Alumni News

Olivia Cadwell ‘15 graduated from Puget Sound with a BA in English Olivia Cadwellliterature and an emphasis in neuroscience. As an undergraduate student at Puget Sound, Olivia conducted an on-campus study that examined literary fiction’s influence on social cognitive brain activity. This fall, Olivia will continue her passion for interdisciplinary research as a Masters / PhD candidate and Prize Fellow at The New School for Social Research in NYC. As part of her research on language and cognition, Olivia will study how cultural products that involve imagination (i.e. literature and fiction) promote empathy, pro-social, and moral cognition in the brain.

Ian GreenfieldIan Greenfield graduated with degrees in English and Classics from Puget Sound in 2011. In 2012, he joined Google and spent several exciting years learning about technology, traveling internationally, and developing leadership skills. In 2016 he moved on to the gaming startup Niantic, Inc. as a quality assurance engineer. Ian lives in Seattle, writes fiction and poetry, and reads extensively in medieval history and literature.


Kari Vandraiss ’13 spent the past year completing her MSJ at Kari VandraissNorthwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and recently joined SagaCity Media (publisher of Seattle Met and Portland Monthly) as an editor in the custom media division, where she works on travel/tourism magazines like the Washington State Visitors’ Guide, Visit Seattle, and the Washington State Wine Guide. In her off hours, she is also a contributing writer to Seattle Met’s food-and-drink blog, Nosh Pit. 

Natalie (Naya) Jones '03 is currently a PhD Candidate in Geography at the University of Texas-Austin. She looks forward to graduating in spring 2016. Her doctoral research focuses on how Black youth experience food and foodways in the midst of rapid urban change. Natalie is also a freelance consultant on issues related to community building and wellness. 

Emily Ehrlich ’07 has received two Masters degrees since graduation; one in English Studies (Western Washington University, 2011) and the other in Teaching (University of Puget Sound, 2012). Her doctoral work at the University of Washington is focused around writing instruction in secondary schools and she hopes to finish her PhD in 2017. Emily also serves as Chair of the English Department at Kentwood High School, where she teaches creative writing, 9th grade English, and UW in the High Schools English classes.

Leah ShamlianLeah Shamlian ’15 is putting her English major and Environmental Policy minor to great use in the wilds of Alaska as an intern for Trident Seafoods. "The environmental compliance department at Trident Seafoods has an interesting mix of academic backgrounds: biology, chemistry, policy, international relations, even a fellow English B.A. with whom I discussed T.S. Eliot while walking the streets of Sand Point, Alaska (population approx. 900)," Leah writes. To read more about Leah’s life in Alaska, click here. Also, her personal essay Catch and Recovery placed third in Sunstone Magazine’s 2015 England Essay Contest. Congratulations Leah!

Morwari Zafar ’04 received her MA in anthropology from George Washington University in 2007 and has worked in the international development and defense sector since. She credits her coursework in writing, rhetoric and culture here at Puget Sound with her decision to pursue post-grad work in anthropology and finds her “ability to write and communicate effectively to be a tremendous asset in the professional world.” She is currently pursuing a PhD in anthropology at the University of Oxford and has had articles published in Foreign Policy and Time magazines. Her recent memoir essay “A Thousand Splendid Stuns,” published in Granta, can be read here.

Avery DanielsAvery Daniels ‘14 was recently accepted into the dramaturgy/education apprenticeship program at the Gloucester Stage Company in Massachusetts. As a dramaturge, she will basically do the work of an English major: researching, editing, writing analytical papers on new plays, and finding intertwining and connecting themes for the season. Being able to work closely with the artistic director “is a great first step for me and I will really get to see if I want to pursue a career in theater,” she said. Avery is also very excited that she will get to work with the children in the theater's outreach program teaching dance and acting. Congratulations Avery!

David Mucklow '14 has been admitted to the MFA program at Colorado State University and will begin his studies there in Fall 2015.

As an Assistant Director of Annual Giving here at Puget Sound, Shannen Riede ’13 runs the Student Phonathon Program. Consisting of 35 student callers and 7 student managers, the program raises money for the Puget Sound Fund, an unrestricted fund that goes toward anything the university needs (mostly financial aid for current and future students.) She also runs the Senior Class Gift Program, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of annual gifts to the university as seniors make the transition from students to alumni. Shannen also manages a branch of Young Alumni Class Agent Volunteers and, starting next fall, she’ll be pursuing a Master's Degree in Elementary Education here at Puget Sound.

Madeline B. Gangnes ’08 and her husband moved to Scotland in 2013 so she could pursue a Master of Letters in Comics Studies at the University of Dundee: a specialized English degree incorporating academic and creative work related to comics history, criticism, and creation. During her time in Dundee, she published an article on the manga AKIRA and its film adaptation in the peer-reviewed journal Studies in Comics and presented a paper on the visual culture of The War of the Worlds at the 2014 International Association of Word and Image Studies Conference. Madeline completed her MLitt in 2014 and has accepted a place in the University of Florida's PhD in English program beginning in August of 2015. She intends to continue her research on the visual culture surrounding Nineteenth-Century British Literature, particularly comics and word-and-image adaptations of Victorian science-fiction novels.

Emily Alfin Johnson '12 landed her dream job as a radio producer after interning with WBUR in Boston. She produces the National Public Radio show, OnPoint, a live, two hour, call-in show. Emily credits her success in dealing with the ups and downs of live radio to what she learned in her WRC classes. For more of Emily's insights into working as a radio producer, click here. 

Casey Oakes ’13 works as the Director of Artistic Engagement for Gloucester Stage Company in Massachusetts. As part of his position, he’s creating new initiatives to help integrate the theatre into the surrounding community as well as connect to surrounding theatres. One big piece of this movement is the creation of a new housed and paid Professional Apprenticeship Program, which provides an opportunity for eight recent college graduates in a variety of positions. The truly special part of this program is that it provides an opportunity for a young playwright to author a new play in residence resulting in a fully produced, professionally designed, Equity production of her or his show. Click here for more info.

Nancy Elizabeth MartinNancy Elizabeth Martin ‘09 went into the Masters of Arts in Teaching program at Southern Oregon University for secondary Language Arts education, and is now an Advanced Placement English Language and Composition teacher in Ashland, Oregon. She regularly uses and passes on the skills and literature she learned and analyzed while at UPS. Being a Writing Advisor at UPS was the experience that influenced her most in deciding to become a teacher, and she never gets tired of analyzing literature and writing with her students. She also hosts a monthly writing group, is an Oregon Writing Project Fellow. She is also a singer/songwriter and tours up and down the West Coast, performing cello with her indie folk band.

John Hansen '07 is a third-year doctoral student in the "Quantitative Policy Analysis" program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His major writing projects these days are code for statistical software and research papers. While not terribly literary, the program emphasizes clear communication and interpretation of quantitative findings, which means that John still writes a lot and spend hours dithering about word choice, sentence structure, etc.Lisa Demopulos

2014 has been a great year for Lisa Demopulos '11 as she landed her dream job working for a university library and she married the love of her life. Lisa started working for Gonzaga University in their library acquisitions department on November 1st.  Before Gonzaga, she worked at a public library in Stevens County for 2 years. On October 1st, she married William Tuinenga in Spokane, WA. Congratulations Lisa!

Brandon Lueken ’08 received his Master's of Education in Student Development Administration from Seattle University in 2012, and has spent the past two and a half years at Bellevue College, working in the Office of Student Programs. In this position, he advises the student government, and does a fair amount of editing of official proclamations and the like. Most recently, Brandon published an Op-Ed on the behalf of the college in the Bellevue Reporter. Prior to that, he wrote for an online magazine the Bygone Bureau, founded by fellow alums Kevin Nguyen and Nick Martens. Even as a working professional, Brandon still writes little fragments of poetry every day. Click here to read his piece about Text Message Poetry.

Hannah Calkins ’10 has spent the past three years working as the Academic Coordinator of the English Department at Georgetown University where she is also working towards her Master’s degree in Communication, Culture, & Technology. Her paper “Art is not Enough: the Artist’s Body as Protest” was recently published in gnovis Journal, which is produced and edited by Hannah’s graduate program. 

The Extraction List: Book OneRenee Meland (nee Parr) ’05 has self-published two books, The Extraction List and Between the Cracks and Burning Doors, both part of a dystopian sci-fi series. Her website can be viewed here.

Kevin Nguyen ’09 recently left Amazon to join a startup called Oyster, a streaming books service, as editorial director. He also recently launched The Oyster Review, a new literary magazine that publishes book essays and features comics from alum Hallie Bateman ’11. Click here to read a recent review of the magazine.

After her undergraduate education, Carol Thompson ’07 spent time living and teaching English in Japan through the JET Program before completing her graduate work at The Center for Cartoon Studies, which led to a stint City of Cardsdoing graphic design at a comics publishing house in Los Angeles. She’s currently a practicing graphic novelist living back in the Seattle area. Working under the artist pen-name CJ Joughin, her creation, City of Cards is the story of a failed former professional wrestler and his amnesiac ghost-hunting partner living in a dystopic corporate run future Reno Nevada.

BooksJill Eikenhorst '09 has been working at an independent non-profit publisher, Mountaineers Books, for a year now. Mountaineers publishes guidebooks, how-to books for many activities, outdoor literature, and photography books. She also works in fundraising and communications and previously worked in other environmental non-profits. Jill says that one of her favorite parts of her job is Braided River, the imprint that publishes photography books promoting conservation of North America's last remaining wild places. “It reminds me of a paper I wrote for Bill's (Prof. Kupinse) class about environmental literature that spurs action on environmental issues!” she says. Jill also just completed a certificate in public relations.

Jena Robinson ’06 is having fun in Korea as an elementary English teacher tricking students and a few adults into thinking that learning English is also fun. She’s been here for almost two years and will finish up in February 2015. After that, she’ll spend three months in Milan tutoring a family in English before heading back to the US. Jena hopes to get her Master’s in TESOL and is excited for the adventures in language and academics ahead of her.

Since graduation, Tess Kearney ’13 has been working in television and currently assists in the production of a public access show called “Well Read.” The show involves interviewing bestselling authors as they come through Seattle and she feels lucky to meet and chat with the likes of Anne Lamott, Jodi Picoult, Bryan Stevenson, and other interesting figures on the forefront of contemporary literature. “I am so grateful to have my University of Puget Sound education in English studies, so that when I meet these authors I feel competent, informed, and can engage in fulfilling conversation,” Tess states. You can find more info on the show at NYC Climate march by Hallie Bateman

Hallie Bateman ’11 was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for her sketches on the New York City Climate March. Click here to read the article.

Laura Derr '12 is completing a certificate in Nutritional Therapy through the Nutritional Therapy Association of Olympia Washington and is preparing to enter the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Antioch University Seattle.  Laura plans to combine these two interests into a career in nutrition and counseling.

Clay Thompson graduated from UPS with a degree in English in Writing, Rhetoric and Culture in 2009. Since graduation, he has earned his certificate in Public Relations from the University of Washington and is currently working at Concur Technologies in Bellevue where he manages client communications and marketing efforts for the North American market of enterprise companies. Previously, he’s worked at Ryther, a behavioral health organization where he did publications, database management, event planning and donor relations, as well as Pierce County AIDS Foundation and at UPS in the Admission office.

Marlon Franchini '09 is currently working as a Web Producer at Apple's iBooks division of iTunes in San Francisco.

Jeff Jacobson '91 recently published his first YA novel as an e-book, entitled The Boy Who Couldn't Fly Straight, set primarily in Seattle.  He writes: "The protagonist is a high school sophomore who must decide whether or not to come out of the closet, as he grapples with his recent discovery that he hails from a family of witches. It's primarily an adventure story - think gay Harry Potter - and the first book in the series The Broom Closet Stories. You can find out more at" He currently lives in Shanghai, China, and is busy at work on book number two.

Rachel Kollar '12 was accepted to all three of the filmschool/screenwriting graduate programs she applied to.  She will be attending California State Northridge's MA program in screenwriting beginning in the fall.

Leah Vendl '11 is the Communications + Engagement Manager at Velocity Dance Center, Seattle's premier art center dedicated to contemporary dance and performance. Since graduation, Leah has worked with international presenting theater On the Boards and Stranger Genius Award winner Susie J. Lee. Previously, Leah was the Editor in Chief of Puget Sound's Literary & Arts Magazine, Crosscurrents, and a choreographer for Repertory Dance Group. She graduated from Puget Sound with a degree in English in Writing, Rhetoric and Culture and a minor in Studio Art.

Kimberly Thomas '99 is the Student Advancement Coordinator with Highline Public Schools. Kim works with district stakeholders – students, teachers, principles, the school board, community partners – to increase the college-going rate among Highline’s low-income, high-potential students. Highline Public Schools serves 17,000+ students in the communities of Boulevard Park, Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, Sea-Tac and White Center. Highline's students represent about 80 nationalities and speak 70 different languages. Previously, Kim served as the director of the Premajor Studies Program at Seattle University and as Work Study and WorkSource Specialist at Seattle Central Community College. Kim earned her Master of Education in Multicultural Education from the University of Washington in 2005.

Scott Rudd ’98 is assistant professor of English at Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY where he teaches classes in literature and writing.  He has developed a course, The Literature of War, principally for the many veterans returning to the classroom, was a winner of the 2010 Nâzim Hikmet Poetry Festival, and has poems published in Talisman.  He spends his summers in Portland, OR.

Lucinda Stroud '09 is working in Seattle theatre as a playwright and dramaturg.  Her adaptation of Great Expectations was produced by Book-It Repertory Theatre in 2011.

Emilie DeWulf ’08 has travelled through various foreign rural communities in search of a greater knowledge of horsemanship practices since graduating. Having started these travels and studies with the help of a Watson Fellowship, she is currently settled in Southern Chile with the hopes of being able to tie together her experiences and newfound knowledge through writing. Emilie is probably the only UPS graduate to make a living working with a team of oxen. You can read a few of her articles at

Geoff Oakley ’02 received his second baccalaureate from the School of Business and Leadership in 2005 and joined the Army in 2007 where he was commissioned through Officer Candidate School (OCS). Geoff is currently serving as an Armor Officer (1LT) and has been deployed to both Korea and Iraq over the past two years.

Jessica Rosenfeld '97, Assistant Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis, has a book, Ethics and Enjoyment in Late Medieval PoetryLove after Aristotle, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.  Congratulations to Jessica! 

Danni Simon '09 will be attending the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH) at the University of Chicago.  MAPH is an innovative graduate program designed to provide a flexible, focused year of advanced study in traditional and interdisciplinary fields.  Danni's studies will include cross-disciplinary graduate courses in musicology and English literature, culminating in an interdisciplinary thesis.

April Tomlinson '07 is enrolled in the MAT Program at Puget Sound.

Emma Montgomery '09 will attend Syracuse University for her Master of Science in Library and Information Science.

Josh Epstein '03 received his Ph.D. in 2008 from Vanderbilt University, where he has since served as a lecturer and academic advisor.  In fall 2010, he is headed to UC Santa Barbara on an ACLS postdoctoral fellowship, where he hopes to complete his first book, on modernist literature, music, and noise.

Susan (Duis) Haigh '02 earned a Master of Archives & Records Administration and is a Certified Public Records Officer; she is currently working as a Records & Information Specialist in municipal government.

Dana Raike '10 is enrolled in the MAT Program at Puget Sound.

Morkins Akins' collection of short stories was short-listed for the Pushcart Prize.

Terry Bain published a novel entitled You Are Dog.

Scott Bateman is a nationally syndicated cartoonist; look for his blog on the Worldwide Web.

Kara Becker is a journalist in Boston.

Todd Benjamin works in London as an anchor and financial news-reporter for CNN.

Allison Bennett teaches English at Peninsula High School in Gig Harbor, Washington, where she is also the assistant cross country coach.

Carly Blanchard has taught English in Prague.

Sarah Borsten is a published poet.

Jeremy Bort is a public-school teacher.

Linda (Breton) Tredennick is an Assistant Professor of English at Gonzaga University.

Jessica (Jessy) Bowman has completed graduate work in England and writes for The Anchorage Daily News.

Michelle Brittan is earning an M.F.A. at California State University, Fresno, where she also teaches.

Jeff Calkins teaches English at Tacoma Community College and South Puget Sound Community College.

Michael Caranci is a fishing guide at the Fly Shop in Redding, California.

Sarah Carr is earning a Ph.D. in English at the University of North Carolina.

Lauren Carroll, who majored in Art and minored in English, is teaching English in Japan.

Alicia Case lives in Washington D.C. and is pursuing an M.A. in Creative Writing.

Terry Castle is Professor of English at Stanford University.

Ryan Chapman works for Macmillan Publishers in New York City.

Tanya Chernov is living, working, and writing in Seattle.

Eric Clarke received his PH.D. from Brown University and is Associate Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh.

Alethea Daniels teaches at the American High School in Japan.

Laurence Davis completed a Ph.D. at Purdue University.

Rachel Decker is earning an M.A. in Education at the University of California, San Diego.

Vera Divenyi earned a degree in law and is working in Switzerland.

Kim Draggoo worked in the film industry in Los Angeles for two years and completed an M.A. in English.

Scott Eagan is a literary agent specializing in romance novels.

Jessica Enciso is an attorney.

Willi Evans (now Galloway) has a gardening show on KUOW (Seattle). She's also West Coast Editor of Organic Gardening magazine, and the focus of an article in the April Sunset magazine.

Sherrard Ewing earned an M.A. at Western Washington University and works for the Proquest Information and Learning Company.

Sammi Farris earned an M.A. in Education from the University of Denver and is a public school teacher.

Eric Gimness has taught English in Eastern Europe.

Troy Gordon earned a Ph.D. in English from UCLA and is a lecturer with their writing program.

Kat Griffin is an account manager in Palo Alto, California

Sam Hardy works for Porter Novelli in Seattle.

Andrea Haughton has served in a small Presbyterian church in West Yellowstone, Montana, and is beginning a master’s program in divinity at the Princeton Theological Seminary.

Jack Hays has published a chapbook of poetry, and he is living in Minnesota.

Tessa Huson works for the Westing Building, Inc., in Seattle.

Sarah Jackson's working on a graduate degree in Children's Literature at Hollins College.

Bayard Johnson has published a novel called Damned Right.

Carolyn Johnson works as an admission counselor at the University of Puget Sound.

Lang Johnson publishes poetry and lives in Colorado.

Michelle Jones had an internship with Sony Pictures in Hollywood. She works for the International Movie Database, and she recently published poems in Tar Wolf Review.

Natalie Jones worked for Americorps/VISTA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she teaches reading and language-arts. She is also looking at graduate schools.

Scott Kelley is a fishing-guide in Montana, where he also owns a bar and writes and publishes fiction.

Matt Kennedy works for Microsoft in Redmond.

Sarah Kennedy is in a PhD program in English at Rutgers.

J.D. Kosiarski earned an M.A. in creative writing from DePaul University.

Rebecca Larson is an attorney.

Jared Leising earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Houston and teaches in Seattle.

Sandra (Lockner) Dahlberg is a Professor of English at the University of Houston - Downtown.

Mark Lewis works for the Council of Better Business Bureaus in Virginia.

Amanda "Mandy" Lozano (art major, English minor) is racing all over North America on the TARGETTRAINING Professional Women's Cycling Team until September 2007, when she will begin the MBA program at the University of Virginia.

Carlo Matthews teaches English in South America.

Matt McGinnis is in law school at Boston University.

Emily McPherson earned an M.A. from Western Washington University and works in the academic advising program at Bellevue Community College in Washington.

Kristen Miller had an internship with Alaska Airlines, attended NYU's Summer Publishing Institute in Manhattan, and attended Northwestern University's School of Journalism.

Erin Miner is working as an editor for Time Warner and living in Manhattan.

Meredith Ott, who majored in Theater and English, is pursuing a Ph.D. in drama at the University of Oregon.

Brian Palmer works at the Weyerhaeuser Corporation and writes novels.

Bill Parker is an attorney, having earned a J.D. at the University of Virginia.

Nicole Peoples earned an M.A. at Mills College in Oakland, California

Marion Peters completed an M.A. in Liberal Studies at Dartmouth; she writes short fiction.

Courtney Pfahl is pursuing a Ph.D. in English at SUNY Buffalo.

The late Linda Plato was a garden designer and consultant; she also wrote a column for the Ballard News-Tribune, and she edited the Northwest Horticulture Society’s magazine, Garden Notes.

After graduating, Pat Poyner had a brief career in professional baseball and then attended law school in Sheffield, England, and Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Pat practices law in North Vancouver, British Columbia.

David Pritchard is Director of Human Resources at the Microsoft Corporation.

Kristin Proehl is pursuing a Ph.D. in English.

Bernadette Ray teaches English at Lincoln High School in Tacoma.

Nicole Rogers works in production at a television station in Spokane.

Jessica Rosenfeld got her Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and is a Assistant Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis.

Stephen Ross is a member of a professional improv group in Seattle and plans to earn an M.A. in Education.

Tyler Roush is working as a sportswriter in Oregon.

Scott Rudd teaches at Monroe Community College. He earned an M.A. and is an ABD at the University of New Hampshire.

Bianca (Ruppeck) Tredennick is Assistant Professor of English at Gonzaga.

Heather Ryder is pursuing graduate study in editing.

Monika Salden often writes for Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine, works for Starbucks, and works with an organization that funds humanitarian mission work in the Dominican Republic. Monika does public relations and works on web content for that organization.

Rebecca Saulsbury is an Assistant Professor of English at Florida Southern University, and she is contributing entries to An Encyclopedia of African American Literature.

Darcy Scott completed graduate work in Speech Therapy at the University of Oregon.

Sheldon Spencer is a sportswriter for ESPN’s online magazine; he got his start at the Morning News Tribune in Tacoma.

Carolyn Stanely works for Sugar, Inc., in Sacramento, California and is applying to MFA programs.

Marieke Steuben is pursuing a graduate degree at Oregon State University in English and Women Studies.

Matt Stevens is a project coordinator for AMES, Inc., where he specializes in international projects.

Carol Thompson teaches English in Japan.

Breanna Trygg works for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Audrey Umber earned an M.A. in Education from Portland State University.

Richard Wiley has published several novels, including Soldiers in Hiding.

Alicia Williamson is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh.

Eric Williams covers the Seattle Seahawks for the News Tribune in Tacoma. He earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from Memphis State University.