Heather Austin, ’00 BS

Heather Austin, ’00 BS (above image), wrote to inform us that her public relations firm Tangerine Communications has merged with The Ferraro Group, a public affairs company with offices in Las Vegas, Reno and Carson City, Nev. Heather is now director of operations for the newly-created Phoenix office. Her firm represents The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise and its four casino properties, High Street, Wet ‘n’ Wild Phoenix, Realty Executives Phoenix, SicFit, Trident Athletics, DoxTek, Gertrude’s at The Desert Botanical Garden, author Tom Fitzgerald and other PR clients in Flagstaff, Seattle and Salt Lake City. Heather credits her professors Donna Cunningham and Manny Romero, who helped prepare her for a successful career. She was the Outstanding Public Relations Graduate in December of 2000 and vice president of PRSSA during her time as a student.


Jeffrey Halstead, ’00 MED

Photo: Star-Telegram

Fort Worth, Texas chief of police Jeffrey Halstead, ’00 MED (pictured above), spoke at Rosemont Middle School to launch a new program which explains to students the importance and value of an education. He reflected on the mistake he made to drop out of college his senior year. Jeffrey returned years later to complete multiple degrees, and encourages students to never lose hope.  “You will be the golden generation that will carry this country into a new level of efficiency, of technology growth and a higher plane of leadership than we’ve ever seen,” he said. “I beg all of you to reconsider any thought of ever stopping your education.”

Bonner Elementary of Moncks Corner, S.C., has recognized Sherry Hyatt, ’01 MED, as 2014 Teacher of the Year. Sherry, who has taught at Bonner for the past eight years, is a fourth grade instructor for Bonner Academy of the Arts, where she works to impact youth through the power of movement and dance.

Cheryl Miller, '01 BSF, from the NAU School of Forestry sent us an update on some local summer camps to get the youngsters in touch with their environment. She shares: "The NAU Centennial Forest Environmental Education camps offer overnight programs for kids (age 9-16) on NAU's research and education forest.  The goal of our programs is to nurture the love of nature in kids through hands-on activities and games that are based on our professional forestry program.  We have experts come out from NAU during each session to lead nature discovery activities and to talk with the campers about career and education options in the areas of natural resource management.  I created these programs in 2004 so that kids around Arizona could learn about environmental careers and how they can pursue their dreams through education.  We offer scholarships so that every child has the opportunity to experience the wonder and beauty that our northern Arizona forests have to offer."

Richard Nothstein, ’59 BSBA and ’63 MBA, and Jason Miller, ’01 BSBA crop

Jason Miller, ’01 BSBA, and Dick Nothstein, ’59 BSBA & ’63 MBA, met during a charity event in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. Jason hosted the event at the Hotel Las Palmas, a boutique resort that he owns. Thanks to the support of alumni like Jason and Dick, the charity is able to raise scholarship funds for local students.   

The Coconino County Board of Supervisors has appointed Risha VanderWey, ’01 MA & ’08 MED, as superintendent of schools. She previously served as principal of Lake View Primary School in Page, Ariz. In addition to her two degrees from NAU, Risha received her superintendent certificate from NAU.  “Education is more than a passion,” she stated in a press release. “It’s a calling, and I intend to draw on the skills and expertise I have acquired throughout my career. To become effective leaders of tomorrow, our students must be given the tools and opportunities needed to be successful citizens of the 21st century.”

 Jillian Groh, ’06 BS and Family

Jillian Groh and her family.  

Jillian Groh, ’06 BS, and her family recently visited the NAU Flagstaff campus to honor Jillian with a scholarship created in her name. Jillian was severely disabled after an accident in which she was a passenger. Read more about Jillian’s story. The Spring 2014 HRM Leadership Students, under the direction of Christian Stewart, have created the Jillian Groh Scholarship Fund.  This fund in Jillian’s name is to provide a scholarship for current and future HRM students.  Jillian’s parents, Janelle and Bill Groh, brought Jillian to campus for this very special event – their first overnight road trip with Jill.   At the Honors Convocation, Christian presented Jillian with the first HRM Alumni Lapel Pin, designed in her honor. To make a contribution to the Jillian Groh Scholarship Fund, please visit the NAU Giving page and enter ‘4132’ in the search fund field.

Tim Minich, ’05 BSF

We received the following note from Tim Minich, ’05 BSF (pictured above):

I'd like to update you on my new career.  I am a Forestry Technician with the Virginia Department of Forestry in Page County Virginia.  I live in Luray and my job involves working with landowners to help them achieve their land management goals. In this role I enforce fire, water quality and seed tree laws; respond to suppressing wildfires and investigating their causes to determine the responsible parties. I collect all suppression costs, inspecting logging operations before, during and after the operation for potential water quality violations (i.e. stream/creek crossings must follow bmps for preventing sedimentation and preventing blockage of water movement).

Tyler Johnson, ’06 BS & ’08 MSF, has announced his engagement to Mari Castello. He is a botanist with the U.S. Forest Service in Jackson, Wyo.

Washington Post contributor Matt DeLong, ’08 BS, helped secure two Pulitzer Prizes, one for public service and another for explanatory journalism. The newspaper received these awards for his and other’s contributions on the NSA secret spy program PRISM, which was exposed as violating NSA and national privacy rules.  


Teresa Sedano, ’08 BA

Teresa Sedano, ’08 BA, wrote to tell us what a spectacular experience she had during her undergrad program in sociology, due largely to an amazing team of instructors at NAU.  She recalls, “The memory of the outstanding educational experience and compassionate regard I received from the Sociology professors at NAU continues to inspire and encourage me.”  

Master Chief Navy Equipmentman William Warren, ’08 MED, retired from the U.S. Navy after 30 years of service. His experience has spanned continents and he is qualified in Seabee Combat Warfare, with several commendations, including: Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards); Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (four awards) ; Navy Unit Commendation; Battle “E” Ribbon; Navy Reserve Meritorious Service Medal (seven awards); National Defense Medal (two awards); Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Star; Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal; Navy and Marine Corps Sea Service Ribbon; Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M and Gold Hourglass; NATO Medal; Sharpshooter Navy Pistol Ribbon and the Expert Navy Rifle Ribbon.  

More Alumni Class Notes

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