Alumni Updates

Thanks for letting us know about important changes in your life – like a career move, marriage, baby, community work, etc. We will review your submission, and, space permitting, it could appear in a future Humboldt Magazine, on department websites, or in other HSU publications. If we need more information, we’ll contact you.

Send an update!

Justin Tretten

Justin Tretten, 2012 English, moved back to Colorado after graduating HSU. In Colorado, Tretten earned his teaching license. He now teaches sixth grade language arts in a middle school. 

Leticia-Andrea Snoots

Leticia-Andrea Snoots is currently in her final year of graduate school at the University of the Pacific. Snoots is working on a Master’s of Education with a concentration of Student Affairs. Snoots adds, “I am supported in this journey by my partner of five years, James, who I met as an undergraduate at Humboldt State University! Life couldn’t be better!”

Vanessa St.Oegger-Menn

Vanessa St.Oegger-Menn, 2008 English, is the Pan Am 103 Archivist and Assistant University Archivist at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York.

Jana Rivers-Norton

Jana Rivers-Norton, 1991, English, is now a tenure-track, full-time English instructor at Cochise Community College in Nogales, Az., after graduating with a Master of Arts degree in English from Humboldt State in 1991. Rivers-Norton also earned a Doctorate in Human Sciences at Saybrook University in 2002.

Kim T. Griswell (formerly Halliday)

Kim T. Griswell, 1993 English, 1995 English, (née Halliday) has been a professional editor for more than 15 years, including a 9-year stint with _Highlights_ (Yes, Goofus and Gallant live on!). Griswell achieved a milestone as a writer this July when she published her first book, _Rufus Goes to School_, with Sterling Children’s Books (a division of Barnes & Noble).

Jessica (Wegman) McLaughlin

JESSICA (WEGMAN) MCLAUGHLIN, 1990 English, is married and living in Sunnyvale, Calif. She has two daughters and teaches high school English at her alma mater. She loves working with the amazing kids in the area and spends her free time at her daughters’ sports and dance activities.

Jennifer Lee Swagert

Since graduating in 2014, Jennifer has been living on the outskirts of Seattle, WA, participating in a variety of programs that are aimed at the studying the effect that global climate has on urban rodent populations. Additionally, Jennifer will be publishing an article titled “Magic Cards and Where to Freud Them” in the Fall 2017 issue of Knucklebones magazine.

Adrianna Simone

I’m currently applying for Ph.D. programs and helping out my community by volunteering. I’m a library volunteer at the Eureka branch. I assist with the English and Spanish story times by reading books and helping the children and parents with the weekly crafts. I also volunteer at Sacred Heart Church as a religious education instructor for 7th and 8th grade students.

James Andrew Freeman

1980 MA alumni James Andrew Freeman will have his newest book, “Irish Wake: In Loving Memory of Us All,” a collection of stories and his 18th book, published in February, 2011.  The book may be purchased in hardcopy or digitally via,, etc.  Royalties will go to student scholarship at Bucks County Community College in PA where Jim is a Professor of English.  For more info., please see for James Andrew Freeman.  Jim sends a shout out to his favorite HSU Prof. emeritus Tom Gage.

Erika Wright

I graduated from HSU in 2001 with a BA in English Literature and a minor in Ethnic Studies. Then I moved to London to do an MA in National and International Literatures in English at the University of London, School of Advanced Studies. HSU prepared me well for the next 10 years of my life where I lived, studied and worked in 4 different countries. 

I lived and studied in both London and Berlin. Then I worked in Xi’an, China where I taught in the 1:2:1 program which brings Chinese students to Humboldt for 2 years. the past 2 years I have been living in Perth, Western Australia. I started teaching ESL to pre-literate refugees, am now I am working at Murdoch University and considering a PhD.

Dr. Jana Rivers Norton

After graduating from HSU in 1991, Dr. Rivers-Norton, taught both full time and part time at several public and private institutions of higher learning including the University of New Mexico, SUNY Alfred State College, DeVry Institute, and National University from 1991 -2011.  In 2005, Dr. Rivers-Norton received a Story Fund Grant from the California Council for the Humanities to conduct and publish an oral history project entitled Told From the Heart: Stories of California’s Native Women.  She most recently served as the Associate Dean of Instruction at The Art Center Design College in Tucson, Arizona.  Several of her academic publications can be found at Common Ground Publishing, Melbourne, Australia from 2004 - 2007.  Dr. Rivers-Norton currently resides with her husband Jack in Rio Rico, Arizona and Medford, Oregon where she is working on a book of creative non-fiction entitled Memories of the Flesh.

James A. Freeman

James A. Freeman, 1980 English, recently published “Biblical Time Out of Mind: Myths, Maps, and Memories” along with co-author and HSU emeritus Professor Tom Gage. 

Robert Brundage

Robert Brundage, 2016 English, has officially accepted enrollment at the University of San Diego where he will pursue a Master of Education in the Teaching English as a Second Language, Literacy and Culture program. With this degree, Brundage hopes to be a competitive candidate for English teaching jobs all around the globe.

Jade Mejia

Jade Mejia is enrolled in the Simmons College School of Library and Information Science pursuing a Masters of Science Degree in Cultural Heritage Informatics.

Salina Cuddy

Salina Cuddy, 2011 English, has begun a Master of Arts program in Sociolinguistics at the University of York in England. Cuddy’s focus is language and power, looking particularly at language and gender as well as language and class.

Lauren M. Connolly, Ph.D.

Lauren M. Connolly, Ph.D., 2006 and 2010, English, completed her Ph.D. at the University of Texas at El Paso in rhetoric and composition after earning her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Humboldt State University. She is an assistant professor at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho.

Everardo Cuevas

Everardo Cuevas, 2014 English, has been accepted into the master’s program in Critical Studies in Literacy and Pedagogy at Michigan State University. Additionally, he has been awarded an Academic Achievement Graduate Assistantship (AAGA) from the College of Arts & Letters at MSU. This assistantship, which recognizes leadership potential and is offered to only two percent of graduate assistants, will provide two years of full funding toward the master’s degree.

Janice Wieman Parke

Janice Wieman Parker, 1967 English, became active in her local land trust after retiring from her third career. Parker was interested in setting aside what little open space was still available in her town. Parker writes that, “the skills I received at Humboldt in writing and public speaking, have become my greatest assets as the president of Common Ground Land Trust. The environment was not my major in college, but it is now.”

Chloe Elliott

Accepted to the CSU Monterey Bay Single Subject Credential program for the 2015-2016 school year!

Joel Heng Hartse

Joel Heng Hartse, 2007 English, taught at universities in China for two years after finishing his M.A. in English at HSU. Hartse completed his Ph.D. in TESL in the Department of Language and Literacy at the University of British Columbia, and as of September 2015, has a teaching-focused, continuing faculty appointment as a lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. Heartse lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife and their two sons.

Steven Olsen-Smith

Steven Olsen-Smith, 1990 English, recently published “Melville in His Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of His Life, Drawn from Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends, and Associates” The book is available from the University of Iowa Press.

Darryl Womack

Darryl Womack, 1987 English, has written his first book, “Tales of Westerford: Dragons, Knights and Kings,” to be released in June. 

Kim T. Griswel

Recently moved from my position as senior editor for Highlights to the position of Developmental Editor at Portable Press in Ashland, Oregon, known for the amazing Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers. I’ll be developing books in the For Kids Only series.

John Jamison

After graduation in 1996, I moved over to China for a “short” teaching stint, and I’ve been over here ever since. In 2001 I got my Master’s in English from Iowa State. I’m now working for Intel as their Chengdu site employee communication manager and working on their China staffing online engagement strategy.

Thomas Fritzsche

Thomas Fritzsche, 1990 English, is celebrating fifteen years of dedication in Respiratory Therapy at UCLA Medical Center.

Philip Harris

Philip Harris, 2012 English, after graduating and being rejected from the five grad schools, took two years off. I was admitted to San Francisco State University’s MFA Fiction program in 2014. In the three years of Harris’ MFA, he wrote two novels, a collection of short fiction, a collection of short nonfiction, and a chapbook of prose poetry, which has been accepted for publication through Nomadic Press. The chapbook is a collection of prose poems dealing with identity and culture. Harris cites his time at HSU in the Writing Practices program as establishing the foundation of his writing. “The Flowers in my Mothers’ Name” debuts this fall.

Josh Bartee

These days I’m pursuing a PhD in English Literature at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Since graduating, I have had two papers accepted for conferences. The first, which I presented in May of 2011 to the Robinson Jeffers Association in Monterey, CA, is a look at the poet’s diachronic influence on the environmental ethics of rock climbers. The second paper, presented in November of 2011 to the Western Literature Association in Lubbock, TX, concerns the hominin relationship with fire as read in Loren Eiseley’s “The Angry Winter” and a selection of poems by Robinson Jeffers.

I keep busy studying, cycling and making all kinds of fun connections between poetry and natural history.

Matthew Thomas Brashears

I’m happy to report that I was recently accepted to a graduate program at The New School. I’ll be working towards an MA in TESOL - a field I was introduced to and excited by when I was an undergrad at HSU.

Carol Renee Croissant White

Started personal business in garden/landscape consultation for Puget Sound region. Emphasizing ecological responsibility and sustainability.

Gillian Wegener

Gillian Wegener, 1990, English, is the founding president of the Modesto-Stanislaus Poetry Center. Wegener is currently the poet laureate of the city of Modesto. Her work in bringing poetry to the wider community led the Stanislaus County Commission for Women to honor her as one of 10 Outstanding Women of Stanislaus County for 2015. Her second book of poetry, This Sweet Haphazard, will be published by Sixteen Rivers Press in spring 2017. Wegener lives with her husband and daughter in Modesto, Calif.

Robert Robinson

I’ve been teaching in San Diego for seven years. I taught at a private school for two years and a public school for five. I continued graduate work in education, focusing my attention on Ethnic American Literatures, Social Justice Education, Parent Contacts, and Culturally Relevant Pedagogy. I teach in the AVID program, working to increase the college enrollment of underrepresented students.

Melissa Waldman

I am currently writing and editing at a textbook company in San Francisco. We create K-12 grade English and Language Arts materials for larger publishing houses like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I am also a freelance food and drink correspondent for the SF Examiner Online and The Local Dish.

Sylvia Anne Montgomery

I am celebrating, this year, the 10th anniversary of a magazine I cofounded. BioProcess International is a peer-reviewed trade publication for 30,000+ readers in the biopharmaceutical industry. It’s owned by Informa, a company based in London. I work from my small farm in Dexter, OR, where among other things, I provide a home for two or three geriatric llamas at a time.

Jana Lynn Rivers-Norton

Jana Lynn Rivers-Norton, English, 1991, graduated with a master’s in English from HSU in 1991 and earned a doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 2002 from Saybrook University. Since then, she has been teaching at-risk students in Sacramento, New Mexico, and Arizona, and writing and publishing a collection of essays titled “The Demeter-Persephone Myth as Writing Ritual in the Lives of Literary Women” by Cambridge Scholars Publishing (CSP) in Jan. 2017. My next book, “Transcending the Tragedy of Medea in Life, Love and the Literary Arts” was just accepted for publication from CSP for a fall 2019 release.