ISU Magazine

Volume 41 | Number 1 | Fall/Winter 2010

Red Hill in winter

The columns atop Red Hill in the winter.

Photo by ISU Photographic Services


Fall 2010 Issue


Gail Siemen, BA phys ed '58/MPE phys ed '67/EDS ed admin '77, is the recipient of the Greater Pocatello Chamber of Commerce's Lifetime Achievement Award. He spent his career in education and worked as a coach, teacher and administrator at multiple Pocatello schools. He serves on the Youth Endowment Activities Foundation, the Idaho Community Foundation, Salvation Army and the Portneuf Health Care Foundation. He is also serving a four-year term on the ISU Alumni Association Board of Directors.


Ernest P. Sutton, alumnus '69, who practiced at Sutton Family Dentistry the past four years, retired in April, 2010. Previously, he practiced at Pocatello Dental Group for 30 years.


Blaine Nisson, BBA mktg '73/MED stu pers work '77, will retire as president of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., on December 1, 2010. He served in this position for six years and has 38 years' experience in higher education administration. Nisson graduated with a doctorate of education in community college leadership from Oregon State University.

Mary Lu Barry, BA ed/soc sci '74, has retired from the Twin Falls School District. Her 34-year career included teaching and advising student journalists at Twin Falls High School, serving as director of secondary education for four years, and teaching at Murtaugh High School for two years. Barry will teach an English course through the Idaho Digital Learning Academy and consult on a part-time basis through an Idaho State Department of Education program that will have her working with Burley High School.

Dave McIsaac, alumnus '74, has released Clean Livin', an album he recorded, mixed, and mastered at his home in Pocatello. McIsaac's composition, "The Devil," was chosen to be featured on the anti-drunk driving campaign CD Idaho Rockers 2010. He has performed professionally for much of his life, including 15 years performing classical music for both the Idaho State and Idaho Falls civic symphonies.

Jim Pappas, BA pol sci '74, bankruptcy judge of the U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Idaho, was named chief judge of the Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel. He received his law degree from the University of Idaho College of Law in 1977.

Jerry Johnson, BA govt '78/MPA pol sci '82/DA pol sci '84, edited "Knowing Yellowstone: Science in America's First National Park," which features 10 chapters written by scientists working in the park. Johnson is chairman of the political science department at Montana State University in Bozeman; his own research projects have involved ecology, agriculture and business. He hopes to expand on work found in the book and write another book about science in the park.

David Lemire, EDS couns '79, works as a school psychologist and behavior consultant for Klamath Falls City Schools in Klamath Falls, Ore. He is also the student counselor and graduate advisor at the American College of Applied Science, a virtual college located in Crescent City, Fla. He was invited to sit on the Board of Directors of the Oregon Association of Talented and Gifted Children, representing kids and parents in the southwest region of the state. He is also a regular contributor to the Master's Advocate, the journal of the North American Masters in psychology.

Hatch Graham

EDUCATION:Bachelor of Science, Engineering, Idaho State University
PROFESSION:Founder and Managing Director, ATA Ventures
Redwood City, California

HOBBIES: My 17 year old son is a high school sports star in both football and baseball - my favorite hobby is supporting him. Other hobbies include Idaho fishing, particularly in Hell's Canyon, along the Snake River.

LATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: Caught a 10 foot sturgeon this summer (the tape measure indicated 9 feet, but I'm sure the fish was larger than that).

WHY I DO WHAT I DO: I've enjoyed a career of pursuing technology-related innovations from several perspectives, with my positions ranging from scientific to executive management roles in leading businesses. Currently, my investments in technology startups provide me the opportunity to enjoy all of the favorable aspects of developing conceptual "possibilities" into profitable, growing businesses. Besides the obvious financial motives, the constant interaction with brilliant entrepreneurs and technologists is an everyday inspiration.

WORDS OF WISDOM: When I was playing football in high school, there was a quiet, autistic kid who followed the team. The day before our final playoff game, I jokingly asked him for advice on how to win the championship. He answered with the most profound advice I've ever received. He simply said, "Run fast, jump high, win." I've tried to profile my life and career after those words ever since.

ISU RECOLLECTION: When I first came to ISU, several of the freshman football players were interviewed and asked what we intended to choose as a curriculum major. For some reason it seemed like nearly all of the other players intended to major in physical education. Although I knew absolutely nothing about technology, I responded with nuclear science technology as my preferred major - it sounded impressive.
Word got out, and as a result, I received a note from the College of Engineering dean, Dr. Albert Wilson, saying "welcome aboard! We haven't had a ball player in quite some time." Four (and a half) years later, I graduated with an engineering degree. Little did I know, but that one off-the-cuff comment in the Mini-dome (Holt Arena) locker room would determine my life's career.

ISU EXPERIENCE: I think one of the University's great strengths is the small campus environment and all that entails. During my senior year in high school, I had accepted a football scholarship to the University of Washington. Having developed some questionable study habits, I wasn't able to attend because of a sub-standard high school GPA. I turned to ISU, who had also been recruiting me, and after reviewing my situation, they agreed to consider more than the GPA alone. My other academic scores and achievements were enough to allow me entrance. ISU's level of flexibility and understanding was an attribute that stills lives within the campus environment today.


Marta Coleman, BA ed/Engl '80, is president of her own company, CAPER, Inc., (Coleman Assessment Program Evaluation and Research). She has been teaching for more than 30 years and currently teaches at her alma mater, Gunnison High School in Gunnison, Colo. Coleman earned a master of arts degree in communication arts from Western State College of Colorado and a doctor of philosophy degree in quantitative methods in education from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Gerald Mosbrucker, alumnus '80, is the manager for the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Pocatello. It features donated building materials which when resold help build affordable Habitat for Humanity homes. Mosbrucker is a retired construction worker and has worked there for two years.

Stephanie Palagi, AAS mktg tech '88/BS corp trn '02/BS voc tchr ed '02, is the recipient of the Minnie Howard Award, which is given annually by the Greater Pocatello Chamber of Commerce to a woman in the community who inspires or supports other local women. She is the executive director at Old Town Pocatello, Inc. and is the 2008 recipient of the ISU Professional Achievement Award for the College of Technology.

Debra St. John, BA elem ed '81, was named Blackfoot Teacher on the Year. She has taught for six years and is a kindergarten teacher at Irving Elementary School.

Susan Delana Walker, BBA finance '81, of Bellingham, Wash., was awarded U.S. Bank's annual Pinnacle Award, the company's highest consumer banking employee honor. She is vice president and commercial team lead, and has worked for U.S. Bank for 30 years.

Phillip H. Eastman, II, BBA mgt & org '82, who is a partner with Leadership Advisors Group in Boise, has written a book, "The Character of Leadership, An Ancient Model for a Quantum Age." Previously, Eastman spent 17 years in the banking industry; he graduated from the Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington and also earned a Master of Arts degree in theological studies from Bethel Seminary.

Pamela McKinley, BA ed/phys ed '82/MPA pol sci '96, a realtor with Home Specialists, was awarded the Accredited Buyer's Representative and the Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource designations by the National Association of Realtors. She currently sits on the board of directors for the Greater Pocatello Association of Realtors and is the past charter president of the Portneuf Rotary Club of Pocatello.

Cindy Bateman, BBA finance'83, is executive vice president and chief credit officer at Home Federal Bank at bank headquarters in Nampa. She has 25 years' experience in commercial banking and most recently served as senior vice president and chief credit officer at Home Federal Bank. She graduated from the University of Washington with a master's degree in business administration.

Nancy Espeseth, BA psych '85, was named manager of Community Corrections Division District 6 by the Idaho Department of Corrections. She is based in Pocatello and oversees the supervision of probationers and parolees in Bannock, Bear Lake, Caribou, Franklin, Oneida and Power counties. Espeseth joined the department as a correctional officer at the Twin Falls Community Work Center in 1999. She was promoted to a probation and parole officer in 2000 and to section supervisor in 2008.

Dwight D. Richins, BS ed/gen sci '85/Med ed admin emph '98, is serving a one year logistics mission in the Middle East. He joined the military 28 years ago and is currently a lieutenant colonel. Richins has been the football coach at Shelley High School the past three years.

Doug Moratzka, BS elem ed '86, is the boys basketball coach at Cheyenne Central High School in Cheyenne, Wyo. He was the assistant head coach at Hillcrest High School in Ammon and also coached at Rigby High School. Moratzka was on the ISU varsity basketball team from 1982-85.

Dawn Keller, BS elem ed '87, who taught fifth grade at Tendoy Elementary School in Pocatello for 20 years, has retired. She taught for a total of 22 years and is the recipient of the Simplot Inspirational Teacher Award.

Anne LoPiccalo, MED ed admin '87, who has worked for School District No. 25 for 30 years, was named the 2010 Outstanding Administrator by the Idaho American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. She has served as the Professional Technical Education coordinator for three years. She oversees more than 40 career and technical programs offered in the district and also supervises Perkins IV grants.

Tim O'Brien, MPE athl admin '88, is head football coach and a physical education teacher at La Salle Catholic College Prepatory in Milwaukee, Ore. He was assistant professor of health and physical education and an assistant football coach at Western Oregon University from 1995 to 2008. He has coached football for 26 years and also coached at ISU, Willamette University, and several Oregon high schools.

Garry Swindell, MPE athl admin '88, retired after serving nearly 40 years in education. After moving to Idaho, he taught and coached in Challis for 19 years and then went into administration. He was the principal at Timberline Junior/Senior High School in Weippe for six years and the principal at Fruitland High School for the past four years. His future plans include a lot of fishing and some travel.

Bart May, cert law enf '89, was appointed sheriff of Clark County in August, 2010. He spent 16 years with the Clark County Sheriff's Office and has also worked in law enforcement in Bonneville County.


Karon Hapke, BA soc work '90, retired as clinician for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Region 6 in September 2010. Her most recent responsibilities have been working as a clinician on the forensic team and working with the Sixth District Bannock County Drug Court. She was also a case manager and administered federal grant paths and the shelter plus housing program for more than 20 years.

Andrew Akers, BBA mgt '91, of Pocatello, was named the incoming western region vice president-elect by the National Association of Electrical Distributors. Akers is vice president of D&S Electrical Supply Company and has worked in the industry for 25 years. He is on the National Association of Electrical Distributors Western Regional Council and Western Region Wind and Solar Energy Task Force.

Caroline Fauré, BA gen stu '91/MPE athl admin '94/EDD ed ldrshp '06, is an honoree in the 2010 Health Care Heroes program sponsored by the Idaho Business Review. She was profiled in the newspaper's annual Health Care Heroes magazine on Oct. 11, 2010. Fauré, an assistant professor of sport science at ISU, was also selected by Rotary Club of Pocatello as its Teacher of the Year.

Martin Calder, BA ed/soc sci '92/MPE athl admin '94, is program manager with Center Developmental Disabilities Agency in Chubbuck. He has 10 years' experience serving people with disabilities, especially those diagnosed along the autism spectrum.

Chris Hatch, BA ed/Engl '92, who served as the first executive director of The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho, retired Oct.1. She joined the museum in 2002 and received the Governor's Award in Excellence in Arts Administration for her accomplishments with the museum. Previously, Hatch taught English at Hillcrest High School.

Eldon Owens, cert auto coll repair '92, became the first collision repair technician in Idaho to complete the I-CAR Structural Steel Welding qualification in June, 2010. He also completed an I-CAR Instructor Qualification Workshop in Chicago and is employed at J & J Auto Body in Pocatello.

Stacie Shouse, BA mass comm '92, was selected as Salesperson of the Year by the Pocatello Rotary Club of Pocatello. She has worked at Pioneer Title for 15 years and is the business development supervisor.

Brett Acor, BA soc '93, of Idaho Falls, is director of sales with the Post Register where he heads a consolidated circulation, advertising, and commercial printing sales department. Acor joined the newspaper in 1998, working as an outside sales executive for eight years, and as advertising sales manager the past two years.

Jeff Brandt, BS hlth ed '93/MED ed admin emph '00, is the principal at Teton High School in Driggs. He has previous experience at middle school, high school alternative school and district levels of administration, including serving as assistant principal at Highland High School in Pocatello.

Kristy Christensen, BS psych '93/MS psych '96/MCOU, has joined the staff of Life Change Associates in Pocatello. She provides therapy to adolescents, adults and couples dealing with issues relating to common mental health disorders, addiction, and relationship issues.

Samantha Damron, BBA finance '93, serves on the Eastern Idaho Regional Advisory Board of Zion's Bank. She is the executive director of Eastern Idaho Development Corporation. Damron was previously the branch manager for Citifinancial in Pocatello.

Todd Dawson, alumnus '93, is assistant principal at Snow Canyon Middle School in St. George, Utah. He taught language arts in Idaho, Nevada and Utah. Most recently, he taught at Enterprise High School in Enterprise, Utah, for five years.

Lance Kolbet, alumnus '93, president and chief executive officer of University Financial Group, was awarded a $42,500 Quality of Life Grant by the Million-Dollar Round Table Foundation for outstanding community on behalf of Family Services Alliance of Southeast Idaho.

Brian Underwood, AA crim just '93/BS pol sci '98, was sworn in as the United States Marshal for the District of Idaho in May, 2010. He joined the Idaho Department of Corrections in 1992 and most recently served as a warden at the Pocatello Women's Correctional Center from 2002-2010. He also served on the Pocatello City Council for 10 years.

Michael Fica, BS pol sci '94, earned the Idaho State Bar's Service Award for his volunteer work for the legal profession. He served on the Law-Related Education Committee the past 13 years, aiding the Mock Trial program as a coach and judge. He also assisted in several bar grading sessions. Currently, Fica is assigned to the Department of Justice Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force working on several regional drug prosecutions.

Natalie Markowski, BS dent hyg '94, completed her first Ironman competition in Coeur d'Alene in June with a time of 13 hours and 36 minutes. She is a dental hygienist with Coeur d'Alene Dental Clinic and hopes to compete in the 2012 Ironman in Coeur d'Alene.

Manuel Sierra, M.D., BS zoology '95, is a psychiatrist with Center Counseling Services in Pocatello. He received his medical degree from the University of Washington in 2002. He also completed a residency in psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine and a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

John Pearce, BS sec ed/chem '96, has served as principal of Maumelle Middle School in Maumelle, Ark., since fall 2009. He previously worked for a total of 10 years in the Pulaski County Special School District and most recently worked four years as principal at Robinson Middle School.

Mike Fitch, BA sec ed/sci '97, was named principal of Fruitland High School. He taught U.S. history and western civilization at Fruitland High School the past 12 years; he has been the boys' basketball coach. Fitch earned a master's degree in educational leadership from Northwest Nazarene University.

Ryan Hancock, BS econ '97, a senior financial consultant at D. A. Davidson and Company, has earned the Certified Wealth Strategist® designation. He joined the Pocatello firm in November, 2001, and has prior experience with Merrill Lynch.

Dr. Bret C. Davis, alumnus '98, has opened his practice in Pocatello, Davis Dental Studio. He was voted one of America's Top Dentists by the Consumer's Research Council and is ranked in the top 1 to 2 percent of dentists nationwide. Davis is an adjunct faculty member at Idaho State University in the Advanced Education General Dental Residency Program in Boise. He received his doctorate of dental surgery from Oregon Health Sciences University.

Cara Shockley, alumna '98, has joined Boise's HB Ventures as a principal and is involved with acquisition activities and the HB Ventures Consulting business. Shockley brings 22 years of Fortune 500 experience in both high-tech and insurance industries. Most recently she was the marketing manager for Hewlett-Packard's $400 million North America Graphic Solutions Business. She earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Washington State University.

Aaron Florence, BS biology '99, has joined Estes Park Medical Center in Estes Park, Colo., in the practice of general orthopedics and sports medicine. He obtained his doctor of osteopathic medicine from A.T. Still University, Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Mo.

Rose Stevens, alumna '99, is a realtor at ERA The Brokerage, Inc., in Pocatello. She is a co-owner of Evolve2ART, which features functional handbags and other items made from recycled rubber inner tubes. She has been a featured artist during the Art Walk.

John P. Young, AAS graphic arts/print tech/elec imaging '99/BA mass comm '06, is creative director/new media at Steele and Associates of Pocatello.

Cyril Okamoto

Cyril Okamoto (BA Elementary Education 1957), an NCAA boxing champion and member of the ISU Sports Hall of Fame, died May 15 in Hawaii. He was 79.

Okamoto boxed at Idaho State College for only one season, but he made it count. He transferred to ISU from the University of Hawaii for the 1956-57 season and won the NCAA 125-pound individual title. The ISC team was 7-0 in dual matches, won seven of the 10 weights contested at the NCAA championships, and was generally considered the best collegiate boxing team ever, up to that time.

The Honolulu native was a U.S. Army veteran and had retired as vice-principal of Honolulu's Farrington High School. He is survived by his wife, Jane S. Okamoto, sons Lance A. and Ethan H. Okamoto, daughter Betsy S. Miyata, brother Russell N. Okamoto, and one grandchild.

William Thomas Morgan

ISU lost a remarkable friend with the death of William Thomas Morgan on April 14, 2010.

Know familiarly as "Morg," he studied secondary education in speech and drama before exiting in 1973. He exited as a student, but he used what he learned in speech and drama to become a gifted videographer, producer and director with public television in both Idaho and Alaska. While on the ISU campus, he stayed close to the Bengal athletic teams. He was an especially close friend of Jeff Cook, starting forward on ISU's great 1977 basketball team and ISU Sports Hall of Fame member. One of the more memorable images from ISU's landmark win over UCLA was the huge postgame bear hug Morg and Cook shared at center court.

Morg worked out of KISU-TV until 1979, then joined Alaska Public TV until 1995, when health issues forced his retirement and a move to live with his sole surviving relative, sister Katherine Morgan Northcutt, in Vallejo, Calif.

Northcutt said Morg stayed active with volunteer work for VCAT, his local public access television, and on the board of directors for handicapped public transportation.

"He continued to be a character right up until his fatal illness," Northcutt said.


Traysa Smith, BS phys asst '02, is a physician assistant with the Ogden Clinic. She earned her master's of medical science in physician assistant studies from the University of Nebraska. Smith has worked in both family practice and women's health for eight years.

Army Capt. Jay A. Taylor, BA Engl '02, received the Army Commendation Medal. He is assigned to the 1st Battalion, 22nd Field Artillery at Fort Sill in Lawton, Okla., and has 21 years of military service. Taylor received a master's degree from Webster University in St. Louis, Mo., in 2008.

Douglas Wood, BA pol sci '02, is an associate with the Pocatello law firm, Service and Spinner. His practice focuses on estate planning, elder law, municipal and commercial law. Wood earned his juris doctorate from Southern Illinois University in 2007.

Jared Allen, alumnus '03, an All-Pro defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings, is producing his own hunting show, "Relentless Pursuit," and recently released The Quarterback Killer's Cookbook.

Darren West, alumnus '03, has co-authored How the Fierce Handle Fear: Secrets to Succeeding in Challenging Times; the book draws on his experiences after being laid off from Apria Healthcare where he worked in medical sales. West is a co-owner and founder of Caring Hearts Senior Care in Pocatello.

Monte R. Woolstenhulme, MED ed admin emph '03/EDS ed admin '08, is superintendent of Teton School District No.401 in Driggs. He has worked in public education for 13 years and was the superintendent/principal in Swan Valley the past two years. He also worked at Teton Middle School for ten years.

Adam Matthews, BS zoology '05, earned a doctorate of podiatric medicine from the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University in North Chicago, Ill. He is currently serving a two year residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago. Matthews was a member of several clubs including the American Podiatric Medical Association and the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

Lara Wabrek, alumnus '05, was selected as a recipient of the Boren Award. She will spend spring semester 2011 in Valdivia, Chile, as a Boren Scholar. She will receive an award of $10,000 to study at Austral University in Valdivia and hopes to perform an internship in the community. Wabrek is enrolled at Montana State University majoring in mechanical engineering.

Vicki L. Chase, MED sec ed emph '06, the gifted and talented facilitator for the Blackfoot School District for students in the sixth-eighth grades, received the Patricia National History Day Teacher of the Year Award. She was also the recipient of $10,000 at the National History Day held in College Park, Md. Chase has been a teacher for 19 years and has been involved with National History Day for 16 years.

Ericka Christensen, BS pol sci '06/MA pol sci '08, was appointed to the Washington State University Board of Regents on July 1, 2010. She is the first doctoral student to hold the position at Washington State University and is currently pursuing a doctorate of philosophy in political science. Christensen served as president of the Graduate Student Association for the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice, and as a member of the Graduate Student Council from 2009-2010; she also continues to serve as a reader for the Writing Program at the university.

Tamara Goddard, alumna '06, who taught first grade at Syringa Elementary School for 31 years, has retired. She taught for a total of 43 years and earned her teaching degree from Utah State University in 1967.

Miki Goodwin, MS nurs '06, clinical assistant professor and coordinator of fast-track nursing program at ISU-Meridian Health Science Center, is an honoree in the 2010 Health Care Heroes program sponsored by the Idaho Business Review. She was featured in the newspaper's annual Health Care Heroes Magazine on Oct. 11, 2010.

Todd Orr, BA hist '06, joined the Idaho State Police Region 5 in March, 2010. Previously, he was a police officer with the Chubbuck Police Department.

Zeb Sion, MPE athl admin '07, is associate head track and field coach at the University of Chicago. He was named the Midwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year by the U.S.Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association in May. In his third year at Chicago as throws coach, Sion guided three of his athletes to NCAA qualification this season.

Colin Watts, BA anthro '07, has been a volunteer affiliated with Family Services Alliance in Pocatello the past year. In an effort to prevent domestic violence, he staffs the crisis line several times a month, and also facilitates a 52-week non-violence program. Watts is also active in the local chapter of Men Today, Men Tomorrow, a program spearheaded by the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. Watts is currently pursuing a master's degree in public health from ISU.

Heidi Albano, BS ecology '08/MS biology '10, volunteers with the Sagebrush Steppe Regional Land Trust working to protect public lands. She has helped staff events such as Riverfest and the Community Environmental Fair but has also inspected the Land Trusts' easements by helping with species identification and building species lists. She is working on her own book to identify local plant life, including those plants considered invasive species.

J. Robert Polk, MD, MPH pub hlth '08, is the chief quality officer for Saint Alphonsus Health System in Boise. For the past 12 years, Polk held a variety of senior administration roles at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, most recently as chief medical officer and vice president of quality, physician, and clinical services.

Derek Stephens, alumnus '08, has opened his business, BCSC Dogs, in Pocatello. Stephens is a street vendor in Pocatello offering a variety of drinks, hot dogs, beef foot longs, Polish foot longs and brats. The business is named in honor of his younger brother, Blake Christopher Stevens, who was killed in Iraq in 2007. Stephens has extensive culinary expertise as he worked as a sous chef in Seattle.

Betsy Rooney, BS nurs '08, has joined the Central District Health department of Idaho Health District Four; she works as a tuberculosis nurse in the Communicable Disease Control section. Previously, she worked at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center. Rooney earned a master of science degree in speech communication and hearing from Portland State University in 2000.

Holli Brookshier, BA Engl '09, graduated from the Army ROTC Leader's Training Course at Fort Knox, Ky.

2nd Lt. Matthew S. Mraz, BS pol sci '10, graduated from the U.S.Army Air Assault School for Fort Knox, Ky., in August, 2010.

Brian Weiderman, DPT phys ther '10, is a physical therapist with Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy and sees patients at both Nampa and Parkcenter locations. His areas of specialty include orthopedic injuries, pelvic and sacroiliac joint dysfunction, and post-surgical rehabilitation. He is also interested in treating sports-related injuries, men's health disorders, and developing programs to optimize performance for extreme athletes.