Alumni Notes (Fall 2015)


Gordon Evans is retired in Juneau, Alaska, and working on his memoir. Born in Douglas, he was editor of the Arizona Daily Wildcat, worked for the Tucson Citizen and United Press International, and was managing editor of the Anchorage News and press secretary for Alaska’s governor. He returned to UA to get a law degree in 1970 and retired from a legal career in Juneau in 2008.


John Lacy is the new head of the UA’s Global Mining Law Center.


Betsy Bolding retired after 25 years as Tucson Electric Power’s manager of consumer affairs. Pima County proclaimed March 1 as “Betsy Bolding Day.”


Dave O’Hern has wrapped up 40-plus years in commercial construction, managing the building of about $300 million of structures. He closed his Tucson company but still does consulting. He entered the Peace Corps after graduation, was a beat reporter for the Arizona Daily Star, worked for Pima County, earned another degree (in math), taught high school and landed two summer fellowships with the Fermi Lab in Chicago.


Elizabeth “Betty” Beard retired in 2012 after four decades in newspapers, including 32 at the Arizona Republic. She does freelance writing and editing, but says: “Nothing beats the thrill of getting an A1 story.”


Linda Nelson Taylor retired in 2008 as communications administrator for Southwest Gas in Phoenix. She says her journalism degree served her well.


William Foltz spent 35 of his Tucson years researching “Evangelicals in a Frontier Town: Tucson, 1859-1918” (Trafford Publishing 2012), and then moved with wife Betty, a retired nurse, to West Columbia, South Carolina. The book is available on Amazon and also can be downloaded.

Richard Gilman, former publisher of the Boston Globe, is retired in Tucson. He oversaw the Globe’s coverage of the Catholic church sex scandal, which one the 2003 Pulitzer Prize and was the subject of the recent film “Spotlight.”

Debra Krajnak has departed the world of daily journalism, but remains in Atlanta after spending the last 14 years with CNN as a reporter and news editor for its wire service. These days, she does freelancing and runs her own “cat-sitting” business.


Joe Burchell retired after a long career as a reporter and editor for the Arizona Daily Star and won the Society of Professional Journalists’ career award.

Jack McElroy is the editor of the Knoxville News Sentinel. He became president of the Tennessee Press Association in July 2015.


Ted Jackovics, who earned a master’s in journalism, has retired from the Tampa Tribune. He got a master’s degree that helped him change careers from regional planning to reporting. He and his wife of 30 years planned to relocate to the Seattle area.


Robert Zucker is the president of B2B Publishing, Inc. He spent 20 years online at (January 1995). Robert also published “Treasures of the Santa Catalina Mountains” and “Entertaining Tucson.”


Bill Coates, of the Casa Grande Dispatch, took second place for headline writing and second and third for column writing in the state’s Better Newspapers Contest.

M. Olaf Fransen is editor/publisher of the Salina, Kansas, Journal, a job he calls “a little slice of heaven to finish out a career I wouldn’t trade for anything.” The road began in Bisbee with Wick Newspapers,  and included papers in Montana, North Dakota and Texas, where he joined Freedom Newspapers and went on to two publisher jobs in California and one in Texas.


David L. Roberts was promoted in May 2014 to the position of associate professor of mass communication at Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Missouri. With his brothers as co-authors, he continues to publish The Wyoming Almanac, which is in its seventh edition. After the UA, he ran a weekly paper in Wyoming for 11 years.


Sam Ramirez oversees the news wire and design desks at the L.A. News Group’s new plant in Monrovia, California.

Patricia Zapor is a reporter with Catholic News Service.


Andy Howell has left the Ogden Standard Examiner, where he was executive editor. He is now assistant manager editor of Casa Grande Valley Newspapers.


Angela Hagen is the Marketing & Communications Manager for Literacy Connects in Tucson.

Hans Laetz is the general manager KBU-97.5, a radio station he started in his California home. Fully licensed Radio Malibu hit the airwaves last March and just completed its first live election coverage.


Jill Schensul is a travel writer and columnist for The Record in Bergen County, New Jersey. She previously worked at the Arizona Daily Star.


Mike Chesnick, formerly of the Tucson Citizen and USA Today, left the Arizona Daily Star as a copy editor to become outreach coordinator for the UA School of Journalism. His daughter, Lekha, began her first semester at the University of Arizona, majoring in physiology.

Mark Emmons left the San Jose Mercury News after 15 years as a sports and news reporter to be a staff writer at LeanData Inc., a Bay Area high-tech software startup. Mark also worked for the Orange County Register, Detroit Free Press, East Valley Tribune and Tucson Citizen.

Tom Frankman is associate dean of Academic Services at William Woods University, where he will have worked for 22 years in January. He works in the Graduate College and is a member of the doctoral faculty. He and his wife, Kristina, have a son, Michael, in second grade.

Dan Hicks calls Notre Dame football, golf and the Olympics for NBC Sports.

Dave Ord is a copy editor at the Arizona Daily Star, where he won first place in headlines from the Arizona Press Club this year. He and his wife, Carrie, have a daughter, Emily, who is in fourth grade.

Bill Walsh, a copy editor at the The Washington Post, is the author of three books: “Lapsing Into a Comma,” “The Elephants of Style” and “Yes, I Could Care Less.” Walsh will celebrate his 19th year at The Post in March. His wife, Jacqueline Dupree, is intranet editor at The Post.


Dan Shearer, editor of the Green Valley News and Sun, swept first through third place in best column, analysis or commentary at the Better Newspapers Contest, and won a first and third in sports writing.


Bryn Bailer, formerly of the Arizona Daily Star, is a freelance journalist living in Tucson. Her website is

Lorena Oropeza, an associate professor of history at the University of California, Davis, has published one book and is in the process of a second. The first was “Raza Si! Guerra No!: Chicano Protest and Patriotism  during the Viet Nam War Era” (2005). The second is a biography of the 1960s protest leader Reies Lopez Tijerina. Oropeza, a Tucson native, followed her B.A. in journalism with a master’s and a Ph.D. at Cornell.


Steve Elliott left ASU’s Cronkite School of Journalism after nine years to join the public relations team at the Arizona Department of Transportation. Elliott, ex-digital news director for the Cronkite News Service, is also a former AP bureau chief.


Abe Kwok is a senior editor for digital media at the Arizona Republic and, and has been a member of the Asian American Journalists Association since coming to the Republic 26 years ago.

Jodie Snyder, formerly of the Arizona Republic and Phoenix Gazette, has been at Banner Health in Phoenix since 2007 and now works in internal communications.

Greg Waters, a former sports reporter and editor at the Tucson Citizen, is CEO of Tucson Orthopaedic Institute.


Elena Chabolla Stauffer is a program coordinator at the UA School of Journalism. Previously she worked as a reporter and copy editor at the Grand Rapids Press (Mich.), Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio), Tucson Citizen, and Arizona Daily Star.

Mark Wyckoff, formerly of the Tucson Citizen, is arts and entertainment editor at the Ventura County Star in California.


Tom Futrell , a former professional dart thrower who spent 13 years at United Fire Equipment in Tucson, is now a utilization data analyst for the non-profit Community Partnership of Southern Arizona.


Paula Johnston Kelso is a multiplatform editor on the copy desk) for the Washington Post.


Paul G. Allvin is the new senior vice president for marketing and communication (brand advancement) for the United Service Organizations in Falls Church, Virginia.

Savannah Guthrie, co-host of NBC’s “Today Show,” had a meeting with Pope Francis during his time in New York.


Israel Ramirez, also a UA law school grad, has his own law office in San Jose. His cousin is Sam Ramirez (’80).


Trigie Ealey is education editor at SmartBrief in Arlington, Virginia.


John C. Brown is the global communications manager at Rio Tinto Minerals in Denver.

Thomas Collins is executive director of Arizona Citizen Clean Elections Commission. Collins, a former state assistant attorney general, worked one year as the Tucson Citizen’s legislative reporter in 2001 before getting his law degree from UA in 2005.


Mary Brandenberger is the press secretary for the U.S. Department of Justice and public affairs manager at the Department of Labor.

Aaron Latham is director of communication and policy adviser at Arizona State Senate Democratic Caucus in Phoenix.


Dan Rosen worked at The Record in Northern New Jersey from 2001-2007 before joining the National Hockey League as a staff writer for He has been the senior writer for since 2010 in  midtown Manhattan.

Nicole Acorn Crites was promoted to evening anchor at KPHO-TV, CBS 5 in Phoenix. She had been the morning/noon anchor.

Thomas W. Stauffer is a senior communications specialist at Freeport-McMoRan Inc. Previously he worked at the Tucson Citizen and Arizona Daily Star and also taught special education at the middle school level.


Joshua Trujillo has left his post as visual journalist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and to become senior manager for photo and video for the Starbucks Newsroom.


Jeremy Duda reports on the governor’s office for the Arizona Capitol Times and took second place in enterprise reporting at the 2015 Arizona Better Newspapers Contest.

Marcy Jones is a reporter with KSAZ in Phoenix (FOX 10). She had been in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Rebecca Missel has a new job with the SYNERGY Coaching Network Lead at UJA-Federation of New York.

Larry Silver, CEO at Surface Technologies Inc. in Kansas City, Missouri, visited the journalism building with his wife, Renee, and baby, Nathan. Larry is one of the founding members of the UA chapter of SPJ.


Arek Sarkissian is working as Tallahassee bureau chief for the Naples Daily News and teaching as an adjunct instructor at the University of Florida.


Daniel Scarpinato is deputy chief of staff for communications for Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.

Saul Loeb, a photographer for Agence France-Presse, covers the White House and politics. Follow him on Twitter: @saulloeb

Shelley Shelton is working as assignment editor and web producer at KOLD-13 and Tucson News Now.


John de Dios is director of digital media for the Genetic Literacy Project and is a producer/contributor to National Geographic News. He also does work for the UA Graduate College’s office of recruitment.


Casey Crowe, former high school sports editor at the Arizona Daily Star, celebrated his five-year anniversary at Bleacher Report in San Francisco.

Joe Ferguson, a reporter at the Arizona Daily Star, received an Arizona Freedom of Information award from the Arizona Newspapers Association.

Adam Gaub, of the Maricopa Monitor, won second place in headline writing and sports coverage at the ANA’s Better Newspapers Contest.

Aaron Gudenkauf oversees exam assembly services for The American Board of Radiology in Tucson.


Victoria Harben, director of marketing and communications at the University of Denver’s University College, married John O’Malley in Denver on May 24, 2015.

Jason Kleinman is a segment producer at Fox Sports in Los Angeles, working on programming for Major League Baseball, college football and college basketball.

Roman Veytsman: Producer at Time Warner Cable SportsNet in El Segundo, California, helping with Los Angeles Lakers and L.A. Galaxy shows.


Alexis Bechman, a reporter for the Payson Roundup, was named the non-daily Journalist of the Year by the Arizona Newspapers Association after winning four awards at the 2015 Better Newspapers Contest. Bechman, who also won an Arizona Freedom of Information award from the ANA, revealed a dangerous, politically based inconsistency in the criteria for dispatching DPS helicopters.

Jamie Blanchard-Schneider married last November, left the U.S. Olympic Committee in January and is communications director for the American Heart Association in Omaha, Nebraska.

Jeff Herr is the CEO of TapClicks, a marketing reporting and analytics company focused on delivering digital campaign metrics and performance analytics to agencies and enterprises. He’s based in San Jose.

Nathan Olivarez-Giles, Region 8 director for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, is an assistant news editor for The Wall Street Journal, focusing on tech news out of the Bay Area. He worked previously at the Los Angeles Times, Wired Magazine and The Verge.

Michael Schwartz is in production and research at ESPN, producing stat graphics that play on SportsCenter and sending ideas to the company.


Veronica Cruz left the Arizona Daily Star in August 2014 to join the UA Bookstore as a part-time program coordinator. She has a three-year-old daughter named Zia.

Chelsea Jo Simpson Dietz is the marketing communications manager for Airware, a startup in San Francisco.

Ari Wasserman is the Ohio State sports beat writer at Plain Dealer, covering football, basketball and recruiting.


Rodney Haas, now with the Casa Grande Dispatch, took third place for best feature story at the Better Newspapers Contest.

Lance Madden is digital managing editor at, which features trending online videos before they go viral and the stories behind them.


Mike Christy, of the Arizona Daily Star, captured four first-place photo awards at the Arizona Newspapers Association’s Better Newspapers Contest.

Sarah Kezele left her job with Pac-12 Networks in San Francisco after three years to become a multimedia sports reporter at the Arizona Republic. She spoke to UA journalism classes in October.

Curt Prendergast, of the Nogales International, won first place for best news story in the ANA’s Better Newspapers Contest along with third places in investigative reporting and sports comment.

Chelsea Rarrick, an investigative reporter at WTVR in Richmond, Virginia, won her first Emmy in June for her reporting.

Kevin Zimmerman is Web editor/reporter for in Phoenix and a contributing writer to Pac-12 Networks. He previously worked for Fox Sports Arizona.


Charlie De Mar is a multimedia reporter at FOX59 TV in Indianapolis.

Samantha Esquivel landed a job at KOB television 4 in Albuquerque as a bureau reporter.

Luke Money, former editor of the Arizona Daily Wildcat, is the political reporter at the Santa Clarita Signal in California.

Lexi Sutter left WMBD-TV in Peoria, Illinois, in fall 2014 and was hired as a reporter at KSHB-TV in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kathleen Harrison started a new job as a communications specialists with Pima County after nine years in the UA School of Journalism.

Kellie Mejdrich is a staff writer at CQ Roll Call in Washington, DC. Previously she was the transportation reporter at the Orange County Register.

Rikki Mitchell is an on-air reporter for KGUN9 television in Tucson.

Josh Morgan is celebrating one year as a staff photographer at the (South Dakota) Rapid City Journal.

Maria Ines Taracena, of the Tucson Weekly, won first place for best news story in the Better Newspapers Contest for “The Never-Ending Scrutiny.”

Lauren Urratio is now a buyer with


Katherine E. Carroll now works as a Production Assistant at ABC World News Tonight with David Muir in New York City.

Matthew Casey left the Arizona Republic for NPR’s KJZZ, to be a multimedia reporter.

Kenzie Fowler joined the Pac-12 Networks as an on-air softball analyst.

Melissa Guz participated in Gannett’s Talent Development Program as a producer and reporter at KPNX in Phoenix.

Emi Komiya is the first digital multimedia journalist for in Phoenix.


Anna Augustowska, a master’s graduate, directed and produced “Donnie,” a transgender documentary that won Best Short in the 2015 Independent Film Arizona Contest and premiered in Tucson in October.

Mariana Dale left the Arizona Daily Star to be a multiplatform journalist for Arizona Public Media. She covers K-12 education, edits online stories and emceed the School of Journalism’s Zenger Award Dinner.

Luke Della is working in sports information at UC Berkeley.

Derek Evans captured two sports coverage awards from the Arizona Newspapers Association in the under 3,500 circulation category while working for the Verde Independent in Cottonwood. He now works for the Leader News near Castroville, Texas.

Maci Hidalgo is working as a staff writer and photographer for the Aerotech News and Review.

Stewart McClintic, a Silver City Daily Press reporter, won two awards at New Mexico’s Better Newspaper contest in education writing and feature photography.

Caitlin Schmidt, a reporter at the Arizona Daily Star, won an Arizona Freedom of Information award from the Arizona Newspapers Association.

Jessica Schrecker participated in Gannett’s Talent Development Program as a producer and reporter at KPNX in Phoenix.


Jacquelyn Abad received a master’s degree and is working at KDRV NewsWatch 12 in Medford, Oregon.

Ally Aldrete is a day assignment editor at KGUN9 television in Tucson.

Alan Davis saw his video segment on the Mexican gray wolf picked up by Arizona Public Media’s “Arizona Illustrated.”

Dan Desrochers is a reporter at the Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia. He covered President Obama’s visit for a town hall on prescription drug abuse and spent the summer as an intern at McClatchy’s Washington Bureau.

Shahrazad Encinias is a freelance reporter and teaches journalism at Pima Community College. She worked over the summer at The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware.

Noelle Haro-Gomez is a staff photographer at the Public Opinion in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, the newspaper where she did her internship as a Chips Quinn Scholar.

Chelsee Moe is a weekend assignment editor at KGUN9 television in Tucson.

Jade Nunes is a communications specialist for Habitat for Humanity Tucson.

Cathy Rosenberg, who received her master’s degree in May, wrote a Tucson Weekly cover story in July on the reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf.

Briana Sanchez is a photographer at the St. Cloud Times in Minnesota, where she was a Chips Quinn Scholar in the summer.

Amer Taleb was named a Humanity in Action Fellow and spent five weeks in Paris and Amsterdam shortly after graduation. Taleb, also named a Fulbright Scholar, has been working in Turkey as an English Teaching Assistant since October.

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