SOU Alumni News Archives

Carrie Kirkley

Non-traditional alumna’s hard work and remarkable achievements pay off for healthcare patients

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

Alum applies SOU and United Nations experiences to his university teaching in Japan

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.
Hilary-Morgan Watt ’09

Alumna’s Schneider Museum of Art experiences on campus, helped lead to a career at the world-famous Smithsonian in Washington, DC

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.
Vance Beach Family

Alum from Arizona settles in the Rogue Valley and volunteers to make it a better place for all

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
Brenna Anderson
Sarah and Obie Strickler

Alums bring education and leadership to legalized marijuana industry

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.  
Will Shelby

MBA alum gives back to local youth after 35 years in the corporate world

In 2019, Will began the online MBA program at SOU, hoping to continue as a lifelong learner and to keep challenging himself. It worked! “Once I started the program, I was asking myself what was I doing and who am I?
Tammie Ellington ’16

From GED to PhD; alumna blossoms as a clinical psychologist for veterans

Tammie Ellington ’16 was raised in rural Washington and is a member of the Chinook Indian Nation of Bay Center, Washington. She then attended Camas HS for three years but left to attend an alternative school to earn her General Educational Development (GED) in 2007. She was married soon thereafter, had children then subsequently, became a single mom after her divorce. She moved to Medford in 2012, then attended Rogue Community College (RCC) while raising three young children. “I was very proud to attend RCC and raise my babies at the same time. I was the first in my entire family to go to school beyond high school,” she said. 
Susan Ramos-Hunter

Psychology alumna finds her happy land in the world of oligonucleotide chemistry

Susan Ramos-Hunter, PhD ’10 grew up in the northern California town of Placerville, amidst the rural rolling hills and oaks of the Sierra foothills. She attended public schools through the sixth grade, then was home schooled for the rest of her education. At age 16, she began taking college courses because she did not have the opportunity to earn college credit like students attending high schools. She visited numerous schools trying to find the right fit, including UC Davis, Sacramento State and Humboldt State. After visiting Ashland and SOU, she found the right conditions for developing her higher education.
Kneff Family

Music grad leads from the front providing opportunities for his students

Raised in Simi Valley, California, Scott Kneff ’99, made his way to Oregon his senior year in high school to look at the University of Oregon (U of O). Both of his parents were U of O graduates so it made sense to check out the campus and programs. Finding that the campus and number of students were too big for his comfort, he visited Ashland and SOU’s campus. “It was a no brainer for me to fall in love with Ashland and SOU. I was a student that didn’t want to feel lost on a large campus,” said Scott. Opting to save money and earn credits, he attended Moorpark Community College for his first two years but eventually, Ashland beckoned.