Alumni News

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Are you an alum? Let the world know what you're doing by adding your own alumni news item.


Drew Dakessian
Six weeks after graduating, I've been hired! I'm the new Education Reporter for the Lake Oswego Review and Lead Reporter for The Southwest Community Connection. Both publications are part of the Pamplin Media Group Family of Newspapers (aka Community Newspapers). It's my dream come true!

Beckie Jones
The same month I graduated from SOJC, I started an online-only newspaper with a few colleagues of different professions. I serve as Copy Chief and Senior Editor on the paper, Lane Today. It was our desire to create an honest, unbiased paper where Lane County citizens could go to get news that would be straightforward and have no agenda or motive. In just three months time we've attracted over 1200 daily readers. This number grows every day. Just a year ago I was an intern and studying in the SOJC. Now I'm hiring interns from the SOJC. UO's School of Journalism and Communications gave me the tools to be knowledgeable in all aspects of running a paper, and I'm indebted to the faculty and staff for their guidance throughout my education.


Alex Zielinski
After interning at the East Oregonian in Pendleton, I went on to intern at the Eugene Weekly and was hired on as staff at the Portland Mercury the summer after graduation. In my free time, I continue to freelance with other local publications.


Tuula Rebhahn
I'm biking across the country with my partner, Hannah Cooper, to take the "Eugene dream" beyond our fertile little valley. We're calling the project Food Cycles Bicycle Tour. Since graduating from the Magazine program at the SOJC, I've been an active blogger as well as a farmer and nutrition/gardening educator. Now, I'm combining these passions by putting my feet to the pedals from Eugene to Boston, Massachusetts. As we work (and eat!) our way across the country, we will explore the abundant food resources available along our path, share what we know through multimedia "blog talks", and document what we learn by writing, filming, and other creative projects. Learn more and join the revolution by visiting


Nate Jackson
I am the newest morning show host on Latino 96.3 in Los Angeles! Every morning, I get to inspire and motivate the people of Los Angeles. I've been able to interact with various people from various walks of life. Since graduating from the SOJC--Electronic Media, I have been blessed with some pretty big jobs in television: Reporter for the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, reporter for the Travel Channel, and I hosted my own national travel show on the FUSE network "Fuse Excellent Adventure." I'm very grateful to the SOJC for lighting the fire in my heart to pursue broadcasting. Below are some links to some of my work! And if you have twitter, please follow me @yoNateJackson

Chris Nelson
Chris Nelson won a Northern California Regional Emmy for a story titled "The Seabreacher," which aired on FOX40 News in Sacramento. Working with reporter Sabrina Rodriguez, Chris shot, produced and edited the story, which won in the "Feature News Report - Light" catigory. He has worked at FOX40 for the past five years, and spent a year and a half at KEZI in Eugene before that. In 2005, Chris also won a Northwest Regional Emmy in the "Student Production" category for a short documentary titled "Oregon's War at Home." This was produced through the Oregon Documentary Project with classmates Aaron Godfred, Chase Domergue and Julia Mendiguren. You can check out both stories here: The Seabreacher: Oregon's War at Home:

Dahvi Shira
Since graduating from the UofO, I immediately moved to Los Angeles to pursue my entertainment media career. Less than a year into living in L.A., I worked for a few months as a Production Assistant at E! News Now, but when an Editorial Assistant position opened up at E! Online, I jumped at the opportunity, and worked in that role for a few months, before being promoted to writer/reporter for Marc Malkin's column on the site. After being in that position for about a year and a half, I accepted a staff writer/reporter position at, and have now been there for 2.5 years, covering premieres, awards shows, galas, junkets and some crime/court material. I've received awards from the Los Angeles Press Club for my Dancing with the Stars coverage. I've been working on the show for five seasons. I found my courses in the J school fascinating, and I am grateful to the UofO for giving me many of the writing tools I still use to this day.

Rian Rhoe
Rian Rhoe recently moved to Lugano, Switzerland to join Vans and Reef as the PR & Media Manager for Europe, The Middle East & Africa. Previously Rian was in charge of communications, including PR and social media, for Bonfire and Salomon Snowboards, based out of Portland, Oregon.

Tyler Mack
Just returned to Eugene, having accepted a job with The Register-Guard. I'm thrilled to be home and to be working at my family's newspaper (on my mother's side - UO alumn Ann Baker Mack). R-G story link:


Ashley Gartland
Since graduating, I have been pursuing a career as a freelance food writer and recipe tester and developer in Portland. This October, Storey Publishing released my first cookbook, Dishing Up Oregon: 145 Recipes that Celebrate Farm-to-Table Flavors. The book reveals the rich diversity of Oregon's cuisine with inspired recipes from local chefs, artisans, farmers, beverage makers and more. It also provides a visual tour of Oregon’s food and drink scene with profiles of the people who make our state's food industry possible day after day. To learn more about the book, visit or check out the Dishing Up Oregon page on Facebook or the Powell's Books web site.

Jon Carras
Jon Carras ’02 won a 2012 James Beard Award for a story called Good Enough To Eat about London food photographer, Carl Warner. Carras his wife, Lauren, and son, George, live in Rumson, New Jersey.

Jon Carras
Jon Carras ’02 won a 2010 Emmy Award for producing a story called Paving the Way with correspondent Jeff Glor for CBS Sunday Morning, about the decaying steel town of Braddock, Pennsylvania. He was also a finalist for a 2010 James Beard Award for his profile of Williams-Sonoma founder, Chuck Williams, with correspondent Martha Teichner. Carras and his wife, Lauren, live in Monmouth Beach, New Jersey.


Michael Vieira
Michael Vieira recently became a Partner at the law firm of Ashford & Wriston, LLP in Honolulu, Hawaii. Mike focuses his practice on commercial litigation, real property, general civil litigation, intellectual property, sustainable development, and financial institutions.


Autumn Whitefield-Madrano
Autumn Whitefield-Madrano is currently writing her first book, a "where are we now?" critical look at women and beauty today, to be published by Simon & Schuster in 2015. It expands on the ideas developed at her blog, The Beheld, which has earned the attention of The New York Times and NBC's Today Show, among other news outlets. She lives in New York City.


Denise Clifton
My first interactive book, Tables From The Rubble, was published in October 2012 for the iPad in Apple's iBookstore. Tables From The Rubble tells the stories behind San Francisco restaurants that opened in the years after the 1906 earthquake, and highlights five that remain, offering food, drinks and stories with a direct link to the city's century-old past. The interactive book, which I also designed, weaves the stories with dozens of historic and new photos, new videos, an interactive historic map, old menus, recipes, and the stories behind the restaurants' specialties. With my husband, Chris Cellars (B.A. English/History, 1991), I've formed a publishing company to help other authors, artists and photographers publish interactive books. More information about Tables From The Rubble and our publishing efforts are at In addition, I'm continuing to work for The Seattle Times, now as the newsroom's Mobile Development Specialist.


Dane S. Claussen
Dane S. Claussen (UO B.S. '84), Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada and a former journalism/mass communication professor, on August 19, 2012, will be inducted into the American Philatelic Society (APS) Writers Unit Hall of Fame for lifetime achievements in philatelic writing and research, and service to the Writers Unit. He is the former Executive Editor and columnist for Stamp Collector newspaper; former Executive Editor of The Stamp Wholesaler magazine; former Editor of The Heliograph, journal of the Postal History Foundation; former Contributing Editor to U.S. Stamps & Postal History magazine; and author of hundreds of articles, columns, letters to the editor, etc., in various philatelic publications. As an editor and writer, Claussen has won about 25 medals at national and international philatelic exhibitions; he also is a retired APS-accredited philatelic literature judge who judged national competitions around the United States. In the American Philatelic Society Writers Unit (of which he has been a member since 1979), he was Immediate Past President/Council Chair, 2003-2011; President, 1999-2003; Vice-President--West, 1995-1999; and Council member, 1991-1995 and since 2011. Claussen also is a former President of the International Philatelic Press Club, former President of the Junior Philatelists of America, a founding board Director of the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors, and a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society, London. The Writers Unit, founded in 1967, has inducted only about 150 living and deceased persons (the vast majority of whom are now deceased) into its Hall of Fame.


Katlin Smith
Katlin Smith, APR, MS, 1983, received the Vocational Service Award from the Rotary Club of Vancouver on October 26. The Vocational Service Award recognizes an individual who exemplifies outstanding commitment to their business or profession, over a significant number of years, leaving a lasting positive influence on their vocational area and the community in general, and who reflects the values of Rotary. She has donated thousands of hours of both her professional writing skills and her physical labor to community service, in Vancouver and abroad. Smith is the founder of the local Dining for Women Chapter, which raises funds monthly for international organizations serving women and girls living in dire poverty in developing countries. Smith has also been a champion of small and micro-businesses for more than a decade. Her popular The 'Spreading Your News' series has helped many nonprofit organizations receive positive and accurate media coverage. She is also publisher of the blog Southwest Washington Zest,

Katlin Smith, APR
Katlin Smith, APR, owner and principal of UrbanWords Group public relations firm in Vancouver, was named winner of the Ron Schmidt Community Involvement Award Thurs., Oct. 25. 2012, presented by the Portland Metro Chapter, Public Relations Society of America. The award is one of the top honors any Portland-Vancouver PR professional can win. It is named in honor of the late community activist and volunteer Ron Schmidt who championed a variety of causes in the Northwest. Smith served as PRSA chapter president and is nationally accredited in public relations. Among the many community and international service organizations that have benefited from Smith’s talents and dedication are Dining for Women (raising more than $21,000 to date locally for international women’s charities), Meals on Wheels (weekly driver), OPB Community Advisory Board, Rotary Club of Vancouver (president-elect Vancouver Rotary Foundation Board) and many others. She also writes the blog Southwest Washington ZEST. She previously won the Rotary Vocational Service Award


Dan Jones
Dan Jones, '79, will receive his Doctorate in theological studies (D.Min.) during Commencement ceremonies at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, May 25, 2013, in Austin, TX. His dissertation, which draws from Jurgen Motlmann and other contemporary theologians, is entitled, "A Theology of Hope for Pastoral Care: Reframing Life's Losses in the Context of God's Future." Dr. Jones is Senior Minister at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Garland, Texas.