Summer 2011

Alumni Newsletter - Summer 2011

Dean's Message  

Graduation is a time to reflect, and it has truly been an incredible year of academic achievement and community service. As the College rejoices in the awards and accolades that came to our faculty and students, we take pride in our newest alumni. We have room in this e-letter only for a representative sampling of the class of 2011, but it will give you a preview of what is yet to come.

We have just learned that Bob Woodruff, the ABC journalist who was severely wounded covering the war in Iraq, will be the keynote speaker at our presentation and panel on veteran homelessness. His visit, made possible by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to our Center for Strategic Communications, is the first of several activities to increase awareness of homelessness in our community.  I encourage you to join us at Town Hall on July 15.

Nothing we do here would be possible without the strong legacy of alumni. We profile here scholar-athlete Lisa Hill, ’91 and Mercer Island Chief of Police Ed Holmes, '03. They have set the bar for our students.

Thanks to all of you who support our work in the classroom by being mentors, supervisors at internship placements, and role models, enabling us to fulfill our commitment to service, academic achievement, and global engagement, which are imbedded in our mission. Your efforts are reminders to all of us of what it means to be an SU graduate. 

I look forward to seeing you soon.

David V. Powers


Meet Our Newest Alumni, Class of 2011

We celebrated with more than 600 Arts and Sciences graduates and their families at Key Arena on June 12. Meet some of our newest alumni as they journey far and wide to pursue their passions.

Monique Albano, Theology and Religious Studies major, has been accepted into the Jesuit Volunteer International Corps. She leaves soon for Belize City where she will work at St. Martin de Porres parish as a pastoral assistant. Monique came to Seattle from Hawaii, worked with Campus Ministry leading student retreats, and participated in the Campus Ministry program in Ecuador. “It was a life-changing experience,” she said, “stepping away from my idealized view of the world and putting a face to social justice.”

George Bayuga, Sullivan Scholar and dual major in International Studies and History from San Jose, CA, received the David L. Boren Scholarship in 2008 for a full-year of intense language study in Beijing. He is leaving this month for New York University to obtain an MA in Food Studies with an emphasis on policy, politics, and development. “During my year in China, I worked for CNN, taught Chinese teachers of English, and worked with psychology graduate students,” he said. “At SU, I minored in medieval studies, English, and philosophy in addition to my two majors. I am thankful for my scholarships and the opportunities I’ve been given.”

Evan Morier, Political Science major from Oakland, CA, is going to Madagascar with the Peace Corps. A visit to Mali and Senegal in 2006 piqued his interest in Africa and motivated him to learn more about the history and many cultures on that continent. “SU helped me figure out what I wanted to study and who I was,” he said. “Taking classes in Global African Studies was a life-changing experience.” 

Matthew Bagayas, Social Work major from Pearl City, HI, has spent his practicum this year at Harborview Mental Health Services. Although he was always interested in counseling, he started out in engineering and then enrolled in the social work program for the “diversity in the types of work you can get with such a broad degree.” He plans to work for a few years before earning a master’s degree to pursue a career in medical social work.

Phinney Examines Spread of HIV Among Heterosexual Couples

Anthropology Professor Harriet Phinney spent six months conducting ethnographic research on the social and economic structures that facilitate the spread of HIV among married couples in Vietnam. Fluent in Vietnamese, she interviewed men and women in Hanoi for the widely acclaimed book “The Secret: Love, Marriage and HIV,” which includes research by four other medical anthropologists working in Mexico, Uganda, Nicaragua, and Papua New Guinea. Phinney spoke with e-newsletter editor Laura Paskin about her experiences.

Q. Why did you choose Vietnam?

A. When I entered graduate schooI, I chose Vietnam because it was just opening up to American scholars, so I did my Ph.D. in Vietnam during the mid-1990s. At that time, I focused on shifting notions of reproduction, kinship, and marriage among single women as a result of the Second Indochina War. Because of a severe shortage of men following the war, older unmarried women decided to ask men whom they would not have ongoing relations with to get them pregnant. Due to societal and governmental recognition that women needed a child to love and take care of them in their old age, society and the government began to accept these women’s reproductive decisions.

One of the key reasons that the Vietnamese government, in particular the Vietnamese Women’s Union, supported older single women’s new reproductive decisions was that the Vietnamese state was moving from a collective economy to a socialist-market economy. As a result, responsibility for the family shifted from the government to the individual. With this background, I returned to Vietnam to research the spread of HIV among married couples.

Q. What principal factors contribute to the spread of HIV among married women in Vietnam?

A. The first has to do with the gendered division of marital labor and the way in which men and women are able to spend their leisure time. For women, their leisure time may principally be spent with children, family members, or other women in home environments or out in public spaces. Men, however, are more apt to spend time socializing with other men in private commercial establishments. With the growth of a market economy, leisure time has become increasingly commercialized and, for men, increasingly sexualized. This means that men often have the opportunity to socialize with other men in the company of young women they do not know and who may provide them with a range of sexualized services.

The second factor has to do with the shift in notions of masculinity. After the war and as the market economy has developed, the concept of masculinity changed. Without the validation of wartime service, some men now gain status by proving to other men that they can attract a pretty girl. Men who are on business trips may succumb to this peer pressure to demonstrate their masculinity to fellow co-workers and/or to bond with other men.

The third major factor has to do with the dramatic increase in migration throughout the country since the mid-1990s. Men travelling for their jobs are frequently presented with the opportunity to pay for the services of a sex worker. A number of men seek these services to have someone to keep them company while they are away from their homes.

For many men, engaging in extra-marital relations does not mean they don’t love their wives; for them, enjoying sex outside marriage has no bearing on their family happiness.

Q. Isn’t there fear about the spread of HIV?

A. Of course, there are epidemiological risks; extramarital sex is risky because if you are not careful, you can contract HIV. For some Vietnamese men, the social risks associated with not gaining social status by not engaging in extramarital sex outweigh other considerations.

Q. What did you learn from the wives?

A. That’s why the book is called “The Secret.” Across all the societies we looked at, many of the women who know that their husbands are having extramarital relations do not discuss it with their husbands, or if they do, they decide not to discuss it publicly but keep it to themselves. The principal reason is that many married women derive their social and economic status from their marriages and are not willing to risk being divorced. In addition, if a woman has married for love, asking the husband if he is cheating or if he could use a condom is tantamount to acknowledging that he does not love her – something she may not want to admit. Like the men, the social risks for married women may also outweigh the epidemiological risks of having unprotected sex.

Q. How do you change these social structures to protect the wives as well as the husbands?

A. We need programs that look at the concept of what is faithful in different cultural contexts. It will be difficult to do, be we need to acknowledge the situation as it is and call upon men to recognize their moral responsibility to their wives and children. A first step would be for the Vietnamese government to recognize the relationship between commercialized and sexualized leisure, to decriminalize prostitution so that healthcare workers can actively work with sex workers to stop the spread of HIV infection, and to provide condoms in commercial establishments in the spaces where men are presented with the opportunities to engage in extramarital sex.


Gates Grant Funds Work on Family Homelessness

The Center for Strategic Communications (CSC), directed by Professor Barry Mitzman, has received a second major grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to continue and evolve the center’s Project on Family Homelessness. The new $180,327 grant will support media projects, public forums, arts performances and community partnerships that explore and illuminate stories of the thousands of Washington families who are homeless.

The 2011-12 effort comes out of a successful program of Gates-funded journalism fellowships that resulted in extensive news coverage of family homelessness last year. Professional journalists from some of the region’s most prominent news organizations, including the Seattle Times, radio station KUOW and the PBS Newshour, developed in-depth reporting projects that explored the causes and effects of family homelessness and profiled innovative strategies to reduce and prevent it. Eight Seattle University students received scholarships to participate as research assistants to the journalists.

This year’s project will again incorporate in-depth news projects, particularly coverage in Pierce and Snohomish counties. Additionally, a series of civic and cultural events will engage the public and challenge them to look at the issue in new ways, says project director Barry Mitzman, who also directs the CSC and is a professor in the Communication Department. Four additional Seattle University students will be awarded scholarships and will serve as project assistants.

“The quality and extent of the news coverage that resulted from the journalism fellowships far exceeded our expectations,” Mitzman said. “The reporting significantly raised the visibility of family homelessness as a distinct, sizable, serious problem, yet one that is solvable.”

The project reflects the university’s Jesuit Catholic mission of empowering leaders for a just and humane world. SU became the first university in the nation to host a homeless camp.


Students Awarded Summer 2011 Research Fellowships

Thanks to the support of alumni and friends of the College, three students are receiving summer stipends to work alongside faculty on research projects. Anthropology Professor Tanya Hayes and Environmental Studies major Sarah McHugh are in Ecuador conducting an assessment of the social and ecological impacts of forest conservation in the Andes. Criminal Justice Professor Stephen Rice and Criminal Justice major Farrah Fanara are analyzing final statements of Texas death row inmates, and International Studies Professor Tom Taylor and International Studies major Gabrielle Porter are researching cross-cultural experiences expressed in journals written by European bicyclists traveling through Asia in the late nineteenth century.

“I am excited about offering these fellowships to our undergraduate students,” Dean Powers said. “The students have the rare opportunity to work closely with members of the faculty and learn how research is done at the highest levels.”

Powers hopes to expand the number of fellowships next year: “The demand is great. Students really want these experiences.”

Individuals wanting to share ideas or invest in Dean Powers’ Faculty and Student Summer Research Fellowships should contact David Chow, Director of Development, by email or by phone at 206-398-4401. With your support, we hope to announce six new faculty student pairings for summer 2012. 

Alumni Profile: Ed Holmes, M.P.A. '03, Mercer Island Chief of Police

As a work-study student, Ed Holmes came to Echo Glen, a state-run facility for incarcerated youth. Some had experienced significant abuse, drug addiction, or abandonment. Many had been victimized by family or friends. All had committed serious crimes. Hired on full-time as a Juvenile Rehabilitation Counselor, he worked with sex offenders and youth in the maximum security unit for two years.

Spurred on by the police officers and detectives he met while at Echo Glen, Ed decided to go into law enforcement, and in 1994, he joined the Mercer Island Police Department. Although Mercer Island, pop. 25,000, has a low crime rate compared to the national average, the island is not immune to crimes of rape, murder, hate, and arson. Ed quickly rose in the ranks, and in 2001, he decided to pursue a Master in Public Administration at Seattle University.

“I had a growing interest in leadership,” he said from his office in City Hall, “and I knew that I needed to prepare myself for that. The M.P.A. is a good degree. It’s broad and gives you a high level perspective on government--budgeting, public finance, personnel. I’ve saved all my books, and I still refer to them on occasion.”

Since becoming Chief of Police in 2006, Ed is responsible for an annual budget of $6 million, 32 officers, and 4 staff. In these tough economic times, he has been successful in working with nearby jurisdictions to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. As the result of an interlocal agreement with Bellevue, WA, for example, Mercer Island provides marine patrol and dive services while the City of Bellevue assists with investigations of significant crimes and SWAT teams.

“We have a coalition of 15 police agencies in the region,” he said, “and we share training and equipment. Mercer Island experiences the same types of crimes that larger cities face, but we have fewer numbers. By collaborating, we all benefit from economy of scale.”

Ed has made it a priority for the department to work closely with the Mercer Island school district, families, and businesses. He credits close relationships with students and the community for helping solve crimes quickly, including the recent apprehension of two juveniles involved in a hate crime. 

Ed’s leadership extends beyond the city limits of Mercer Island. Next year, he takes over as President of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, the only association of its kind in the nation combining executive and top management from local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement into a single body working toward increasing collaboration among law enforcement executives to enhance public safety. Currently Vice President and a member of the legislative committee, Ed chaired the Model Policy Committee and the Loaned Executive Management Assistant Program before assuming his latest leadership role.

Power Scholar Athletes: Lisa Hill '91; Julee Christianson '11

Lisa Hill (above) and Julee Christianson (below) share more than a love of the game. Both joined the team after open-gym tryouts, were star athletes in high school, worked during college, played forward, and achieved success on and off the court.  For Julee, earning the Academic Excellence Award after seeing action in every game was her reward for perseverance, training, and great time-management skills. For Lisa it was becoming a three-time National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All-American and 2008 inductee into the SU Athletics Hall of Fame.  

Julee seemed to have been born with a basketball in her hands. In high school in Missoula, MT, she joined the varsity as a sophomore and played in the state championship final. She worked at basketball camps during the summer and played for Willamette University before coming to Seattle U.

“I always wanted to go to Seattle U. I loved the school, and I loved the city,” she said. “I tried out in open gym and made the team. The transition from Division III to Division II was rough but not as tough as going from Division II to Division I. That and having three coaches in four years required a lot of adjustment to new ways of doing things.”

Training at Division I level of play required discipline, teamwork, and good communication skills that Julee put to good use interviewing and writing as a journalism major. As a senior, she worked as a student assistant in the sports communication unit of the athletic department, played in 26 games, and graduated this year with a 3.6 grade point average. She plans to go on to graduate school in information and library science.

Lisa Hill came late to basketball. The Seattle native didn’t pick up a ball until she started high school. Bussed to West Seattle High School from her Rainier Beach neighborhood, she didn’t know what to make of her English teacher, Joe Devine. Devine took one look at the tall freshman, asked her if she played basketball, and told her that if she wanted to pass English she had to be on his team. She tried out, made the team, and found herself playing two quarters on the JV squad and two quarters on the varsity. When she got into Seattle U, she jumped at the chance, only to realize later that her academic scholarship would not cover all her expenses.

“It was after I walked on and Michelle [Hackett] got red-shirted that I got an athletic scholarship,” she recalled. “I don’t know what I would have done if that didn’t happen.” Lisa majored in political science, worked in the Registrar’s office, took classes mostly at night (“I was energized from our practices”), and played basketball.  By the time she graduated in 1991, she had averaged 15.5 points a game and racked up 1350 points in 87 games, sixth in all-time scoring at SU. Today, she works at Zulily, a start-up in downtown Seattle, where she puts her athletic skills to use every day.

“Just like basketball, you have to know how to work in a team,” she said recently. “I’m competitive by nature, but I learned how to lead to the strengths of others, know my own weaknesses, be disciplined, and get the job done.”  

Lisa, a Board member of the Ashia Circle, a mentoring and leadership program for African-American girls ages 10 to 14, had this advice for Julee: “Education is not limited to your BA. Be open to choices, apply your team skills to working with people of all backgrounds, and get involved in the community.”

“Because of one English teacher, I learned to play basketball, got a great college education, and went on to a satisfying career,” she added. “You too have been given the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Fundraising Update: One Day Left to Meet 600+ Challenge

We are heading into the last hours of the 600+ challenge. Three Seattle University trustees will give $15,000 to support our students if 600 alumni first-time givers make their gifts by June 30. We only need 21 more alumni to give to meet our goal of 600! Your gift of ANY size is an investment in the lives of Seattle U students. Last year, individual gifts of $100 or less created $400,000 for scholarship support, academic programs, and campus facilities. Every gift counts!

This is where you come in: by being one of the 21 to make your gift today, this will be the easiest $15,000 you’ll ever make happen—and the most meaningful.

Thank you for all that you do for College of Arts and Sciences and Seattle University. You are a treasured alum and member of our community!