SU Voice Alumni Blog

Redhawk Recipes

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on January 19, 2022 at 8:01 PM PST

Now is the season to get cozy, sit by the fire and enjoy warm, comforting foods. We've got two recipes that are sure to be a hit this winter. Take some time to make Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage and Simple Bread Pudding 

Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage & Spinach

Picture o a bowl of tortellini soup 


1 T vegetable oil
1 lb ground Italian Sausage
1/2 cup diced onion (about ½ medium sized onion)
1 T minced garlic
28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
32 oz vegetable broth (chicken works, too)
2 T fresh chopped basil
Salt and pepper to taste
9 oz refrigerated tortellini
2 cups packed fresh spinach


  1. Heat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Heat vegetable oil and add diced onion. Saute until onions are soft.
  2. Crumble Italian Sausage and garlic with the onion. Cook until the sausage is no longer pink.
  3. Stir in crushed tomatoes, vegetable (or chicken) broth, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover. Let soup simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Add tortellini and spinach and simmer for about ten minutes, until pasta is tender.
  5. Serve with shredded Parmesan.

Note: For a creamier soup, add a half cup of Greek yogurt or sour cream.

Simple Bread Pudding Recipe

pan of bread pudding 


2 cups milk
2 T (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, more for greasing pan
1 t vanilla extract
⅓ cup sugar
Pinch salt
½ loaf sweet egg bread like challah or brioche, cut into 2-inch cubes (about 5 to 6 cups)
2 eggs, beaten


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm milk, butter, vanilla, sugar and salt. Continue cooking just until butter melts; cool.
  2. Butter a 4-to-6-cup baking dish and fill it with cubed bread.
  3. Add eggs to cooled milk mixture and whisk; pour mixture over bread. Let the bread soak in the egg-milk mixture; about an hour or more is perfect.
  4. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until custard is set but still a little wobbly and edges of bread have browned.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature (and with vanilla ice cream if you’re so inclined!).

Joelle Torre, '03, Teaches Student the Value of Connecting

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on January 13, 2022 at 3:01 PM PST

Joelle Torre and Alex Keene

When Alex Keene, ’22, visited an advisor in the Career Engagement Office, they wanted to find new, practical ways to explore their field—mechanical engineering. Their advisor recommended Redhawk Landing, Seattle University’s online mentoring platform, built to connect alumni professionals with inquisitive students. Keene’s interest was piqued, and they signed up. The first person they reached out to was Joelle Torre, ’03.

When they met, Torre, a senior civil engineer for Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), told Keene about her job with SPU and the King County Ship Canal Water Quality Project that will significantly reduce combined sewer overflows into the Ship Canal waterway. Torre also encouraged them to learn about the different kinds of work they could do as a mechanical engineer—building mechanical equipment, designing HVAC systems or materials development for Boeing to name a few—and suggested attending presentations, joining clubs, finding internships and talking to more alumni through Redhawk Landing to continue to explore their options. She even found two mechanical engineers for Keene to talk to.

Their connection continued beyond a single exchange, which Keene appreciated. “We didn't just talk that one time. She invited me to a presentation she did later in the year. She even followed up with an email a couple of weeks ago to reach out. It's cool to know someone else who is in a similar field to me and has it all figured out—or at least more figured out!”

Torre enjoys presenting to and mentoring students. The one thing she tries to impress on them is that their success is dependent how much they want it and working hard towards their goals. “The hope, as a mentor, is to provide a service and they get to learn more about their career aspirations. If you click with someone and you form this lifelong bond, that's great. And if you don't, hopefully they got at least one thing out of it. It's not about me; it's really about them.”


Redhawk Landing is a community platform that brings alumni and students together for networking and mentorship. Alumni share their career experience with students and fellow alumni, and network within the community to connect or learn from others about their city, industry or career field. All alumni are invited to register.

Seattle U Alums Run Seattle Sports

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on January 13, 2022 at 10:01 AM PST

Karen Spencer, Jordan Babineaux, McKenzie MitchellSeattle is undeniably a sports town.  

Home to some of the greatest athletes of all time, the city also has a fanbase obsessed with the Seahawks, Storm, Kraken, Sounders, Reign and the Mariners. But did you know that Seattle University educated a slew of professionals playing key roles in the success and operations of these beloved franchises?  

Earlier this month, we had a chance to sit down with Jordan Babineaux,21, McKenzie Mitchell,17, and Karen Spencer,91, to learn more about their fascinating careers in the sports and entertainment industry.  


What is your current title and what are the responsibilities of your position?  


I started off with the Seahawks as a player for seven years and then joined the radio and TV broadcasting team in 2015. Additionally, I’ve done ambassador work for the franchise – which has entailed engaging with the Seahawks corporate and community partners. On top of my work with the organization, I’m also an international bestselling author, keynote speaker, small business owner and currently in the midst of completing a coaching certification to help business professionals grow, increase performance and effectively deal with change.  


I am the On BASE (Baseball and Softball Everywhere) programs and communications coordinator for the Seattle Mariners, which is our youth baseball and softball program. The program is designed to help kids who are less affluent, or have less opportunities, engage with the sports – whether that’s getting them introduced, helping them continue in the sports once they reach an age where they may not have the financial means to continue, mentoring, etc.  

I also oversee our diversity and inclusion programs. This includes grant making and implementing our community impact and equipment donation grants. Additionally, I oversee our mentorship program Hometown Nine.  


I am the Chief Financial Officer of the Seattle Seahawks and First & Goal Inc. (the entity that manages Lumen Field). My primary day-to-day responsibilities include the planning, implementing, managing, and controlling all financial-related activities with the primary objective of protecting and growing revenues and profits and safeguarding of assets. This includes direct responsibility for accounting, finance, budgets, forecasting, payroll, treasury function and financial analysis. I also have oversight of the Business Analytics and Technology departments. 

What was your career path that led you to this position? 


My initial major at Southern Arkansas state was in computer science. After a rough semester of balancing football with calculus and plane trigonometry, I approached my college advisor who pushed me to pursue broadcast journalismhe saw that I had a natural way of communicating with people. So, I ended up graduating with a degree in print and broadcast journalism – and I knew that’s what I wanted to do.  

Playing in the NFL was just a bonus. I always knew that life after football was somewhere in the media industry. So, for my last four of five years in the league, I would go in and do radio shows at no cost – just to brush up on my skills because I wasn’t sure when the transition from football was going to happen. But I knew it was going to happen.  

After I had a big game with the Tennessee Titans, I was interviewed by the NFL network. They went to commercial break and I said to the producer “I spend the off-season in LA…can I just come in the studio and do some work as a contributor for no pay?” And that’s how I got started; simply by asking. When I retired from the NFL, I got a broadcast agent who helped formalize a deal with the NFL Network. I spent three years there before coming back to the Seahawks.  


My first job with the Mariners was as a Fielder, which I found while completing a mock job application exercise for a class my freshman year. It was the perfect summer job that entailed handing out bobbleheads to fans, breaking down batting cages, running the manual scoreboard for home games – you name it.  

After doing that for two seasons, I went and studied abroad to fulfill a requirement for my major in Spanish. I picked the Dominican Republic because I wanted to learn the type of Spanish that a lot of our players spoke. While I was in the DR, I reached out to the Mariners about an internship in the community relations department – and interviewed for the position when I got back to Seattle. I got that job and was then hired in 2017 as a full-time coordinator. My role has since shifted to program management.  


I was “loaned” to the Seahawks while working for the public accounting firm Arthur Andersen. The Seahawks were a client needing accounting assistance. I was also studying Accounting at Seattle University. Upon graduating, the Seahawks hired me as a Staff Accountant in 1991. I have since grown with the organization over the years, with promotions to Controller, Director of Finance and in 2009, I replaced the outgoing CFO. 

How did your education at Seattle University prepare you for a career? 


This has really come through in my career coaching. One of the requirements in my final semester at the Executive Leadership MBA program at SU was completing a Legacy Project, which essentially incorporates all of the learnings and teachings from the Leadership Executive MBA about social issues, social awareness and leadership. And then obviously, the impact in creating change that centers around SU’s mission of creating a just and humane world.  

My Legacy Project built off of my book, Pivot to Win, which is focused on personal and professional development. Prior to graduating, I spoke to the director of the Albers School of Business and Economics MBA in Sports and Entertainment Management (MBA SEM) program about teaching a course about the topics in the book. The director was in alignment, so much so that they gave me an opportunity to create a curriculum for MBA SEM students focused on career development. We wrapped up the first program this month. It’s been really fun teaching young minds who have an ambition to penetrate and disrupt the sports world.   


I studied strategic communications and Spanish because I felt having a public relations and Spanish-speaking background would be important if I wanted to work in baseball. And it turns out those things are really important. For example, I’ve had to do a variety of public speaking opportunities on Root Sports and in front of the team and staff. I think you can learn a lot of those skills at a lot of universities, but what Seattle U did so differently is that it made me think about the world, and society, and dynamics, and social justice in a really different way.  

In my role, I interface with many nonprofits and community members who have a variety of insights. In order to do this job well, you have to have a really open worldview and also understand that everyone’s experiences are different. I think that going to Seattle U allowed me to really understand what social justice actually means and what it means to be a member of the community.  


To be quite honest, when I decided to pursue a degree in Accounting at Seattle University, I never dreamed I would end up with a career in sports. But my education provided me the foundation for a career in accounting and that’s what ultimately led me to the sports industry. I owe so much to Seattle University – my path to a college degree was not exactly traditional. I graduated high school at the age of 16 and really floundered for many years trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Seattle University was ideal for me in terms of the size, location, diverse population, and academic support. In addition to earning a degree, I developed far more confidence in myself and my abilities and that further helped prepare me for my career. 

What advice would you give a current Seattle University alum interested in pursuing a career in sports and entertainment 


The differentiator starts with building strong relationships. Being able to pick up the phone, call someone, and in most cases being vulnerable. I also think having clarity around what your skillsets and strong suits are, your weaknesses, and what you want to develop and grow are important. That clarity is a huge factor in being able to verbalize to someone your interest in their organization. It often requires a bit of self-reflection and transparency with who you really are and what you’re interested in.  

And then I’d say, be willing to do the things that go beyond your job. A lot of it is about showing value. Ask yourself, where can I continue to add value? In my experience, there is so much to sink your teeth into and create value if you wanted to for an organization. 


Don’t be discouraged. Professional sports can be really hard to get into. I think COVID has made a lot of people second guess working in sports because it was paused for so long.  

I can’t speak for other people on my team, but I think most would agree that if someone were to reach out to us for an informational interview – we’d be really happy to do that. I am always happy to do that interview or phone call or coffee meeting because I know when I was in that position, I would have been grateful if someone answered the phone or answered the email.  


Well given I am on the Advisory Board of Seattle University’s MBA in Sport and Entertainment Management program, I strongly encourage considering enrolling in the program! An MBA is an incredibly versatile degree. Combining that with the Fellowship Program that is part of the MBA SEM allows for real life experience that certainly provides a competitive edge. Understandably this is not a path for everyone, but I think having a broad understanding of the business fundamentals of sports and entertainment is important. Making connections in the sports industry can be very useful, too, establishing relationships may lead to something down the road. Look for internship opportunities wherever possible. Consider looking for jobs outside of the traditional sports and entertainment organizations, such as prominent sponsors of sports teams or large vendors -- they may lead to opportunities as well. 

What are some of the challenges or opportunities you foresee in the professional sports and entertainment industry that future professionals will have to navigate?  


Something that sticks out is that you often see more sponsorships, be it around nutrition, training and around brand management with athletes. Particularly in the NFL, in the past it was frowned upon to have done more outside of the work of being a professional athlete. Now, if you’re not maximizing the platform then you’re selling yourself short!  

So, what does offseason look like for players with new business opportunities, partnerships, and sponsorships? I think looking at those challenges differently as opportunities could be something that someone could find value in helping athletes connect with partners and sponsors to help build brand awareness.  


COVID has changed things for everyone. In professional sports, it’s posed the challenge of when are people going to feel safe to gather again. And when they do gather, what are fans’ expectations for safety. If they aren’t safe at games, what are their expectations for the entertainment experience at home? I’ll be interested to see how that landscape changes over the next five years.  

I think the other challenge is making sports interesting for the next generation. We know that the generation after mine consumes media so much differently in the form of apps and quick swipes and getting those dopamine hits through likes. TikTok, for example, has blown up over the pandemic, and those are shorter videos – so people are used to watching 15 and 30 second videos. When you work in a game that sometimes takes three to four hours to watch, it’s challenging to make the product feel exciting and fun for a generation of fans who are used to quick hits.  


As we emerge from the pandemic, with so much pent-up demand, the future of sports and entertainment appears bright, but we can’t be complacent. There are macro trends indicating an age of transition that must be addressed, shifting demographics, decay of the traditional TV market, digital disruption, shift in consumer spending behavior – millennials entering prime spending years prefer experiences over products. The sports industry must find ways to entice millennials to attend games. Keeping up with technology and social media is a challenge and requires making investment in people and tools. The good news is that these challenges are all truly opportunities and will create new avenues for those looking for careers in the sports and entertainment industry.   


All three of these alumni and are involved with the MBA in Sport and Entertainment Management program at the Albers School of Business and Economics. This distinctive program provides a world-class graduate education and access to a strong professional sports network through partnerships with seven professional sports organizations in Seattle. The MBA SEM aims to develop business acumen in concert with leadership skills highly sought after by employers. Inclusive excellence is the cornerstone of our MBA in sport, aligning with the sport industry’s renewed commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and Seattle University’s commitment to creating a highly diverse and inclusive community. 

Interested in learning more about the MBA SEM program? Visit the website to learn more about program curriculum, admissions deadlines, tuition, financial aid and more.  

And if you you’re already a seasoned professional in the sports and entertainment industry, learn more on how you can become a mentor by visiting the MBA SEM Mentor Program page. 


Make an Impact with Seattle U Gives

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on January 13, 2022 at 2:01 AM PST

Banner that says,

Seattle U Gives 2022 
Thursday, February 24, 2022 
Midnight to Midnight 

When alumni (like you!) come together for Seattle U Gives, there's nothing we can't achieve. Last year, your time, energy and support catapulted Seattle U Gives to record-breaking success, raising over 3,500 gifts totaling more than $575,000. Every gift—whether $5, $10 or $100—has spent the last year providing essential resources for thousands of students, equipping them with the tools and experiences needed to build a better, brighter future for all. 

“With donor contributions, I’m able to focus solely on school without being overwhelmed by financial burdens. Your support has established wonderful communities, supported the faculty I get to learn from and empowered my peers. Thank you!” Jamie, ’23 

“I’d like to thank all the donors for everything they’ve done to make my education possible, whether that’s generous scholarships, the Career Engagement Office or keeping class sizes small. Thanks to you, I’m going to be able to apply to medical school this year!” Max, ’22 

This year, our Redhawks are counting on you to take action again! Join us on Thursday, February 24th to celebrate another 24 hours of generosity and impact. 


Save the date to make your gift: Thursday, February 24, 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. 

What did you value most during your time as a student at Seattle University? Was it a scholarship that helped you overcome financial barriers? An extracurricular activity like a club or society? Athletic opportunities? Small class sizes, dedicated professors and a mission-driven education? During Seattle U Gives, you can contribute directly to the areas you loved most as a student, enhancing those experiences for current and future generations of Redhawks. 

This year, your dollars will stretch further than ever before. Each gift—regardless of size—can be designated towards one of our numerous cause-specific challenges. When enough alums contribute, thousands of additional dollars will be unlocked!  

Mobilize your networks—become a Social Ambassador 

By sharing your unique connection to SU on social media, or through email and texting, you can inspire others to join you in supporting the causes you care about most or sharing their special stories. Sign up to be a Social Ambassador for Seattle U Gives today to receive resources and tools to help you spread the word. The time commitment is small, but the potential impact is infinite! 

Come Root on Hometown Heroes and Redhawk Men’s Basketball

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on December 2, 2021 at 4:12 PM PST

The Seattle U men’s basketball team is off to a strong start with a 7-1 record. As the team continues building momentum ahead of conference play in the new year, the Redhawks also look forward to hosting active duty military, veterans and COVID-19 Health Heroes at their next two home games!

To all active duty military, veterans and friends, please enjoy free tickets to this Sunday’s game against the Virginia Military Institute Keydets at Climate Pledge Arena. Be there by tipoff at 1:00 p.m. so we can thank you for your service. Redeem your tickets here.

And to all those COVID-19 Health Heroes in our community, come and watch the Redhawks take on the UC San Diego Triton’s Sunday, December 12 – free of charge! Tipoff starts at 5:00 p.m. at Climate Pledge Arena. Redeem your tickets here. The game will also include special activities for kids!

Seattle University vs. Virginia Military Institute
DATE & TIPOFF: Sunday, 12/5 | 1:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Climate Pledge Arena

Seattle University vs. UC San Diego
DATE & TIPOFF: Sunday, 12/12 | 5:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Climate Pledge Arena

And for all you other Redhawk fans, Seattle U men’s basketball is offering a BUY ONE, GET ONE free deal for the remaining home games in December. Invite all your friends and family and enjoy Redhawk’s men’s basketball in a world-class venue! Learn more and redeem your offer here before it’s too late. #TogetherWeSoar


LinkUp with Seattle University Students by Becoming a Mentor

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on December 2, 2021 at 4:12 PM PST

People talking around a table 

Looking to help mentor students and expand their professional network? The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) is actively seeking alumni to participate in LinkUp, the college’s signature mentoring and networking event for students.  

DATE: Wednesday, January 26, 2022 
TIME: 4:30–6 p.m.  
LOCATION: Seattle University | Student Center – First Floor


Designed to be structured, yet informal and low-key, LinkUp is an annual event that connects current CAS undergraduate and graduate students with alumni so that they can discover shared interests, discuss professional plans and ideas, and start a mentoring relationship. Since its inception in 2019, the event has proven to be an impactful and effective career building experience for the students.  
From past students
“The event made it easy and low pressure to network. The info session at the start and the online platform used were really helpful for networking. I learned a lot and it was great to hear about different careers.” 
“I enjoyed meeting and hearing from former graduates. They provided sound advice and the partnering with mentors was well curated.” 
From a past mentor
“This was a great event—I’m a little envious of these students! I thought the format was great, including the open networking time at the end—it made a good opportunity to direct students I met to other alumni I know.” 
Help shape our emerging young professionals’ careers by registering today. Learn more by visiting the LinkUp website.   
Questions? Contact Amy Lonn-O’Brien by email:

A Holiday Message from President Eduardo Peñalver

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on December 2, 2021 at 3:12 PM PST

Eduardo sitting in front of St. Ignatius

Christmas is a celebration of light in the midst of darkness.  As the Gospel of John puts it, Christ is “the light [that] shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

At Seattle University, the celebration of light has a special meaning.  We associate the light with knowledge and wisdom; a light that overcomes the darkness of ignorance and intolerance.  Wisdom is the light that never goes out, the light we aim to instill in our students. 

This season of light amidst the darkness is one that we can all embrace, regardless of our faith tradition.  Many cultures and religions have a celebration like it, whether it be the Hannukah Menorah or the diyas that Hindus light for Diwali.  The yearning for light in the midst of the darkness of winter, the universal thirst for the light of knowledge and wisdom that overcomes the darkness of ignorance – these are things that bring us all together as human beings. 

When we celebrate this season, we are celebrating something essential in the human experience.  Even in this world of electric light and constant connectivity – we find ourselves still disciplined by the Earth’s inexorable cycles of light and dark.

I am delighted to be sharing this magical season with the Seattle University community during my first year as president.  I wish you and your families a very happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Celebrate Homecoming with An Opportunity Like No Other

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on November 4, 2021 at 1:11 PM PDT

When Seattle University men’s basketball Homecoming game tips off against Idaho State on Sunday, Nov. 14, the Redhawks and Bengals, along with all in attendance, will officially hold the distinction of being the first basketball game played in the brand new, $1.2 billion Climate Pledge Arena. The inaugural basketball game comes less than one month after the arena opened and is the first of eight dates that Seattle U will call Climate Pledge Arena home.

"Our players and staff are thrilled to call Climate Pledge Arena home court,” said Seattle U Head Coach Jim Hayford. “The arena is world class. I can't wait for our fans to be able to come back out, experience all that the arena has to offer and watch the guys play."

Beyond the Homecoming game, you’ve got other great reasons to come out to Climate Pledge. Boost your SU spirit at the Homecoming rally at 4 p.m. and meet our newest alumni affinity group at the Alumni and Students of Color (ASOC) Social at 3 p.m. All are welcome!

The Redhawks are primed for an exciting season in 2021-22 as they welcome fans back into the arena for the first time since February 2020. The season officially opens on Nov. 10 against Alcorn State in the Redhawk Center on campus. The team travels across the state of Washington to face Pac-12 member Washington State on Nov. 12, before returning to Seattle for the annual Homecoming game.

The team returns 13 players, including all five starters from last year, so experience will be on their side.Leading that return is Preseason WAC Player of the Year Darrion Trammell, who led the league in scoring last year at 20.5 ppg. Preseason First Team All-WAC selection Riley Grigsby also returns, while fifth-year senior and sharp-shooter Aaron Nettles looks to climb into the Seattle U all-time three-point shooting list this year.

Excitement and anticipation around the men’s basketball team is coupled with the thrill of experiencing all that the brand new Climate Pledge Arena has to offer. Aiming to be the most progressive, responsible and sustainable arena in the world, the arena’s goals including creating the first International Living Future Institute certified zero carbon arena in the world, being the first arena and NHL Team committed to being 100% free of single-use plastics by 2024, and demonstrate leadership in water quality and water use, including a “Rain to Rink” system that will harvest water off the roof and turn it into the greenest ice in the NHL.

Homecoming is just one week away and there are opportunities for everyone. Run in the Robert Bennedsen Veterans Day 5k on Thursday, Nov. 11 and celebrate with classmates at the 50+ Reunion (Classes of 1971 and earlier) or the GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) Reunion for the Classes of 2011-2021 on Saturday, Nov. 13. The Alumni and Students of Color Social includes your game ticket and you have the option to purchase game tickets to sit with your reunion group with your reunion registrations. Otherwise, you can buy your game tickets here.

Simon Adriane Ellis, ’12, CNM, ARNP Forwards Social Justice in Midwifery and Patient Care for LGBTQ+ Community

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on November 3, 2021 at 7:11 PM PDT

Simon Adriane Ellis knows the health care challenges faced by members of the LGBTQ+ community who wish to start a family. A Certified Nurse Midwife, Ellis is transgender and non-binary using he/they pronouns, and a parent. He is passionate about the need for clinically competent and culturally proficient care for transgender and gender non-conforming patients and for health care environments that welcome people of all gender identities. He advocated for change as a student in Seattle University’s Certified Nurse Midwifery (CNM) program, producing award-winning original research on the Pregnancy and Childbirth Experiences of Trans, Non-Binary and Male Individuals. Since graduating, Ellis has authored numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, contributed to medical books and delivered many presentations and trainings focused on creating a more just health care environment.

“Pregnancy is a very vulnerable experience for everyone,” he says, “even more so for trans and non-binary people. There’s nothing scarier than bringing a child into the world without knowing if people will accept your legitimacy as a parent.”

Homophobia and transphobia cause disparities in sexual and mental health care received by members of the LGBTQ+ community. There are lower rates of screening for cervical cancer, for example, because patients are hesitant to see a caregiver who doesn’t understand them and may mistreat or deny them care. Misinformation about the sexual and reproductive health of LGBTQ+ people is another problem.

“Most information related to pregnancy and birth is still extremely gendered,” Ellis explains. “We lack data on pregnancy in trans and non-binary people because there are only a few small studies.”

Research Ellis undertook together with Associate Professor Maria Pettinato, PhD, RN and Professor Danuta Wojnar, PhD, RN, MN, MED, while a nursing student at SU, which was published in the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, revealed two primary findings. First, that trans and non-binary parents experience profound loneliness throughout the entire gestational process from preconception to early parenting. This is largely due to difficulty finding others who are going through the same experience. Second, that preconception is the period of greatest distress and least engagement in medical care for trans and non-binary people. Fear of poor treatment if they share with a caregiver their desire to become pregnant is a driving factor; and one that has proven a reality.

“After completing this research, I began advocating for caregivers to ask all patients during routine preventative visits if they plan to start or add to their existing family,” Ellis says. “If the patient’s reply is yes, an open follow-up question would be appropriate like, ‘how do you see that happening?’ or ‘what’s your vision for that?’ It’s important for the caregiver to make it clear they will not judge the patient’s response.”

He continues, “We need to normalize that parenting is an experience some humans want, and other humans don’t. And caregivers should not assume, based on any of a person’s characteristics, whether they would want that experience. Further, we need to create space in the examination room and in our hearts for the answers that patients of any gender identity give.”

Ellis is creating this space as a nurse midwife atQuilted Health, a private practice championing a new model of midwifery-led collaborative care.

“Quilted is focused on long-term strategy shift,” he explains. “We provide equitable access to compassionate, evidence-based, whole-person pregnancy care focused on meeting the needs of each individual client, particularly those who have historically been underserved. Our continuum of care begins when a patient thinks they are pregnant and continues through one year postpartum—the “bookend” periods in pregnancy that are often neglected. We are also working toward an innovative billing system based on patient outcomes rather than fee for service.”

Ellis is launching Quilted Health’s new Renton location together with a peer from his nursing school cohort, Laura MacPherson, ’12.

“Laura is one of the few midwives of color in the area, and I’m one of the few trans or non-binary midwives” he says. “We’re learning how to hire for equity and to really put those values into practice in a way we rarely see in our field. Laura and I are in a dream position to truly build what we want to see for our patients and ourselves in a clinic that has a lot of support and structure. It’s really exciting.”

Support for the birthing person is another high priority at Quilted Health. “We make doula care accessible for all our patients,” Ellis adds. “It’s one of the inputs we focus on because research tells us the presence of continuous birth support from a doula reduces the risk of interventions during labor. The doula works as part of a team that includes the patient and their support people, a midwife and our nurses. If needed, we’ll add our OB colleagues to the team.”

“Support is even more important for patients from communities that have been poorly served by the medical system and who face disparate outcomes,” he continues. “Having someone you know and trust at your side to help you navigate health care is life-saving. At Quilted, we’re adamant that labor support is a non-negotiable right.”

Ellis experienced a similar kind of life-changing support at SU while working his way through the MSN-CNM program. He was grateful for this, as the reception he’d received from other universities had been less than welcoming. An educator on one interview panel told Ellis that due to his gender identity, patients wouldn’t want to receive care from him and therefore graduating from the CNM program may not be possible.

“It was very upsetting,” Ellis recalls. “I’d been so excited. I felt this was my path, and the implication that my motivations were questionable was concerning to me. But it was different at SU. The university is committed to social justice, and I think the nursing faculty on my interview panel felt my presence in this field could be important for human rights and there was an openness to that possibility.”

Once accepted into SU’s program, Kelly McBroom, PhD, ARNP, CNM became Ellis’s mentor.

“Kelly is still my mentor today and my fiercest advocate within the profession,” he says. “She made sure doors were open to me while I was a student, so I’d have a chance. She ensured that I had clinical positions and mentored me as my preceptor and career coach. She made it clear to me and to others that I belonged.”

Ellis continues to advocate for social justice for his patients and for other trans and non-binary people in the midwifery profession. Just recently, he learned that an initiative he worked on for 10 years to neutralize language in the Midwifery Scope of Practice put forth by the American College of Nurse-Midwives, a national professional association, had achieved its goal. The changes he and a group of catalyst colleagues recommended, such as replacing the word “woman” with “individuals” in the Scope of Practice and adding a statement that midwives care for people of all gender identities, had been approved. The new language is not yet available to the public.

“In medicine we say everything takes 10 years from bench to bedside,” Ellis says, “meaning if we learn something through laboratory research, it usually takes 10 years for the findings to be fully implemented. It appears we’re on the same timeline for implementing social justice within the health care system. But there’s movement.”

Jerry Yahiro, ’66 A Veteran Caring for Fellow Veterans

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on November 3, 2021 at 7:11 PM PDT

Jerry Yahiro, ’66, decided to attend Seattle University after meeting late President William Sullivan, S.J., on one of Fr. Sullivan’s recruiting trips to Hawai’i. Jerry was among 40 students from Hawai’i when he arrived in Seattle on his first trip to the mainland from his home in Wailuku, Maui. The students formed the Hui O Nani Hawai’i Club shortly thereafter, with Brig. Gen. Paul Y. Chinen, USA (Ret.) ’63 as the first leader. Families back in Hawai’i sent a shipment of “goodies” and the first Lū’au sponsored by the club was held in 1963. The Lū’au is an annual campus event that continues today, and the Hui O Nani Hawai’i Club remains one of the oldest and largest student groups at Seattle U.

Jerry was a political science major and participated in ROTC, which was mandatory at the time for male students during their first two years of college. Upon graduation, Jerry was a commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, US Army Reserves, Infantry. He was ordered to Fort Benning, GA for officer basic training in the Fall of 1966, and in June 1967, received orders for Vietnam. Jerry was a Mortar Platoon Leader, 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, from June 1967 to December 1967. He served as the Public Information Officer for the 2nd Brigade, 4th ID for the remainder of his tour. He completed his tour without losing any of his soldiers and decided to return to civilian life.

Jerry went on to enjoy a 27-year career at Pacific Telegraph and Telephone, or PacBell (now AT&T) in marketing and sales. He met his wife, Patti, while both were working at PacBell. After his career at PacBell and a couple years doing telecommunications consulting, Jerry retired. Since then, he and Patti have continued to work together, volunteering to serve homeless and at-risk veterans.

Jerry has served leadership positions with many veterans organizations in his region, including the Viet Nam Veterans of Diablo Valley, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Golden Gate Nisei Memorial Post 9879 and the San Ramon Valley Veterans Memorial Building. All of his experience culminated in 1999, when he was appointed to serve as the Executive Board Chair of the East Bay Stand Down.

The East Bay Stand Down is a massive four-day event. Homeless veterans are bussed to the site and stay there, where they have access to food, showers, haircuts and clothing. There is also medical and dental care, addiction treatment services, pathways to housing, and even a veterans’ court to help clear misdemeanors, traffic ticket warrants, and strike other minor violations and fines. The East Bay Stand Down takes place every other year and serves about 400 veterans at each event. It requires more than 2,000 volunteers, as well as partnerships with the VA, California Dental Association and Superior Court judges from five jurisdictions.

Jerry shared that in 1999, there were an estimated 100,000 chronically homeless vets in the United States. Today, thanks to efforts like the growth of Stand Down events in 200 cities around the country, along with initiatives taken by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, that number has been cut in half. Because of the pandemic, there has not been an East Bay Stand Down since 2018. The next event is planned for 2022. To learn more or to get involved go to

In June 2020, while sidelined from their volunteer work with the East Bay Stand Down, Jerry and Patti found another meaningful way to support veterans. They decided to create an endowed scholarship for future students at Seattle University with financial need, who are either veterans or from Hawai’i. The scholarship will be fully funded through their estate, as they have named Seattle University as a beneficiary of an investment portfolio.

When Jerry was asked how his time at Seattle University has influenced his life, and why he decided to create a scholarship, Jerry responded by saying that he faced hardship early on in his life when his father passed away in 1956. Jerry, his mother and his two brothers had to figure out how to support themselves, so they always worked. At Seattle University, Jerry arrived prepared to work hard and found his hard work was rewarded. It was his financial advisor who pointed out that with 30 years of giving to Seattle University, he was very loyal to his alma mater. For Jerry and Patti, it made sense to support the quality of Jesuit education and opportunities at Seattle University, and to direct that support to those students for whom the journey to college has been more difficult or challenging. On this Veteran’s Day and every day, we salute you, Jerry and Patti, for your service and generosity to others.