Class Notes


Tom Barnard, an attorney in Ohio, was featured in a Crain’s Cleveland Business article for his volunteer work through Legal Aid Society of Cleveland’s ACT 2 Project. The program matches lowincome individuals in need of legal help or advice with latecareer or retired attorneys who volunteer their time. Tom, who is 78 and semi-retired, said the rewards from participating in the pro-bono work are huge.


After 39 years, Michael Ramoska finally retired from Wilson Sporting Goods. The job was the only career he ever had, and he was offered the position on his 25th birthday. He said the company is “incredible,” and he is thankful that he was able to attend so many great sports events —everything from Super Bowl games and NBA championships to AVP beach volleyball and U.S. Open tennis—as part of his job. He says his retirement thus far has consisted of playing golf four days a week at his home in Mission Viejo, Calif., and traveling with his wife, Vicki Grabar Ramoska ‘75.


Rob Cushman became head football coach at Occidental College in August, as reported by Occidental Weekly. Rob is entering his 39th year in the coaching profession and spent time in Northern California and the Midwest before going to the Los Angeles, Calif., school. Rob holds a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and theatre arts from Puget Sound and a master’s degree in education from California State University, Chico.


George Tomlin, along with collaborators from Germany and Switzerland, co-authored two articles published in Ergoscience, a Germanlanguage occupational therapy journal. The articles are titled “Die Forschungspyramide – Teil 2: Methodologische Grundlagen” and “Teil 3: Grundlagen der Anwendung für die kritische Evidenzbewertung” (“Research Pyramid: Methodological Principles” and “Application Principles for the Critical Appraisal of Evidence”). George holds a master’s degree in occupational therapy from Puget Sound, a master’s degree in international affairs from Boston University, and a Ph.D. in education from the University of Washington.

Joan “Joni” Weber Earl was honored by the Sound Transit board for her 15 years of work as CEO. She retired from the transit agency in 2016. The Great Hall of Sound Transit’s historic Union Station headquarters in Seattle was renamed after her in October, METRO magazine reports. A plaque addressing her accomplishments will be placed inside the entrance to the Joni Earl Great Hall.


W. Houston Dougharty, Hofstra University’s vice president for student affairs, has been named a 2018 Pillar of the Profession by Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA), the leading international organization in student affairs. The annual awards recognize a small number of distinguished professionals who have served as leaders, teachers, and scholars in student affairs and higher education. Houston came to the Long Island, New York, school in 2014 and has a 34-year history in the higher education administration field. He served as associate dean at Puget Sound, dean of students at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore., and vice president of Grinnell College in Iowa before making the move to New York.

In August, Nancy Schierhorn was promoted to senior vice president and chief development officer of Bristol Bay Native Corporation, The Bristol Bay Times reports. She replaces Jeffrey Sinz, who retired in September, and will be directing the overall corporate development strategy, including acquisitions, new investments, portfolio oversight, and other strategic growth initiatives. Schierhorn joined the corporation in November 2012 as associate general counsel. Two years later, she was promoted to vice president, associate general counsel. Schierhorn holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Puget Sound.


Pharmaceutical company CTI BioPharma promoted David Kirske to chief financial officer in September. He joined the company in 2017 and was formerly the principal financial and accounting officer. He has a business administration degree from Puget Sound.


Jim Wilson ’85, P’18 was named vice president and marketing director of Baker Boyer Bank in Walla Walla, the oldest community bank in Washington state. Jim is tasked with modernizing the bank’s marketing strategies, processes, and technologies to effectively engage consumer, business, and private banking clients along their financial journey. He has more than three decades of experience in marketing and business development and previously served as the bank’s marketing director.


Jennifer Simpson Robertson was listed in 425 Business magazine’s list of Dynamic Women in the July issue. Jennifer is serving her third term with the Bellevue City Council and has worked on numerous projects to “make the city a better place,” the article states. Those projects include the light rail, the sky bridge in Bellevue Square and Lincoln Square, and intelligent traffic lights.


The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) honored David Bean, councilmember of the Puyallup Tribe and acting vice chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association, with the prestigious John Kieffer Sovereignty Award in September. The award’s recipients are chosen based on their embodiment of NIGA’s mission and purpose. The Puyallup Tribe says that David is an active member in his community, spending much of his time with Elders and Youth of the Puyallup Tribe. He regularly participates in cultural activities by drumming, singing, and dancing with children throughout the community as well as within the NW Canoe Society. He holds an accounting degree from Puget Sound.


Natasha Hollins Egan was named to Newcity Art’s “Art 50 2017: Chicago’s Visual Vanguard” list. Natasha is executive director of the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College, where she promotes the artistic significance and political dimensions of photography. She graduated from Puget Sound with a bachelor’s degree in Asian studies and earned master’s degrees in photography and museum studies from Columbia College.


Ray Kahler has been appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to the Grays Harbor County Superior Court, The Daily World reports. He has been in practice with the Stritmatter Kessler Whelan Koehler Moore Kahler law firm for 21 years. The appointment, which began in January, will be his first time serving on the bench and his first experience with public service. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Puget Sound, and a law degree from Harvard University.


Glenna Cook published Thresholds, her debut full-length collection of poems, in June. Her book explores the fierce and tender moments of her life: a childhood influenced by the birth of a younger sister with Down syndrome, a marriage of 63 years, passage into her 80s, and the death of a son. For 25 years, Glenna worked for U. S. West Communications (now called Qwest Corporation and owned by CenturyLink). She retired to pursue a degree in English literature, which she received from Puget Sound in 1994 at age 58.


Tory Woodard, a lieutenant colonel and flight surgeon with the U.S. Air Force, is currently serving as a physician at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. He not only provides routine medical care for the limited population there but also supports the aircrew flying ski-equipped airplanes and providing emergency medical evacuation for sick people needing to be flown off the ice. His work in Antarctica is supporting both the medical and research missions of the National Science Foundation. Tory holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Puget Sound, a master’s degree in dental hygiene from Harvard University, and a doctorate degree in medicine from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md.


After many years in the business, Ian Congdon has opened his own chiropractic practice, North Seattle Chiropractic, in Northgate. He is supported in this new venture by his wife, Moriah Love ’00, and their 5-year-old daughter, Noel.

Elliot Stockstad ’98, M.Ed.’04 was named chief development officer for Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity on Nov. 1. The organization has completed two housing projects in Pierce County since 2009 and is working on a third. The Woods at Golden Given in Midland, Wash., is currently under construction and is Tacoma/ Pierce County Habitat for Humanity’s largest project.


Lisa Sternadel Rodgers ’02, M.A.T.’03 was awarded the prestigious Milken Educator Award, recognizing her exceptional work as a biology/ life science and physical science teacher at Grandview High School in Aurora, Colo. The award, one of 45 distributed nationwide, comes with a $25,000 cash prize and recognizes early- to mid-career teachers for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish. Lisa received the award at an all-school assembly on Oct. 31. The Denver Post reports that the science teacher was “stunned.” Lisa is the lone Milken Family Foundation award-winner from Colorado. Lowell Milken, chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation, said Lisa is “an advocate for student learning” whose effective teaching makes him optimistic about the futures that await her students.

The San Antonio, Texas, oil and gas exploration company Silverback has hired Matthew Alley as chief financial officer, the company announced in October. He is responsible for all financial functions of the company, including transactions, financial modeling and analysis, budgeting and reporting, and strategic planning. Previously, Matthew worked as CFO at Palomar Natural Resources in Colorado. He has more than 15 years of corporate and energy finance and investment experience and holds a computer science and economics degree from Puget Sound.


Ashley Biggers’ second book, EcoTravel New Mexico: 86 Natural Destinations, Green Hotels and Sustainable Adventures, was published by University of New Mexico Press in September 2016. The book is intended to be a guide to sustainable travel in the Land of Enchantment and features eco-friendly destinations such as farm-to-table restaurants and green hotels as well as recommendations for camping and hiking adventures.


Tim Mensonides became airport manager at Bremerton National Airport in May. He was also recently named to Aviation Pros’ 2017 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40 list. Previously, Tim was the airport’s operations coordinator. He has more than 11 years of experience in the industry. Both of Tim’s parents are pilots, so he grew up around airplanes in the Tacoma area and says they heavily impacted his decision to go into the aviation field. At Puget Sound, he majored in business administration.


Esther Morgan- Ellis has a new book out this month titled Everybody Sing!: Community Singing in the American Picture Palace. In the book, Esther explores the era of movie palaces and sing-alongs of the 1920s and 1930s and includes nearly 100 images, such as photographs of the movie houses’ opulent interiors, reproductions of sing-along slides, and stills from the original Screen Songs “follow the bouncing ball” cartoons. Everybody Sing! is available on Amazon.

For the second year in a row, McKenzie Ross will serve as chair of the Worldwide Women in Electronic Design (WWED) steering committee. McKenzie is the marketing communications manager for OneSpin Solutions, a company that provides software tools that allow engineers to create reliable digital circuits. She has led the committee since 2016 and served as vice chair in 2015. The WWED committee works to increase WWED’s visibility and promote a vibrant, supportive community of women within the semiconductor industry.


Rachel Gross recently earned her Ph.D. in U.S. history from the Davidson Honors College at the University of Montana. Her dissertation was on the history of outdoor clothing and gear.

Seattle nonprofit Treehouse named Nikki Carsley to its Young Professionals Board. The organization serves youth in foster care in Washington by providing support to help them graduate from high school and pursue their dreams and goals. Nikki, an attorney at Mills Meyers Swartling P.S., will serve as an ambassador for the organization. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business leadership and international political economy from Puget Sound and a law degree from the University of Washington.


Jacob Berenbeim received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he studied the light-induced excited states of biological molecules and natural pigments. Along with his wife, printmaker and illustrator Amy McDonell Berenbeim ‘10, Jacob will be relocating to York, England, for a postdoctoral research position at the University of York.


Peter Bittner won The David Teeuwen Student Journalism Award, Small Newsroom, from the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism for his multimedia project City of Smoke: Air Pollution in the Land of the Eternal Blue Sky. The project explored the public health crisis of one of the most polluted cities on Earth. Peter traveled to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, in January 2017, while temperatures dipped below -35 C, to conduct interviews and film the landscape for the project. Peter holds a bachelor’s degree in international political economy from Puget Sound. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a master’s degree in journalism in May.

Joseph Rodriguez was one of three officers hired by the Federal Way Police Department in November, the Federal Way Mirror reported. He recently graduated the police academy and is in the early stages of the Police Field Training Program. He has a bachelor’s degree in natural science from Puget Sound.


Justin Brush is putting his computer science and theatre arts double major to use at Snapchat. He started as a software engineer at the company in October, working on the iOS messaging platform.