Read about what our amazing alumni have accomplished since their time at Central. If you would like to contribute your sucesses, tell us your story.
John Ross Jackson '50
John graduated from Central with a Bachelor of Education in English. He taught for 41 years, and he served in the Korean War. John is now retired from teaching, his last position being with the Franklin-McKinley School District in San Jose, CA.
Gerald “Jerry” Brong ’61, ’65
Jerry recently celebrated his retirement, but still plans to remain active with the American Society for Quality & Rotary International as a member of the Ellensburg Morning Rotary Club.
Lael Neill ’61
Lael recently published her first novel, her second is completed and has been submitted to the publisher. She studied Creative Writing under Dr. H. L. Anshulz during his time at CWU.
Gregory C. Schmitt ’68
Recently retired after 28 years of teaching communication at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC.
Gary Berndt ‘70
Gary graduated from CWU with a degree in Biology. He was recently elected as a new county commissioner for Kittitas County. Gary worked for the State Department of Natural Resources in Ellensburg from 1971 to 2011, working up to assistant regional manager for resource protection along the way, before retiring. He has also been a Cle Elum City Council member (1979-1988) as well as mayor of Cle Elum (1988-2004).
Jim Thompson ’72
Jim has recently called an end to a celebrated 30 year career as a classroom teacher. He received his BA in Elementary Education from CWU and through the years, was nominated for teacher of the year three times, taught college level courses in addition to his primary school work, earned his Masters in education, and even worked for a decade as a professional actor. Jim notes the CWU faculty for his success and is particularly grateful to Chris Papadopoulos.
Jeanne Vote '72
Jeanne graduated from CWU with a B.A. in music education. She has recently been welcomed by St. Francis Episcopal Church as Music Director. Jeanne has served as minister of music and organist at Middleham/St. Peter's Parish in Maryland. She has also served as director of academic advising and ADA advocate at St. Mary's College of Maryland. Her performance experience includes ten years with the Maryland Bach Aria Group and several years as harpsichordist and chamber organist for the Alba Music Festival in Italy. She is a 2002 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient of Central.
Larry Vote '72
Larry holds a B.A. in music and music education from CWU and an M.M. in Vocal Performance from the University of Michigan. He has recently been welcomed by St. Francis Episcopal Church as Music Director. Larry is also a professor of music and special assistant to the president of St. Mary's College of Maryland. He has previously served at St. Mary's University Chapel at the University of Michigan, Pacific Lutheran University, and for the Tacoma Public Schools. Larry has been honored with the Norton Dodge Award for Creative and Scholarly Achievement and is a 2002 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient of Central.
Dan Dittmer ’73
Recently retired after teaching Calculus AB and BC, AP Statistics, Chemistry and Advanced PE for 36 years. Dan is still active in coaching the javelin and triple jump for the track and field team at north Mason high School as well as the Associate Head Coach and Cross Country Coach at Olympic college in Bremerton.
Tim Loeb ’80
Time worked for the Washington DOE conducting inspections of apple packing plants, and went on to work as an independent consultant doing vertebrate/wildlife field studies. Since 1986, he has been working in the hazardous materials/groundwater investigation industry in both Northern California and Northern Nevada.
Valerie Willman (Ludwick) ’81
Valerie recently wrote the book “Victory Over Cancer;Live As If It Were True. . . Because it Is,” describing her journey through cancer. She still performs with her batons, just like she did for 4 years at CWU.
Christopher Comte ’82
Christopher was recently promoted to the position of Northwest Regional Contacts Administrator for SAG-AFTRA, the newly-merged national labor organization comprised of the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television & Radio Artists. Previously, he was AFTRA Seattle Local Membership Director from 2005 until the merger last year.
Debra N. Raymond ’83
Debra is moving to New Maadi in Cairo, Egypt to teach 5th graders at Misr American College. Debra has experience teaching for 30 years now, from Kitsap and the Olympic Peninsula to Central and Eastern Oregon. She looks forward to an exciting new chapter in her life and thanks CWU for preparing her for her career.
Jeff McShane ’85
Jeff is co-founder and Executive Vice President of Northwest Aerospace Technologies, Inc (NAT), an aerospace engineering company based in Everett, WA. Formed in 1997, NAT has become a prominent, if not the premier Engineering Integration firm in the market, specializing in commercial aircraft cabin modifications requiring FAA and/or EASA (European) supplemental type certificate (STC) approvals. With major airline customers in the US, Europe, Asia/Pacific and the Middle East, and employment exceeding 200, including 115 engineers, NAT was acquired by French aerospace conglomerate Zodiac Aerospace in 2012.
Linda Riffe '87
Linda graduated from Central with a degree in Education and later from Pacific Lutheran University with an MA in Administration. She taught at Tumwater School District for over a decade and has also been Vice Principal of Oak Harbor High School. She served as Island County Treasurer from 2002-2010. Linda has been recognized as Teacher of the Year, Certified Public Official, and by Who's Who: America's Top Teachers.
Kurt Fletter ’90
Kurt established the Power Plastics Corp in Portland Oregon in 1992. As a fabricator of non-metallic composite and plastic mechanical components, he now adds the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award from Pierce College to his résumé.
Kristine Hillius (Schmitz) ’90
Kristine just began her 24th year in education this fall. For the past 7 years, she has been principal of North Star Elementary School, in the Bethel School District.
Barbara Houtenbrink Andreasen '90
Barbara graduated from Central with her Master of Science in Organization Development. She has written three books on genealogy, and her most recent book is The Final Port. Barbara is a member of the DAR Washington State Speakers staff.
Richard J Rochelle ’90
Richard followed his love of law to Central Washington University where he majored in Law and Justice, citing Professor Rex Werth as an inspiration. Richard now serves as a Marine Corps Officer.
Jackie Wood (Fetterman) '92
Jackie began a family tradition of Wildcats, with two sons following her path through the University, one now currently serving in the US Army a helicopter pilot and the other a nuclear instructor in South Carolina after serving on a nuclear-powered submarine. Her third is currently a crew chief with the US Coast Guard. Hopefully this tradition of Wildcat service will continue – these sons have given her a total of nine grandchildren.
Charles Short ’96
On January 15th, Charles Short was appointed as District Court Judge on Okanogan County. He had previously spent several years in private practice as well as the Supervising Attorney of the District Court unit for the Yakima County Prosecutor’s Office.
Richard “Rick” Vogler ’97
Rick put his skills as a member of the CWU Air Force ROTC to great use, moving on to career that eventually landed him at Air Force Flight School in the role of the Safety and Security Programs Manager. Rick credits his CWU experience for giving him the confidence to pursue the toughest lie challenges and now works as a Program Analyst for the US Small Business Administration in Washington DC.
Andrea Rosen (Bricker) ’99
Andrea was recently awarded a Golden Acorn Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service from the Penny Creek Elementary PTA in Everett, Washington, as sign of appreciation for the work she has done for her community.
Jennifer Allison-Oord ’01
The Social Services and Sociology major served in student government during her tenure at CWU as a non-traditional student. She now works with the Department of Veterans Affairs as a Transitional Patient Advocate, assisting military veterans and families in all facets and various agencies with special emphasis on working with the injured.
Janelle Johnson ’01
Janelle, who served 8 years in the Marine Corps reserves, was placed in charge of the Seattle-area Toys for Tots program by her command when she discovered her passion for working in Public Relations. While pursuing this goal through a degree at CWU, Janelle interned with a Washington DC, military-affiliated, youth NPO and launched a 13-year career with the organization, where she is now the Director of Public Relations. Janelle credits her time at CWU for her success and still refers to her textbooks as a resource to this day.
Kevin Gary '02
Kevin earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Central and his Masters in Education Technology from the University of Idaho. He has been teaching business and IT subjects and coaching cross country teams for over a decade in Washington. In the 2012-2013 school year, he developed a new business course for high school teaching assistants which is being adopted in several schools throughout the state. He has successfully coached 30 adults in their first half marathon/marathon for Friends of Mia Power Team running group.
Tony Martinez ’03
Tony sought out the Accounting and Business Administration program at CWU’s Lynnwood campus in order to challenge himself. Having mastered that task, he has moved on to work as a Givernment Auditor, leading the audits of some of the largest local governments in Washington State.
Kevin Tighe '04
Kevin is soon to graduate Summa Cum Laude with a Masters in Information Technology from Capella University. He has started his own IT and AV company, and he has also worked extensively with Microsoft. He was the proud co-founder of the show Ellensburg Extreme (now known as EBEX) and credits it as his greatest achievement at Central.
Steven Douglas ’05
Steven recently completed a Masters of Science in Administration of Justice and Security from the University of Phoenix. Coupled with his CWU education and 20 years of distinguished Naval service, Steven is looking forward to the next phase of his professional career.
Jessica Perkins ’05
Jessica works as an Event and Marketing Consultant, having majored in Sociology and Recreation Management at CWU. In her time since graduating, she has worked as Assistant Director at a summer resident camp and a Community Relations Lead.
Kimberly Dahl ’06
Writing under the nom de plume K. D. Carillo, Kimberly has just self-published her first novel, titled Fighting Destiny, with Central Washington University as the setting. First of the Central Coven series, Dahl plans to write two separate series with the university providing the dramatic backdrop. Fighting Destiny is available now at Amazon.com.
Andrew Van Den Hoek ’06
As a member of the Army ROTC program, Andrew majored in Public Relations on the suggestion of a fellow classmate. After 7 ½ years as an Army Officer, he has returned to his alma mater and works as the Enrollment and Scholarship Officer for the CWU Army ROTC.
Emily Shotwell '06
Emily graduated from Central with her BA in Theatre Arts. Currently, she is starring as "Jo" in the Arts West production of Little Women in Seattle.
Christina Szirmai ’09
Christina joined the Peace Corps after graduation and spend two years in Mongolia. She now lives in Beijing, China, where she teaches young children English through the use of Disney movies.
Alden Whiteman ’10
Alden fondly recalls the Field Work portions of his Masters in Natural Resource Management at CWU, attending through the Native American Fellowship, a sponsored program. Alden is currently the Tribal College Vice President, having previously worked as a Tribal Gaming Compliance Officer.
Craig Almont '11
Craig joined Hamilton Construction two years after graduating from Central with a degree in Construction Management. He was recently named the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association's 2013 Field Employee for exceeding the company's goals and expectations for a project based in Idaho. During his time in Idaho, Craig joined the coaching staff of the local high school football team, helping the program become the 4th best in the state.
Amanda Carpp '11
Since her graduation with a BFA in Musical Theatre from CWU, Amanda has interned with Disney and performed with Arts West (The Winter Wonderettes) in West Seattle and 2nd Story Theater (Cabaret, Rocky Horror) in Redmond. Amanda is currently starring as “Beth” in the upcoming Arts West production of Little Women.
Michael Peschek '11
Michael joined Alegria and Co. in Yakima right after graduating and was promoted to Senior Accountant in 2013. He graduated from Central two years earlier with a double major in Business Administration and Accounting.
La Salle High School recently hired Arturo as its director of admissions. Torres, a Yakima native and Davis High School graduate, most recently worked as a para-professional and after-school program coordinator at Saint Joseph Marquette School and as health and wellness and youth sports supervisor at the Yakima Family YMCA. He has a bachelor’s degree in public health from Central Washington University.
Austin Droguett ’12
The bright lights of Southern California called to this Film and Video Studies major. Austin is currently working as a Camera Assistant in the Los Angeles film industry as proud member of Local 600 member. He has had the chance to work with some of Hollywood’s A-List members, including Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell, and Matt Damon.
Lori Lynn Johnston (Hoctor) ’12
Lori Lynn attended law school after graduation, and has since become the first female prosecuting attorney in Klickitat county
Paul Stayback ’12
Paul works for the fire Washington Employment Security Department as a Disable Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP). As a veteran himself, he specializes in assisting veterans overcome barriers to employment and securing work, along with dependents of veterans who are 100% disabled.
Duante' Barnett '13
Duante earned his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and Administrative Management, and he is currently studying at Central for his Masters in Athletic Administration. He works for Tukwila School District as a Paraeducator and Assistant Football Coach.
Denice was a Deans Scholar with an ITAM degree. She began teaching at Everett Community College in the Business Technology department. In June she was granted senior associate status, ending her student career and beginning her career as a full-time educator.
Jenna Vogel '13
Jenna was hired by Alegria & Co in 2013 as a staff accountant. She graduated the same year with her Bachelor of Science in both Business Administration and Accounting.