is now working toward his master's degree in music and opera at Northwestern University.