Alumni Notes December 2011 - May 2012

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Continue to send us your news on job changes, promotions, schooling and families. We will update these notes every few months. Check the date at the top so you can stay current.



Edith Sayre Auslander received the Ray Davies Lifetime Humanitarian Achievement Award from the Educational Enrichment Foundation Oct. 27 in Tucson. 


Ford Burkhart wrote a profile of UA President Gene Sander for AARP magazine. Read it here.



Frank Sotomayor was inducted on Oct. 21 to Stanford University’s Multicultural Alumni Hall of Fame and to the university’s El Centro Chicano. In addition to his journalism work, Frank was recognized for writing a letter, on behalf of himself and three other Chicano students, advocating the recruitment and admission of qualified Mexican-American students. At the time, 1966-67, only a third of one percent of the student body was Mexican American. Frank says that, in his acceptance speech, he thanked his family, teachers and mentors, especially journalism head Sherman Miller, who had encouraged him to apply to Stanford. See the story here.



Mary Alice Kellogg has been named managing editor of, a website that examines travel, culture, style and design, with an emphasis on approaches that bring sustainability and meaning to the concept in the 21st century.



K. Jean Gilbert Hawkins is a college and career adviser at Oak Park High School. She lives in Aurora Hills, Calif., and has two children working in journalism: her son is with KCBS-Channel 2 in Los Angeles and her daughter is a producer with Bloomberg Financial News. K. Jean’s last journalism job was as a copy editor with the Los Angeles Times. She then attended UCLA and UC San Diego for her college counseling certifications.

Iola Johnson has been inducted into the Tucson High School Hall of Fame. She spent much of her broadcast career in Dallas, where she won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Dallas-Ft. Worth Association of Black Communicators. 



Karen Arra is the media relations director for Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County. 



Lisa Schnebly Heidinger wrote the centennial book for the state of Arizona, which celebrates its 100th birthday in February 2012. Learn more about Arizona: 100 Years Grand at



Donine Henshaw is the on-air personality at Thunder Country 96.3 FM in the Memphis area and production manager at IBX Media.

Cara Rene is the new communications director for the Tucson Unified School District.



Jim Ferolie is the group editor of Unified Newspaper Group, which owns three weekly news publications, a web-only community publication and a quarterly family magazine in the Madison, Wis., area.



Adam Ramirez has been named editor of FindLaw's National Editorial Blogs. FindLaw is a Thomson Reuters company that provides free legal information. Adam, who previously wrote for the Miami Herald, Dallas Morning News and The Oregonian, left journalism to earn a juris doctorate from the UA School of Law. He clerked for a federal judge in Texas, and now brings his journalism and legal backgrounds to the blogs at FindLaw.



Eric Anderson is managing editor of in Burbank, Calif., covering celebrity and entertainment news in conjunction with the TV show “Access Hollywood.” He has been here for eight years, starting as news editor, before moving up to senior editor and now managing editor. He is responsible for setting the editorial direction, managing the editorial staff, developing new features and setting both the day-to-day and long-term content agendas. 



Nicole Acorn Crites, part of the CBS morning news team at KPHO-TV in Phoenix, won a regional Emmy for work associated with the Jan. 8 Tucson shooting.



Josh Trujillo, a photographer for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, has taken what many are calling one of the iconic photos of the “Occupy” protests – that of an 84-year-old woman who was pepper sprayed by police. View the photo here.



Jen Levario Cieslak left the Arizona Republic Aug. 1 to take on freelance design work. She says she’s working with several clients in Phoenix, designing print collateral and logos .

Eric Swedlund, a former staff member in U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ office, has coordinated the release of an album and 37-song download tribute called Luz de Vida, with proceeds benefiting the Tucson Together Fund. The fund helps victims of the Jan. 8, 2011, shooting that wounded Giffords, several others and killed six. Read the Tucson Weekly story



Alex Chihak has begun work on the copy desk at the Austin American- Statesman.

Amanda Branam Schackman is operations coordinator at Russ Reid Company in the Los Angeles area.



Garrick Akridge is the chef de tournant at Nordstrom Café and attends Arizona Culinary Institute in Phoenix..

Lisa Burris is a producer with KPNX-TV in Phoenix.

Matt Heistand lives in the Phoenix area and is a comics illustrator with

Justin Stock is a reporter for “Main Street Connect,” part of the news website of Justin covers everything from government and crime, to politics, and other newsy features for the New York community.



Brian Kimball is in Chicago, working as an editorial program manager with the American Physicians Institute.



Alex Dalenberg provides research, logistical support, writing and copy editing for Blumsday, a web-based custom content company with a specialty in technology news for the small business owner. Blumsday contributes to websites such as and

Marissa Hopkins is an editorial intern at San Francisco Magazine.

Katie Pavlich is the news editor for and a contributing editor for Townhall Magazine, based in Washington D.C. and published nationally. She reports regularly from Capitol Hill on a wide range of political topics and has interviewed several high-profile politicians including former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and GOP presidential candidates Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and Herman Cain.  She has also covered joint session of Congress speeches by President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Katie appears regularly on Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, and MSNBC. Her work has been cited on the O’Reilly Factor, CNN, Hannity, America Live and a number of other news outlets.



Courtney Griffin has been hired as a reporter at Channel 5 in Grand Junction, Colo.

Clayton Norman is the environmental reporter at the Tico Times in Costa Rica.

Yael Schusterman is a social media intern at WCG in the New York City area. 


Past Alumni Notes

August 2011 - December 2011

April 2011 - August 2011

December 2010 - April 2011

July 2010 - December 2010

April 2010 - July 2010

October 2009 - March 2010

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