Western announces 2017 Outstanding Graduates

Western Today Staff

BELLINGHAM -- Dozens of Western Washington University students have received Outstanding Graduates for the 2016-17 academic year.

Faculty members from dozens of academic departments and programs select one graduate to honor as the Outstanding Graduate of the year. Selection is a high honor based on grades, research and writing, service to the campus and community, and promise for the future.

The graduates were recognized at spring Commencement June 10.

This year’s Outstanding Graduates, grouped by city, include:

WASHINGTON

Bellevue

Bridget Littlefield of Bellevue graduated magna cum laude in June with two degrees: a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Spanish, and a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Psychology. She is also the Outstanding Graduate in Spanish. A responsible, enthusiastic and respectful student, Littlefield was an active volunteer while at Western. She was a mentor to a fifth-grade classroom through Compass 2 Campus, assisted with a therapeutic children’s group with Lydia Place and helped lead a homework club for children at Sterling Meadows. She also worked with THRIVE, a peer health program at Western focusing on mental health, to help develop a program about self-care. She also translated a self-care brochure into Spanish and adjusted it for cultural competency; she presented the project during Western’s Scholars Week. She also studied abroad in Argentina. She’s also the recipient of the Multicultural Achievement Scholarship, the President’s Scholarship, the Community Involvement Scholarship and the Ethan Remmel Scholarship. After graduation, Littlefield will be a reading tutor at Alderwood Elementary School in Bellingham through Washington Reading Corps. She eventually hopes to go to graduate school for a master’s program in school counseling. Littlefield is a graduate of Newport High School and the daughter of David and Sherrie Littlefield.

Emily Stochel of Bellevue graduated in March with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in human services and as the Outstanding Graduate in Human Services. At Western, she assisted with three research studies and studied abroad in South Africa. She also completed three internships: with a drop-in children’s shelter in South Africa, with foster youth at Secret Harbor in Burlington, and with social workers at Child Protective Services in Bellingham. She now works as a case manager for Youthnet’s Independent Living Skills program, helping current and former foster youth transition into adulthood. Stochel is a graduate of Sammamish High School in Bellevue.

Ellen Zocher of Bellevue graduated in December 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in cellular and molecular biology. She is also the Outstanding Graduate in Biology. At Western, she was a teaching assistant and research technician for a senior-level biology course and conducted genetics research in the lab of Assistant Professor of Biology Lina Dahlberg. She was also a recipient of two Research Opportunities for Undergraduates grants, and received a Scholars Week Outstanding Poster Award. She served as president of the WWU Association for Women in Science and secretary and student-at-large of the Sehome Hill Arboretum Board of Governors. She volunteered with Girls of Steel Robotics Club at Horizon Middle School, a Boys and Girls Club science club and Compass 2 Campus science outreach to middle schools. She was a backpacking trip leader for Western Outdoor Orientation Trips (WOOT), and an intern at the Marine Life Center. Zocher is a graduate of Lakeside School and the daughter of Eric Zocher and Robilee Zocher. She is now working as an operations manager for a small startup firm and would love to have a career in the biotech industry.

Bellingham

Andy Brown of Bellingham graduated magna cum laude in March with a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in computer science, a minor in mathematics, and as the Outstanding Graduate in Computer Science. Brown participated in the ACM mentors program, assisting students enrolled in core computer science classes and presenting two workshops. He was also president of the WWU Game Design Club, helping the club become part of the Associated Students and open to all majors and organizing six “game jams,” which he describes as “36-hour collaborative creative sprints.” Brown is the recipient of the Boeing Computer Science and Mark Lockwood Memorial scholarships. He also served as a grader for an upper-division computer science class and as a research assistant for computer science faculty James Hearne and Yudong Liu. Now, Brown is an instructor in the department’s cybersecurity program. In the fall, he’ll return to Western’s Computer Science Department as a graduate student and may someday pursue a doctorate. The son of Miriam Brown, Andy Brown is also a graduate of Wenatchee Valley Community College. 

Gina Gabl graduated in June with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a double-major in English and Canadian-American studies along with a minor in women, gender and sexuality studies. She is also the Outstanding Graduate in Canadian-American Studies and a graduate of the University Honors Program. Gabl helped revive the Canadian-American Studies Club, worked as a teaching assistant in the program’s foundation class, Introduction to Canadian-American Studies, and generally became the program’s “go-to student” for help with a wide variety of events, including the 2016 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Vancouver, B.C. 

Hope Midgley of Bellingham graduated cum laude in March with a Bachelor of Arts in Education degree with a double major: special education and elementary education. She is also the Outstanding Graduate in Special Education. While at Western, Midgley completed two teaching internships at Cordata Elementary School, one in the Resource Room and the other in a fifth-grade classroom. She was also active with Campus Christian Fellowship and volunteered with Rebound of Whatcom County’s Roots program. This summer, she will work for Rebound’s Ray of Hope summer camp and in the fall will be an elementary school teacher at Bellingham Christian School. Midgley is a graduate of Bellingham High School and Whatcom Community College and the daughter of John Midgley and Roxanne Klix.  

Alicia Terry of Bellingham graduated in June with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a major in design and a minor in German. She is also the Outstanding Graduate in Design. Terry designed the Planet magazine and the Bellingham Review. She also studied abroad in Italy and Germany. She worked on Western’s landscaping crew and helped launch a composting program for yard waste produced on campus. She now plans to move to New York City to pursue a career in print design. Terry is the daughter of Connie Terry and Patrick Terry and a graduate of Lake Stevens High School. 

Torrey Yost of Bellingham graduated magna cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Accounting, as the Presidential Scholar for the College of Business and Economics, and as the Outstanding Graduate in the Accounting Department. He is known for his thoughtful, questioning mind and positive attitude in class. At Western he was an energetic tutor and coordinator for the Accounting Tutoring Center, recruiting fellow students to help beginners find their way through their first CBE courses. He also served as a conversation partner with Western’s Intensive English Program. Yost was born and raised in Spain and has traveled extensively. He has had an accounting internship in Papua New Guinea as well as one locally.  Yost, the son of Andy and Cheryl Yost, is a graduate of Whatcom Community College. He plans to enter public accounting with a Bellingham firm.

Des Moines

Jennie Le of Des Moines will graduate in August with a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in community health and a minor in anthropology. She is also the Outstanding Graduate in Community Health. Le is known by faculty members as a dedicated, enthusiastic, curious and independent student. This summer, Le is completing an internship with Swedish Cancer Institute as a health education intern. After that, she plans to further her education to become a physician’s assistant. Le is a graduate of Mount Rainier High School and Highline College and the daughter of Hieu Le and Chi Vuong. 

Edmonds

Amelia Jones of Edmonds graduated magna cum laude in December 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in recreation and as Outstanding Graduate in Recreation. While at Western, Jones received the Recreation Program’s Academic Achievement Award and was a member of Western’s Golden Key International Honor Society. She also completed a 14-week internship in therapeutic recreation at the Mt. Baker Care Center and volunteered with a local adaptive aquatics program providing swimming experiences for people with disabilities. Next, she’ll attend the University of Puget Sound for a Master of Science degree in occupational therapy. She eventually hopes to work as a school-based occupational therapist, working with children with disabilities. Jones is the daughter of Myra and Clint Jones and a graduate of Edmonds-Woodway High School and Edmonds Community College. 

Federal Way

Ellyse Brewster of Federal Way graduated cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Arts degree and three majors -- design, Chinese, and east Asian studies -- and a minor in anthropology. She is also the Outstanding Graduate of the Center for East Asian Studies. Brewster, a graduate of the University Honors Program, had her work included in Design Days during Scholars Week. She studied abroad in China, worked in Western’s Tutoring Center, and served as an officer in the Anthropology Club. She is also the recipient of several scholarships, including the National Youth Empowerment Award, the President’s Scholarship and the Diana Wright East Asian Studies Research Paper of the Year Award. After graduation, Brewster will travel to Taiwan, where she will be a Fulbright English teaching assistant. The daughter of Jeff and Joni Brewster, Ellyse Brewster is a graduate of Federal Way High School. 

Ferndale

Cole Rogers of Ferndale graduated magna cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in electrical engineering and as the Outstanding Graduate in Electrical Engineering. At Western he was a member of the Nova Solar research team that developed a solar window, a project that won the $15,000 grand prize at the Environmental Innovation Challenge. He was also the lead conservation educator for Project RENT, a pilot program to encourage WWU students who live off campus to conserve energy and reduce their environmental impact at home. He was president of Western’s chapter of the electrical engineering honors society, a student member of the Institute for Energy Studies’ curriculum committee, and the recipient of the Kaiser-Borsari scholarship for electrical engineering. He interned with the Embedded Engineering group at the PACCAR Technical Center. Rogers is the son of Simone Rogers and a graduate of Windward High School and Whatcom Community College. 

Indianola

Jesse Nichols of Indianola will graduate in August with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in visual journalism and a minor in chemistry. He is also the Outstanding Graduate in Journalism.  At Western, Nichols served on the staff of The Planet student magazine for seven quarters, including a year as editor-in-chief. He won a 2016 Society of Professional Journalists Region 10 Mark of Excellence award for Best Radio Feature for a story about climate change in Alaskan rainforests. In 2016, he was a video intern for the environmental news site Grist. After graduation, he plans to pursue a career in video journalism, focusing on covering science and the environment. The son of Beth Nichols, Jesse Nichols is a graduate of Kingston High School. 

La Center

Brynne Dykes graduated magna cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in kinesiology and a specialization in pre-physical therapy, a minor in psychology, and as the Outstanding Graduate in Kinesiology. Dykes also graduated from the University Honors Program and received the Washington Emerging Leader Award from the Society of Health and Physical Educators. She was the Community Meal Program coordinator for Western Community Outreach, a student club that helps those experiencing homelessness in Bellingham. She also volunteered with the Bellingham Food Bank and YMCA Trailblazers. She completed two internships: with PT Northwest in Woodland and with Fidalgo Care Center in Anacortes. She is also working on an independent research project on preventing common tendon injuries in rock climbers. She’s taking some time off to travel to New Zealand then plans to attend graduate school to become a physical therapist. Dykes is the daughter of Dennis and Mary Dykes and a graduate of La Center High School. 

La Conner

Emily Bruland of La Conner graduated in December 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Education degree with a major in language, literacy and cultural studies in elementary education, along with teaching endorsements in reading and English language learners. She is also the Outstanding Graduate in Elementary Education. Bruland, who worked at a local daycare while attending school, was known in the department for her high-quality, thoughtful, reflective work that was often used as exemplars for her fellow students. Since February, Bruland has been working in the Bellingham School District as a leave-replacement teacher at Birchwood Elementary. The daughter of WWU alumni Doug and Susanne Bruland, Emily Bruland is a graduate of La Conner High School. 

Lake Stevens

Nicole Carroll of Lake Stevens graduated magna cum laude in December 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in history/social studies and with a minor in economics. She is also the Outstanding Graduate in History. While at Western, Carroll started the U.S. History Club. She won the Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award for her final thesis, “A New Look at the Constitutional Convention and State Ratifying Conventions: How Reason and Interest Played a Role.” She also completed an internship with the American Historical Association’s National History Center in Washington, D.C. After taking some time to travel, Carroll plans to go to graduate school for her Masters in Teaching degree to become a high school history teacher. A graduate of Lake Stevens High School, Carroll is the daughter of Damon and Lezli Carroll. 

Langley

Elliauna Madsen of Langley graduated in June with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a major in dance and a minor in anthropology. She is also the Outstanding Graduate in Dance. She’s well-known for her positive attitude, open mind and extraordinary dance abilities. She volunteered to help put on the High School Dance Festival and Preview and served as the Dance program’s Department Related Activities Committee representative. Madsen is a graduate of South Whidbey High School and the daughter of Stacy and JT Madsen. 

Mount Vernon

Rebecca Barrett of Mount Vernon graduated magna cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in communication studies, a minor in Spanish and as the Outstanding Graduate of the Communication Studies Department. While at Western, Barrett served as a Spanish language and American Sign Language interpreter at Skagit Project Homeless Connect, Helping Hands Food Bank and for the Girl Scouts. She’s active in community service projects through her church, and traveled to Guatemala twice on stove-building missions. She is also a member of the American Night Writers Association and is an editor for several authors. Next, she will begin graduate school at Eastern Washington University’s Masters in Social Work program in Everett. Barrett is the wife of Clarence Barrett and a graduate of Snohomish High School and Bellevue College. 

Marco Morales Mendez of Mount Vernon graduated magna cum laude in March with a Bachelor of Arts degree, a major in American cultural studies and a minor in education and social justice. He is also the Outstanding Graduate in American Cultural Studies and was selected to be a student speaker at winter commencement. While at Western, Morales Mendez was a student leader for a trip to Cuba through Western’s Global Learning Program. He was a teaching assistant in the American Cultural Studies program and co-taught several courses with WWU faculty, including one on the Latino experience in the U.S. and two courses on social theory at Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies. He is also president of the nonprofit Indigenous Studies Foundation, which teaches young people in the Skagit Valley about indigenous Mexican culture and history. Now, Morales Mendez will travel to Germany to attend graduate school at the University of Heidelberg’s Center for American Studies. Morales Mendez is a graduate of Whatcom Community College and the son of Mario and Gloria Morales. 

Emma Eliason of Mount Vernon graduated in March with a Bachelor of Music degree, a major in music education and as the Outstanding Graduate of the Music Department. At Western, she performed with a wide variety of groups, including choirs, bands, jazz ensembles, opera productions and the symphony orchestra. She was soprano section leader for Concert Choir, chorus master for the production of “Goyescas,” team leader for the Sustainable Action Fund’s Concert Hall Lighting Project and vice president of Western’s CWMEA and ACDA. She was a stage manager and technician for the College of Fine and Performing Arts, working with the Marrowstone Music Festival and the Bellingham Festival of Music. She completed a choral music education internship at the American International School in Vienna. She also traveled to Shanghai, China, with Western’s Wind Symphony and to Spain and Portugal with the Concert Choir. Next, she will work as a music teacher for the North Beach School District in Ocean Shores. Eliason is the daughter of Leonard and Jill Eliason and a graduate of Mount Vernon High School. 

Mukilteo

Justin Janczakowski of Mukilteo graduated cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in industrial design and a minor in user experience design. He is also the Outstanding Graduate in Industrial Design. Janczakowski received the 2017 IDSA student merit award and presented his work at the IDSA Western Conference. He also completed an industrial design internship at the Ariens Co. in Brillion, Wisconsin, and worked as a studio assistant for the Sheila Klein Art Studio in Bow. He was also a member of the WWU Cycling Team. He is now an industrial designer at LOUD Technologies in Woodinville. Janczakowski is a graduate of Kamiak High School and the son of Mark and Tamiko Janczakowski. 

Victoria Niewohner of Mukilteo graduated magna cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in environmental science and two minors, geographic information science and environmental policy. She is also the Outstanding Graduate in Environmental Science and was selected to be the student speaker at Spring Commencement. At Western, Niewohner worked in the Huxley College of Environmental Studies office as a peer adviser, assisting the office staff and helping other students find the right resources to navigate through the college. During the summer of 2015, Niewohner was a science intern at the Seattle Audubon Society where she reviewed the society’s public education literature on bird feeding to ensure the information was scientifically sound. She also updated the society’s bird feeding brochure, which is distributed to visitors of Audubon’s Nature Shop. The following summer, Niewohner was a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates intern at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Biological Station. She conducted a research project on whether warmer temperatures change how many flowers plants produce. She presented the results at the Kellogg Biological Station Undergraduate Research Symposium. Niewohner, from Mukilteo, is a graduate of Kamiak High School and the daughter of Julie Niewohner and Eric Niewohner and the fiancĂ© of Dean Darrah. After graduation, Niewohner was a maritime environment and sustainability intern with the Port of Seattle before beginning work as an environmental scientist/GIS technician with Ridolfi Environmental in Seattle.

Olympia

Steve Brazel of Olympia will graduate in August with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in communication sciences and disorders, a minor in psychology, and as the Outstanding Graduate of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department. While at Western, he served as a communication partner for a person with global aphasia, completing more than 25 hours of clinical observation. This summer, Brazel will accompany a WWU faculty member and a clinical speech language pathologist on a six-week service trip to Guatemala. Then, he will join the first cohort of students in Western’s doctoral program in clinical audiology. Steve Brazel is the son of Steve Brazel Sr. and Holly Brazel and graduate of Olympia High School and South Puget Sound Community College. 

Taylor Glennon of Olympia graduated cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a major in art history with two minors, classical studies and anthropology. She is also the Outstanding Graduate in Art and Art History. Glennon served as director of the Viking Union Gallery for the 2016-17 academic year, conceptualizing and curating nine shows. She also served as a teaching assistant; faculty describe her as a “highly professional, dedicated and intelligent art historian.” Next, she’ll begin a graduate program in art history at the Lamar Dood School of Art at the University of Georgia, where she is the recipient of the Matheny Family Graduate Award to support her research. Glennon is the daughter of Thomas and Holly Glennon and a graduate of Olympia High School.

Tristan Olson of Olympia graduated magna cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English – creative writing, and two minors, film studies and business administration. He is also the Outstanding Graduate of the University Honors Program. For his Honors Senior Capstone Project he wrote, directed and co-produced a feature-length film which he plans to release this summer. At Western Olson served as a resident adviser and was a lead student ambassador for the Western Foundation. He was also an editor and the editor-in-chief for Jeopardy Magazine and executive producer of “The Mix,” a music show on KVIK. He was an award-winner at Western’s 48-Hour Film Festival. He is also the recipient of the English Department’s Nancy and Ralph Babcock Jr. Memorial Scholarship. In 2018, he’ll teach English in Malaysia for 10 months on a Fulbright fellowship. Olson is the son of Ronald P. Olson and Margaret E. Croll and a graduate of North Thurston High School. 

Nine Mile Falls

Nick Taylor Thomas of Nine Mile Falls graduated in June with a Bachelor of Arts degree and two majors, Chinese language and culture and international business, along with a minor in economics. He is also the Outstanding Graduate in Chinese. Thomas, who studied in China for eight weeks, was known in the Chinese Program as a passionate, diligent and persistent student. Faculty members were impressed by his intellectual curiosity and his analytical skills in upper division content courses. Thomas joined two other students in an advanced projects class to create an international marketing plan for a door manufacturing company. He also completed some freelance Chinese translation work while he was a student. A graduate of Lakeside High School in Nine Mile Falls, he is the son of Mark and Shelly Thomas.

Puyallup

Bobbi McGinnis of Puyallup graduated magna cum laude in March with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a major in early childhood education. She is also the Outstanding Graduate in Early Childhood Education. While at Western, McGinnis was a peer mentor in the Future Woodring Scholars Program. After graduating, she began teaching with the Puyallup School District and expects to teach third grade at Northwood Elementary School in the fall. She will also begin work on a master’s degree. McGinnis is a graduate of Franklin Pierce High School and the daughter of Robert and Kristine McGinnis. 

Redmond

Myann Refai of Redmond graduated in June with a Bachelor of Science degree in manufacturing engineering. She is also the Outstanding Graduate in Manufacturing Engineering. At Western she served as a teaching assistant in several engineering classes and as a research assistant for faculty members. She was president of Western’s chapter of Society of Women Engineers and was involved in several outreach activities, including Compass2Campus, and the GEMS program for girls. She received the department’s Richard F. and Patricia Vogel Endowment and the Tempress Scholarship. She also completed two internships at Alcoa Intalco Works in Ferndale, and two internships with The Boeing Co.  Next, she’ll move to Detroit to work for General Motors as a process engineer. Refai is the daughter of Nancy Abdelwahab and Wail Refai and a graduate of Juanita High School. 

Rochester

Thomas Morrissey of Rochester graduated cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Science degree, a major in chemistry and minors in materials science and mathematics. He is also the Outstanding Graduate in Chemistry. A graduate of the University Honors Program, Morrissey received numerous awards and scholarships while at Western, including the Chemistry Department’s CRC Press Chemistry Achievement Award and the Earnest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship. He also worked in the Tutoring Center and was an active undergraduate researcher. He spent the summer of 2016 working on a project at the James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory and worked collaboratively with Chemistry faculty David Rider and David Patrick on the fabrication, testing and modeling of organic photovoltaics coupled with solar connectors. He presented his work at conferences, with posters at Nanolytica 2016, where he was awarded Best Undergraduate Poster, and the American Chemical Society’s National Spring Meeting in 2016. After graduation, he will be pursuing a doctoral degree in chemistry at the University of British Columbia. Morrissey is a graduate of Tumwater High School. 

Sammamish

Christopher Carpenter of Sammamish graduated cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in plastics and composites engineering and a minor in materials science. He is also the Outstanding Graduate in Plastics and Composites Engineering. He is known for his strong work ethic and is innate curiosity. Carpenter was an undergraduate research assistant with Zodiac Aerospace in Bellingham, where he worked on developing new materials for the aerospace industry, and presented his work at two professional conferences, including the Composites and Advanced Materials Expo. After graduation, he will become a process engineer for Intel in Portland, Oregon. Carpenter is the son of Jim and Carolee Carpenter and a graduate of Eastlake High School in Sammamish. 

Seattle

Ben Larson of Seattle graduated magna cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in political science and two minors, economics and geographic information systems. He is also the Outstanding Graduate in Political Science. While at Western, Larson co-founded the Bellingham Tenants Union and served as a board member for the York Neighborhood Association. He used his GIS skills to work with Western’s Center for Economic and Business Research to study agricultural water management in Whatcom County and spent a summer in Ladakh, India, to study water issues with the Institute for Village Studies. After graduation, his is working through the summer with King County to improve local agriculture, then wants to use his GIS skills “to find political and economic solutions to some of the world’s most intractable problems,” he says. Larson is a graduate of Nathan Hale High School. 

Noah Morris of Seattle graduated magna cum laude in December 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in manufacturing and supply chain management and as the Outstanding Graduate in Decision Sciences. Known by faculty members as a “bright and intelligent participant and performer” in upper-division classes, Morris completed two internships: one with Kaas Tailored in Mukilteo and another with Crane Aerospace and Electronics in Redmond. Now, he is a procurement agent with The Boeing Co. in Renton. Morris is a graduate of Everett Community College and the son of David Morris and LeAnne Morris. 

Stephan Neu-Yagle of Seattle will graduate in August with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Geography and as the Outstanding Graduate in Environmental Studies. At Western, Neu-Yagle received the Outstanding Geographer award from the National Council for Geographic Education and was known as a strong writer – he wrote a 20-page literature review of humanity’s prospects of colonizing Mars. His capstone oceanography project involved sampling sediments in Bellingham Bay and measuring the pH levels of overlying waters. He also traveled abroad to Italy to study ecogastronomy and food cultures of the region. After graduation, he plans to look for a job as a park ranger in a state or national park. A graduate of Ballard High School and North Seattle Community College, Neu-Yagle is the son of Linda Neu and Tom Yagle. 

Huy Nguyen of Seattle graduated in June with a Bachelor of Science degree with two majors, physics and mathematics, and a minor in astronomy. He is also the Presidential Scholar for the College of Science and Engineering and the Outstanding Graduate in Physics and Astronomy. Nguyen was known as a deeply engaged and accomplished scholar at Western, a leader and role model known for his independence and work ethic. He was a member of three research groups, first modeling the composition of Martian soil with Assistant Professor Melissa Rice, then investigating star formation processes with Assistant Professor Kevin Covey, and later working to improve the efficiency of organic solar panels using thin film structures with Professor Janelle Leger. He presented his work at the American Physical Society in March. He also worked as a teaching assistant in physics and tutor in the Math Center. As president of Western’s Association of Mathematics, Nguyen also worked to create an environment where students from diverse backgrounds in math can develop together. Nguyen is the son of Tram Nguyen and Chay Nguyen and a graduate of Evergreen High School in Burien and South Seattle College. After graduation he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Michigan. Eventually, he would love to contribute to the development of the first functional quantum computer and become a professor at a research-active institution. 

Snoqualmie

Mileah Smith of Snoqualmie graduated magna cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in communication sciences and disorders and a minor in teaching English to speakers of other languages. She is also the Outstanding Graduate in the TESOL program. Smith served as a lead mentor in Western’s Compass 2 Campus program. She also volunteered in several of Western’s Intensive English Program classes and in English language learner classes at Whatcom Community College. She’ll return to Western in the fall to pursue her master’s degree in speech language pathology. Her ultimate goal is to work in a Title I school with a diverse population to provide speech language pathology services to low-income and mutilingual students. Smith is the daughter of Carla and Dwight Smith and a graduate of Mount Si High School. 

Spokane

Riley Jessett of Spokane graduated magna cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in English literature and humanities with an emphasis on the history of culture, and as a graduate of the University Honors Program. He’s also the Outstanding Graduate in Liberal Studies and served as a student speaker in June’s commencement ceremony. He presented his thesis for the Honors Program, “Life and Literature: Franz Kafka’s Bio-Critical Apparatus,” at the 2016 Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Associations conference in Pasadena, California. And he presented his research for Western Libraries, “You’re Invited: Invitational Communication in a Studio-Modelled Pedagogy,” at the National Conference for Peer Tutors in Writing in Tacoma. Jessett worked for the Academic Advising Center since 2014, and for the Hacherl Research and Writing Studio since 2015. He was also on the Liberal Studies Leadership Team and served on the search committee for a new dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Jessett was also the first recipient of the Meagan E. Smith Memorial Scholarship in 2016 and was the William K. McNeill Scholar in English Literature in 2015. Now, he’s training with Teach for America for his new job as a kindergarten teacher in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Jessett is the son of Martin Jessett and Gail Jessett and a graduate of Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane.

Cat Samson of Spokane graduated in December 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in geology and a minor in anthropology. She is also the Outstanding Graduate in Geology. At Western she was president of the Association of Engineering and Environmental Geologists and served as a teaching fellow for two introductory geology labs and as a teaching assistant for the department’s geology field camp. She interned one summer with the Mount St. Helens Institute and the U.S. Forest Service as a science educator and interpreter. This summer, she is working as a field tech in Alaska with Millrock Resources. Samson is the daughter of Daniel and Jeannie Samson and a graduate of Mead High School in Spokane. 

Christoph Winter of Spokane graduated magna cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a double major in German and linguistics. He is also the Outstanding Graduate in German. At Western he served as a German tutor and volunteered for the Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. He also worked for WWU Archives to help digitize WWU Board of Trustees minutes from the university’s early years. Next, he’ll travel to a small town in the Austrian Alps to teach high school English through the Austrian Fulbright Commission for the 2017-18 academic year. Winter is the son of Greg and Julie Winter and a graduate of Mead High School in Spokane.

Stanwood 

Jeffrey Guptil of Stanwood graduated magna cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Arts degree, a major in linguistics and a minor in anthropology. He is also the Outstanding Graduate in Linguistics. He was an invited speaker at Western’s Scholars Week and at the International Symposium on Typological Regularity, where he gave talk on “The Grammaticalization of ‘because’ in Standard English” a project that won an Undergraduate Research Award. He also served as a teaching assistant for a lower-division linguistics course and was a member of the Linguistics Club. Next, Guptil will enroll in a graduate program at Hofstra University in New York to study forensic linguistics. Guptil is the son of Kelly and Dawn Guptil and a graduate of Stanwood High School and Everett Community College. 

University Place

Swann Davis of University Place graduated cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in manufacturing and supply chain management, a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a major in international business, and a minor in business analytics. She is also the Outstanding Graduate of the Management Department. At Western, Davis served as president of the International Business Network and was part of the five-student team that won the Northwest Boeing Case Competition. She also completed two internships: in procurement at The Boeing Co., and in account management at Expeditors International. Next, she plans to work in operations management at Boeing in Everett and eventually pursue a master’s degree in international affairs or public policy. Davis is the daughter of Nadia Davis and Daniel Davis and is a graduate of Curtis Senior High School and Tacoma Community College. 

Walla Walla

Rosa Tobin of Walla Walla graduated cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Arts degree, a major in English literature and two minors, writing studies and Spanish. She is also the Outstanding Graduate in English Literature and a graduate of the University Honors Program. While at Western, Tobin received the William Smith Scholarship in Professional Writing and the Dave and Ann Mann Scholarship in Writing Studies. She also created “Gyno Girl,” a podcast aimed at creating a more open dialog about women’s health (gynogirl.org). Tobin is the daughter of Brian Gabbard and Jean Tobin and a graduate of Walla Walla High School. 

Woodinville

Amanda Kemp of Woodinville graduated magna cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in psychology and as the Outstanding Graduate in Psychology. At Western, Kemp was involved in the cognitive psychology research lab, studying attention and memory and co-authoring several conference presentations. She also served as an English classroom volunteer for the Asia University America Program. She will move to Kobe, Japan, in July to teach English as part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching program. Kemp is a graduate of Bellevue College. 

Annette Quarre of Woodinville graduated magna cum laude in March with a Bachelor of Arts degree with two majors, French and English literature, and as the Outstanding Graduate in French. Quarre is known by faculty members for her clear analytical thinking, intellectual curiosity and her enthusiasm. While at Western she volunteered in French classes at Squalicum High School, helping students prepare for the Advanced Placement test. She also tutored students at Bellingham High School and served as a teachers’ assistant in English as a Second Language courses at Whatcom Community College. Next, she will travel to France to teach English in a high school near Lyon as part of the Teaching Assistant Program in France. When she returns she hopes to work toward a Masters in Teaching degree to teach English, language arts and French at the high school level. Quarre is the daughter of Karen and Steve Quarre and a graduate of Woodinville High School. 

CALIFORNIA

Livermore

Jeffrey Katen of Livermore graduated magna cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in mathematics, a minor in computer science, and as the Outstanding Graduate in the Mathematics Department. Katen was a Math Fellow at Western and a recipient of the Mathematics Memorial Scholarship. He presented his senior project, a study of duality in convex analysis, for Scholars Week. He also attended the summer research program at the Fields Institute at the University of Toronto, where he studied the mathematics of glass. His score on the prestigious William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition was the highest at Western since 2002. He also served as captain of a team that won a Kryptos codebreaking competition three years in a row. He was vice president of the WWU Great Puzzle Hunt Club and a member of the puzzle creation team. He also worked at the Tutoring Center as a tutor for math, philosophy and astronomy. He plans to remain at Western for the accelerated master’s program in mathematics then begin a doctoral program. Katen is the son of Margaret Katen and Matthew Katen and is a graduate of Granada High School in Livermore. 

COLORADO

Craig

Rose Howe of Craig graduated magna cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Arts degree, a major in economics/environmental studies. A graduate of the Honors Program, Howe is also the Outstanding Graduate in Economics. Her paper on how residential property values could be affected by the proposed rail shipment of coal through Bellingham to a proposed terminal at Cherry Point was the lead paper of a panel at the Pacific Northwest Regional Economic Conference in 2017. She was a research intern for the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council and for RE Sources for Sustainable Communities. As president of the WWU Surfrider Club, she coordinated monthly beach cleanups and bi-weekly meetings. She also lobbied for WWU student interests in Olympia at Viking Lobby Day four years in a row. Next, Howe will be a Transportation Planning intern for the Skagit Council of Governments, then plans to start an Americorps/VISTA position in Alaska while she prepares for graduate school in urban planning. Howe is the daughter of James and Lyn Howe and a graduate of Moffat County High School in Craig.  

NEVADA

Las Vegas

Alicia Duncombe of Las Vegas graduated cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in sociology and two minors, computer science and Spanish. She’s also the Outstanding Graduate of the Sociology Department and a graduate of the University Honors Program. Faculty members know Duncombe as a motivated and talented scholar with a unique sociological imagination. While at Western, she completed the Honors Program, worked three years for Residence Life and volunteered for AFS Intercultural Programs. Next, she’s heading to University of Texas at Austin to begin a doctoral program in sociology. Duncombe is the daughter of Peter and Rhonda Duncombe and a graduate of Canyon Springs High School. 

OREGON

Yamhill

Danielle “Dee” Payton of Yamhill graduated magna cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy, as a Presidential Scholar for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and as the Outstanding Graduate in Philosophy. Her faculty mentor characterizes her as razor-smart, unfailingly compassionate and universally respected. In addition to completing nearly every course in the Philosophy Department, she completed six directed independent study courses and six senior seminars. She participated in the Rutgers Summer Institute for Diversity in Philosophy, repeatedly served as a session chair in professional conferences and presented original scholarship in four different venues including the Annual Ida B. Wells Philosophy Conference at the University of Memphis. She was a peer writing tutor in the Hacherl Research & Writing Studio, president of the Philosophy Club and lead organizer of Western’s first Philosophy of Race forum, which attracted more than 300 people and drew two eminent philosophers as guest speakers. She was also an assistant organizer of the 2015 Bellingham Summer Philosophy Conference and a mentor to Sehome High School’s Philosophy Club. Next, she’ll attend Rutgers University to begin a Ph.D. program in philosophy. Payton is the daughter of Mark and Christiane Payton and a graduate of McMinnville High School. 

UTAH

Highland

Haley Douglas of Highland, Utah, graduated cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in business administration, a concentration in marketing, and a minor in user experience design. She is also the Outstanding Graduate in Finance and Marketing. At Western, Douglas was the recipient of the Karen L. Freeman Business Scholarship and received the Marketing Student of the Year award from the Puget Sound chapter of the American Marketing Association. She served as president of Western’s Student Marketing Association, led several student team projects, and launched a student-run marketing agency. She also completed an internship at Crystal Creek Logistics in Ferndale. After graduation, Douglas plans to find a job in the creative aspect of marketing, eventually owning and operating her own company. Douglas is the daughter of Cynthia Douglas and Cory Douglas, step-daughter of Chris Waters, and a graduate of Lone Peak High School in Highland. 


 
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Thursday, August 3, 2017 - 12:37pm