CWUAlumni NewsAlumni Newshttp://www.cwu.edu/alumni/newsen-usCWU Alumnus Honored with Rookie of the Year Awardhttp://www.cwu.edu/alumni/node/2902Thu, 24 Apr 2014 08:12:09<p><img alt="" src="/alumni/sites/cts.cwu.edu.alumni/files/images/Rookie%20of%20year.jpg" style="width: 423px; height: 320px;"></p><p>Myron Hamilton of Ellensburg, a graduate of Central Washington University, recently received the Washington Industrial Technology Education Association's (WITEA) Rookie of the Year Award.</p><p>Hamilton, 34, is a second-year teacher at Wahluke Junior High School teaching and promoting skills in science, technology, engineering and math education.</p><p>He worked to develop the Gateway to Technology courses at the junior high that's part of the Wahluke School District in Grant County.</p><p>Read more of this story in the <a href="http://www.dailyrecordnews.com/scrapbook/local-teacher-honored-with-rookie-of-the-year-award/article_89267acc-ca54-11e3-87a9-001a4bcf887a.html"><em>Daily Record</em></a>.</p>CWU Art Professor, Alumna Opens Two Exhibits in Aprilhttp://www.cwu.edu/alumni/node/2898Wed, 02 Apr 2014 10:18:03<p><img alt="" src="/alumni/sites/cts.cwu.edu.alumni/files/images/Chachava_Childhood.jpg" style="width: 390px; height: 320px;"></p><p>Art Professor <a href="http://mayachachava.com">Maya Chachava</a> is undertaking the unusual and arduous endeavor of presenting two exhibitions this month, <em>True Blue</em>, opening Thursday, April 3 in the <a href="https://www.cwu.edu/art/sarah-spurgeon">Sarah Spurgeon Gallery</a>, and <em>Travel Diaries</em> opening Friday, April 4 at <a href="http://gallery-one.org">Gallery One Visual Arts Center</a>.<br><br>“The process of developing and mounting one exhibit is extremely hard work,” said Gregg Schlanger, CWU art chair and professor. “Presenting two in the same month is a remarkable achievement.”</p><p>In <em>True Blue</em>, Chachava’s mixed-media prints trace back real or imagined childhood memories through the manipulation of family photographs. She uses a multilayered process of digital imagery, printmaking, and drawing to create a dense, mark-making surface.<em> True Blue</em>, which will also feature painter Natalya Burd, will open with the artists’ lectures at 4:00 p.m. in Randall Hall, room 117. The lecture will be followed by a reception in the gallery from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The Sarah Spurgeon Gallery is located in Randall Hall on the CWU campus.</p><p>In <em>Travel Diaries</em>, a new body of work, her objective was to create mixed-media images using bits and pieces from various paintings and found materials and to challenge more familiar ways of compositional choices. She wanted to convey the feeling of discovering the exotic and mysterious world of Istanbul where East and West are so beautifully intertwined. <em>Travel Diaries</em> will be displayed from April 4 through April 26, and there will be an opening reception on April 4 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Gallery One is located at 408 Pearl Street in Ellensburg.</p><p>“My work is deeply rooted in the myths and legends of my native culture, childhood memories, lost and found connections in my new life,” writes Chachava. “I try to fully rely on the process and inherent properties of the chosen media. My major objective is to infuse the work with expressive quality and meaning, but still retain a sense of mystery.”</p><p>Born in Tbilisi, Georgia, (Soviet Union), Chachava completed her BFA in English Language and Literature at Tbilisi Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages. She earned a BFA in Fine Arts and Spanish at CWU in 1997 and received her MFA in painting from the University of Washington in 2000. She returned to CWU as a professor in 2005.</p><p>In addition to solo exhibitions at Linda Hodges Gallery In Seattle, Square Inch Gallery In New York, Utah Museum Of Fine Arts in SLC and Chardin Gallery in Tbilisi, her work has been featured in over 40 group shows including those at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, Brad Cooper Gallery in Tampa, Liz Afif Gallery In Philadelphia, Steward Gallery in Boise and Springville Museum of Art in SLC.</p><p><strong>Graphic:</strong> Maya Chachava, “Childhood,” 30 in. x 40 in., mixed media print, 2014</p><p><br><strong>Media Contact:</strong> Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518, valeriec@cwu.edu</p>Book Signing Planned for CWU-Pierce Alumnushttp://www.cwu.edu/alumni/node/2882Mon, 03 Mar 2014 11:50:16<p><img alt="Shadow Guardians" src="/alumni/sites/cts.cwu.edu.alumni/files/Shadow%20Guardians%20by%20Brett%20Lawrence.jpg" style="width: 100px; height: 152px; margin: 5px; float: right;"><img alt="Brett Lawrence" src="/alumni/sites/cts.cwu.edu.alumni/files/Brett%20Lawrence_MUG.jpg" style="width: 100px; height: 123px; float: right; margin: 5px;">Brett Lawrence, a graduate of Central Washington University, published the novel <em>Shadow Guardians</em> and will hold a book signing at the <a href="http://www.piercecountylibrary.org/branches/west-county-branches/university-place/new-university-place/Default.htm" target="_blank">University Place Library in Pierce County</a> at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 6.</p><p>Lawrence earned his bachelor’s degree in law and justice in 1979 at <a href="http://www.cwu.edu/pierce-county/" target="_blank">CWU-Pierce College</a> (then it was called Fort Steilacoom Community College). He lives in Lakewood and works for the state Department of Social and Health Services in the Center for Forensic Services at Western State Hospital. Lawrence hopes <em>Shadow Guardians</em> is the start of a long, productive writing career he plans to pursue after he retires from the state.</p><p>The book, by Martin Sisters Publishing, is a present-day science fiction story. The setting begins in the Tacoma and Puget Sound area before taking readers into the depths of space with an alien race. While Lawrence wrote the story more than 20 years ago, it wasn’t published and released until August 2013.</p><p><em>Shadow Guardians</em> will be available for purchase and signing at Thursday’s free library event. The book, in hardcopy and electronic versions, also is available from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Guardians-Brett-Lawrence/dp/1625530455/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1393875997&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=Shadow+Guardians" target="_blank">Amazon</a>, <a href="http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shadow-guardians-brett-a-lawrence/1116560419?ean=9781625530455" target="_blank">Barnes and Noble,</a> and other stores.</p><p>March 3, 2014</p>Educator to the Stars: CWU Alumnus Takes Teaching Skills to Hollywoodhttp://www.cwu.edu/alumni/node/2877Wed, 12 Feb 2014 10:47:09<p><img alt="" src="/alumni/sites/cts.cwu.edu.alumni/files/images/Mark%20Alkofer%20composite.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 320px;"></p><p>Rubbing elbows with the Hollywood elite might involve more academics than Academy Awards, especially when your role is to teach child actors when they are on a production set. Educators, known as studio teachers, are mandatory on movie and television sets whenever there are actors under the age of 18.</p><p>“You are more than just a teacher,” says actor and studio teacher Mark Alkofer. “Under the child labor laws regarding children in the entertainment industry, you’re also a child welfare worker.”</p><p>Alkofer began his college career at CWU in 1990, earned his bachelor’s degree at Washington State University in 1995, and later returned to Central to earn his teaching certificate in 2000. He immediately moved to Los Angeles for his first teaching job, at Guardian Angel Catholic School in Pacoima, California, near Burbank.</p><p>“I learned a lot about classroom management, discipline, planning, and organization, mostly through trial and error—especially error,” he laughed. “I went to acting classes on nights and weekends.”</p><p>“When the economy was tough, and it was hard for teachers to find work, I made an effort to add high school endorsements to my credentials,” he related. “Adding the high school single-subject certificate made me eligible to take the exam to be a studio teacher.”</p><p>According to Alkofer, getting the job as a studio teacher “like most things in Hollywood,” involved a lot of networking, establishing credibility with production companies, and then becoming eligible to join the studio teachers' union, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 884.</p><p>“The official title of the job is Studio Teacher-Welfare Worker. When parents and directors see you doing a good job of teaching kids on set, while making sure they are safe and don't work too long, you get requested for jobs on other projects,” he added.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>“My first studio teaching job was on a Reba McEntire video,” Alkofer said. “I was new to the profession and was working about once or twice a month as a studio teacher. I would work as an extra on days when I wasn't teaching.</p><p>“At that time, I was an extra on <em>Moneyball</em>.&nbsp; The director asked us to laugh at Brad Pitt, as Billy Beane, during a trade negotiation scene. Toward the beginning of the film, I can be seen smirking.”</p><p>Alkofer has also appeared in <em>Mad Men</em>, <em>Hot in Cleveland</em>, <em>CSI</em>, on NFL pregame shows, in commercials for the Game Show Network, and in <em>Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel</em>. In <em>Alvin</em>, Alkofer plays one of the football officials—“a small part, but it got me my SAG [Screen Actors Guild] card.” He has also appeared in plays and provided the voice-overs for his original cartoons.</p><p>Alkofer, who signed up with an agency to get assignments, says that the job changes all the time. “The schedule is a lot like being a substitute teacher. And sometimes you’ll be on a set where you’re responsible for a four-year-old, some middle-school kids, and a couple of teenagers.”</p><p>The variety and flexibility of studio teaching allows him to pursue his acting career as well as providing incredible networking opportunities. Recently he was on the set of one of 2014 Superbowl’s favorite commercials, seen here at http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-super-bowl-commercials/0ap2000000321530/NFL-Together-We-Make-Football.</p><p>This was especially meaningful for Alkofer since he was a Wildcat football player from 1990 to 1992.</p><p>“My times at Central allowed me to become a teacher, and eventually a studio teacher. Going back to college there made a major difference in my life,” he reflected. “To this day, I feel very much at home walking on the CWU campus. It's a lot of fun to go to Central football games down here [in southern California], like last season's win against Azusa Pacific, or to come home and see a game in Ellensburg.”</p><p>“My future plans are to keep being a studio teacher, and hopefully get a call for one of the Portland shows such as <em>Portlandia</em>, <em>Grimm</em>, or <em>Leverage</em>, and be able to work a bit in the northwest,” he said. “I'm going to keep acting, and writing my own sketches and cartoons, and with them, I hope to make a few people laugh.”</p><p>A Yakima native, Alkofer graduated from Davis High School in 1990.</p><p><br>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518, valeriec@cwu.edu</p><p>&nbsp;</p>National Teacher of the Year Goes "Back to the Beginning"http://www.cwu.edu/alumni/node/2868Wed, 29 Jan 2014 11:55:06<p>The National Teacher of the Year takes a visit to his beginnings this morning in Ellensburg.</p><p>Zillah High School science teacher Jeff Charbonneau spoke to faculty members and science administrators at Central Washington University.</p><p>Read the entire article by KAPP TV in Yakima, by Eugene Buenaventura, <a href="http://www.kapptv.com/article/2014/jan/28/back-beginning/">here</a>.</p><p><strong>Media contact: </strong>Robert Lowery, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1487, loweryr@cwu.edu</p><p>January 28, 2014</p>CWU Alumna's Artwork Featured in Museum Permanent Collections Throughout the Worldhttp://www.cwu.edu/alumni/node/2860Wed, 08 Jan 2014 13:13:42<p><img alt="" src="/alumni/sites/cts.cwu.edu.alumni/files/images/Nancy%20worden%20composite.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 320px;"></p><p>Five of artist <a href="http://nancywordenjewelry.com/Artist.asp?ArtistID=22189&amp;Akey=KMC3LPYD">Nancy </a><a href="http://nancywordenjewelry.com/Artist.asp?ArtistID=22189&amp;Akey=KMC3LPYD">Worden</a>'s large one-of-a-kind necklaces were recently acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for their permanent collection. In addition, the State Hermitage Museum in Russia has just accessioned her necklace, The Good Omen, and it will be exhibited there in the fall of 2014. Worden received a bachelor’s of fine art in art from Central Washington University in 1977.</p><p>“In all of my jewelry pieces, I strive for beauty and comfort,” said Worden. “When a woman wears my work, I want it to say, ‘I'm beautiful, smart, and I won't be ignored.’ I start with what is physically comfortable to wear and add American artifacts: typewriter balls, hair curlers, and ball chain are carefully transformed to say ancient, valuable and unique.”</p><p>Nancy Worden's jewelry is an exploration of materials from modern American culture intertwined with an intensive study of the history of jewelry design from around the world.</p><p>Her work is inspired by cultural observations and the challenges of everyday life.</p><p>Nancy Worden began making jewelry in high school. After graduating from CWU, she finished her master’s of fine art from the University of Georgia, and later worked in manufacturing for five years where she honed her skills as a bench jeweler. In 1995, with funds from a commission for the City of Seattle, she taught herself to electroform and has been experimenting with it ever since.</p><p>In 2004, she was named the CWU College of Arts and Humanities Distinguished Alumna of the Year.</p><p>She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally, from the Tacoma Art Museum and the Boston Museum of Fine Art to the Stedelijk Museum’s-Hertogengosch, in Amsterdam. Her unique jewelry is in the permanent collections of many museums, including the Seattle Art Museum and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.</p><p>An interview with Nancy Worden can be viewed <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6o1jmtg1vo">here</a>.</p><p>Photo: Nancy Worden is shown wearing one of her signature pieces, <em>Shedding</em>.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.4;">On the right is <em>Double Ball Bead with Silver Finish</em>.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.4;">Media Contact: Valerie </span>Chapman-Stockwell<span style="line-height: 1.4;">, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518, valeriec@cwu.edu</span></p>CWU Alumnus: "Hard Work and Dedication Can Get Me Where I Want to Gohttp://www.cwu.edu/alumni/node/2850Wed, 20 Nov 2013 13:13:37<p><img alt="" src="/alumni/sites/cts.cwu.edu.alumni/files/images/DanielZavala.jpg" style="width: 427px; height: 320px;"></p><p>"I struck up a conversation recently with a tall, young man wearing a Central Washington University sweatshirt, called Central Washington State College when I graduated there in 1966. I called out, “Go Wildcats!” to him to break the ice and find out if we were both Central alums.</p><p>And an amazing story unfolded. A story about an immigrant’s son, and how our schools and communities are doing to prepare and help our sons and daughters to become full-blown, successful Americans.</p><p>Daniel Lee Zavala graduated from CWU in the winter of 2012 with a BS in clinical physiology, and two minors. His minor in Spanish was earned during a three-month independent study in Guadalajara. His minor in athletic training began with CWU classes, and ended with a 400-hour internship shadowing Chelan High School football coach Darren Talley from June to November last year."</p><p>Read more of this story in the <a href="http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/blogs/view-chelan/2013/nov/20/vicki-carr-hard-work-and-dedication-can-get-me-where-i-want-to-go/">Wenatchee World.</a></p>CWU Alumni Association to Honor Distinguished Alumnihttp://www.cwu.edu/alumni/node/2832Fri, 11 Oct 2013 17:14:17<p><strong>ELLENSBURG, Wash. — </strong>Four Central Washington University graduates, one from each of the university’s academic divisions, along with an Alumnus of the Year, and Recent Graduate Award winner will be honored by the CWU Alumni Association at the Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner, Friday, October 11, at 5:30 p.m. in the Sue Lombard Dining Room.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>The 2013 honorees are Jeff Charbonneau, Alumnus of the Year, Jason Nowakowski, Recent Graduate Award; and Distinguished Alumni Dale Comstock, College of the Sciences; Ralph Conner, College of Business; Trevor Greene, College of Education and Professional Studies; and Richard Matthews, College of Arts and Humanities.</p><p>The Alumnus of the Year Award honors alumni whose contributions and achievements in the community embody CWU’s mission of fostering citizenship, responsible stewardship of the earth, and enlightened and productive lives.</p><p>Charbonneau was named the 2013 National Teacher of the Year. For the past 12 years, he’s served as both a chemistry and physics teacher at Zillah High School. Charbonneau was eligible for the national award after winning both the state and regional teacher of the year awards.</p><p>As the National Teacher of the Award, he’s spending this academic year visiting schools and talking with educators across the country and around the world to help develop guidelines for best practices in education.&nbsp;</p><p>The Recent Graduate Award goes to an alum, who received his/her CWU degree 10 years ago or less, who has earned distinction in her/his field, and demonstrates outstanding future potential.</p><p>Nowakowski, a 2003 CWU graduate in mathematics, is the principal and consulting actuary at the Seattle office of Milliman. His areas of expertise are managed care, benefit pricing, and prescription drugs. He works primarily with group healthcare programs, including commercial, Medicare, Medicaid and veteran populations. He assists clients with benefit design, pricing, healthcare cost projections, and rate filings. His current responsibilities include modeling and analysis of medical and prescription drug benefit plans as well as utilization benchmarking and potential savings analyses.</p><p>The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes CWU graduates who have distinguished themselves in their fields; have earned a high degree of respect among their colleagues and in the general community; and whose impact has been felt on a regional, national and/or international level.</p><p>Comstock served on the CWU faculty for 32 years. He was also director of the university’s computer center, chair of the mathematics department, and served as dean of Graduate Studies and Research for 20 years. He retired from the university in 1996. He also was the Dean in Residence at the Council of Graduate Schools in Washington, DC, and senior program manager to the Assistant Secretary for International Affairs for the United States Department of Energy’s Energy Research and Development Administration.</p><p>Conner is a Certified Public Accountant and partner in the Yakima office of CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, a national firm that provides audit, accounting, tax, benefits, information security, internal audit, international, outsourcing, advisory, and executive search services. Conner led the development of CWU internships at CliftonLarsonAllen, some of which have turned into jobs for university graduates, along with establishing student scholarships. He also serves on the new CWU Accounting Advisory Council. In addition, Conner is involved with university outreach efforts to Yakima County.&nbsp;</p><p>Greene was named the 2013 National High School Principal of the Year for his work at Toppenish High School. He became the first principal in the Pacific Northwest to earn that honor in the 20 years it has been awarded. School improvement and student learning were hallmarks of Greene’s tenure at Toppenish, where he started in 2008. He’s now on a new, one-year fellowship, through the Association of Washington School Principals and Gates Foundation, where he’s helping principals throughout eastern Washington.</p><p>Matthews, who retired from the United States Army as a lieutienant colonel in 2004, now serves in the Pentagon as the deputy director of Plans and Combatant Command Support, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. He is responsible for daily situational awareness at 11 geographic and functional combatant commands and defense intelligence operations, oversees the Intelligence Combat Support Agencies, including the Defense Intelligence Agency, and implements tasks associated with the Joint Intelligence Operations Centers at each command.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>The Distiguished Alumni Awards dinner is part of CWU 2013 Homecoming celebration. For more information, go to http://www.cwu.edu/alumni/crimson-and-black-attack.</p><p><strong>Media contact: </strong>Robert Lowery, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1487, e-mail loweryr@cwu.edu</p><p>October 11, 2013</p>CWU Alumni Association to Honor Distinguished Alumnihttp://www.cwu.edu/alumni/node/2831Fri, 11 Oct 2013 17:14:04<p><strong>ELLENSBURG, Wash. — </strong>Four Central Washington University graduates, one from each of the university’s academic divisions, along with an Alumnus of the Year, and Recent Graduate Award winner will be honored by the CWU Alumni Association at the Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner, Friday, October 11, at 5:30 p.m. in the Sue Lombard Dining Room.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>The 2013 honorees are Jeff Charbonneau, Alumnus of the Year, Jason Nowakowski, Recent Graduate Award; and Distinguished Alumni Dale Comstock, College of the Sciences; Ralph Conner, College of Business; Trevor Greene, College of Education and Professional Studies; and Richard Matthews, College of Arts and Humanities.</p><p>The Alumnus of the Year Award honors alumni whose contributions and achievements in the community embody CWU’s mission of fostering citizenship, responsible stewardship of the earth, and enlightened and productive lives.</p><p>Charbonneau was named the 2013 National Teacher of the Year. For the past 12 years, he’s served as both a chemistry and physics teacher at Zillah High School. Charbonneau was eligible for the national award after winning both the state and regional teacher of the year awards.<br>As the National Teacher of the Award, he’s spending this academic year visiting schools and talking with educators across the country and around the world to help develop guidelines for best practices in education.&nbsp;</p><p>The Recent Graduate Award goes to an alum, who received his/her CWU degree 10 years ago or less, who has earned distinction in her/his field, and demonstrates outstanding future potential.</p><p>Nowakowski, a 2003 CWU graduate in mathematics, is the principal and consulting actuary at the Seattle office of Milliman. His areas of expertise are managed care, benefit pricing, and prescription drugs. He works primarily with group healthcare programs, including commercial, Medicare, Medicaid and veteran populations. He assists clients with benefit design, pricing, healthcare cost projections, and rate filings. His current responsibilities include modeling and analysis of medical and prescription drug benefit plans as well as utilization benchmarking and potential savings analyses.</p><p>The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes CWU graduates who have distinguished themselves in their fields; have earned a high degree of respect among their colleagues and in the general community; and whose impact has been felt on a regional, national and/or international level.</p><p>Comstock served on the CWU faculty for 32 years. He was also director of the university’s computer center, chair of the mathematics department, and served as dean of Graduate Studies and Research for 20 years. He retired from the university in 1996. He also was the Dean in Residence at the Council of Graduate Schools in Washington, DC, and senior program manager to the Assistant Secretary for International Affairs for the United States Department of Energy’s Energy Research and Development Administration.</p><p>Conner is a Certified Public Accountant and partner in the Yakima office of CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, a national firm that provides audit, accounting, tax, benefits, information security, internal audit, international, outsourcing, advisory, and executive search services. Conner led the development of CWU internships at CliftonLarsonAllen, some of which have turned into jobs for university graduates, along with establishing student scholarships. He also serves on the new CWU Accounting Advisory Council. In addition, Conner is involved with university outreach efforts to Yakima County.&nbsp;</p><p>Greene was named the 2013 National High School Principal of the Year for his work at Toppenish High School. He became the first principal in the Pacific Northwest to earn that honor in the 20 years it has been awarded. School improvement and student learning were hallmarks of Greene’s tenure at Toppenish, where he started in 2008. He’s now on a new, one-year fellowship, through the Association of Washington School Principals and Gates Foundation, where he’s helping principals throughout eastern Washington.</p><p>Matthews, who retired from the United States Army as a lieutienant colonel in 2004, now serves in the Pentagon as the deputy director of Plans and Combatant Command Support, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. He is responsible for daily situational awareness at 11 geographic and functional combatant commands and defense intelligence operations, oversees the Intelligence Combat Support Agencies, including the Defense Intelligence Agency, and implements tasks associated with the Joint Intelligence Operations Centers at each command.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>The Distiguished Alumni Awards dinner is part of CWU 2013 Homecoming celebration. For more information, go to http://www.cwu.edu/alumni/crimson-and-black-attack.</p><p><strong>Media contact: </strong>Robert Lowery, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1487, e-mail loweryr@cwu.edu</p><p>October 11, 2013</p>CWU Alum Joins the ESPN Crewhttp://www.cwu.edu/alumni/node/2822Wed, 18 Sep 2013 09:13:35<p><img alt="" src="/alumni/sites/cts.cwu.edu.alumni/files/Wells-ESPN2.jpg" style="width: 466px; height: 228px;"></p><p>“I’ve always been an ESPN guy,” said CWU alumnus Mike Wells. “Sports news is the first thing I check out when I wake up and the last thing at night. Sports journalism is the second best thing to being one of the athletes.”</p><p>Wells has been a sports journalist for 13 years. But now not only does he get to watch ESPN, he’s working for the network.</p><p>“It’s definitely a dream come true,” Wells acknowledges. Ironically, he made the decision to join ESPN three years to the day that his mother had passed away. “I remember her telling me. ‘I can’t wait to see you working for ESPN.’ It was before my final quarter at Central that she told me that.”&nbsp;</p><p>A 2000 CWU communication graduate, Wells is now responsible for writing about all aspects of the Indianapolis Colts, of the National Football League, on a daily basis for ESPN.com and its expanded<em> <a href="http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation">NFL Nation</a></em> blog. He is one of 32 <em>NFL Nation</em> reporters who will contribute multiple reports—including news, commentary, analysis, audio, and video.</p><p>“If it’s worthy, I’ll be posting throughout the day,” Wells explains. “But they won’t always be long stories. There’s no set quota on how much I have to write or how long the stories are. Basically, I’m my own self-editor on how much a story is worth.”&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Even so, it’s a demanding job. From now until the Super Bowl, if the Colts make it that far, Wells will live out of a suitcase, traveling with the team whenever and wherever it plays on the road. When he’s not on the road, he’s spending long hours at the Colts’ training facility.</p><p>“It’s not meant for everyone,” he added. “But, if you’re passionate about it, it’s a dream job.”</p><p>The dream is not what Wells expected to do when he was a CWU student. A video communications major, he was planning a career in television. But, after a successful summer internship writing about the Seattle Seahawks for the Associated Press, Wells was offered a job straight out of college with the AP Seattle bureau.&nbsp;</p><p>“I like aspects of both television work and journalism, but I knew that journalism would give me more opportunities faster,” he said.</p><p>In his new position, Wells is also able to utilize the radio and television skills he honed at CWU.</p><p>“It could be for a phone interview or something on camera,” Wells says. “The TV side will be on an ‘as needed’ basis. ESPN keeps a camera at each [NFL] facility and I could go on live.”</p><p>It’s likely Wells will get some face time on camera, as ESPN television has begun using its beat reporters, like Wells, as analysts instead of former players, as had been the case in past years.&nbsp;</p><p>Wells has always been a sports fan, and when the opportunity to become a full-time sportswriter presented itself, he jumped at it. Between 2000 and 2005, he worked at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, covering the Minnesota Vikings football team, Minnesota Wild hockey team, University of Minnesota men’s basketball team, and Minnesota Timberwolves basketball team. He then was hired by the Indianapolis Star to become the beat writer for the Indiana Pacers basketball team.</p><p>In July, the Star, Indiana’s largest daily newspaper, reassigned Wells to cover the Colts. Ironically, within a week, ESPN came calling.</p><p>“Our objective in staffing <em>NFL Nation</em> was to identify and build a diverse team of first-class journalists with distinct voices, experienced reporters with multimedia skills and indefatigable work ethics, and authoritative and credible analysts who can contribute to our all of our platforms—print, digital, TV, audio and social,” said Patrick Steigman, vice president and editor-in-chief at ESPN.com. “Mike met or exceeded our standards in all of those areas. He has the ideal mix of energy, enthusiasm, and experience, given his background covering the NBA, college sports and, of course, the NFL. He's been a great addition to the ESPN team.”&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Wells officials started his ESPN job on August 5. Despite working for the Bristol, Connecticut-based network, he gets to continue to live in Indianapolis.&nbsp;</p><p>The first in his family to earn a college degree, as a CWU student Wells volunteered for every opportunity available in the communications field. He spent two years on the Observer, the university’s student newspaper, worked in the sports information department, spent two years hosting a radio program and one year as news director at KCWU, CWU’s student radio station, and worked in Public Affairs.</p><p>“Anything communications related, I did,” he said, noting that such varied experience has been instrumental in his success. “I had the opportunity to do hands-on work in a lot of areas, opportunities I probably wouldn’t have had if I’d gone to a bigger university.”</p><p>Wells hopes to someday return to academia. “I’m very passionate about my job, but at some point, maybe 10 or 15 years down the road, I would love to teach journalism. I’ve had first-hand experience and I would love to pass that on.”</p><p>Asked if he’d be interested if the chance to do so at his alma mater came up, he said, “I would love to come back to the Central campus,” he said. “Without Central, I don’t think I’d be where I’m now. My experience at Central was great from beginning to end, and something I wouldn’t trade or ever forget.”</p>