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.

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Class Note

Meagan Bryson - 2005

Meagan Bryson, B.A., human services and '07, M.Ed., student affairs administration, became the director of Western's Academic Advising and Student Achievement Center, which brings together the former Academic Advising Center and Student Outreach Services. Meagan previously was assistant director of the Academic Advising Center. 

Abdullah Naimzadeh - 2019

After earning his master's degree in applied data science from Syracuse University in 2022, Abdullah Naimzadeh, B.S., physics, became a research associate with the Institute for Defense Analyses Information Technology and Systems Division. 

Marilyn Redmond - 1961

The latest book by Marilyn Redmond, BAE, music education, "A Spark of Truth," is now on Amazon, along with her other 10 spiritual/self‐help books.

Karen Fortuna - 2003

Karen Fortuna, B.A., human services, is an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine and recently joined the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine standing committee of experts in primary care delivery, research, and policy. 

David Schmidt - 1985

David Schmidt, B.A., business administration, recently became a vice president and Small Business Administration business development officer at North State Bank in North Carolina. David has worked in the financial services industry for three decades. 

Chris Rust - 1979

Chris Rust, B.A., political science, retired as superintendent of the Toledo School District in Washington state. Chris taught children with special needs and served as a school administrator in several Washington school districts. 

Peter Monahan - 1988

Peter Monahan, B.A., Fairhaven interdisciplinary concentration, is a Spanish instructor at Yakima Valley College and was awarded the Sherrie and Daryl Parker Faculty Award for his work motivating students. 

Jon Suek - 2013

Jon Suek, B.A., music, is a 2023-24 resident artist with the Toledo Opera and will perform throughout the year in Toledo Opera's regional educational program, in the company's Opera Outdoors and in smaller roles in Toledo Opera's mainstage productions this season. A tenor, Jon previously studied and performed at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, lived in Austria and Italy, then returned to the U.S. and performed in Seattle, Chicago and New York City. 

Jess Newley - 2013

Jess Newley, M.Ed., environmental education, is a scuba diver and the Community Science and Education director for the Friends of the San Juans, where she develops scientific education programs like boater education, beach surveys and community science projects. 

John Kulsa - 1990

John Kulsa, B.A., philosophy, is an IT specialist and a longtime member of the Seattle Seahammers underwater hockey team --  a sport he first played at Western. 

Eric Burford - 2023

Eric Burford, B.A., art history and philosophy, recently became bar manager at Keenan's at the Pier in Bellingham. 

Chris Hughes - 2004

Chris Hughes, B.S., computer science, won the 2023 Padden Triathlon

Andy Perdue - 1988

The Auction of Washington Wines recently gave Andy Perdue, B.A., journalism, its Wine Industry Champion Award. Andy is a longtime wine journalist and the co-founder of Great Northwest Wine magazine. 

Al Ralston - 1972

Al Ralston, B.A., political science, is vice president and partner at Gordon Thomas Honeywell - Government Affairs and the incoming president of Renton Rotary. Previously, Al was the president of the Washington Research Council and spent more than two decades in political strategy for The Boeing Co. 

Neal Digre - 2016

Neal Digre, B.A., linguistics and B.S., computer science, is a member of a team in the finals for the $10 million XPrize Rainforest Competition. Neal, a machine learning specialist, is working with Team Waponi on systems that help scientists better understand rainforest ecosystems in areas where manual data collection is challenging. Neal's main role is to train neural networks to identify insect species from audio recordings of their sounds. Neal and his teammates will compete with the five other finalist teams for the XPrize in 2024. 

Robert Sears - 2010

Robert Sears, B.A., English literature, is an attorney who specializes in car accident injury cases. He just opened a second Sears Injury Law office in Tacoma. 

Michelle Schutte - 1998

Michelle Schutte, B.A., art history and art, is the owner of HOSA, a small-batch fermented hot sauce company in Bellingham. Michelle is also a fine artist whose art studio is in her top-floor apartment with great natural light, and her hot sauce kitchen is in the basement. "My days are literal circles," she recently told the Cascadia Daily News

Annabelle Barrett - 2018

Annabelle Barrett, B.A., studio art, recently designed and painted a new mural in Bellingham's Commercial Street Plaza for the Downtown Bellingham Partnership. 

Meagan Caillier - 2008

Meagan Caillier, B.A., general studies, recently became a broker with the Muljat Group in Bellingham. 

Rocio Herrera - 2009

Rocio Herrera, B.A., psychology, is a bilingual mental health counselor at Skagit Valley College, where she hopes to serve as a role model for other first-generation students.