Alumni Updates


Charles Acosta, Biological Sciences, 1985
Submitted: October 2, 2019
Charles Acosta, Biological Sciences, 1985, is retiring in 2021 after spending 34 rewarding years serving high school students. His oldest daughter, Krista (HSU Alum 2012), arranged with the dean to allow him to walk across the stage at her commencement ceremony since he was unable to attend his own. While having breakfast in Eureka the following morning, his photo was captured on the front page of the Times Standard newspaper. After HSU, Charles and his daughter both served in the Peace Corps (Dominican Republic and Honduras) where they both married the love of their lives. Krista married Ekow Edzie and Charles married Leyla Turcios. "Thank you HSU, redwoods, sunsets and APD for the great memories".

Jeff Oliveira, Natural Resources, 2001
Submitted: September 26, 2019
After graduation, Jeff Oliveira, Natural Resources, 2001, began working as a California Environmental Quality Act specialist for a consulting firm. He then became an environmental resource specialist with the County of San Luis Obispo managing projects with complex environmental concerns. Eight years ago he started his own consulting firm, Oliveira Environmental Consulting LLC, providing environmental review and permitting support for private and local government clients. Today he is working on a wide range of projects, including mine permitting, CEQA/NEPA review, permitting for local infrastructure improvement projects, permitting for affordable housing projects, construction monitoring, wildlife/botanical surveys, pest species (feral pig) removal, etc.

Benjamin Woodruff, Biological Sciences, 2017
Submitted: September 25, 2019
After graduating from HSU, Benjamin Woodruff, Biological Sciences, 2017, became a California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Bridges 2.0 scholar through Humboldt State and began his career as a researcher at Stanford University. There, he studied regenerative medicine as it relates to inner ear biology. Fueled by an enthusiasm for science and academia, he applied for graduate school and is currently a first year PhD student at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon.

John Swancara, Wildlife, 1982
Submitted: September 24, 2019
John Swancara, Wildlife, 1982, has spent over 30 years pioneering reverse osmosis water treatment systems for homes and commercial applications. He pioneered small bottled water plants for small businesses. Currently he is the lead sales engineer for American Beer Equipment in Lincoln, Nebraska designing micro-breweries. John has authored several articles on water treatment.

Jason Sikorski, Environmental Science & Management, 2017
Submitted: September 23, 2019
After graduating from Humboldt State University, Jason Sikorski, Environmental Science & Management, 2017, stayed local and worked at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park as a senior maintenance aid building ADA hiking trails in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park for one season. Afterward he moved back to his hometown in Orange County and was hired by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as an Environmental Health Technician in Laguna Niguel, California.

Eileen Cashman, Environmental Resources Engineering, 1984
Submitted: September 13, 2019
Eileen Cashman, Environmental Resources Engineering, 1984, is starting her 21st year teaching at Humboldt State University in the ERE program. This year she started her second term as Department Chair. She continues to love her job and is grateful to engage with current and future alumni every day!

Melissa Neufer, Biological Sciences, 2001
Submitted: September 5, 2019
In summer 2019, Melissa Neufer, Biology, 2001, studied desert and marine landscapes through ecological and social field methods in Baja, Mexico. Melissa, a biology teacher at Roseland University Prep High School, lives in Santa Rosa, California, and is a graduate student in Miami University's Global Field Program.

Craig S. Harrison, Biological Sciences, 1974 (Masters)
Submitted: August 8, 2019
Craig Harrison, Biological Sciences, 1974, spent a year in Africa before attending HSU. Craig recently published his travelogue "Dreams of a Vanishing Africa: A 1970s Transcontinental Trek", which recounts his travels within the fabric of African societies in 1971-1972. He avoided safe, well-trodden routes and instead used decrepit trains, cargo trucks, rattletrap buses, jammed bush taxis, dugout canoes, and ferries. He lived out of a backpack and experienced the land and people of Africa up close. Craig's website (www.craigsharrison.net) has photos, and the book can be ordered there from the publisher Lulu as well as Amazon.

Joyce Schlachter, Wildlife, 1994
Submitted: August 8, 2019
Joyce Schlachter, Wildlife, 1994, has retired after 26 years with the Federal government, working as a wildlife biologist. Joyce is enjoying her freedom and continues to volunteer with Project Wildlife, rehabilitating bats. Joyce says "thanks HSU for the best years of my life!"

Anthony Erba, Forestry & Wildland Resources, 1987
Submitted: July 9, 2019
After nearly 33 years of federal government service, Anthony Erba, Forestry & Wildland Resources, 1987, has retired from the USDA Forest Service to Northern Wisconsin. His last position was as Regional Director (Eastern Region) overseeing environmental planning, litigation, and landscape-scale conservation (lasting 8.5 years). Anthony's career spanned all four organizational levels of the Forest Service, located on six national forests, one national grassland, one region, and the Washington Office. Never in his wildest dreams would he have been able to predict his career when he graduated in 1987. Anthony is grateful for his experience at HSU, providing him the awareness needed to recognize career opportunities whenever they popped up.

Karen J. Haner, Natural Resources, 1986
Submitted: July 9, 2019
April 1, 2018 Karen Haner, Natural Resources Planning & Interpretation, 1986, retired from a 36 1/2 year career with the National Park Service. Karen spent the last 20 years serving as the Chief of Interpretation, Education and Cultural Resources at Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northeastern California. She also worked in other national parks in California, Texas, Pennsylvania and Indiana. Karen feels she has had a wonderful career made possible with her HSU degree and participation in the Cooperative Education Program through the National Park Service and Humboldt State University. Now she plans to go to national parks as a visitor and sometimes to volunteer.

Ron Miller, Forestry & Wildland Resources, 1983
Submitted: June 22, 2019
Ron Miller, Forestry & Wildland Resources, 1983, recently retired after 35 years of government service as a forester. Last year, in celebration of retirement, he walked the French route of the 500-mile Camino de Santiago across northern Spain starting in St. Jean Pied de Port, France and walking to Santiago, Spain. He completed the pilgrimage on June 3, 2018.

Jason Storlie, Wildlife, 2007
Submitted: June 20, 2019
Jason Storlie, Wildlife, 2007, transitioned from wildlife biologist to manager of Bitter Creek and Blue Ridge National Wildlife Refuges.

Alissa Sobo, Chemistry, 2010
Submitted: June 4, 2019
After graduating from Humboldt State University, Alissa Sobo, Chemistry, 2010, stayed in the community and opened a restaurant called Naan of the Above. Alissa sold this business and moved to the bay area to teach science in after school programs. Alissa then had two children, and while staying at home with them, taught herself to code. She built a web application called Ample that was recently mentioned in the New York Times. She now works as a software engineer for Mozilla.

Michael Fritschi, Environmental Resources Engineering, 2005
Submitted: May 24, 2019
Michael Fritschi, Environmental Resources Engineering, 2005, is currently enjoying working as the District Manager for the South Suburban Sanitary District in Southern Oregon. Life is exceptionally good, and in complete balance with his wife and jack Russell.

Christopher Swarth, Biological Sciences, 1978
Submitted: May 16, 2019
After graduating, Christopher Swarth Biological Sciences, 1978, moved back home to Oakland where in 1983 he received his MS in Zoology from Cal State East Bay. After working for Point Reyes Bird Observatory, Lawrence Hall of Science (UC Berkeley) and Diablo Valley College, he married in 1987 and moved to Maryland. There he spent 23 years as director of the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, one of the components of the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. In 2013, he moved back to northern California to work and teach at UC Merced, where he was the director of the 6,500 acre Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve adjacent to campus until he retired in 2016. He lives in Mariposa.

Heidi Gehlhaar Oriol, Environmental Resources Engineering, 2001
Submitted: May 8, 2019
Heidi Gehlhaar Oriol, Environmental Resources Engineering, 2001, is a licensed Civil Engineer and has worked for water and wastewater utilities in the Bay Area and Sacramento since her graduation from HSU in 2001. She currently works as a Senior Civil Engineer in the Legislative and Regulatory Affairs office for the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (Regional San) and the Sacramento Area Sewer District (SASD). She enjoys her role as a regulatory advocate and is also very excited to be supporting a project to bring recycled water to agriculture in southern Sacramento County. Heidi believes use of recycled water will reduce groundwater pumping, raise groundwater levels, increase flows in nearby streams, and improve wetland and vernal pool habitats.

Thomas Eley, Wildlife, 1969 and 1975
Submitted: April 12, 2019
Thomas Eley, Wildlife, 1969, worked for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a Refuge Manager and Refuge Officer. He is now retired and lives in Alaska.

Jolene Saldivar, Biological Sciences, 2017
Submitted: April 9, 2019
Jolene Saldivar, Biological Sciences, 2017, has committed to the University of California, Riverside's Plant Biology PhD program and will begin this summer. She is also the recipient of the Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship, which is the most prestigious diversity fellowship offered at UC Riverside.

Brian Galvez, Fisheries Biology, 2014
Submitted: April 4, 2019
Brian Galvez, Fisheries Biology, 2014, graduated from Delaware State University with a M.S. in Natural Resources with a focus on Fisheries Biology. His thesis was titled "Trophic ecology of juvenile Weakfish (Cynoscion regalis) from the Delaware Bay using stomach content and stable isotope analyses". He is currently writing a manuscript for publication in Transactions of the American Fisheries Society with the work presented in his thesis. He represented Humboldt State Fisheries Biology Department by having the best thesis defense in the Delaware State University Natural Resources Graduate Program according to multiple people, including a Delaware State fish biologist and the department chair of his program.