College of Arts & Letters

Teaira Burge

Teaira Burge

Hometown: Pocatello, Idaho

High School: Highland High School

Class Year: Senior

Major: Music - Voice Performance

Interests/Hobbies: I enjoy camping, hiking, shopping, reading books, and watching movies.

Career Goals: I would love nothing more than to be able to make a living performing! Hopefully if I play my cards right I will be able to get a job with an opera company, or even be able to travel from company to company, singing and performing beautiful music after I finish my education!

Why ISU? I have been singing my whole life. Music is one of the biggest passions in my life and I couldn't picture myself doing anything else. I also worked with the voice faculty while I was in high school so I knew that I would love studying at ISU.

ISU Experience: ISU has been a perfect match for me! It's very close to home and has offered so many exciting musical opportunities and challenging courses. Every semester I am pushed more and more academically and artistically and it has helped me grow so much. I feel confident that I will be able to move on to a graduate level program and "hold my own" because of how my experience at ISU has prepared me.

A Little About Me: I was a winner at the District Metropolitan Opera Auditions.

Darin Hammond

Darin Hammond

Hometown: Blackfoot, Idaho

Class Year: Senior

Major: PhD in English and the Teaching of English

Interests/Hobbies: I enjoy reading, writing, cognitive science, and bonsai.

Career Goals: I currently teach at BYU–Idaho, and have been there teaching English for about eight years now. I plan to continue teaching and publishing in the field. I am specializing in American literature and cognitive science.

Why ISU? Initially I chose ISU from word-of-mouth and a little bit of research. I found that the school emphasized teaching and had a strong English program. Everything I heard about the program was positive.

ISU Experience: I acquired my Masters of Arts Degree in English at Idaho State University and was entirely satisfied with my experience. The instructors are the best. They are experts in their fields, but most importantly they know how to teach well. This is the reason I decided to pursue my PhD at ISU.

A Little About Me: I chose English because I love to read and write. This was a love that I picked up only after high school and fully realized in college. I enjoy the power of literature in thinking critically about the world and the power of writing in communicating with the world. While at first I did not intend to teach, I realized after a few teaching experiences that the profession is very rewarding and allows me to continue reading and writing.

Jamie Hively

Jamie Hively

Hometown: Xenia, Ohio

High School: Rigby High School

Class Year: Senior

Major: German and Zoology

Interests/Hobbies: I enjoy the many outdoor activities Idaho has to offer, especially backpacking and camping. I also enjoy playing basketball and soccer.

Career Goals: I plan to complete a veterinary program and later specialize in wildlife/exotic animal care in order to do independent research on primate behavior and social living. In addition, I plan to complete a Master's program in German with which I can hone my language skills and at the same time learn techniques for teaching German as a foreign language or teach English to German speakers.

Why ISU? I chose German as a major because of the many opportunities that knowing a foreign language can provide and also because of the numerous primate researchers and facilities found in Germany. The ability to communicate in the native language is always beneficial when looking to work or study abroad. I chose Zoology due to my interest in science and Veterinary medicine.

ISU Experience: While at ISU, I have had the opportunity to reside on both the Main/Pocatello and Idaho Falls campuses. The experiences are different at each campus and they have afforded me the many opportunities to meet and work with other students and faculty with similar interests. Thus far, I have been able to explore all my personal and academic interests freely.

A Little About Me: Over the last two years I have spent a lot of my free time volunteering at the primate rehabilitation center in South Africa, where I have studied wildlife and the African bush. In addition, I enjoy exploring all the things that make up a people and since language is a large part of that, I try to expose myself to many languages and traditions. I spent some time in Germany last summer taking language courses and traveling the country. I am also very interested in politics with an emphasis on contemporary and historic social change.

Kari Rands

Kari Rands

Hometown: Kimberly, Idaho

High School: Kimberly High School

Class Year: Junior

Major: Communications with an Emphasis in Advertising/Public Relations

Interests/Hobbies: Being a creative person I love the arts. I also enjoy all genre of movies and sports, particularly basketball as I'm a former player.

Career Goals: I would like to work as a copy editor or art director, preferably within a magazine setting.

Why ISU? I am the youngest of four children, all of whom graduated from ISU so perhaps it's a family tradition! I like the wide array of academic choices and the enthusiasm and commitment my professors have toward me both as a student and as a person.

ISU Experience: ISU provides unlimited opportunities to become involved in just about any interest or activity one might have. There is always something to do. The campus is beautiful and Pocatello is a safe, friendly community.

A Little About Me: Kari's poster design won first prize in the 2011 Simplot Games Poster award competition. It will be used internationally to promote the event. The Simplot Games, North America's premier high school indoor track and field event, are held at Idaho State University's Holt Arena in February. More than 2,000 athletes from the United States and Canada compete.

Kim Sanford

Kim Sanford

Hometown: Rigby, Idaho

High School: Rigby High School

Class Year: Junior

Major: Psychology

Interests/Hobbies: Rodeo takes up most of my time with nearly three to four hours of practice daily. When I'm not practicing I enjoy all outdoor activities.

Career Goals: My ultimate goal is turn professional and make it to the National Finals Rodeo. I'd like to turn pro after I graduate and earn my Ph.D. in clinical psychology. I plan to utilize my education and work in either addiction rehabilitation or a prison environment. I want to help populations that do not have the money to avail themselves of counseling services.

Why ISU? I actually spent my first year at Central Arizona. I transferred to ISU because I wanted to be closer to home and enjoy the support of family and friends and I received a scholarship from the ISU Rodeo Club. Most importantly the strength and reputation of ISU's psychology program was definitely a motivating factor in transferring.

ISU Experience: I take most of my courses on the Idaho Falls campus. I've found that ISU's academic environment is more grounded in academics and student success than other universities. I love the Idaho Falls area. ISU people are friendly and helpful and work with students. Most recently I went through the online registration process and it was very easy to get the courses I needed.

A Little About Me: Kim is a member of ISU's Bengal Rodeo Club and competes in three events: barrels, breakaway roping racing and team roping. In 2009, Kim won the region in barrels and went on to the nationals where she placed 13th.

Elaine Washam

Elaine Washam

Hometown: Boise, Idaho

High School: Borah High School in Boise

Class Year: Senior

Major: Mass Communication, emphasis in Broadcast Television

Minor: Anthropology

Interests/Hobbies: Writing, videography, photography, volunteering, viewing and listening to art of all kinds.

Career Goals: I would like to jump into the job market when I graduate as a producer for a local news station in Eastern Idaho or elsewhere in the country. Later in my career I would love to venture into the career of documentary making, more specifically documentaries having to do with any of the four subfields of anthropology.

Why ISU? As I started the broadcast television major I discovered, thanks to my advisor and professor Tom Hallaq, that I had a real skill for producing. With my minor in anthropology I have developed an interest in documenting the amazing research of anthropologists.

ISU Experience: I've enjoyed my education at ISU greatly. I feel that if, as a student, you seek out opportunities to gain real world experience, you can find them here. I was able to volunteer one summer with International Student Volunteers and do a photo story for an independent study through the university about my abroad experience. I was then able to put this photo story in the Minds Eye Gallery in the Rendezvous complex. I have also held a CPI internship for about a year with Idaho State of Mind, which is the campus television show that airs statewide on Idaho Public Television. I work as the show's producer.

A Little About Me: I've wanted to be a journalist ever since I was inspired by my high school newspaper advisor Michelle Harmon. At ISU I decided that television was the future of news and if I wanted to have a true impact on the journalism world, I better learn how it is done in television.

Erica Wendt-Richardson

Erica Wendt-Richardson

Hometown: Idaho Falls, Idaho

High School: Skyline High School

Class Year: Senior

Major: Secondary Education and History

Interests/Hobbies: Scrapbooking, cooking, playing the piano, and running (specifically cross-country and the steeplechase in track and field) in track and field. My Mom was a runner and won the state championship in the 800. I developed the love of running from her. I begin to seriously run when I was in the 6th grade and have been at it since. I put in about 10 hours a week in training and generally run nearly 60 miles a week.

Career Goals: I hope to teach middle school or high school and work toward a master's degree. Ultimately I'd love to raise a family of 'little runners!' I'll undoubtedly keep on running, perhaps in more competitive venues. I love running and want to do it the rest of my life... at least until I'm 99 years old!

Why ISU? When I was looking at potential universities I was impressed with the breadth of programs ISU offered and I really liked the campus. My sister graduated from ISU and had a positive experience so I'm sure that affected my decision. I was fortunate to receive a scholarship, which also made my choice easier. My coaches and teachers have been great and the relationships that have come out of that will be with me for a lifetime.

ISU Experience: Adjusting from high school to college was different in many respects. Fortunately there were several professors who took the time to get to know me and encourage me that I could be very successful. Dr. Wendy Ruchti was very influential in helping me learn how to be a good college student. Dr. Kevin Marsh, my history professor, influenced me to work hard and by doing so, I could accomplish anything.

A Little About Me: When I joined the cross country team I was taken by how different the training protocol was compared to high school. Fortunately, we had good senior leadership when I was a freshman. Lois Keller, a senior teammate, was a positive influence on me and my teammates. That's why it's so important for me, as a senior, to provide that same type of leadership that enabled me to develop and succeed. Erica became Idaho State University's first female Big Sky cross country champion this past fall.

Giacobazzi Yañez

Photo of Giacobazzi Yañez

Hometown: Canton, IL

High School: Canton High School

Class Year: Senior

Major: Anthropology

Minor: Spanish and Mass Communications

Interests/Hobbies: Playing guitar, listening to music, traveling, origami, photography, video, astronomy, backpacking, learning languages, and cooking.

Career Goals: My experiences have driven me to work toward a career as a documentary filmmaker who applies visual anthropological methods in films that have a socially conscious impact. I envision working closely with humanitarian organizations and serving as an ally to Latin American communities. I intend to advocate awareness in social justice, the environment, preservation of language and culture. I would like to continue my ongoing work at El Mirador and potentially expand my work at other ancient archaeological sites.

Why ISU? ISU's well respected anthropology program has a distinguished faculty and offers one of the world's leading archaeologists in Mayan scholarly research, Dr. Richard Hansen. Due to the working relationship I developed with Dr. Hansen over the last three years, I consciously decided to transfer and finish out my undergraduate at ISU. The fieldwork that I conduct with Dr. Hansen during the summers in Guatemala as an archaeological videographer motivated me to advance my professional and technical skills.

ISU Experience: As a recent transfer student from California it has taken me some time to adjust, but the ISU staff and faculty have provided wonderful support. As a work study student working for Photographic services and the Mass Communications Department, these positions provide me with great hands on experience that I will carry with me in the years ahead.

A Little About Me: The individuals I have become acquainted with at ISU have inspired and influenced my aspirations for more academic achievements. I love the work that I do during the summers because it is a process of preservation for the future generations of archaeologists and the Mayan people. I am proud of my Mexican and Indigenous heritage, which has given me the strength and determination to pursue this educational path. I have a strong desire to integrate the education I have gained to serve my culture and humanity on a global scale. Hopefully my passions will lead to making a difference.


Chung Park

Chung Park

Education: Bachelor of Music, Peabody Conservatory, Johns Hopkins University Master of Music, University of Illinois and Western Michigan University Doctor of Musical Arts, University of Miami.

Profession: Assistant Professor of Music, Division of Music, Theatre and Dance Music Director, Idaho State-Civic Symphony.

Interests/Hobbies: I love to cook, particularly whatever I can't get where I'm living. Trying to make different pizza crusts like you can get at Grimaldi's or Di Fara's in Brooklyn has become a bit of an obsession. I enjoy road cycling and I particularly enjoy observing human behavior and the forces that drive it. If I weren't already doing what I love I would want to be a behavioral economist.

Latest Accomplishment: I recently concluded the most successful, to date, Town & Gown String Technique Camp. When I initially started the camp three years ago we had 15 students. This year we had 60 students enrolled.

ISU Experience: I am continually amazed at the connection between our University and the community; it's truly a wonderful marriage. I conduct an orchestra of about 95 musicians, evenly split between University faculty, students and community members. Regardless of background, the orchestra is a close-knit family. Everyone is a Bengal!

A Little About Me: Music makes people happy. As a musician I can positively influence people's lives, both through performances and as an educator. Warren Buffet expressed it best: "Intensity is the price of excellence."

Robert Tokle

Robert Tokle

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Economics, 1980, University of Wisconsin; Ph.D. in Economics, 1986, Iowa State University.

Profession: Idaho State University economics professor; has been with the ISU Department of Economics since 1986.

Interests/Hobbies: Hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, following Badger (University of Wisconsin) and ISU Bengal football and basketball.

Latest Accomplishment: Tokle was named an ISU Outstanding Researcher in spring 2010. He was honored with ISU Outstanding Public Service Awards in 2004, 2005 and 2008. He received the national Credit Union Times Volunteer of the Year Award in 2007 and was Credit Union Conferences Director of the Year in 2004. Tokle has more than 25 articles published in peer reviewed journals, numerous articles in other publication and has presented at conferences virtually every year since 1987. One of his studies that shows how credit unions make banks more competitive was recently cited more than 40 times in testimonies to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means. When he began on the ISU Credit Union Board the credit union had $17 million in assets; now it has more than $100 million.

ISU Experience: In comparison to many state universities, one advantage here is that we have had typically smaller classes that are also more likely to be taught by faculty. This serves the students well.

A Little About Me: I teach and do research because it is a profession I enjoy and look forward to coming to work every day. In spring 1991, I was hit by lightning while teaching math economics in Room 302 of the Business Administration Building. The lightning flattened a tree in front of the building and sounded like dynamite going off. It hit two trees, the building and came in through the window and hit me. I felt a strange tingle and a student in the room said they saw a flash around me. I was taken into the hospital for observation for a few hours. A recounting of the story is on page 288 of "Idaho State University A Centennial Chronicle."


Dr. Clark and Crystal Allen

Dr. Clark and Crystal Allen

Dr. Clark and Crystal Allen are ensuring that Idaho State University's next generation of brightest and best have an easier time receiving a quality education without worrying about the financial burdens.

"We created our scholarship to assist local students in their pursuit of a career in nursing, physician assistant studies, or school counseling majors. We both remembered what it was like to struggle with finances as college students, and setting up a fund to help others in our position only seemed natural," Crystal said.

Preference is given to those applicants from Idaho who have a desire to stay and practice in the state.

Dr. Allen grew up in North Carolina and Virginia, earning his bachelor's degree at the University of Virginia. He attended medical school at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. Following his residency in neurosurgery, he moved to Idaho in 2000. He is the co-owner of Spine Idaho, LLC with offices in Pocatello, Blackfoot and Idaho Falls. He is a member of the American Board of Neurological Surgeons, National Association of Spine Surgeons and The American Association of Neurological Surgery.

Clark and Crystal first came up with the idea of a scholarship for ISU students when they were engaged in 2003. Instead of gifts, they encouraged friends and family to donate towards their new scholarship fund in lieu of a wedding present. From there, the first donations provided the base for the Crystal and Clark Allen Scholarship Fund.

"One of our first scholarship winners was a young woman in the physician assistant program. A few years later, the graduate, now employed by Clark, was cleaning out her college papers and found her old scholarship award letter. Without anyone realizing it we hired our own scholarship winner! She is still a valued employee today," Crystal said.

Clark and Crystal also provided the lead gift to fund the Counseling Merit Scholarship Endowment when Crystal served on the Kasiska College of Health Professions Dean's Advisory Board.


921 South 8th Avenue
Pocatello, Idaho, 83209