Dr. Cynthia Pemberton MS ’83 grew up in Medford then headed off to Willamette University in Salem where she competed as a student-athlete in swimming and earned degrees in biology and psychology. Her initial small-college experience would have a deep impact upon her entire career and life.
A love of learning is in her bones, said Helen Redbird-Smith ’51, member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a professor emerita of Western Oregon University. “Cherokees are notorious for education. We are driven by wanting to know,” said Redbird-Smith. Though she is long retired, Redbird-Smith still finds joy in learning and education, taking classes in film, science, Japanese, and philosophy.
The beauty and diversity of our region in southwest Oregon is what makes it so attractive for residents and tourists but it’s also a lure for SOU graduate students in the Master of Science in Environmental Education (MSEE) program.
The SOU Alumni Association has launched a networking platform for all Raider alumni and students with our partner, PeopleGrove. The new platform will generate hundreds of new connections and provide insight and accessibility in new and engaging ways.
Carrie Kirkley ’16 took the long road to SOU after growing up in Sacramento, CA, but her accomplishments as a non-traditional alumna are second to none. Carrie’s father was battling cancer for seven years about the same time Carrie’s first son was born in 1997. Sadly, her father passed two years later when she was nineteen but the hard work, dedication and compassion of his nurses, inspired her for a lifetime.
Mark Cogan ’04 grew up in Gold Beach on the Oregon Coast and attended and graduated Gold Beach High School. His first full time job right out of high school was as Webmaster for Wind Tracks magazine, which covered windsurfing on the Pacific coast and across the country. Before pursuing higher education, he worked for a country living magazine, followed by a year at the Medford Mail Tribune as a Publications Specialist.
It’s not often that small-town Oregonians have the opportunity to help manage and promote world class exhibits in one of the most bustling cities in the world, Washington, DC, all while working at the legendary Smithsonian.
Growing up in the Arizona desert, Vance Beach ’11, MiM ’14 had no idea that he would someday make it to a small university in rural southwest Oregon. Attending Dobson HS in Phoenix, Vance excelled in football and track but because of a post-season football staff change
Basketball brought Sarah ’01 and Obie ’04 Strickler together at SOU. Today, they are dynamic business leaders working to unite the region through education about legal marijuana possession and sale for those 21 years of age and older.