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

Traci Hill Barela - 1987

Traci Hill Barela, M.Ed., English - secondary, teaches English at West Springfield High School in Fairfax, Virginia. Traci has lived and taught all over the world, in Athens, Helsinki, India, Bulgaria and Germany. 

Paul J. Lindholdt - 1980

Paul Lindholdt, M.A., English, just published "Interrogating Travel: Guidance from a Reluctant Tourist," with Louisiana State University Press

Scott Cairns - 1977

Scott Cairns, B.A., English, will publish his 10th poetry collection, "Lacunae: New Poems," with Paraclete Press in November. Two previous collections, "Slow Pilgrim: The Collected Poems" and "Anaphora," were published in 2016 and 2019. His spiritual memoir, "Short Trip to the Edge" was recently translated into Greek and Romanian, and his book-length essay, "The End of Suffering," was just published in Greek. 

Vern Giesbrecht - 1967

Vern Giesbrecht, B.A., English, has published several articles in British Columbia History Magazine, including "Toil and Trivia: A Newspaper Editor's Life," about his time as editor of The Hope Standard from 1968 to 1970, and a profile of actor and director Antony Holland. 

Steve May - 1966

Steve May, B.A., English, wrote "Dickinson on Cats" for the May-June 2023 edition of The Emily Dickinson Bulletin. He is also working on a chapbook, "Emily Dickinson on Books," and volunteers as the e-commerce manager for the Friends of the Salem Public Library. 

Samantha O'Brochta - 2013

Samantha O'Brochta, B.A., journalism - public relations, is the creative director for Apartment Therapy Media, where she recently won a 2023 Webby Award for Social Video - Culture & Lifestyle. 

Eric Christensen - 2004

Eric Christensen, B.A., recreation, recently became a real estate broker for The Muljat Group in Bellingham. 

Tim Kraft - 1997

Tim Kraft, B.S., electronics engineering technology, can be seen throughout Whatcom County as a Frank Sinatra tribute performer. He  performs at public events and assisted living communities, sometimes accompanied by a live orchestra. When he's not channeling one of the 20th century's most iconic singers, Tim works in Western's Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders as a biomedical electronics technician. 

Sheila Erfan - 2018

Sheila Erfan, B.A., biocultural anthropology, just completed a master's degree in biomedical sciences at Des Moines University in Iowa and has published two papers in the field of immune-mediated cancer therapy. Now, Sheila will begin work on her medical degree at Des Moines University's Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program. 

Jason Finkbonner - 2013

Jason Finkbonner, B.A., economics and politics/philosophy/economics, and '17, B.S., biology, just graduated from University of Washington Medical School, where he completed the Indian Health Pathway. Now, he'll begin specialist training in UW's Psychiatry Residency program in Seattle. Jason, the second member of the Lummi Nation to earn an M.D. degree, was also instrumental in a new partnership between the UW School of Medicine and Lummi Nation, allowing UW medical students to train at the Lummi Tribal Health Center. 

Greg Cox - 1982

Greg Cox, B.A., chemistry, writes for Star Trek Explorer magazine. He also contributed a horror story, "Night of the Living Brain," to a new book, "Double Trouble: An Anthology of Two-Fisted Team-Ups," published by the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers. 

Frederick Livingston - 2014

Frederick Livingston, B.S., environmental science, is an ecologist and poet who was just awarded the Prism Prize for Climate Literature for his upcoming book, "Trees are Bridges to the Sky," due from Homebound Press in 2024. His first book of poetry, "The Moon and Other Fruits," was published by Legacy Book Press in April. 

Carol V. Davis - 1975

Carol V. Davis, B.A., Fairhaven interdisciplinary concentration, just had her fourth poetry book
published: "Below Zero," Stephen F. Austin State University Press. The book is centered on
poems about Siberia, where Carol taught at a university in January 2018. She was due to be back in
Siberia in 2020 as a Fulbright Specialist. She postponed twice because of COVID-19 and when the war
began, the State Department closed the Fulbright program in Russia. Carol teaches at Santa Monica College and Antioch University, Los Angeles.

Brian Ogolsky - 2002

Brian Ogolsky, B.A. psychology, was promoted to full professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the
University of Illinois Urbana‐Champaign. He was also named University Scholar for distinguished contributions to
research, teaching, and service. Brian is the department's director of graduate programs and leads the H.E.A.R.T. Lab (Healthy Experiences Across Relationship Transitions), which explores how romantic relationships change over time. He was recently selected to co-chair the 2026 National Council on Family Relations Annual Conference. 

Brian Lind - 1984

Brian Lind, B.A., journalism, recently became Supply Chain Manager - Americas for Corio Generation, part of Macquarie's Green Investment Group. Brian has been a procurement professional in the energy field since 2000 and ran his own consulting business focused on wind energy for several years. He completed his MBA in 2016 from Marylhurst University. 

Ariel Wetzel - 2007

Ariel Wetzel, B.A., Fairhaven interdisciplinary concentration, and '09, M.A., English, recently received tenure at Green River College, where she teaches English and directs the Writing and Reading Center. 

Will Taylor - 2005

"The Language of Seabirds" by Will Taylor, B.A. Fairhaven interdisciplinary concentration, a story for middle-grade readers for and about LGBTQ+ youth, was recently featured on the Today Show as one of the titles on Jenna Bush Hager's kids' summer reading list. Taylor and "Seabirds" were featured in Window magazine's "First Crush, Second Draft."

David Harris - 2012

David Harris, B.A., sociology, became the new head football coach at Lynnwood High School. Formerly, he was the assistant coach. David is also an education specialist at Treehouse, a nonprofit organization that supports foster youth. 

Jordan Gage - 2012

Jordan Gage, M.Ed., educational administration, and '13, principal's residency certificate, became the Head of School at Kings Schools in Seattle. Previously, he was superintendent at Northshore Christian Academy in Everett. 

Patrick Phelps - 2016

Patrick Phelps, B.S., physics, is the founder and CEO of WhyGrene Energy Exchange, a software platform that enables homes and businesses to sell electrical power -- from solar panels, electric vehicles, battery packs or other sources -- back to utilities during times of high demand.