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Geography Alumni

Here is some of what is happening with our Geography Alumni.

Mason Gedanken, 2016

Mason Gedanken, 2016 Geography, landed a job with a consulting company as an intern. The job primarily consists of OSP, and fiber optics, and have Gedanken has learned quite a bit about utility poles, and how Telecom works. Gedanken has been out in the field collecting data from utility poles like Pole Tag, class, anchor information, telephone, and cable TV. Recently, he has been making maps of pole information using Google’s My Maps and plotting where the poles and the strands are located.

Kieron J. Slaughter, 1999

Kieron J. Slaughter, 1999 Geography, was a member of the Jacks Basketball team from 1997 to 1999 and has returned to coach at the Boys Basketball Camp six times over the years. Slaughter has been selected as one of ten Urban Fellows with the National Park Service implementing the Urban Agenda.

Kelly Jean Muth, 2012

Kelly Jean Muth, 2012 Geography, has been pursuing her goals of becoming a professional disc golfer. After graduating from HSU, where she participated in the Humboldt State Disc Golf Club, Muth has participated in several national competitions and has been ranked No. 26 in the world by the Professional Disc Golf Association. 

Conrad L. Huygen, 1994

Conrad L. Huygen, 1994 Geography, retired from the Air Force JAG Corps as a lieutenant colonel after a distinguished military career that also included enlisted service in the Army and the Coast Guard. He served four assignments as a trial defense counsel, was an executive officer to the Assistant Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and deployed to the Combined Air and Space Operations Center (Combat Operations Division). Huygen and his wife, Julie, plan to stay in the Denver area where he will teach, travel, write, run, cycle, ski, fish, and brew every day the sun shines.

Robert David Short, 2002

Robert David Short, 2002 Geography spent time traveling the U.S. and had the opportunity to take a boat from Humboldt Bay to Wrangell, Alaska after graduation. It was a 38-day trip and the last 500 miles were traveled solo. I worked with the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Forest Service before finally landing a job with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Ocean Service as a physical scientist helping to update and acquire charts used for ocean navigation.After graduation, I spent time traveling the US and had the opportunity to take a boat from Humboldt Bay to Wrangell, Alaska. It was a 38 day trip and the last 500 miles were traveled solo. I worked with the Army Corps of Engineers and the US Forest Service before finally landing a job with NOAA’s National Ocean Service as a physical scientist helping to update and acquire charts used for ocean navigation.

William Forbes, 1990

William Forbes, 1990 Geography, is an Associate Professor of Geography at another lumberjack school, Stephen F. Austin State University, located in the Pineywoods of East Texas. At the University of North Texas, he did his dissertation on revisiting Mexico’s Rio Gavilan, where Aldo Leopold noted perfect land health in the 1930s. Forbes currently directs SFA’s Center for a Livable World, which studies sustainability and livability of small cities.

Tracy Jordan French, 1983

Tracy Jordan French, 1983, Geography, is the administrator of United States Servas, a nonprofit membership organization fostering understanding of cultural diversity through a global person-to-person network promoting a more just and peaceful world. Servas hosts and travelers are located in more than 120 countries worldwide. Servas International is accredited to the United Nations and was established in 1949.

Aquila Flower, 2004

Aquila Flower, 2004, Geography, lived out of a backpack in New Zealand and South America, in a coffee shack in Hawai’i, and on a tiny sailboat in the San Juan Islands after graduating. Flower then moved to Victoria, British Columbia, where she completed a Master of Science in Geography and worked as a geospatial and statistical analyst at a climate change research institute. She fell in love with teaching and with dendrochronology research, and is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Oregon. Flower has accepted her “dream job” as Assistant Professor of Geography at Western Washington University in Bellingham, where she teaches Physical Geography and geographic information systems.

Leah Manos, 1992

LEAH MANOS, 1992 Geography, is teaching geography at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and is a faculty advisor for its Gamma Theta Upsilon (geography honor society) chapter.

Yang Yang, Spring 2011

After I graduated from Humboldt in May 2011 with two BAs in Geography and International Studies, I went to London School of Economics and Political Science to pursue a MSc in Human Geography and Urban Studies Research. After completing my course work at the LSE, since August 2012, I proceeded to the PhD program in Cultural Geography at University of Colorado at Boulder to do research in ethnic studies in China.

Conrad Leo Huygen, 1994

Lieutenant Colonel Conrad Huygen (BA Geography ’94) is an Air Force chief senior defense counsel stationed at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. He is responsible for a team of 36 judge advocates and 26 paralegals who provide trial defense services in the eastern U.S., Europe, and Southwest Asia. His wife, Julie, is also an Air Force lieutenant colonel and is currently deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

Joel Correia, 2004

Since graduating from the HSU Geography program I have worked in a variety of international development jobs from a non-profit in Kenya, to serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay, and also designing my own projects to increase educational opportunities for rural youth in Paraguay.  The last project took me on a six month, 5,000 mile bicycle tour through South America to raise funds and awareness about the project.  In May of 2012, I graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Arizona.  I am excited to continue my education in geography at University of Colorado at Boulder where I will pursue a PhD.

Robert E. Ruehl, 1987

Work at Weather Forecast Office Eureka, CA.  Currently involved in the installation of many automatic weather data collection packages(DCPs)throughout northwestern California in conjunction with CA State Parks, CA Dept. of Water Resources and the CA/NV River Forecast Center.

Gary Sawyer, 1980

I worked as a cartographer since graduation in 1980 and for the past 10 years I worked for Pinellas County Florida as Cartographic Cadastralist. I really miss school and the challenges. Humboldt was the best time of my life. I am now 65 and retired. For many years I had my own cartographic business and produced and printed my own maps. For the last 10 years I have been using ARCInfo producing data bases and interactive

Verena Kellner, 2001

With work being slow my fiance Mike and I are taking time off to sail our 38’ sailboat from Mexico to Australia via the South Pacific Islands. You can follow our journey on our blog at

Gary Perless, 1984

Two and a half decades after my first immersion in Latin America, I’ve maintained my Spanish fluency through travel, friendships, and teaching. I earned my M.A. in Geography Education at U of Oregon in 1993. I teach Spanish and World Geogaphy/History at West Sound Academy, a small, private, International School (grades 6-12) in Poulsbo, WA.

I live just outside Port Townsend with my wife, Jocelyn and our children William (9) and Serena (4). I’d love to hear from any fellow Geography or Oaxaca Program graduates.

Janet Morlan, 1985

I retired July 1, 2011, and received the best retirement “gift.” In May I was flown to Washington D.C. to receive a National Wetlands Award.  And it all began at the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary many, many years ago.  Here’s the link to the award information & photos:

Gary "Eduardo" Perless, 1984

After many years as a public school Science teacher, I’m now teaching Spanish and World Geography/History at a small, university prep school in Poulsbo, WA.  West Sound Academy is a good fit for me, emphasizing global citizenship, critical thinking, and service learning--and I can ride the bus to work. I live near Port Townsend, with my wife Jocelyn and children Will(9) and Serena (4). Would love to hear from any Geographers or students who went to Oaxaca in ‘84.

Morgan Eaton, 1979

Living it up it in the dry side of Washington state. Looking forward to retirement soon!

Joshua Brookshire, 04

Is working for bandelier National Monument as a lead helitack crewmember.