Welcome back....

if only electronically. We hope that this page will allow alumni to reconnect and current students to meet some of their predecessors. Please email us with pictures and stories to share.

We hope this page will allow alumni to keep in touch with one another. It will only work if you send us updates and greetings to be shared here. Please do. We are always interested in your post-PLU lives.

Let us know what you would like to find on your Alumni Page

Calling All Anthro Alums...

Please send pictures and stories from your time at PLU so we can post them here and recreate our joint history. Send your memories to andrewbw@plu.edu.

Hannah Rossio (2012)

After graduating in 2012, I decided to pursue a job in the education field. I have worked for two years in the Federal Way School District as an AmeriCorps member. I worked for one year in a middle school and a high school leading small groups and running an after school program. In my second year I lead an elementary after school program. Working as an AmeriCops member has been a fabulous way to figure out if I enjoyed working in a school setting, and to develop my tutoring and teaching skills. I fell in love with algebra and geometry and am working towards going back to school to get my master’s degree teaching secondary mathematics. I work in a culturally diverse community and use my degree in anthropology on a daily basis. When I have the opportunity, I try to connect anthropology and archaeology to the subjects my students are learning. You would be surprised in how many ways it connects! I am excited to continue to use my background in anthropology in my next adventure, which is Nicaragua this summer!

Hannah Rossio

Yvonne Garton (2013)

My name is Yvonne Garton and I graduated from PLU in 2013 with a Bachelor’s of Art in Anthropology.  I am grateful for many things in my life, however, I am most grateful for  my PLU experience.  PLU provides ample opportunities for its students to learn and experience outside the classroom.  While earning my degree I studied away a total of four times.  In my study away programs I had classes ranging from politics to environmental studies, languages to archaeology.  The classes were all amazing and life changing, but what made the experience worthwhile were the skills I brought from PLU.  The professors have so much passion for their subjects and there is an abundance of course topics to choose from.  These classes showed me a new way to look at the rest of the world.  Anthropology taught me how to think, categorize, ask questions, and interact with cultures other than my own.  These skills have prompted me to travel and expand my learning outside of a traditional anthropology pathway.  I have been accepted into a Screen Media Masters program at the University of Birkbeck in London, where I am going to further my anthropology skills and adapt them to making a product all cultures can enjoy.

Yvonne Garton

David Treichel

David graduated in 2010 with a degree in Anthropology.  He moved to Houston, Texas, after graduation and began working as a temporary field technician for various cultural resource management firms in Texas.  Currently, he holds the position of Field Director for a CRM firm called HRA Gray & Pape in Houston, Texas.  This involves organizing and performing achaeological field surveys with a crew of field technicians, as well as artifact analysis and report writing.  HRA Gray & Pape has multiple offices throughout the U.S., including an office in Seattle.

David Treichel

Elizabeth Kurtenbach

When I graduated from PLU in 2012 with my anthropology degree, my parents told me: “you’ll never find a job.”  Challenge accepted.

Fast forward almost two years, now I work for Bank of New York Mellon – Analytics and Product Services Department in project management support.  At the beginning of my senior year I was convinced I would go to graduate school in Applied anthropology, specifically Medical Anthropology.  PLU provided the avenue for me to find one of my passions and I wanted to pursue it.  Then my personal reality hit: I added up my student loan debt.  It definitely wasn’t a number that made me happy about acquiring more debt in graduate school.  So, pushing senior year dream aside, I made myself a new dream.  Stay in Tacoma, get a “real job”, and don’t move in with my parent’s after graduation.

As anthropology majors you have many skills employers are looking for.  It is all about how you spin it.  Most companies are global, seeking employees who are adaptable and seeking employees who are culturally aware.  My best interviews were when I focused on anthropology and shared how it could help their global business.  Specifically how an anthropology major aids in cross-site communication.  My office works with other offices in the UK and India on a daily basis.  Honestly, when I created my new dream to stay in Tacoma and get a “real job” I thought I was putting my dream of practicing anthropology on the back burner.  Boy was I wrong.  I use my anthropology degree on a daily basis.  From creating PowerPoints on cities to educate my co-workers on where our visiting associates are coming from, to using it to determine how the individual culture of a team works, to countless other daily tasks.  Your anthropology degree can be used anywhere.  You just have to think outside the box.

Good luck!

Elizabeth Kurtenbach

Derek Beery

Derek makes the news!  Read the article here.

Derek Beery, 35

Lori Eng (Grimberg), 1999

After graduating from PLU (in 1999) I was interested in med school, but when that didn’t pan out I stumbled across EMS. I worked my way from an EMT to a paramedic, working at a private ambulance in King and Pierce counties. Now I’m a firefighter/paramedic (I actually do both jobs), working for East Pierce Fire & Rescue. Even though some people may think my anthropology degree is irrelevant in my line of work, it has actually been really beneficial. Since we help people from all cultures and walks of life, which all have different ideas of health and medicine, it has enabled me to be more understanding of my patients. I’m very grateful to have majored in it!

Deanna Burnett-Keener

Deanna spearheaded and developed the Business Assistance Center for Greenriver Community College. It has grown rapidly over the last six years and now is seen as one of the top programs in the state. Deanna’s training in cultural anthropology-with focus on applied-has helped her to meet the need for a broader understanding of world markets, and the fact that the “culture” of a business is a significant factor in its success today.

Allison Snow, 2001

After graduating in 2001 I spent three years living, teaching, and traveling in Guayaquil, Ecuador. I returned to Washington to complete a master’s degree in Elementary Education and will start teaching 5th grade in September 2007 at Puesta del Sol Elementary in Bellevue.

L.A. Beard, 1998

After graduating from PLU with a BA in anthropology in 1998, I moved to San Jose, Costa Rica where I taught English to third through sixth grade students at a French elementary school. Teaching young kids was quite an experience and the travel opportunities were fantastic. We adhered to the French vacation schedule because my school was sponsored by the French government, which afforded me lots of opportunity to travel. I traveled extensively in Central America, made a trip to Colombia and also to Cuba. When I returned from Costa Rica, I again entered the field of law enforcement. I had had a desire to go to law school for several years and it was several years more before I committed myself to earning my JD. I applied to Seattle University School of Law and was accepted for the 2006 school year and am now a second year law student in the evening program focusing on criminal law and real estate.

Vicky Young Schauer

When graduating from PLU with a degree in Anthropology, I had a huge desire to go on in the discipline through a Masters/PhD program in Anthropology/Archaeology with a specialty in ethnobotany. Unfortunately, life got in the way and I ended up using my minor degree in Publishing & Print Arts to obtain a job as the Publications Manager/Communication Specialist for MultiCare Health Systems. After five years, I turned my sights to teaching and returned to PLU for the Masters with Certificate program led by the late Dr. Doug Lamerouex. It continues to amaze me how the skills I learned and sharpened in Anthropology classes at PLU have served me so well in my careers and my life. I have successfully navigated the cultures of  hospitals and now schools, including the micro-culture I call my classroom. My ability to observe, assess, empathize and fit into diverse groups and understand how those groups function through their own sociopolitical systems has helped me to be successful, happy and well-connected. Would I throw it all away to “dig in the dirt” or analyze more post-classic Mayan turtle shell fragments in the Arch lab? In a heartbeat!

Aaron Dennis

After graduation, I took a short job in cultural resource management in Blackstone,VA with Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. After finishing my contract for this job, I moved to China as a volunteer teacher with Pearl S. Buck International. I then extended my stay in China via an internship with the cultural division at UNESCO, Beijing. In late December of 2005, I returned to the US for a brief visit, and this returned to China as a visiting researcher at Sun Yat-sen (Zhongshan) University–working on social impact assessment and ethnic minorities development initiatives with the University’s anthropology department and PLU’s Dr. Greg Guldin. This year, I will begin my Master’s Degree in Asian Studies at the Center for East and South-east Asian Studies at Lund University in Sweden.

Natalie Kersten

Spent a year as a Environmental Health Scientist, then got married and moved to Las Vegas where I worked for a Geotech firm for a few years. When my husband and I decided to have children, I stopped working to raise my children. We have two awesome boys that I love watching them grow! I volunteer at their school and get to be involved in my sons lives.

Tonya King Ellis, 1995

I graduated with an MA in Education in 1995. I then moved to Missouri where I have lived since then. I graduated from MU – Columbia in 1999 with an MA in Library Science. I have been working for Jefferson City Public Schools for the past 6 years. I just recently completed a massage therapy program and am a nationally certified massage therapist.

Shasta Christensen

Completed the MAE cert program through the School of Ed, awaiting employment in elementary school. Full time internship at Dower Elementary for the school year 2006-2007. I have also been working part time at Ace Hardware. My boyfriend and I have been hard at work for the last year on remodeling our house and now have new carpet.

Jen Blecha, 1991

After PLU (1991), I was in the Lutheran Volunteer Corps for a year, working at a homeless shelter in Baltimore. Then another year volunteering at Holden Village in the North Cascades. During my MA at Oregon, I focused on ethnic minorities and human rights in the Balkans, as well as music and folklore. I studied Bulgarian and did some research and work in Bulgaria. I left school after my MA and worked for five years, three at a socially- and eco-responsible home remodeling company doing training and HR. I actually learned a lot about sustainability there. I also taught community college for a while. When I went back for the PhD, I wanted to work on urban agriculture and food systems, and alternatives to industrial agriculture. I looked at environmental anthro programs, but the people who seemed really excited about my work were human geographers. I took a fellowship at U of Minnesota, and recently finished my PhD there. My thesis was on urban livestock in the U.S. I am just starting a new faculty job at SFSU, and I’ll get to teach some of my favorite things. I love to teach, and I think often of how much I loved my anthro classes at PLU. I hope I can create great experiences for my students here.

Amber Padilla

I got married in 2000 to Cesar and have been working for Polk County Mental Health since 1999. I am a Services Coordinator for people with Developmental Disabilities and conduct Protective Serice Investigations.

Heather Macdonal Cantrell

I got married in 2000 to Cesar and have been working for Polk County Mental Health since 1999. I am a Services Coordinator for people with Developmental Disabilities and conduct Protective Serice Investigations.

Kathleen Foster Vargas

I had intentions of becoming a legal anthropologist – hence I entered the UPS Law School in 1984. We moved from Washington so that put the stops on that concept. I have been working as a legal assistant/Paralegal since graduation from law school in 1989

Rhonda Winchell-Sharp, 1985

After graduating from PLU, my second child Matthew was born in 1987. I had started at PLU when my oldest son Jeff was one year old and graduated in 1985. After writing and publishing freelance articles and writing book reviews for The Seattle Times, I started a literary agency and worked as an agent for seven years. My authors were from diverse areas and included three-time Indy 500 winner Johnny Rutherford, acclaimed business author Allan Kennedy, and award winning WWII author Don Burgett, whose four books with Random House were called by Stephen Ambrose the finest books ever written on WWII. Although I’m no longer a literary agent, I remain an active professional in the publishing industry. Currently, I work as a book developer and author. I recently finished a 270-page manuscript for a local Tacoma executive, which is a book on motivation. In the process of developing books for executives, I’ve worked with a rocket scientist/CEO, several attorneys, physicians, and many other professionals. My current projects include a book on creativity/thinking, several children’s books, and organic gardening, which are all my own projects. I am also developing a seminar on creative thinking for businesses and their executives. After living in Idaho for the last ten years, I recently returned to Washington State, and would appreciate a little more sun and a little less rain! In a fascinating twist of life, last year I found an older half-brother—previously unknown to me—who is quite wonderful and lives in Reno. This has been a great gift. And the genetics of commonalities is fascinating and very anthropolgical.

Tisha Vaska, 1993

I graduated from PLU in 1993. Since then I’ve held a variety of odd jobs and lived all over the country (Seattle, Charlotte, San Francisco, Chicago, New York). The work I am the most proud of (prior to going back to school) was with the AIDS Marathon Training Program where I helped train people to reach the goal of running a marathon while helping to raise millions of dollars for people living with AIDS/HIV. Now I’m in my second of a three year masters program studying Landscape Architecture at the City College of New York.

Laura (Schubert) Baldwin

Laura (Schubert) Baldwin – After graduating, I traveled, worked, and finished an MA in Communications at the University of Washington (UW). I worked at the UW in Speech Communication and Public Health. Currently, I manage outreach and training projects in educational technology at the UW and am married and have two children.

Karl Ickes

After Pacific Lutheran University, I went on to get my MA in anthropology at Western WashingtonUniversityEgypt but my new job has added a focus on early Christian and medieval Europe, as the Director of Archaeology to the Hapsburgs and PhD in archaeology @ Brown University. I have excavated at many sites, internationally. Originally I focused upon ancient

Emily Keys

Since graduating from PLU, I have worked in the fields of social work and education. Immediately after graduation, I worked as a bilingual Child Welfare caseworker for two years and then as a meeting facilitator in that field for three years. I relied heavily on my anthropological training to understand the many cultures and families that I served during that time. Now, as a school counselor, I envoke the anthropological observation and questioning skills that I learned at PLU on a daily basis. I continually think that everyone should be educated as an anthropologist!

Ashley Seffernick

After graduating I moved to Seattle and worked for a small event company planning special events and weddings.  In 2005 I was hired at Microsoft, I work in learning and development supporting the online advertising business.  I have enjoyed lots of traveling, fixing up a 1913 Craftsman house, and volunteering.

Emily Keys

Since graduating from PLU, I have worked in the fields of social work and education. Immediately after graduation, I worked as a bilingual Child Welfare caseworker for two years and then as a meeting facilitator in that field for three years. I relied heavily on my anthropological training to understand the many cultures and families that I served during that time. Now, as a school counselor, I envoke the anthropological observation and questioning skills that I learned at PLU on a daily basis. I continually think that everyone should be educated as an anthropologist!

Ashley Seffernick

After graduating I moved to Seattle and worked for a small event company planning special events and weddings.  In 2005 I was hired at Microsoft, I work in learning and development supporting the online advertising business.  I have enjoyed lots of traveling, fixing up a 1913 Craftsman house, and volunteering.

Sara Bergman

After graduation, I spent some time traveling through Mexico and Central America. When I returned to the United States, I moved to Portland, Oregon and worked in a vegan cafe for six months. August of 2005, I began a Fulbright Research Fellowship to Trinidad & Tobago, and spent the next year or so working in a Gender Studies Department at the University of the West Indies. My research was on Indo-Trinidadian women’s dances and the politics of identity; a research article is currently under consideration at the Caribbean Review of Gender Studies. Returning to the United States, I spent a few months traveling up and down the west coast, and then moved to Holden Village to be a part of the winter community. After a beautiful and snowy (300 inches!) winter at Holden, I said goodbye to the tight-knit and wonderful community there, and returned to Portland. I have been here six months and have a diversified personal economy, while living in a lovely communal house in the Hawthorne district with a big garden. Future plans include starting a small independent design label, making a line of sustainable, fashion-forward women’s streetwear. Also, I am hard at work on writing and illustrating a series of feminist comic books. Hurray!

Anneke Geel

After graduating from PLU, I worked for four years for a Christian campus ministry organization at schools in Oregon and Massachusetts. My interest in people has never waned since my PLU days! I have taken every opportunity I could to travel since PLU and have been around the USA as well as to Russia, South Africa, Western Europe, and the UK. Two years ago I completed my Masters of Social Work at the University of Washington. I currently work at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center as a social worker and cancer information specialist.

Terrill Parrish

I worked for the US Forest Service and the National Park Service.  I later worked for a private consulting firm in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.

Carina Lee

After graduation, I moved to Washington DC and spent two years working with inner-city youth (which had become my focus in my final semester).  In 2002 I moved back to Seattle and worked at Starbucks and volunteered with Young Life.  I traveled a bit in the years after college – Ecuador, South Africa, Ethiopia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, England, Australia and Costa Rica.  I got married to Nicholas Schoen, who graduated from Marquette, in 2005 and began attending the Aveda Institute on Capitol Hill.  I graduated in 2006 and started my own business (www.travelingstylist.com), which has been great.  In March 2007, we had our first baby – Lute Thomas Schoen.  Motherhood is quite the adventure.

Lynette Sprague-Falk

Hi!  I’ve not continued with advanced degrees in Anthropology, but headed in another direction – library technician and information specialist for government and corporate libraries.  I relocated to Ohio (my birth state) last year and I am presently working for a small township as its secretary and records librarian.  The rural culture is quite interesting!  I have hopes (even at this late stage of my life) to pursue more Anthro education – especially Archaeology, having never been on a dig.  This would be a wonderful retirement endeavor (within 10 year).  Seniors make good students!  I would also love to join the Peace Corps, a dream from childhood.  Please include some interesting volunteer ideas in your agenda.  Think about older adults and the contributions they can make.  Thank you!

Erin McLaughlin, 2005

I graduated in Spring 2005 and immediately traveled back to Ireland to work and live. I worked at their National Coaching and Training Centre (University of Limerick) as an Event Coordinator, working with the Beijing Olympic Planning Committee on an International High-Performance Coaching Forum. I then moved to Dublin, Ireland to work with GTI Publishers on the Irish national graduate career website, GradIreland as an assistant event coordinator and sales representative. During my time in Ireland, my work with high-performance athletes stirred up my interest in psychology and mental health. I came back to the U.S. to begin a Masters program in Mental Health Counseling at the University of Northern Iowa. I am currently in my second year of coursework, and in May 2008, will be moving to Anchorage, Alaska to begin my internship with Hope Community Resources. My tentative plans are to begin research in psychological anthropology on the need for nature in holistic wellness. I was an AmeriCorps Naturalist with Hartman Reserve Nature Center this last year, nor that my emphasis in my masters program is in adventure therapy and nature therapy, If that could be added, it’d be great!

Life here is busy (if it weren’t, how boring it would be!) and very good. I am currently lining up my internship for this counseling program. I am going to be supervising an undergrad class on a May Term trip to Alaska for social work with Hope Community Resources. In gaining experience with that organization during the trip, it is pretty likely I will stay up there for my internship credit as a full-time therapist. Have you ever heard the saying “go and find where the world’s greatest need meets your greatest passion?” I feel like that is what is happening right now. Alaska is an amazing natural location, filled with adventure opportunities, and the cultural diversity is always of interest to me, as well as being able to provide support to the people. As I feel out the situation there, I am really hoping to consider a PhD track in psychological anthropology. However, at this point, my eyes are feeling a bit cross-eyed from all of my research and studying! ;) I am the Graduate Assistant for my program. It’s fun (sometimes I question myself for enjoying being in the middle of the stacks at the library…).

Erin McLaughlin, 2005

Jeffrey Lakshas

After graduating, I spent a year touring South America and Asia. Then I moved to Shanghai as an English teacher. I still live in Shanghai, working at the Consulate General of Canada doing anti-fraud work.

Katherine Beard

After graduating from PLU, I continued working on campus until December 2005. I then worked in the BreastCancer Screening Center at Overlake Hospital for 9 months. In September 2006, I moved to Boston to work for Go Ahead Tours. I have been here for just over a year. I traveled to Ireland and England for two weeks for work. We operate over 60 tours all over the world and I can’t wait to see where I will be going next.

Kara Hurst, 1996

I graduated in 1996 from the Anthro Dept with a focus on Archaeology and did field archaeology for two seasons (with two equally fun ski patrol seasons!). I then went to Texas Tech Univ. and earned my M.A. in Museum Science with a focus on registration. After graduating, I became the curator at the Price TowerArtsCenter, located in Frank Lloyd Wright’s only built skyscraper. Three years later I had the opportunity to return to the mountains and archaeology and was offered the position of Registrar at the Utah Museum of Natural History in Salt Lake City. I have been here almost 4 years and enjoy working with all of our divisions. I’m also very involved in our new museum building project and have put my architectural knowledge to use to help make the new Utah Museum of Natural History a world class museum.

Heidi Richardson-Topete, 1998

Since graduation in 1998 (has it already been nearly 10 years??!!) I have worked hard at being spontaneous and following my heart. As a result, I worked in international marketing for a couple of years and then decided to go to school for Interior Design. I started working for IKEA at the time as a means to pay for school. However, 8 years later, I’m still there and still loving it! Not only is IKEA an international company with a philosophy and vision I can support, it also allows me the opportunity to be paid to travel and satisfies my competitive side. I was married in 2001 to my husband, Gustavo, who is from Mexico. We currently have two beautiful girls, Alejandrina (3) and Sofia (1). Motherhood is unbelievable in every way. What a joy. What else can I say, life is good!

Danielle Axt

I am currently pursuing my Master’s Degree in Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. I am also a Graduate Assistant. I have completed my first year in the program and have recently begun preliminary fieldwork. My graduate research is focused upon the concept of identity, particularly the formation and maintenance of Italian American ethnic identity transposed against the media, and how individuals negotiate their identity in response to overarching societal influences presented by this sustainable entity.

Marin Bjork

I guess I will say that I have continued to be interested in the way that people live.  I now work with clients/communities to shape public spaces that are meaningful spaces. I work for The Berger Partnership in Seattle, and volunteer my time with grass roots organizations that bring people together to create great gathering places.

April Reitan, 2002

April Reitan – After graduating from PLU 2002, I taught/tutored international and developmentally delayed students at Tacoma Community College.  Since I also have a BS in Biology, I took a job at Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center.  I work in a group in Public Health Sciences which conducts cancer studies.  Primarily, we conduct breast and ano-genital cancer studies, but we also have others like HPV-related, testicular, and skin cancer studies.