SOU Alumni News Archives
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Jimmy Johnson ’06 grew up in Klamath Falls but his family settled in Medford at age ten and he proceeded to graduate from North Medford HS in 2000. Initially, he did not know what he wanted for a career but being that he came from a family with law enforcement ties, including his father, who was an Oregon State Police (OSP) officer, he began to take criminal justice courses at Rogue Community College (RCC). In 2001, he accepted an offer from the Jacksonville Fire Department (JVFD) to become a volunteer in exchange for them paying for tuition at RCC.
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Hayley Weak ’19 grew up in the mountain town of Gunnison, in western Colorado. Her father was a career National Park Service employee so she loved the outdoors and natural landscapes from an early age. Though she loved western Colorado, she knew that she wanted to attend college somewhere else, but with outdoor opportunities and natural beauty in mind.
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Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Daniel Chávez ’16 journeyed with his family as a toddler to the US, making Coos Bay, OR, home. While his original motivation to pick up the saxophone may have been to impress his crush, Daniel was quickly captivated by learning to create music and a life-long passion began. During his high school years at Marshfield HS, He showed promise as a musician early on and earned a position playing clarinet with the Oregon Coast Lab Band, as their youngest member. His time with this experimental band for young artists provided him his first opportunities to interact with seasoned musicians and perform often in professional settings.
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Theresa Walton-Fisette ’93 grew up in Union City, CA, then later, Minden, NV, where she graduated from Douglas HS. Her path didn’t lead directly to Southern Oregon State College but in the end, her experiences here meant everything to her.
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For Carl Green, Jr. ‘09, just graduating high school was a first in his family on Kodiak Island, Alaska. With his mom caring for four children, Carl admittedly was a bit on the obstinate and wayward side during his junior high and early high school years. He didn’t really know what his options were after graduating. It was a commitment to joining the Alaska Army National Guard that really set him up for success.
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For Estrella Medrano ‘19, staying home for her college education wasn’t her first choice but it ended up being her best choice. Estrella grew up in Ashland then Medford, graduating from North Medford High School in 2016. Because of her close-knit family, she felt it best to attend SOU so she could be near them. She earned scholarships though, which allowed her to live on campus in Raider Village for three complete years. It ended up being a great experience that she would never trade. “I was able to meet so many unique and different people staying on campus. It really allowed me the freedom to experience life and find out who I was,” she said.
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Nathan White ’98 & MAT ’99 grew up in rural Canyonville, just over an hour north of Ashland. He had aspirations of attending the U.S. Air Force Academy but really wanted to continue playing football beyond high school so he honed in on what SOU had to offer academically and athletically. He credits former SOU faculty member and assistant football coach Tom Powell with helping him to narrow his options down to the Raiders.
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Andie Anderson ’13 grew up in the small town of Eureka in Humboldt County in northern California, amidst the redwoods. She really didn’t know much about Southern Oregon University until an admissions representative came down to visit at a high school college fair. She had a distinct interest in studying Spanish language but was intrigued by SOU and made the point of visiting campus. She came to Ashland on a beautiful day and loved the small-town feel, which was similar to her hometown, minus the gray fog. She was hooked!
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Evan Bell ’07, worked his way into a great job and cites his degree in history from SOU for launching his career. While growing up in the small I-5 town of Wolf Creek, just north of Grants Pass, Evan was a self-proclaimed history junkie and often had to get pried away from the History Channel to do chores.
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They say that optimism and enthusiasm is contagious. Well, in the case of Ben Fiscus ’10, optimism is at the forefront of his attitude and outlook on life. Ben grew up in Grants Pass, the son of a law enforcement officer. He was around police all the time as a youngster and knew that someday, that would be his route in life as well.