Alumni Spotlights


Stephen White, a current resident of the western mountains of North Carolina, is a great proponent of higher education. He has spent many years on the East Coast teaching college students and visiting other universities as a guest lecturer. But it isn’t just his smarts that have garnered him attention; it’s the perseverance through some significant personal trials that leave audiences in awe.

In May of 2009, White suffered a traumatic brain injury. He has spent the years since re-learning to walk, speak, and write. During this time, however, the lessons of determination and strength of character, the Aggie spirit he garnered at Utah State, and which continue to propel his career, were a sustaining force.

White’s story actually began in the fall of 2000, he said, when he suffered “an extreme herniation to my spine at vertebrae C-5/C-6,” requiring fusion surgery and the implantation of a graphite brace into his spinal column. The operation was successful, he said, but left him with a lingering pain in his back and arm, as well as a swallowing disorder due to the constriction of his throat, resulting from the upper-spine fusion. It took him nearly 5 years and intense physical therapy and medications to sufficiently recover.

After many years of seeking medical help without many answers, White’s complications continued – including intense pain, chronic loss of short-term memory, dizziness, cognitive confusion, headaches, and more. Further medical testing revealed that his brain injuries were severe.

His physical and medical sojourn came to a life-altering event in May 2009, White said, when he experienced at his home what he thought was a seizure— that sent him spiraling from the top of his staircase, down 20 stairs into an oak door frame, resulting in a fractured skull and other bodily injuries.

Since this event, White has sought medical help many times, but there is little known about correcting this condition thus far, even though many people suffer from traumatic brain injuries.
Long before his brain injury, White attended Utah State University from 1988-1990. He graduated with a Bachelor’s in Political Science, with a minor in philosophy.

“My years at Utah State were the best of my life,” White said. “The knowledge I acquired there laid the intellectual foundation for me to complete three graduate degrees later on, and then become a professor at the University of North Carolina.”
While on vacation in Utah, an Aggie alumni in Sundance insisted to White and his wife that they take the scenic route through Logan. White said, “After visiting USU and Old Main, at my age I knew then and there this was the place I had been longing for.”

White attributes his sincere love for learning to his time at Utah State, and encourages current students to “treasure your learning and take ownership of it.”


The Aggie Alumni community said farewell to one of its most accomplished members this month. Dr. Walter Hale Gardner passed away on June 11, 2015. He was 98 years old. Gardner was awarded the first Ph.D. from the Utah State Agricultural College (USAC), now Utah State University, in 1950 (Dr. Than Myint, deceased, also received his doctorate that year).

Gardner was part of an era of accomplished soil scientists that sprung from USU, originating
with his father, Dr. Willard Gardner, a physicist from University of California Berkeley, who was lured to Utah by John A. Widtsoe, a former president of USU and later an apostle for the LDS Church. Widtsoe 
maintained his own interest in irrigation and science to help further agricultural development in the West. Willard Gardner applied traditional physics to soils and irrigation, transforming the agricultural industry during ensuing years.

While chair of the Physics department, Willard Gardner coached and challenged his son, who of his own merits, developed a remarkable talent for math and science. After completing his bachelor's degree at USAC, he elected to do graduate work at Cornell University, one of the most preeminent agricultural schools at the time. His love for Cache Valley lured him home prior to graduation, however, and he finished both his crowning degrees at Utah State.

Gardner relocated to Pullman Washington, where he pursued a faculty position researching and training aspiring scientists. His influence and his father’s directly influenced other Aggie soil scientists including Dr. Gaylon Campbell (‘65), who went on to found Decagon Devices and Eric and Evan Campbell, founders of Campbell Scientific, both multinational companies with Cache Valley ties. Coincidentally, Gardner and the Campbells are distantly related.

Gardner’s contributions to soil science include the ubiquitous and ever-relevant text Soil Physics, as well as a time-lapse movie Water Movement in Soil. His contributions changed the way many scientists and industrialists understand the non-intuitive way water moves through soil. He was also likely the inventor of the tension infiltrometer, an instrument widely used by scientists in his field. Gardner constructed the device while an undergraduate student running the physics shop at USAC.

While Walter was one of only two Ph.D.s bestowed in 1950, USU’s reach and breadth have 
grown immensely. Soil Science remains a distinctive competency for USU, however, the university graduated 104 Ph.D. students this past May, covering many disciplines.


“Mary prides herself on her exacting standards and problem solving instincts that breathe beautiful life into every design.”

This quote from Mary Kiel’s biography gives a great introduction to her dedicated and attentive to detail nature. Mary was recently awarded with Honors at the Visions14 International Window Coverings Expo for a dining room window treatment inspired by a treasured family portrait in a client’s home. She and Arlene Rafoth, a fellow designer, were also recognized at the window covering industries Elite Convention. Mary and Arlene are the only window treatment professionals to have received this award in the past seven years west of Illinois. 

The award-winning window treatment
Mary graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor of Science with special emphasis in Clothing and Textiles. Mary started off her higher education at the University of Utah, with Clothing as her major. While Mary enjoyed her time there, the focus of the program didn't seem to fit what she wanted to learn about. Ruth Clayton, a professor at Utah State University, helped Mary find the program she could flourish in—Clothing and Textiles. The colors and mountains in Logan reminded Mary of her house in Fort Collins, CO, helping her feel right at home.

Mary’s grandmother was a very good seamstress, and although Mary never met her, she was inspired by the gift of talent her grandmother left her. Mary has owned a drapery business since 1988. She provides products and consultations for custom window treatments, shutters, shades, blinds, and bedding. Mary also imports an exclusive Scottish lace called Thistle Lace.

“Interior Design is not an easy field to be able to make a living and support yourself,” said Mary, “because my business is very dependent on the building industry and the economy.”

Even though this may be the case, Mary loves her job deeply and appreciates that her husband also works so she can enjoy her craft. 

Mary strongly believes that her education has directly impacted her work successes.

“I learned how to find the resources I needed to succeed and to complete important tasks. My professors were focused on teaching me. It was the best decision I ever made.”

Mary has volunteered her time and efforts in coordinating a non-profit that provides Veterans a free day of salmon fishing in the Pacific Northwest. She was involved with this group for the past two years, and finds it extremely rewarding.

“The veterans who are involved are so appreciative,” said Mary. “It is a wonderful memory.”

Mary attributes her success to many things, including the Brooks brand of running shoes she has been buying and wearing since her college days. She is always on the go, so a good pair of comfortable shoes help her stand and sew for long periods of time.

From the encouragement to attend college from a ranch hand from Jackson Hole to a national design competition winner, Mary has come a long way from her experience at USU. We are proud to share her story and call her a distinguished Alumna of Utah State University.

For more information about Mary's lace, visit


Almost any student on campus today can tell you that Utah State's mascot is Big Blue.  Most people, however, don't realize that before 1989, there was no Big Blue, and that since then, four have become mascots for professional teams.

Originally Big Blue was a real white bull painted blue before each game. When the Spectrum was first built, however, there was concern that Big Blue would scuff up the new basketball court, so Big Blue was donned with red rubber boots; this was a disaster. Because of the damage done to the football field and the basketball court Big Blue was discontinued.

In 1987 Big Blue got a second life when Student Athletics Vice President John Mortensen decided that Utah State should still have a mascot and spent $750 on a costume for Big Blue. The costume was somewhat of a disappointment because it was royal blue, not navy, had real animal horns, and was not easy to move around in. Big Blue took another backseat for two seasons until 1989 when a student pestered the cheer-leading adviser to let him be the mascot. Big Blue was the name and since then there have been many Big Blues, four of which have gone on to become professional mascots and all of which remain anonymous.

Currently, Big Blue is funded by both the Student Activities Department and the Athletics Department.  He receives a full scholarship and keeps a very tight schedule. Not only will you see Big Blue at all the games and campus activities, but he also volunteers many hours to the community, local elementary schools, hospitals, assisted living centers and private parties. You can even rent him for parties and events.

Through the years, Big Blue has led cheers, excited children, stood for pictures, and danced his way into the history books of Utah State. We are proud of our Big Blue!

Sources: Alumni Newsletter, October and December 2003. Utah State Traditions Page.

Photography by Cindy Maughan


“Pick a career doing something you love. It’s not just about the paycheck. If you choose something that you really believe in, success will be in your future.”

Rebecca Watson graduated from Utah State University in 1998 with a degree in Political Science and minor in Economics. After finding herself in need of a job, she chose to return to Utah State and pursue a degree in Sociology. Even though she may have struggled with grades in her 20s, at the age of 50 Rebecca graduated Cum Laude. 

In the years after graduating for a second time, Rebecca began to look for a business that she could start from home. “I saw some fused glass at a fair and loved it,” she said. “I had a kiln that I used for ceramics, so I purchased some fusible glass and a glass cutter online and taught myself how to fuse glass into jewelry.”

Rebecca uses dichroic glass, a product originally developed by NASA, which is created by stacking micro-layers of metals and oxides onto fusible glass. The glass, when viewed at different angles, shows many hues of color. When dichroic glass is worn as jewelry, it is always moving and changing color. As one of her customers said, “The color comes alive.”

She truly enjoys the freedom of owning her own company, Providence Hill Glass. “I get to do something creative, which feeds my soul,” she said. “I am as successful as I make myself be.” She has participated in many art and craft festivals, and loves the experience of meeting new people there. 

Rebecca attributes her experience at Utah State to helping her develop a love for art and design. She strongly encourages students to try out new things, and make the most of their general education classes. “General Education exposes young students to different fields of study they might never know otherwise they like,” she said. “It gives us all (products of a four year university) a broader knowledge base that will help us in life.”

Visit this site to learn more about Providence Hill Glass.


Norman Vincent Peale said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.”

Even though Cody Reeder is still a student at USU, he is shooting a little bit further.

Cody has recently been accepted into the Top 100 finalists in the Mars One project, a competition to become the first colonists on Mars.

“I grew up on an off-grid ranch in the west desert of Utah,” Cody said, “so Mars will be like home.”

Cody survived a number of cuts in the original 200,000 applicants involving physical tests and face-to-face interviews. Mars One wants to send a total of 24 astronauts to Mars, but Cody hopes to be one of the first people to call Mars home.

If Cody makes it onto the team, he doesn’t have any plans to return to Earth.

"I still think it would be worth it," Cody said. "The colonists that colonized America, they never had a return mission plan. Here we are 400 years later and we're one of the most powerful countries in the world."

Cody enjoys performing experiments, and has recorded and posted many of them on his  channel. He is extremely curious, and has a knack for improvising. He has learned how to make his own power, get his own water, and grow food on his own. He hopes these skills will put him a step ahead on Mars.

Although this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance, Cody would have to say goodbye to his family, friends, and everything he knows.

"The value of going to Mars I think would be worth giving up most anything," Cody said. "You take somebody like me, who looks up in the night sky and sees the beauty of all those stars, and realize on Mars, the inter-atmosphere and no people there already -- those stars are going to be perfect."

Cody has high hopes for his inclusion in the Mars One project. As an Aggie, we support him and hope he reaches his goal.


"I'm a firm believer that bad things happen," said Brittany Fisher. "You have to talk about them. You can't pretend life is perfect. But you have to have a good outlook."

This good outlook on life has served Brittany well. 

On March 12, 2012, she was rappelling in St. George when she lost control of her descent and fell 80-100 feet into the rocks below. The damage was extensive: multiple fractures in her feet and lower legs, her back broken in two places, a damaged spinal cord, paralysis in her legs, and a severely burned hand.

"I was not wearing a helmet," Brittany said. "There's no reason I shouldn't be worse. It's a blessing to be able to talk and share my story and build relationships. It definitely could have been worse. I'm just so blessed to be alive."

After the accident, Brittany felt discouraged after realizing the long road ahead of her. But her athletics advisor contacted her professors and kept her on track to graduate. Amongst a four month stay in the hospital and therapy, Brittany was able to complete her degree in the prescribed four year period, and continue on to student teach.

She described her experience at USU as ideal—adventurous and fast paced.  Her days were filled with cross country, rock climbing, track practice, scatterball, and of course, school.

Brittany graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She completed her degree and student taught at an elementary school in Logan. She attributes many of her scholarly successes to running.

“Running helped me achieve goals in all aspects of my life,” Brittany said. “It kept me organized and intentional with my time. I’d even run before exams.”

Her mother and father were a strong influence on her desire to complete college. Her mother encouraged her to write college entrance essays, and her father’s sacrifice and desire for her to attend college motivated Brittany to keep trying.

“I’m proof that no matter how ‘free-spirited’ you may be,” Brittany said, “you can do it. You can get through those classes and obtain a college degree.”

Much of her study time was spent in the athletic study hall, often before or after practice. She also would cross-train on spin bike while reading or studying. Her advisor often encouraged her to take her time while in school, and not rush through. Brittany wishes she would have taken time to explore her options and tried new classes, but said she “wouldn’t change those memories, not even for Gossner’s Cookies n’ Cream milk.”

Brittany attributes her personal and academic successes to family and friends that supported her through “both the good and the bad.”

Her only regret stemming from the accident is that she didn’t take full advantage of the beauty Cache Valley has to offer.

“I wish I’d known in a few years there would be trails and hikes and runs and climbs that I wouldn’t be able to access anymore. I did a pretty good job of taking adventures, but if I’d known I would have made more of an effort to run every trail I possibly could have.”

She is currently working for a doctor in the Salt Lake area, while continuing her education at the University of Utah in Child Life. However, Brittany said, “I know, I know, don’t judge me; I’ll forever be an Aggie at heart.”

She is pursuing the career of a Child Life Specialist, in which she could support children who have been hospitalized, both long and short term.

“I volunteer at Primary Children’s Hospital to get a feel for the setting,” Brittany said. “I understand what it is like to live in a hospital. I can relate to the coping mechanisms, stressors, and grieving processes felt by hospital patients.”

She has begun exploring ways to get back outside, even with her paralysis. She has started training and racing in Nordic sit-skiing category, with a coach from the TRAILS program through the University Hospital.

“I’ve already had a few races, and can’t wait for more,” Brittany said. “Usually snow is daunting and unwanted in a wheelchair, but now that I have a fun and active way to get out in my chair, I love it!”

Watch Brittany’s miraculous journey:


If Chris Stewart could turn back time and give himself advice as a 20-year-old, it would be that work is the secret to success.

Chris is the Congressman from Utah's Second Congressional District. He is a No. 1 New York Times best-selling and national award-winning author, world-record-setting Air Force pilot, and the former owner/CEO of a small business.

Chris is one of ten children and grew up on a dairy farm in Cache Valley. He graduated from Utah State University in 1984, where he earned his degree in economics. He said many of his professors made a huge impact in his education and life.

“Professor Reed Durtschi and Dr. Peterson helped me become particularly interested in the intersection of government and economics, shaping my life and career,” said Congressman Stewart.

Upon graduation, Chris joined the United States Air Force where he was the Distinguished

Graduate (top of his class) in both Officer Training School and Undergraduate Pilot Training. He served for fourteen years as a pilot in the Air Force, flying both rescue helicopters and the B-1B bomber.  

Chris holds three world speed records, including the world’s record for the fastest non-stop flight around the world (36 hours and 13 minutes). In 1995, he (along with his team) was awarded the Mackay Trophy for "significant aerial achievement.” This trophy is displayed in the National Air and Space Museum in D.C.

Chris is a prolific author having written 17 books, several of which have become national best-sellers, and have been published in six different countries.

Before being elected to Congress, Chris served as president and CEO of the Shipley Group, a nationally recognized firm for consulting expertise in energy and the environment. He and his wife, Evie, are the parents of six children.

On Jan 6, 2015, Chris was sworn in to the 114th Congress as Utah's 2nd District Congressman, starting his second term as a member of House Appropriations Committee.

To learn more about Congressman Stewart, visit



“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary future.”

This inspirational quote by C.S. Lewis has become a personal mantra for Teri Benson. 

Teri came to Utah State University in 1980 and quickly fell in love with being an Aggie. She discovered the joy of spending time on the QUAD on a beautiful day in the spring or fall. While she remembers spending a lot of time studying in the library, she also said some of her favorite memories included, “meeting up with friends at the student center, basketball and football games, and cutting class on a fresh powder day.” Like many, she wasn’t immune to the call of newly-fallen snow.

Beginning her USU adventure as a Political Science major, Teri soon realized that wasn’t the path she wanted to follow. Although she didn’t officially declare a different major, she said, “Communications suited me much better. Had I finished, and I guess I still could, I would have majored in that.” 

As her life continued, she spent most of her time staying busy at home raising three children. Although things were hectic, life was good.  Until about six years ago, when everything changed.

“My life made an interesting turn,” said Teri. “I was diagnosed with an aggressive Stage 3 malignant Melanoma. I had an 8”x2”x2” chunk of my right thigh removed along with all the lymph nodes.”

After running multiple tests, things started to look better. A beam of hope was beginning to glow again in her life. According to Teri, “It was nothing short of a miracle that the margins came back clean, and the lymph nodes, too. I knew my life had been blessed.”

Eight months later, that beam was dimmed by an unexpected heart attack, induced by stress. Then seven months after that, it was stripped to a single ray of nearly undetectable light when her marriage of 27 years ended in divorce.

But Teri’s challenges were far from over.

“On October 24, 2012, my life was forever changed,” she said. “Just when I think I‘m putting my life back together, I suffered an aortic dissection.”

An aortic dissection is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a serious condition in which the inner layer of the aorta, the large blood vessel branching off the heart, tears. Blood surges through the tear, causing the inner and middle layers of the aorta to separate (dissect). If the blood-filled channel ruptures through the outside aortic wall, aortic dissection is often fatal.”
After 18 hours of open heart surgery, Teri considers it another miracle that she is alive to share her story today. “Few, if any, survive the type of dissection I had,” she said.

It has been a struggle to recover and rebuild her life over the last two years, but Teri claims she has learned a lot through her experiences.

“Bad things happen to people every day. Your pain is not unique. It’s all [about] how you choose to deal with it,“ she said.

Given her circumstances, she has chosen to deal with it in a way that many would not.

Teri believes “life rarely turns out the way you imagine." She encourages others to "live your life. Enjoy your life and all the experiences it gives you. Be grateful for each day.”

Today, Teri is a perfect example of her own advice. She cherishes each moment she has with her three kids. She loves to be active, as much as her heart will let her, and she hasn't given up hope in her heart getting strong enough to one day run again.

Not only has she done what was necessary to heal herself, but she now gives hope and inspiration to others, regardless of the challenges they face. She shares her experiences through public speaking and her newly published book, How my ordinary became extraordinary.

When asked how her children would describe her, she responded, “Full of love, positive, sweet, stubborn or determined, caring, a fighter, happy and a little crazy.”

All characteristics that make Teri Benson extraordinary.

In September 2014, KUTV News shared Teri's story through this video: Teri Benson, from ordinary to extraordinary.



Veterans Day Alumni Spotlight

If someone were to describe Marloe Archibald in seven words, they may be, “dedicated, patriotic, spiritual, intelligent, loves his family.”

Marloe’s dedication and patriotism were certainly displayed when he enlisted for a two year tour of duty with the Army, shortly after World War II.

“I felt that freedom must be maintained. The draft was ongoing and I enlisted. This enlistment also included five years inactive Reserve service,” Marloe stated.

Basic training took him to Fort Ord, California where he learned to repair military equipment. While in California, he received orders to leave for the island of Guam.

“When I arrived,” said Marloe, “I was assigned to an Army unit. I was given special duty to work on generators assisting a civil servant employee. I didn’t know it at the time, but it would be a useful skill in my later life. I considered this as two years of educational learning.”

During his tenure on the island, he said his social life consisted of him hitch-hiking to church on Sundays.

Following his service in Guam, Marloe was honorably released from the Army and assigned to inactive Reserves for an additional five years. It was during this time, that his life took an unexpected turn.

According to Marloe, “In the three weeks following my discharge from Guam I had returned home, gotten a job, bought a new car and was preparing to propose marriage to my sweetheart, a young lady from Mantua, Utah. But I received recall orders and that changed everything.”

He was called to report to an Army Depot in Flagstaff, Arizona for his physical exam. After being found “warm and living”, he returned home to await further instructions. Those instructions came with an order to report to the 204th Utah National Guard, which was activated to Fort Lewis, Washington. 

At Fort Lewis, Marloe teamed up with two other men who were assigned to “C” Battery of the 204th Motor Section. The unit moved to over 34 positions supporting seven different army groups. Its long-range fire protected the infantry when needed, and encountered some challenging situations. In addition to a gun blowing up in battle, injuries and fatalities also inflicted the unit.

Of his two “C” Battery comrades, Marloe said, “While in Korea, one of these men had his hands blown off by a grenade and the other was killed arming a trip flare. We all shared the same duties on the artillery perimeter of our unit, but I was the only one that left of the three.”

His service in Korea was commemorated by a letter of thanks and appreciation from the President of South Korea. A letter which he cherishes to this day.

After his military service, Marloe came to Utah State University with a goal of becoming a teacher. In pursuit of that goal, he earned both a bachelor’s (’56) and master’s (’65) degree in Industrial Education.

“The G.I. Bill at USU made it possible for me to qualify for teaching Industrial Arts in secondary schools. A Bachelor in Science Degree and a Master of Industrial Education got me employment at Intermountain Indian School in Brigham City,” he said. “Many other opportunities came along because of the education I received through the G.I. Bill and my studies at USU.”

Some of those additional opportunities included a special act award from the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington D.C. and a unique chance to study at the NDEA Institute of Florida, which was connected with the NASA moon-landing program in 1968. 

Marloe’s memories of USU include being encouraged and guided by a sign on the wall in the library that read, “With all thy getting, get understanding.”

He also recalls two of his most influential professors, William Mortimer and Joel Ricks.

“They were good men first and wonderful instructors second,” said Marloe. “That meant something to me.”

As a veteran of the United States Army, and a USU graduate, Marloe has served his country well and made a significant impact on the lives of many. When asked if there was one thing he wished people understood better about the military and those who serve in it, he stated that, “men give life for freedom.”

As we celebrate this Veterans Day, let us all remember with honor and gratitude, those who have fought to defend our freedom and liberty. 



Alumni of the Year - Homecoming 2014

Laurel Cannon and Nate Alder met at the USU Honors Program Retreat in 1989 just days before fall classes started. They cherish their memories of a campus romance which included semi-awkward dates at Homecoming and the Howl. Both were involved in ASUSU and Honors, held leadership positions, worked part-time jobs and hoped somehow they’d be able to graduate. Indeed, they did, in 1991, with degrees in history (Nate) and liberal arts and science (Laurel).
They attended graduate school at Indiana University. Four years there enabled them to complete Nate’s master’s degree in public policy, and his law degree, as well as two programs for Laurel -- a master’s degree in art administration, and two prestigious fellowships in philanthropy. They returned to Utah to launch their careers-- Laurel working with numerous nonprofit organizations, charities, and arts and cultural groups, particularly in the areas of leadership, public outreach, fundraising and community building, and Nate as a lawyer and community leader. They have served on numerous boards, committees, task forces, commissions and initiatives, and have, in their own way, helped lead and shape our community. Nate and Laurel have both served on college advisory boards at USU. Also, for several years Nate served on an advisory board at Salt Lake Community College; in 2011 he envisioned a greater working partnership between USU and SLCC and continues to be a focal point in developing that relationship. Nate and Laurel advocate that those who desire to, but do not think they may be able to, achieve higher education must absolutely find a way – and the resources -- to do so. Through USU, and its many programs, grants, scholarships, resources, connections, jobs and offerings, they believe that anyone can indeed achieve their dreams.
Laurel works for the Utah Division of Arts & Museums as its Grants Manager, and Nate is a partner in a downtown Salt Lake law firm, Christensen & Jensen. He has also served as president of the Utah State Bar, president of the 16-state Western States Bar Conference, and is now president of the National Caucus of State Bar Associations. Laurel and Nate are the parents of three delightful children, Jacob (18), Madeleine (16) and Clara Grace (13).



Young Alumni of the Year - Homecoming 2014

Steve and Rachel von Niederhausern are both natives of Cache Valley and met while attending Utah State University. They are both proud to be alumni of USU. Steve graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and communications in 2005; continuing on to earn a Master of Science in instructional technology and learning sciences in 2008. Rachel graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and communications in 2003; continuing on to earn an MBA in 2004 from the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.

While attending school, Steve was involved in various clubs and organizations and worked in Digital Media Production and Marketing. Rachel served as the ASUSU Administrative Assistant and was the Public Relations Student of the Year. She worked in Conference Services and the Admissions office. Utah State increased both Rachel and Steve’s desire to serve and solidified their passion for social entrepreneurship.

After graduating Rachel co-founded the Loaves and Fishes Cache Valley Community Meal with civic and religious leaders and USU faculty and staff. This community outreach involves hundreds of volunteers, including USU students, who provide friendship and nourishment for residents of Cache Valley. The meal is held twice per month and has served over 6,000 in the past three years.

In 2012, Steve and Rachel co-founded Family Humanitarian experience (FHe) with a group of like-minded leaders. FHe is an organization that provides families the opportunity to work on sustainable humanitarian projects in communities of developing countries. Their latest expedition included USU alums who helped with agriculture development and food preservation. Other areas of focus include building projects, business and leadership development, education and healthcare.

Steve currently works as a business process analyst and sits on the board of Family Humanitarian experience. Rachel serves on the board for Loaves and Fishes and Family Humanitarian experience and works as a health and wellness educator.

Steve and Rachel currently live in Bountiful, Utah, and have four children, Ava (10), Lauren (8), Will (5), Abigail (3), and are expecting a baby boy in December. As a family they love to travel and meet new people, explore the outdoors, and seek service opportunities. Steve and Rachel involve their children in all of their local service endeavors and international humanitarian expeditions.



When looking for the best college and academic experience available, Sterling Morris chose Utah State University. Sterling graduated from USU with a Master’s degree in Management Information Systems along with earning two Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and International Business.  

He described his experience at USU as being a focal point in his life. “I learned to apply consistent hard work in my studies and activities. The work paid off in learning opportunities, discovering new friends and professors who exposed me to new ways of thinking, and experiences I will never forget. I chose to work hard and take advantage of many opportunities that are unique to Utah State students. That made my experience as a student very challenging but prepared me well for my career.”

As a student, Sterling had a number of influential experiences with professors and USU faculty. According to him, “USU is a hotbed of world-class professors. I was inspired and encouraged by so many professors. One of my favorite professors (there were many) was Dr. Christopher Fawson. He’s an outstanding teacher who loves his subject. He has an uncanny ability to get most students interested in economics, leading a lot of students to declare or change their major. He is a servant leader who has all the reason in the world to be arrogant, proud, and pretentious, yet his down-to-earth demeanor and posture makes him a favorite of many.”

Sterling was a highly engaged student and valued the many opportunities and clubs that were available to students. “Perhaps one of the most impactful activities I participated in as a student at USU was the Koch Scholars program. This group of students and professors read 1-2 books per week during the course of a semester and gathered every Wednesday night to discuss our readings. The reading material was difficult, but the discussions we had were very memorable. The opportunity to discuss difficult topics with these extremely sharp individuals inspired me to be a lifelong reader, thinker, and learner.” said Sterling.

Sterling is currently a Marketing and Public Relations Specialist for Logan Regional Hospital. He believes that “consistent, high-quality work is rewarded in academics," and "the same can be said about one’s personal and professional life." Sterling said, "I've worked hard to make sure my efforts are the best I can provide in the important areas of my life.”

That hard work has been evident in Sterling's professional and personal accomplishments. 

He grew up watching the IRONMAN World Championship broadcasts on TV as a kid and decided it would be neat to complete in one himself. This year he was determined to check the IRONMAN goal off his bucket list. 

Logan, Utah may not be the ideal place to train for this kind of accomplishment, especially if you start in January, due to the freezing temperatures through a good part of the year. But Sterling was dedicated. 

One of his most challenging obstacles was running outside in Logan’s cold winter nights. Yet he said it had its own rewards. "It’s kind of fun being 'that guy' running in the snow at a late hour.”

Sterling finished his goal of completing an IRONMAN after training for only six months. During that time he kept motivated by capturing his journey on video. He said, “You’ll notice that a lot of my training footage was taken up at USU. Such a beautiful campus demands to have runners and cyclists pass through it. Although I graduated from the university, it will always be a part of me.” 

When asked what was his motivation was to do an IRONMAN competition Sterling responsed: “We all want and like to do hard things and meet challenging goals. I viewed 140.6 IRONMAN triathlons as one of the premium endurance events that required a lot of preparation and planning to complete. The challenge associated with preparing for and completing the event attracted me.”

As a newly-minted IRONMAN athlete, Sterling gives some advice to others who would like to attain a similar goal. 

“If we are talking about completing an IRONMAN 140.6, I believe nearly anyone can do it. After determining which event one wants to do, preparing for the successful completion of one comes down to consistently training for the event.”

Sterling and his family live here in Logan and continue to love the Aggies. He will begin his pursuit of a PhD in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences at Utah State this fall.

To check out Sterling’s video of his six months training for the IRONMAN competition, visit his website at



When searching for a university Wendi Hassan knew she wanted to find a program that allowed her to study all aspects of performance and production.  After a spontaneous visit to USU, Wendi decided to come to Logan and be an Aggie.  She earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Theater Studies in 1990.

Utah State was excellent preparation for my life and career. It was my first away-from-home experience. I spent most of my time in the theatre department; studying, rehearsing, constructing, sewing, performing, and making lifelong friends,” said Hassan 
Her love of the theater began in high school and lead to her work in stage management and arts administration. While at Utah State she met and married her husband, Dennis, who was also a student in Theater Arts.

“Somehow we ended up in many of the same classes one quarter and decided to buy one set of textbooks and share them. My husband Dennis Hassan and I performed in several productions together, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1990 as Hermia and Puck, a production we performed again in 2010, our twentieth anniversary as Titania and Oberon.”
Both she and her husband have worked on stage as well as behind the scenes.  Wendi credits her success to the skills she learned while working in the theater. 

“One thing you learn in theatre, especially when you are working behind the scenes, is that you don’t do anything important by yourself. In every successful venture I have been privileged to engage with capable, talented people. I have had excellent mentors, team members and assistants at every turn.”

In addition to performing on stage Wendi learned that grant writing, fundraising, marketing and management were critical needs in the arts. This led to her returning to Utah State to earn an MBA in 2007.  With two degrees Wendi was able to land her dream job.

“I am working at the Utah Division of Arts & Museums where I have been since 2010. I am the Community Arts and Museums Manager. I have an incredible team that serves museums, community arts and the Change Leader network. I have worked within arts and museums administration, grant writing, marketing, fundraising, arts education and outreach for the past 20 years.”

Some of Wendi’s greatest memories here at Utah State were being so cold that her nose hairs froze and her hair would freeze in the morning if it wasn’t completely dry. To reward herself after a hard test you could find her at the dairy store, that used to be in the old building just northwest of the Quad, sipping on a Pralines and Cream ice cream shake.  

Wendi Hassan’s advice to current aggies is “Learn to work with others, to be accountable, to be generous. Be flexible. Keep learning. Be curious.”

Wendi and her family reside here in Logan and continue to be loyal true aggie fans!



Alumni Executive Board Member 

Aggie alumnus Jeff Hunsaker graduated in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration with a Finance emphasis and minors in Economics and Spanish.  Jeff is currently serving as the Chief Services Officer and President of US Operations for UK2Group, a large web hosting company headquartered in London, England. The United States headquarters of UK2Group  are located right here in Logan, Utah.  Jeff informed us that most of his 140 employees are either USU graduates or current students of the university. Go Aggies!

Aggie Blue blood runs deep in the Hunsaker family. Serious Aggie Blue.  Jeff’s grandfather, Elmer “Bear” Ward, was the first Consensus All-American in Football for USU in the 1930’s. His mother and father (Fred and Sharon) both graduated from USU where his father served as the University’s Vice President of Finance for 18 years.  Jeff’s sister Susan is also a USU grad and his brother Brian followed the family tradition, when he and Jeff both accepted scholarships to play football for the Aggies. 

Jeff’s legacy as an Aggie started early. Looking back at his University experience Jeff shared some of his favorite moments. “My favorite memories range from beating the U of U in football, playing against schools like Nebraska and USC while starting alongside my brother on the defensive line for 2 years, marrying an Aggie Cheerleader (Angie) and hearing Larry Miller speak to the business students and how he motivated me to follow my career path in business.”

Jeff always knew that pursuing a career in business would be a good fit for his personality. Jeff stated that the book “The Art of Enchantment” by Guy Kawasaki has been a key inspiration in helping him achieve his career and personal goals. “I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to grow and find success in business by bringing together the right products, customer services, technology and financial models while harnessing the full potential of the most valuable asset of any business, its employees.”

In reflecting on his education here in Logan, Jeff fondly recalled some of the faculty that had positively influenced his experience including Professor’s Peterson, Daines, Malko, Stephens and Kartchner. Jeff shared the advice, “Cream rises.  If you are good it will become very evident and you will be given the opportunity to succeed in business or other ventures. When this happens, make the most of it.” He continued, “Work hard, work smart, respond to issues quickly, make your boss look like a superstar and in turn, they will treat you like a superstar.” All great advice from a great student athlete.

Mr. Hunsaker is too modest to brag but he was quite the USU student athlete.  Jeff earned many honors including selections as a Robins Award Winner, Man of the Year in 1989, Wayne Estes Award Recipient, and the Joe E Whitesides award recipient in 1990. He was also selected as PCAA Scholar/Athlete of the year for football in 1988, Big West Scholar/Athlete of the year in 1989 and all-conference football -Big West in 1989.  Needless to say Jeff and the Hunsaker family have left quite the legacy here at Utah State University.

Besides Jeff’s amazing career accomplishments and rewarding athletic career, Jeff’s greatest accomplishment is that he is a family man. Some of his hobbies consist of skiing, sports, Aggie Football, hiking, and camping. A fun fact about Jeff is his favorite ice cream flavor is burnt almond fudge.

Jeff currently sits on the alumni executive board and remains a die-hard, blue-blooded Aggie fan. He and his wife Angie have five children and reside in Orem, Utah.

Alumni Executive Board President 

Aggie alumnus Stephen Noel graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Business Administration and Sociology with a minor in Spanish. Now, years later, Stephen is an acting partner in the eight lawyer firm of Smith Knowles in Ogden, Utah. He has practiced with Smith Knowles for 17 years. Being a litigator, he spends a fair amount of time in the courtroom. Currently, he is pursuing offering services in Alternative Dispute Resolutions.

Stephen’s family has a rich history here at USU. His grandparents are alumni, as are his parents. In searching for the true college experience, Stephen was looking for “a personalized education, where professors knew my name and would take the time to meet with me about everything from their class to my career, but I wanted a first class education, as well. That’s a tall order, but I got all of that, and my wife, too, at Utah State.”

While an undergrad, Stephen’s favorite memories were spent sleeping over at the Spectrum waiting to get front row seats to the USU vs. UNLV basketball games. He also enjoyed many hours on the Quad when the weather permitted it. When it came to his studies, Stephen was involved with the Society for Human Resource Management.

Stephen’s advice for future Aggies is that “There is no substitute for hard work. I don’t think all the education in the world can take its place. However, hard work, coupled with a great education, can position you very well.” He added “It has become a bit cliché, but don’t be overly worried about failing, as long as you are committed to persistence. Get in the game. It beats the sidelines.”

Stephen remains involved as a dedicated true blue Aggie and is currently serving as President of the Alumni Association Executive Board. 



Alumni Executive Board Member

Aggie alumnus Alan Raymond graduated with a degree in Business Finance and a minor in communications. Now, years later, he is vice President of Global Sales at Digicert and a member of the Utah State Alumni Association executive board.  He shared with us his favorite moments at Utah State and how he worked his way into a VP position.

While at Utah State Alan was a member of the Business Partners program and Intramural Athletic champ in basketball and flag football. Both the involvement in Business Partners and his love of athletics have impacted life after graduation.

“I have worked in Sales leadership for my entire career, starting at Baxter Healthcare and then recently working with several companies in the technology space, where I have helped to build sales models and channel networks in preparation future expansion of business. My first job out of USU was a direct result of networking with past alums. These influences of these alums have allowed me the chance to share and network and support others during my career.”

In addition to the benefits of networking, Alan shared some advice about where future graduates should go.

“Do not be hesitant to move out of Utah. Some of the best experiences and career opportunities I had were a result of living in Chicago and Detroit for 15 years. You can have great influence and be a great example to the world and a representative of USU outside of Utah.”

Now back in Utah, this Lehi based alum still makes a point of traveling outside of the state on a regular basis to support his Aggies.

“Being a fanatic Aggie sports fan I have traveled all over the country to watch Aggie football and basketball games with my brothers.”

Alan remains an active participant in the Alumni Association and a dedicated Aggie fan.


James Birch was recently named one of three principals of the year by the Utah Association of Secondary School Principals. He is one of two Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services alumni to receive that honor this year.
Birch received the award after opening Herriman High School, a new, rapidly growing high school in Herriman, Utah. He completed his administration certification in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership at USU.
Faced with a large number of new teachers, Birch took steps to make sure they all received the mentoring they needed.
“Almost 80 percent of our teachers have three years experience or less,” he said. “It’s great to have that youth and that energy but you need to provide them with the tools they need to be successful.”
He asked an experienced, board-certified, award-winning teacher named Donna Hunter to put together a program, and the Herriman Institute of Teachers began. It would offer tips on everything from classroom discipline to purchasing a lunch at school.
“Don’t discount the importance of lunch,” Birch added. New teachers feel uncomfortable around lunchtime on their first day, not just because they may not know how to buy it, but also because they may not have a friend to sit by.
The institute brings new teachers in twice during the summer to participate in group activities. Each session lasts for three days. Experts come in to deal with a variety of topics, such as where to stand in a classroom, how to manage hall passes and how to ask questions that encourage participation. The teachers are paid for the time they take to participate.
The meetings introduce teachers not only to best practices in the classroom, but also to each other. It helps them find other people to eat lunch with.
During the school year, institute members get together once a month for an open discussion of issues. (They call it the OK Corral.)
“It keeps provisional teachers, and those new to the building, up-to-speed on what is happening,” Hunter said. “We also have a little workshop on a teaching strategy. Jim pays for refreshments and makes sure we have administrative support. This helps teachers feel like they are in the loop.”
Hunter also goes into the classrooms to observe teachers. She then makes an appointment with them to evaluate what she saw. “I send Jim a report and he follows up on any problem areas, or commends those who are doing well.”
Birch said the observations work well because Hunter is a respected teacher but not an administrator. Teachers can learn from her without feeling like they’re in trouble.
Teachers also have the opportunity to go observe in other schools. “They always come back with ideas,” Hunter said. “Jim pays for the substitutes and encourages the reluctant to participate.”
These steps toward mentorship got the school off to a good start. “We did this the very first year we opened,” Hunter said. “Our teachers were friends. They looked out for one another. We also had teachers who started out as weak or lacking skills that have been nurtured along because they were willing to take advantage of what we have to offer.”
These steps toward mentorship got the school off to a good start. “We did this the very first year we opened,” Hunter said. “Our teachers were friends. They looked out for one another. We also had teachers who started out as weak or lacking skills that have been nurtured along because they were willing to take advantage of what we have to offer.”
Birch said he wants to give young teachers - and all teachers - a kinder, more inclusive experience.
“Being a consensus-builder is something that I’ve learned to do well,” he said. “When you don’t include all of your school community, you might as well get involved in a land war in southeast Asia.”
Spotlight Courtesy of Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services Blog.

Marcie Cancio

From a very young age, Marcie Young Cancio knew she wanted to be a journalist. She had been a part of her school newspapers since elementary school and knew that when it came time to attend college, she wanted to continue working as a journalist. As a Utah State alumna, Marcie’s mom invited her to tour USU during her senior year of high school. Her interests in journalism lead her to a meeting with journalism professor Dr. Ted Pease to gain a sense of the program at USU. 

He was on his way out for the weekend but stayed for well over an hour to talk with me about the communications and journalism programs,” Marcie recalls. “I knew the JCOM department was the right fit immediately, and from that moment on I had a mentor I still stay in touch with today and consider a friend.”  

This meeting with Dr. Pease was only the beginning of Marcie’s rise toward an impressive career in journalism and marketing. While attending Utah State she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in communications with in emphasis in print journalism and a minor in English.

Marcie also took full advantage of her time at university and created an eclectic educational experience including becoming an exchange student and studying abroad.

I spent my sophomore year on a national student exchange program at the University of Maryland, where I was able to work as a press intern with a U.S. Senator in Washington, D.C. and experience living outside of Utah for the first time.”  During her time in Maryland, Marcie also worked for the University of Maryland college paper, The Diamondback.

After experiencing life outside of Logan, her thirst for new experiences led her to spend her junior year studying in the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands on an international exchange program. As a senior she jumped back into life in Logan as a dedicated Aggie, now with a wide range of unique adventures under her belt. 
Marcie also became engaged in activities at USU during her freshman and sophomore years. She began as a staff writer at the Statesman and then worked as the features editor and the world editor her senior year. In between studying outside of Utah and internationally Marcie worked as a lifeguard at the HPER and was part of the Catholic Church’s Newman Center. 

After her graduation in 2002, she moved back to Washington D.C. and worked at a large national law firm. This first out-of-college experience allowed her to combine her communications degree with her interests in Law. After her experience in the nation’s capital she determined to take advantage of the freedom that came from being in her 20’s. She moved to New York City and worked hard to establish herself as a journalist in the Big Apple.  

“I received my master’s in journalism from Columbia University and began a career in journalism, working for The Charlotte Observer and the New York Post and business/trade magazines with Conde Nast.” 

Her work with Conde Nast lead her to return to her native Utah to work as the managing editor and later editor-in-chief of Salt Lake magazine. In 2013 she stepped into a new career in marketing communications with the Economic Development Corporation of Utah where she worked as Senior Marketing Manager. Her career in journalism and communications has lead her back to her roots in Utah but with an impressive resume of accomplishments that encompasses her work on the East Coast and her experience studying in Europe.

Many Utah State Students may find her variety of experiences an inspiring starting point for their own careers in journalism. Her advice to them is to, “experience as many new things as possible and be open-minded to whatever professional opportunities come your way. Enjoy your college years and realize this time is paving the way for who you will become both personally and professionally.” 

During her career as a communications guru, Marcie is also taking advantage of leadership opportunities as a member of the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of Utah. She currently lives with her husband, new born baby boy and dog in downtown Salt Lake City.





December 2013 Spotlight 

Brandi Cook
by Liz Wilson

The Caine College of the Arts has helped hundreds of students make major contributions to the arts. Brandi Cook is one of these accomplished alumni. Her parents, who hail from Logan, were her inspiration to attend Utah State University. The outstanding music program was also an incentive for her to stay in Logan for her college years. Brandi majored in Choral Music Education and became certified to teach choir in grades 6-12.

“I knew at 15 that I wanted to be a choir teacher.  I remember sitting down with my teacher telling her I wanted to take her job when she retired,” said Brandi. Her ambition for teaching music was realized as she studied hard and became involved in many aspects of the Caine College of the Arts.

While attending USU I was in President's leadership council on a full tuition scholarship.  I sang in choir, played the piano for jazz band and taught piano lessons for the youth conservatory.  I also danced on several clogging teams in Clearfield one night a week.  My junior year I took over a clogging studio as a teacher and studio owner.  The hours in the day don't add up but somehow I did it!  As a music major there were also many hours of practice and rehearsing.”

By becoming involved in extra clubs and organizations, Brandi was able to follow several of her interests at once and learn valuable time management skills.

“I developed good skills at USU.  I had great professors.  i learned to juggle a lot, something that doesn’t ever change as a choir director, wife and mother of 3 boys.”  

With the aid of great teachers and mentors, Brandi has succeeded in paving a career in music education for almost a decade.

“I loved my professors.  I learned so much from the choral/music education department and piano department.” Said Brandi, “I loved taking music education classes from Todd Fallis, who was also my jazz band director.  Lane Cheney…taught me a lot of things, most of all pacing and that listening was so important. Cory Evans has been a great mentor to me since I have been teaching. I am now starting my 10th year at Kuna High School.  In those 10 years, I have been able to grow with my students to be a confident director.  I have 6 choirs and a thriving program.”

Brandi lives with her husband and three sons in Idaho.

2013 Nobel Prize Winner is a Utah State University Alum

by Mary-Ann Muffoletto and Maren Cartwright

Utah State University alum Lars Peter Hansen is one of three Americans named a recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economics.

Hansen is internationally known for his specialization in economic dynamics, using statistical methods applied to study linkages between financial markets and the macroeconomy. Since joining the University of Chicago in 1981, Hansen is now the David Rockefeller Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and Statistics and is the inaugural research director for the Becker-Friedman Institute. He was named a Nobel Economics Laureate alongside Eugene Fama, also of the University of Chicago, and Robert Shiller of Yale University.

According to the Nobel committee, Hansen, Fama and Shiller’s work “laid the foundation for the current understanding of asset prices” and sounded warnings for the most recent turn-of-the-century’s and housing bubbles.

“First and foremost our congratulations go to Lars,” said USU President Stan L. Albrecht. “We are delighted he has received such a distinguished honor. Lars is a world-renowned researcher and scholar, obviously, but the USU community also gets to remember him as an exceptional undergraduate student who always was destined for success.”

Aspen Gorry, a current USU professor of economics, attended graduate school at the University of Chicago and took classes from Hansen. Gorry said Hansen’s class was the most challenging course he took during his first-year as a doctoral student because it dealt with material from a very high theoretical level.

“Dr. Hansen is a leader in his field,” Gorry said. “His methodology and statistical models are used by economists to understand asset prices. More simply, his models are used to help economists understand how investors behave in economic uncertainty.”

Hansen earned bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and political science and a minor in economics from USU in 1974. He is son of the late R. Gaurth Hansen, renowned biochemist and former USU provost, and longtime USU supporter Anna Lou Rees Hansen, who resides in St. George, Utah.

Hansen, who received an honorary doctorate from USU in 2012, fondly remembers his Aggie studies.

“My years at USU were very important to my development as a scholar,” he said. “I remember well the influences of my professors Mike Windham in mathematics, Bartell Jensen and Mike Lyons in economics and Doug Alder in history.”

Hansen says Windham’s classes gave him “a great perspective on mathematics.” He credits Jensen and Lyons with preparing him to pursue graduate studies in a top economics program at the University of Minnesota, where Hansen completed a doctorate in 1978
Perhaps the most prescient advice came from his history professor.

“Dr. Alder told me ‘Do something special and don’t just imitate others,'” Hansen recalls.

Jensen, a USU emeriti professor of economics and mathematics, taught Hansen as an undergraduate. Reflecting on Hansen’s days as a student, Jensen said he was a delight and that he was a rare and stunning intellectual.

“I am very proud of Lars,” said Jensen. “His career has blossomed, but he hasn’t let it go to his head. He is an exceptionally humble and personable individual.”

Bill Furlong, professor of political science in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences recalls Hansen as “a gem of a student.”

“He’d sometimes challenge his professors and faculty members,” Furlong said. “He’d really make us think about our positions and I always really appreciated having him in my class.” 

As a student at USU, Hansen worked as a research assistant for former USU political science professor and well-known pollster Dan Jones, alongside fellow political science major Randy Simmons. Simmons, who is currently the USU Charles G. Koch Professor of Political Economy, said that Hansen’s Nobel recognition was not a surprise.

“Lars is a brilliant individual and he has been listed as one of the most influential people in the field of economics for years,” Simmons said.

In 2009, USU’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business honored Hansen with a Professional Achievement Award, given by the school to recognize individuals who achieve extraordinary success in their careers and demonstrate uncommon leadership in their communities.

Huntsman School of Business dean Douglas Anderson is a former classmate of Hansen.

“Lars is one of the deepest thinkers I have ever met,” said Anderson. “He was genuinely curious about the way the world works, and not satisfied with simple-minded answers.”

Hansen’s professional achievements are many. He is a 2011 recipient of the Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Economics, Finance and Management and a 2008 recipient of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group-Mathematical Sciences Research Institute Prize in Innovative Quantitative Applications.

“We are excited that Lars has received this well-deserved recognition,” said James MacMahon, dean of USU’s College of Science, which houses the university’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics. “We’ve followed his many accomplishments through the years and appreciated his faithful support of his alma mater.”

 Hansen is a member of the National Academy of Science and American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the Econometric Society and a fellow of the American Finance Association. He is a former John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow and a Sloan Foundation Fellow.

Hansen received the 2006 Erwin Plein Nemmers Prize in Economics from Northwestern University, a 1998 UChicago Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and, in 1984, was co-winner of the Frisch Medal from the Econometric Society.

He and his wife, Dr. Grace Tsiang, are the parents of a son, Peter.

October 2013 Alumni Spotlight

Lawrence Kingsley
By Liz Wilson

Lawrence S. Kingsley, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is the Director of Logistics, Installations and Mission Support at Air Force Global Strike Command Headquarters in Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. If this title isnt impressive enough, his resume of 30 years of military service and work is.
Mr. Kingsley has achieved this impressive position after years of hard work built on a foundation of academic excellence. In 1977 he graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from Utah State University.
I transferred to Utah State in 1974 for less than scholarly reasons. I had attended a private aeronautical school in Florida, Embry-Riddle. I transferred to Utah State with an Air Force ROTC scholarship because it was a wonderful part of the country and a great campus with a robust and well-respected academic reputation.
After attending Utah State, Mr. Kingsley went on to Masters program Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg. He earned his second degree in Political Science in 1983.
Between his times at university Mr. Kingsley began his career with the United States Air Force. In 1978 he started as a Minuteman II combat crew member at Whiteman Air Force Base, in Missouri. Throughout his military career Mr. Kingsley served in ten major commands. He has held positions in missile operations, aircraft maintenance, munitions, logistics plans, and installation support and supply chain management.
While on active duty, Mr. Kingsley had the distinction of being a commander of six different training, logistics and maintenance units. Prior to his current assignment, he was the Deputy Director of Logistics, Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.
Throughout his various experiences in leading, Mr. Kingsley has become an expert in determining what skills are most necessary to be successful.
The biggest mistake a student can make upon graduation is to say, "I'm glad that's over. Now I'm in the real world and won't be doing this anymore." The personal skills they have garnered for themselves with all that hard work is their most valuable legacy and its value can't be discounted--just wasted.” 
Mr. Kingsley is an excellent example of making the most of his education. He continued his schooling beyond a bachelors degree. "I earned an MBA from BYU when I was 50 years-old. (One more opportunity to learn how much I really don't know!)"

He attributes some of  his success to his supportive family.
I've been married to same patient woman, Cynthia B Kingsley for almost 35 years. We have been blessed with ten children, one of whom--Andrew Kingsley--recently graduated from USU with a degree in accounting. You can tell from the biography that our family has lived across the United States and overseas, with our tenth child being born in Turkey. It continues to be grand adventure with still more ahead."

Alumni Spotlight- David Salisbury

David Salisbury is a Utah State alumnus who attended USU on a track and field scholarship, graduating in 1976 with a degree in Electrical Engineering.

"When I was offered a track and field scholarship at USU I didn't pause even a second to accept. I enjoyed my time with the team and that contributed to a most memorable overall experience."

Being part of the track team helped David balance his studies and also helped him learn the value of dedication and hard work.

"The most important lesson coming from my experience at USU is that your education is only the starting gate. After that it's about hard work, continuing to learn, and living consistent with your personal values. USU confirmed my set of values and that allowed me to build on a solid foundation and allowed me to deliver results consistently better than most."

With a good work ethic and a scholarship to USU, David began his college career with a desire to study electrical engineering. His family helped inspire him to work in the field of engineering.

"My Uncle graduated from USU shortly after WWII and he worked in the space industry. I was intrigued by his work and stories of his work on satellites and other space programs during our country's mission to reach the moon. I made the decision to follow his path and become an Electrical Engineer. Ironically, I didn't get into the space industry, but started working in the mining industry. I went underground, literally."

After he graduated with his bachelor's degree from Utah State he went on to earn an M.B.A. in International Business from the University of South Carolina. Both his degrees helped aid him in his long career both domestically and internationally.

Most recently David served as President and CEP of Resolution Copper Mining in Superior, Arizona, a Rio Tinto Group company. During his time there he worked closely with Senator John McCain on legislation to complete a large land exchange by the company and the Federal government.

Earlier in his career, he was Managing Director of the largest uranium mine in the world, located in Namibia. During his time working abroad and in the United States, David has used his engineering and business degrees to their fullest extent. Seventeen years of his career were spent with Rio Tinto in a senior or executive management role.

After 35 years in the mining industry, he took the opportunity to retire early in March of 2011. In January of 2012, David was named Chairman of the Board of Directors of Passport Potash, Inc., a Toronto Stock Exchange listed company that is developing a Potash mine near Holbrook, Arizona.

"One of my retirement goals is to share my experience with smaller companies that are committed to building quality businesses. This new role allows me to reach my goal. I also serve as Vice Chairman on the Board of Directors at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, Az."

In addition to passing on his professional knowledge, David made an effort to give back to his community as well. While living in Superior, Arizona he won an award on behalf of Resolution Copper Mine for their work with the Superior Substance Abuse Coalition. This organization was created in November 2006 as a grassroots effort to collaborate with the different sectors in the community of Superior to create a safe and drug-free community.

"It was basically my decision to involve our company in the Superior Substance Abuse Coalition. We wanted to make sure the kids had a fighting chance."

Now, David and his wife Roxanne have chosen to return here to Cache Valley to retire. "It was the best place we had ever experienced in our well-traveled career. We are delighted to be back in Cache Valley and in easy reach of USU and the many benefits it has to offer."
David is also a Lifetime member of the USU Alumni Association.





Alumni Spotlight- The Clark Family

by Liz Wilson


The Clark family of Morgan Utah has a legacy of attending Utah State University that goes back more than 50 years. Brent Clark and his wife Cindy have raised their children to love Utah State and continue the family tradition.   The six Clark children all attend or have graduated from Utah State.  This most recent generation of Aggies has studied everything from Agriculture to Animal Science and Dietetics.  For most of the Clark’s, attending Utah State was an easy decision.

“It has become a family tradition and I had heard nothing but good things about the school,” said daughter Rashel Clark.

Josephine Daines Clark
This Clark family tradition dates back to the early 20th century. Their great-grandmother, Josephine Stock, graduated from USU with a degree in home economics in 1923. Her daughter, Josephine Daines Clark, was the second generation to graduate from USU in 1949. Soon, the Clark family would have more than ten alumni to their name. Nine of the ten children of Josephine Daines Clark and Rich Clark graduated as Aggies. Since then, Logan, Utah has continued to be a place that the Clark family calls home during their college years. 

Brent and Cindy Clark have sent all of their six children to Utah State, after Brent became an alumnus himself. He graduated from USU in 1981 with a degree in Production Management from the Huntsman School of Business. During the 2012-2013 school year all 6 of the Clark children were registered for classes at USU at the same time.
Jessica Clark is currently attending USU as a Family and Consumer Science Education, major. She credits her family history for encouraging her to attend USU. 
Jessica Clark

“I chose to come to Utah State because it was a family school.  My Grandma and Dad both graduated from USU and my three older siblings were currently attending, and whenever they came home for the weekend they always talked about the fun times they had.  I wanted to continue following in the family tradition.”

It was more than family tradition that lured some of her siblings to study in Logan. Aggies sports also played a role in keeping the Clark family at USU. Jason Clark remembers when his decision was between whether to finish school at Snow College or come to USU.

Jason Clark
“Initially I thought I would just go back to Snow College but after talking to my older brother I felt it was right to come join him, my sister, and a few of my cousins up here at Utah State.  It took a little while to get used to the cold and meet some people. One night, my brother convinced to take a break from studying and go to an Aggie basketball game with him.  After that I was hooked to Utah State and Aggie basketball and have been to every Aggie game possible.”

Aggie sports as well as the many campus clubs and activities have all helped enrich the college experience of the Clark family. Current student, Rashel Clark is presently in the presidency of the Student Dietetics Association and also participates with the Aggie Health Club. Her interest in Dietetics was heightened by participating in these USU organizations. “I loved the idea of having a career in promoting nutrition and good health to the general public.  I think that I have found success in my educational pursuits because I was able to find a subject that I love and have turned it into a career opportunity,” said Rashel.

She attributes her successful educational experience to her choice of programs as well as the support of her family. The Clark family’s business also helped to propel some of them into their chosen fields. Chris Clark earned a bachelor’s degree with a dual major in Agribusiness and Agricultural Systems Technology with minors in Animal Science and Agronomy in 2008. He traced his love of agriculture back to his work on the family farm.

Chris Clark

“I grew up on a dairy farm in Morgan, Utah.  I grew to love the farm life even with the long hours of hard work and early mornings milking.  It has lots of difficulties, but is very rewarding.  I felt agriculture was how I could best serve the world.  I couldn’t settle on one area, so I chose to study a little bit of everything.”

Chris is currently attending USU again to earn a degree in electrical engineering.

The Clark family has continued to leave a legacy of service as well as academic excellence at Utah State. Recent graduate Jason Clark also went into the field of agriculture and was awarded for his academic excellence by being chosen as the Valedictorian for the College of Agriculture when he graduated in 2011.     

“I was super nervous the day of, but it was so fun to lead my college into the Spectrum and sit in the front with Ralph Whiteside, the professor I chose to sit with me, and then it was fun to give a speech.  Then I got to do the same thing again at my college’s graduation which was followed by aggie ice cream and talking with friends, professors, and family. It was an awesome day!”

While the Clark family has definitely continued to leave their mark on Aggie history, Utah State faculty and staff have helped to leave their family with a solid educational foundation and a great experience in return.

“I came across many professors who really had a heart of a teacher.  I believe that teaching is a much higher calling than a just a professor.  I could name many such as Paul Grossl, Ralph Whitesides, Bruce Miller, Bruce Godfrey and others.  What sets them apart is that they care about the students and their success.  They aren’t there to fulfill an assignment and sort their students into grades.  They go through a lot of effort to take their students through the steps that lead to understanding their subject and set them up for success.”
Andrea Clark found her calling in the field of Agriculture education. She graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Agricultural Education and will graduate this summer with a Masters in Agricultural Systems Technology & Education. 

I chose to study Agricultural Education because I love agriculture in general and the FFA program made a big difference in my life.  I wanted to continue playing a part in the legacy of agriculture education.  I have been teaching for four years and absolutely love my job and credit great professors at USU for preparing me for a fantastic career where I rarely feel like I'm going to work”.

The Clark Family continues to leave a legacy at Utah State, of which they can be proud of. To date, 18 members of the Josephine & Rich Clark family have graduated from USU and two more are currently attending.


Alumni Spotlight - Bryan Bostick

by Liz Wilson

Bryan Bostick

Summer is here and you may be looking for things to keep your little Aggies entertained this season. If you're looking for books to add to your summer reading list why not add a book written by a fellow Aggie? Huber Hill and the Brotherhood of Coronado.

Alumnus Bryan Bostick is a children's author whose book series may just be the thing to keep your kids entertained this summer. Bryan graduated from the University of Utah with his bachelors and went on to earn a master's degree in Psychology from Utah State in 2007. During High School, it was his experience at a USU extension campus that led him to earn a degree from USU. "I went to Union High School in Roosevelt, Utah. Next door to the school was the USU extension. It was there, through concurrent enrollment, I became familiar with many outstanding mentors and faculty members.

It was because of this positive experience that I returned to Utah State to complete my master's degree." Bryan completed his degree by attending the USU branch in Kaysville This allowed him to take classes without relocating and made it possible for him to continue working full time.

"My overall experience at USU was challenging, invigorating, and quite frankly fun! In addition to learning and growing academically, I made some great friends and life-long associations." One those associates was Dr. Caroline Barcus.

"The first night I met Dr. Caroline Barcus for my group counseling class I was terrified and thought there was no way I would survive the term! Over the ensuing weeks, I realized my initial thoughts were unfounded. Dr. Barcus stands out as one of the most memorable teachers I've had. She had a way of digging down deep and eliciting genuine responses from her students. In other words, you couldn't hide. She caused me to truly think about myself in a new light and face some of my own biases I didn't even know were there. I had to miss "The Office" on Thursday nights to attend her class, but it was well worth it."

Bryan says that earning his degree helped him learn the patience, work ethic and writing skills that are essential to him as an author.

A volunteer opportunity with the Boys and Girls Club of America is what inspired Bryan to work with children.
"It didn't' take me long to realize I loved working with and teaching youth. I worked as an elementary school teacher for a few years and seeing many of the tough issues kids deal with, I decided to work with kids on a more individualized basis through school counseling. USU provided the perfect program, at the perfect place, at the perfect time."

You may be wondering how a Psychology student becomes a successful children's author. Writing was something Bryan always had a passion for, and working as a child psychologist was a great way to work with kids on another level. While working as a teacher and later a school counselor, Brian continued to write on the side. "Our day jobs provide us with the means to pursue our dreams and are a gold mine of potential writing material," Bryan explained.

 What advice would he give to aspiring writers?

"The publishing industry is a tough nut to crack. It takes most writers many years to get their foot in the door. My main advice is to continue to hone your skills, improve yourself through education, and allow others to see your writing. With enough time, patience, and work, you'll catch a break. Don't give up!"

In addition to being a writer, Bryan is also a husband and father of two. His favorite flavor of ice cream is Aggie Bull Tracks.

Bryan's latest book, Huber Hill and the Brotherhood of Coronado was released in the fall of 2012. In conjunction with the book launch, a portion of proceeds went to North Davis Prep Academy, the school where Bryan worked as a teacher and counselor. He is currently working on the third and final book of the Huber Hill series. 

To learn more about his books visit his website

And check out the video trailer for  his book series!


Alumni Spotlight - Winward Family

by Liz Wilson, Published April 2013

Aggie Pride runs deep in the Winward family of Willard, Utah. Mom, Kali, and husband, Levi, both attended Utah State. Levi graduated in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in biovetrinary science. "My husband got accepted to BYU and USU and he just didn't like Provo," said Kali, "We love Cache Valley!"
Kali and Levi were more than happy to pass on their Aggie Pride to their kids, Tanna and Tayton. Seven-year-old Tayton has been a fan of Aggie sports since before he could cheer.
The Winward family has been through a lot this last year and young Tayton has turned to his Aggie pride to give him something to smile about.
In November of 2012 Tayton was involved in an accident that caused burns on his body as well as upper airway. With his injuries in his airways, he is prone to infection and can easily get ill. His road to recovery is ongoing but his love for Utah State is one thing that has helped him keep moving along.

Before leaving the hospital on Christmas day 2012, Tayton wanted to pay a special tribute to USU. His injuries require him to wear burn gloves, and he requested that he get a pair in his favorite colors, Aggie blue and white. Throughout his recovery process, family and friends have been supportive of the Winward family through fundraisers and other projects. When the Winward family entered Tayton in a photo contest, his family across the country asked people to vote for him. "It was so cute! My little nieces and nephews in Texas were passing out flyers," said Kali. Due to Tayton's dedicated fans, he won the photo contest.
In addition to helping him win a photo contest, many other groups have tried to help the Winwards. At the end of March, Tayton was chosen to be the recipient of the Todd Morrison Alumni Tournament. Each year, alumni of Box Elder High School hold a basketball tournament to raise money to help children from Box Elder School District who have experienced misfortune.  

The Tournament was one way community members in Northern Utah have banded together to help Tayton and his family. Many other individuals and groups have also helped the Winward family. "I just don't think I could ever get through this without the support that we have," Kali said, "They're having a fundraiser for us this weekend. It's just sweet how everybody is concerned over him; I never thought a little boy could do so much."
In addition to fundraisers, members of "Team Tayton" also organized a visit from his favorite mascot, Big Blue. After all he has been through Tayton has still made time to root for his Aggies declaring,  "I'm the biggest Aggie fan there is!" 

The Winwards have tried to take Tayton to as many Aggie games as his health allows. They hope that soon they will be able to take Tayton back to school and to every Aggie game.


Throughout his surgeries and medical visits the Winward's came up with the perfect mantra to keep Tayton motivated, "I believe that we will win!"
To learn more about the Winward family visit their blog.

USU Alumni Spotlight - Jennifer Griffiths

by Liz Wilson, Published March 2013

“USU was a great place to learn- not just academics, but sound skills and life skills. It was a great place to transition from kid to adult.”

 Jennifer Griffith isn’t the first Aggie to agree that Utah State is a great place to get a head start in life. The transition from kid to adult is taken on by thousands of Aggies each year. And most would agree that the skills they learned in Logan have served them better than they could have imagined.

Jennifer came to Utah State following in the footsteps of both her parents and grandparents. Her parents, Bill and Tina Stewart, each graduated from Utah State with degrees in English in 1968.  Even her grandparents were Utah State Alumni Boyd Stewart graduated in 1941 and his wife, Sybil, graduated in 1942.  Jennifer’s five siblings all graduated from Utah State as well, making her attendance part of a family tradition.  Her decision to graduate with a degree in English was also made as a result of her family’s influence.

 “Both my parents graduated with English degrees from USU in 1968. They became teachers. I enrolled at USU with an open mind but found myself drawn to the English department again and again. Great professors with big ideas and challenging subject matter pulled me in,” said Jennifer.

The English Department at USU helped give Jennifer the tools to become successful both before and after graduation.  While completing her degree, she was part of the first class of Rhetoric Associates, a peer review group organized by Dr. Joyce Kinkead, a professor in the department of English.  “Although I did other things, this job prepared me most to be a writer, to look at writing critically, and to help improve my own and others writing.”

 Jennifer graduated in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science degree in English and a Technical Writing emphasis, minoring in Japanese.  She then went on to work in politics for five years thanks to an internship she did with the help of the Political Science department. 

 “After my marriage when my family began, my writing degree’s usefulness really kicked in. My husband’s encouragement and support in pursuing becoming a novelist combined with my training from Utah State to help push my success forward,” said Jennifer.  

Her most recent novel, Big in Japan was released in July of 2012 through the publishing house run by fellow Aggie Christopher Loke. Jolly Fish Press is a new publishing house out of Provo which is run by the former Aggie. “I believe he received a degree in Journalism from Utah State before going to work for Penguin books,” said Jennifer. “He’s stuck out on his own now, and I’m the lucky beneficiary of his entrepreneurship.” 

Since 2004 Jennifer has had 4 novels published  and is working on another. She continues writing to ensure her skills learned at USU never go unused.  She advises fellow writers to “learn all you can about writing-through classes, self-study, workshops, a critique group, and effort. Keep writing every day, try to improve on one skill every month and never give up- even when rejections roll in.”

While Jennifer continues to put pen to paper, her family comes first.

 “I’m a full time mother of five, running the household and managing the chaos. In between those duties, I’m a novelist.” 

She currently lives in Arizona with her family.  
 To learn more about her work visit

USU Alumni Spotlight- Sally Rydalch

by Liz Wilson

Sally Rydalch is a mother, wife, artist, and the Caine College of the Arts newest Valedictorian. Her husband can describe her in one word. Awesome. Sally describes herself as antsy and crazy. This year she earned the spot of valedictorian and has since gone on to pursue a variety of artistic endeavors.

 Greeting Dawn

Sally had been out of school for 27 years when she decided to take the plunge back into academia.

"I had previously visited the campus, and enjoyed the atmosphere. My daughter, who was also commuting to USU invited me to come be an Aggie with her!"

And so two generations of Aggies attended Utah State at the same time. As a non-traditional student, Sally was curious to see how the University and the students would accommodate her. 

The professors and personnel were very accepting and encouraging, helping me whenever I needed it. I was a bit worried about the students reaction, and if I would be looking for other people in my situation. That wasn't a problem at all - students of all ages and backgrounds seemed very accepting and friendly. I would say not only did the school work well with me; but giving advice on how to approach finances and course work, but the other student were also helpful and great to study with - they made it fun!

Sally graduated this year with her bachelor's degree in Fine Arts with an Emphasis in Drawing and Painting and an English Minor. Although she lives in Roy, Utah, she commuted to the Brigham City campus for General Education and English classes, and then to Logan for art related classes. 

"I’ve been doing art for years but felt there were huge gaps in my knowledge and ability. I studied English because I also enjoy writing."

In addition to studying in Utah, Sally was able to spend four weeks in Germany developing art projects in the inspiring landscapes Europe.

 "I learned to be comfortable sitting on the sidewalk to paint. One of my favorite food related memories was buying a Bratvurst at a German train station for a few Euros and finding it to be nearly a foot long!"

"Laundry Day" by Sally Rydalch, watercolor and ink.
German Study Abroad Students Present 'Sketches from the Ruhr'

While going to school, Sally interned at the Museum of Anthropology and set up a Navajo Weaving Exhibit. She also won the 54th Robin’s award for Talent of the Year. Since graduating, Sally’s art work has been exhibited in Café Ibis in Logan Utah.

Photos from her display in Café Ibis

When asked where she preferred to study on campus Sally said she has found there are lots of places that inspire her.

" As an artist the best place to do homework was any little corner or patch of lawn that inspired me – seldom the same place twice. I studied best at home with no distractions (although the chaos of scattering on the floor in the hall to quiz each other before an art history test was great!)"
Sally attributes her academic success to more than a few USU professors. 

"I learned something from every professor or instructor I had, in every department, and loved the variety of challenges they provided. Each of the Art Professors gave me another building block that I will continue to use – Professors Chris Terry, Jane Catlin, Woody Shepherd, Carolyn Cardenas and Shane Larson gave me unique opportunities and encouraged skills. I was especially drawn to Professor Kathy Puzey and Abe McCowan in Printmaking, who gave me a new outlet for my creativity."

Sally Ryldach is a unique example of how following your passions, no matter how long you’ve been out of school, can inspire others. 

"For other adults who are considering going back to get their degree? Do it! If you’re worried about coursework don’t stress - your brain will get back into study mode after a few weeks, just start slow if you need to. Carve out the time and get help with funding so you can be a part of the university environment. The students at Utah State are vibrant, friendly and energetic. Look for ways to participate beyond the classroom and you’ll find some amazing opportunities."

When she’s not painting or printmaking Sally enjoys reading. If left alone in a bookstore there is no telling where she will go:

"That depends on the time of day, the fluctuation of my social barometer, and how well my corn flakes digested that morning! (I could be anywhere!) Most often I can be found in the Art section, but it isn’t surprising to find me fingering through mysteries, children’s books, Young Adult Novels, and anything in the Clearance bin".

Sally at Market

Sally, herself, may be wearing the hat of an author soon. In addition to searching out galleries to feature her artwork, she is also looking to publish several children’s books she has written. To see more of her work visit  She and her family live in Roy, Utah




USU Alumni Spotlight - Travis Hess

by Liz Wilson

Travis HessTravis Hess is a Utah State graduate and an unconventional student. He never took a class in Logan, Utah. He graduated from the College of Eastern Utah, which is now an extension of Utah State University, in 2008. USU Eastern, as it is also known, is located in Price, Utah and provides many of its students with the opportunity to stay closer to jobs and family while still getting a degree from Utah State.
Travis took advantage of this opportunity, citing the fact that he didn't have to move to Logan as one of the benefits. When he moved to Salt Lake City, he continued taking classes through the Distance Education Program. 

 "I really admired that about [the university]. It might be a small town in the middle of nowhere, but I can still get my degree from Utah State," Travis said.

On his way to earning a college degree, Travis faced come challenges that few people have. But it was not his challenges that made him unique; it was his reaction to them.
Travis and his family have battled with cancer many times. Three out of five of his children have battled cancer at a young age, and his daughter Alexis passed away from cancer at the age of three. Not only that, he also lost his father and his brother to cancer. Personally, Travis has been diagnosed with at least four different kinds of cancer over the course of his life. The Hess families' battle with cancer has had a major impact on all of their lives for both good and bad.
When Travis lost his daughter to cancer he was unable to cover the funeral costs. An anonymous donor gave his family $1,000 to help pay for her funeral. This one act of kindness not only helped his family in a time of need, it also inspired Travis to make a difference in the lives of others.
After that gift was received, Travis got the idea to help other families who were impacted by the death of a child to cancer. He knew his could not be the only family who would not be able to afford the funeral bills. In 2005 the Hess Cancer foundation was formed. Travis said the first year was very successful. "We had a family from Cambodia whose son had died. We raised $1,000 for them, the first year."
Since that time Travis's foundation has helped 22 other families. Now what does a cancer foundation have to do with Travis competing in triathlons?

"The guy that set up the foundation really likes triathlons," Travis joked. "When I set it up I thought if I found a triathlon that would donate some money then we would be all set." So Travis and his team began looking for sponsors to donate money to his foundation. Travis has been competing in Triathlons for the past nine years, and has been sponsored by Aquaphor for the last five years.
TriUtah is a triathlon organization here in Utah that has helped Travis along the way. "I asked them if we could somehow have them donate some money. They said if you could get some volunteers for our race then we could donate some money. We asked Weber State to help and they got 75 volunteers to come run the race. We raised $2,500-$3,000 from that race."
Travis is currently trying to enter the Ironman Triathlon World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. This championship race is a fantastic way for him to do something he loves and to spread the word about his cancer foundation. There are only two ways that he can participate. First, if he qualifies. "I don't know that I ever would," Travis admits. Second, he can be voted in through the Kona Inspired Competition, which allows athletes to share their stories online, and lets the public vote for six additional people who will be added to the competition.
This is where our USU alumni can help. Travis is asking for your vote. His participation in the race will not only fulfill a lifelong dream of his, it can help raise awareness for the Hess Cancer Foundation and help families in need. To learn more visit
Travis is a great example of how hard work and a positive attitude can help overcome any obstacles. He believes that health and fitness can help battle cancer and he runs triathlons to prove it.

 "This is not something I did by myself. I had so much support from so many different people and places. The first one is my wife. She has been such an important support to me emotionally, spiritually, physically. My job has supported me. People who come to our events, who volunteer. This is more than just what one person is doing. I hope that I can be a good influence on these people. But they are also a good influence on me."

Travis lives with his family in Lehi, Utah.
Vote for Travis Hess at

USU Alumni Spotlight - Ashley Murray

by Liz Wilson

Ashley MurrayUtah State's Alumni Association is an organization that enhances the experience of every Aggie, both during college and after. Since graduating, Ashley Murray has become one of the newest members of the Alumni Association. As a Sustaining Member, she has been able to discover the many benefits offered to her; benefits like networking opportunities and career counseling services. As a PR professional, Ashley said she understands how important networking with fellow Alumni can be.
As a hard working undergraduate, Ashley made the most of her on campus connections. "I was actively involved in PRSSA, campus events, SOAR, LDSSA, and the Cache County American Red Cross," said Ashley. While participating in all these organizations, Ashley somehow found time to get her degree in Journalism, with an emphasis in Public Relations and a minor in Organizational Communications. Despite her current love for the field of Public Relations, Ashley wasn't always aware of it. She originally came to Utah State to be a part of the great Elementary Education Program, But after a few semesters Ashley realized that teaching wasn't exactly what she was looking for.
Ashley explained, "After exploring other degrees and departments, I stumbled upon JCOM and was intrigued to learn more about PR. I felt extremely drawn to the high level of opportunity and growth offered within this profession." Once she had decided on a program, Ashley received help from faculty and staff to understand the world of journalism and PR outside the classroom. "Troy Oldham had a great impact on me as a professor, explained Ashley, "I truly valued his career and life experiences in PR and Marketing. He was instrumental in connecting our textbook studies to real life examples."
After discovering a passion for PR, Ashley took her degree and ran with it. 
 "I'm addicted to everything about Public Relations and the challenges it sets for those within its career boundaries," said Ashley

All aspects of the field of PR are now open for Ashley to try. Throughout her career she has worked in almost every vein of public relations. Some of her past work experiences include; working for a national marketing agency, large scale event planning, developing programs internationally and crisis communications for various clients.
Through a whole host of career experiences Ashley has truly become a master in her field. She is a shining example that some people do find a job they truly love. While Ashley is a fairly recent graduate, she learned quickly that she could not stop learning once she left school. She advised fellow Aggies that,  
"For success in any career, it is extremely valuable to continually learn and be up-to-date on current career practices and industry insights."
Today PR relies on networking through online mediums. Ashley explained that she graduated in 2006, before technology swept the field of public relations. Ashley was forced to learn how to effectively use these mediums without the help of college courses or textbooks. This shift in PR caused Ashley to take advantage of the learning skills she had developed at USU during this on the job training. 

"It's funny to think that my college career was before Facebook, Twitter, Skype and LinkedIn," Ashley said. "Now social media is such a vital tool in daily communication between organizations and the general public that businesses can no longer afford to neglect its influence."
The influence of LinkedIn, Facebook and other social sites has recently become part of Utah State and the Alumni Association as well. In taking a page out of the PR handbook, Ashley's connection to the Alumni Association can now extend to Twitter, LinkedIn and beyond. To become an expert in the world of networking and social media Ashley reveals that you don't have to have a PR degree. She and her fellow Aggies can follow the Alumni Association on Twitter or Facebook and many more social sites.

The Alumni Association at USU continually tries to adapt and improve along with technology. Ashley Murray is a great example of an Aggie who knows how to learn what she needs to get ahead. As she said, "learning does not end at graduation, but only begins." Ashley is continuing to learn as she is pursuing further opportunities in the world of PR. She currently lives in Bountiful, Utah.

USU Alumni Spotlight - Brian Hunsaker

by Liz Wilson

Brian Hunsaker
Utah State Professors have been known to inspire and propel their students to do great things. For alumnus Brian Hunsaker, professor Barbara Hales not only did that; she also introduced him to his wife. "I will be forever indebted to Professor Barbara Hales," he said. Along with his friendship with professor Hales, Brian was able to benefit from the sense of community that exists on the Utah State campus. Students who walk in the shadow of Old Main become part of a network of faculty and staff who are determined to see their students succeed. Brian's most close-knit campus ties were to his fellow players on the Aggie football team.

 Brian shared one moment of nostalgia he had with former Utah State president Stanford Cazier after a football game in 1982, his freshman year.  

"One of my favorite memories was ... when the Aggies beat BYU in Logan. President Stanford Cazier came down into the locker room and congratulated the team." 

Brian also noted that beating the University of Utah in Salt Lake City his junior year was another pleasantly memorable moment in his college career.
Brian gave the majority of his time to the football team and his athletic pursuits. His brotherly ties with his teammates were more than figurative when he took the field with his brother Jeff. Both brothers started on the defensive line all three years The Hunsaker's grandfather, All American Aggie Elmer "Bear" Ward, gave his two grandsons inspiration to join the team and continue his legacy. Brian also led the team as Captain and was all conference champion his junior and senior years. Both of Brian's parents as well as a sister and his brother Jeff graduated from USU. He hopes his children will carry on the Aggie tradition, perhaps in the Romney Stadium as well.
When not on the field, Brian took to Logan Canyon and other outdoor spots to take advantage of Logan's outdoor playground. "In the spring, we would go down to first dam and just hang out in the sun and [enjoy] the spring weather," Brian recalled. "Friends and I would go up [to the] Canyon and camp out, go hiking and barbecue and just enjoy the outdoors. Of course "The Beav" or Beaver Mountain was a great place to ski in the winter." 

Year round sports and activities were Brian's way of relaxing between classes in the Huntsman School of Business. Business was a natural path for him to pursue, his father being a businessman in the banking field himself. Brian was a natural in the business program graduating with a degree in Finance with a minor in Economics. Currently, Brian is president of Amussen, Hunsaker and Associates Inc. in Salt Lake City, specializing in investment management and financial planning for individuals and corporations.
The support of his family and university community has played an integral role in his career and personal success.

 "I count myself as very lucky and blessed. I was given an opportunity to go to school at a great institution like Utah State University. I had very supportive parents which I consider a great advantage to me." Brian explained, "My wife is very supportive as well. I have been lucky enough to be in a profession that I enjoy and am passionate about. I truly enjoy what I do." 

Passion for what you do is one of Brian's keys to success and happiness. His pearl of wisdom to fellow Aggies is to keep an open mind to all the possibilities you may have and explore different professions and careers. "Choose something you have an interest in and passion for," Brian advised.
A myriad of professors at Utah State helped him to explore his options, both professional and personal. "Obviously Barbara Hales had a big impact on my personal life as she introduced me to my wife," Brian repeats. "Dr. Ross Peterson has been a good friend and was a good influence on me while at Utah State. Professor Reed Durtschi was a great professor [and] I enjoyed his classes. Professors Allen Kartchner, Robert Malko, "Bi" Stephens, Craig Petersen & Alan Stephens were great as well. I had many great professors I can't name them all!"

 Brian recognized how rare it is to have so many caring faculty members who will do so much to help you succeed bother personally and professionally. Brian agrees this rare combination is unique to Utah State University.  

"Utah State University alums have a special feeling and passion for their time spent at Utah State University," Brian explained.
Now a graduate of roughly two decades, Brian still carries a torch for Logan, Utah and his alma mater. He and his wife have four children and they often travel the world together. One of Brian's life dreams was to take the skills he honed on the slopes of "the Beav" and put them to use on the European Alps. Brian was able to fulfill that dream with his oldest son last winter. 

Along with traveling Brian attempts to play the guitar. "I think I'm failing for the most part," he admitted. Brian loves to fly fish, play tennis and enjoys reading and investing. A true blue blooded Aggie family; he and his wife are both proud to admit that they are True Aggies.

USU Alumni Spotlight - Hari Krishna

  by Liz Wilson, published March 2012

Hari Krishna

By his early 30s, Hari Krishna had earned more academic degrees and became more engaged in his field of study than most people do in a lifetime. He completed his Doctorate degree in Engineering from Utah State University in 1979, graduating Phi Kappa Phi. His Ph.D. degree in Agricultural & Irrigation Engineering with a considerable amount of supporting course work from the Department of Civil Engineering led him to a vast career in water resources management and conservation. Along with the rigors of his demanding course work to handle, Hari also decided to immerse himself more fully in the field of Water Resources Engineering by joining numerous academic organizations on campus.
While living in Logan, Hari became a part of the campus community by joining the Engineering Honor Society (Tau Beta Pi) and the Scientific Research Society (Sigma Xi). These honor societies require their members to maintain a high GPA and equally high academic ambitions, and Hari Krishna was a great addition to these groups. He was not only involved in student organizations but was also a member of other professional organizations in his field. Hari was a student member of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), American Water Resources Association (AWRA), and the American Institute of Hydrology (AIH).
Being involved in so many organizations was part of Hari's goal to participate fully in his chosen field and create a good reputation for himself among his fellow colleagues. Hari contributes his success in part to his determination to stay up-to-date in his field. He continued to stay in contact with the professional societies he had joined during his doctoral work, and he also founded a brand new association. Hari described how he took the initiative to start a new organization,

 "I founded the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) in 1994, working in an honorary capacity to promote rainwater harvesting and to grow the organization. ARCSA is now a well-known national and international organization with over 700 members."  

This organization has helped to build his portfolio of work and to be recognized in the field of Water Conservation and Management; he served as President of ARCSA for over 10 years. Hari is currently the Vice President of the International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance (IRHA), based in Geneva, Switzerland.
Following his graduation from Utah State, Hari worked briefly for the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This UN agency focuses on providing food security for the global population. As a highly qualified professional, Hari also entered the world of academia and taught at Utah State, Texas A& M University and at the University of the Virgin Islands where he was also the Director of the Water Resources Research Institute. Later, he worked for the Texas State Government, and was awarded the Texas Environmental Excellence Award. 

 Nationally, Hari has been recognized by "Who's Who in Science and Engineering", "American Men & Women of Science" and by "Who's Who in America". The USU College of Engineering awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award to him in 1997. Recently, the Distance Learning Classroom at the Utah State University College of Engineering has been named in honor of Hari and his wife Laxmi.
Hari Krishna
An important component to the success of Dr. Krishna has been his determination to pursue a rigorous academic program even though earning a Doctorate in Engineering may have been more demanding than some other majors. 

Hari suggests to today's young men and women to
 "Choose a major that has a good potential for future employment and growth, such as Science, Math, Engineering, Medicine/Health Care or Business. Your goal should be to work hard in your academic pursuits and graduate with a high GPA. If possible, try and earn a graduate degree."

Hari continues to have fond memories of his time in Logan and the many friends he and his wife made there. He feels that" Utahns are among the most genuine and friendly people that he has met anywhere in the world". He remembers many of his professors from the late 1970s including his advisor Dr. Robert W. Hill who he says "helped me write a superior and well-respected doctoral dissertation, that I am still proud of more than 30 years later."
Currently, Hari is enjoying the fruits of his hard work as a successful professional.  He has been appointed as a Commissioner of Resource Management for the City of Austin, where he and his wife have lived for the past 20 years.  They celebrate their 40th anniversary this month.

USU Alumni Spotlight - Daisy Scott

  by Liz Wilson

Daisy Scott

Aggie graduate Daisy Scott recently added the Lotoja Bike race to her list of athletic achievements. The 206 mile bike race she completed last year was one of the many personal goals Daisy has worked to accomplish. While attending USU, Daisy made goals as well to go above and beyond normal standards of achievement. One of her goals was to graduate in 3 years and she did everything she could to accomplish it. Daisy graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education in 1998. 

"I learned a lot about myself in college," Daisy said. "I learned that I could do anything if I just put my mind to it."
Becoming an accomplished athlete was one goal that Daisy set out to complete during and after her college career. As a college student, Daisy made time to run track on the Aggie team. Her Father, Steve Reeder, was her coach during her years here and she credits much of her good experiences on the team to his influence. Daisy ran cross country and long distance which gave her a solid foundation for her interest in running marathons. 

To date, Daisy has completed the Ironman Saint George, The Boston Marathon, the Lotoja bike race and she has run in the St. George Marathon 8 times. Setting goals was an integral part of Daisy's plan to complete these races. She advises others to be sure to write down their goals. "The planning and work come once the goal is made," Daisy advised, "It has been important for me to not only make goals but also to surround myself with people that will help me achieve them. When I decided I wanted to do the Ironman Triathlon, I had never even ridden more than a few miles on a bike. ..My family was very supportive of the time I had to invest in training each week."
When she was not competing in long distance races, Daisy was working hard in the Elementary Education program with an emphasis in Math. Both her parents are teachers and their examples led to her decision to go into teaching as well. Her decision to be a teacher also came from her desires for her future family.

 "Being a mom first was important to me," Daisy explained, "and I thought teaching would be a great choice for a mother." 

Daisy has become both a mother and a Middle school teacher since her days at USU. She used her love of Education to teach at the Middle School level for several years. Currently she is devoting her time to her family and her races. She and her husband (also an Aggie '98) are the parents of four daughters.

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