2018-19 Cohort

Katie Ahern

Katie Ahern, Senior Instructor, has worked with OSU Extension Service Family and Community Health/SNAP-Ed in Deschutes County for the past seven years. She started working for Extension as an Education Program Assistant, became an Instructor in 2012 and assumed program leadership in 2014. In her current capacity, Katie manages Education Program Assistants to deliver nutrition education and implement policy, systems and environmental changes with community partners. To extend the program deeper within the community, she has expanded a volunteer base and provides internship opportunities for students. Katie’s strength is working with individual partners in health promotion and intervention strategies and collaborating across partners to provide the program with a strong combination of strategies to implement in moving toward improved community health and wellness. She has also served on University committees and professional board positions as well as community-based coalitions.


Carrie Berger

Carrie Berger is a native of the Upper Midwest region where she received her B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and M.S. degree from the University of Minnesota, both in Forestry. Before coming to Oregon State University, she worked as a Plant Ecologist for the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Colorado where she researched forest regeneration following fire. While the landscape of the Rockies was beautiful, she yearned for a richer environment and found herself a new home at OSU. She began her career at OSU as a Senior Faculty Research Assistant in the College of Forestry and has since put her roots down with the Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Program. She enjoys her dual role as an Extension Associate and the Coordinator for the Northwest Fire Science Consortium where her focus is on fire. Specifically, she is working to develop a statewide Forestry & Natural Resources Extension fire program that aligns with the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy of 1) safe and effective fire response, 2) fire adapted communities, and 3) productive and resilient landscapes for all Oregonians.


Erica Curry

As an undergraduate at Oregon State, Erica started off studying biology with the singular goal of getting into medical school and becoming a surgeon. However, through her student positions at the Writing Center, as a calculus tutor, writing for the Honors College newspaper, and as a cadet in Army ROTC, she fell in love with the transformative opportunities of higher education. It is such an incredibly powerful space for student development and determining their own values. After graduation, Erica went on to work in Human Resources and as program administrator and teacher for an ELL program, before finally making it back to Oregon State University as faculty support for Ecampus. After three years, she took a new position as academic programs manager with Ecampus, where she supports departments that would like to offer for-credit programs online and tracks all programs. Her role is to provide info, streamline and rethink old processes, and bring the right people together. In June 2018, she finished my MBA in Business Analytics, where she found a passion for asking big questions and scraping the data to find answers and insights. Over the last five years, she has also dedicated time to mentoring student workers into thoughtful, empowering leaders who desire equity and inclusivity in the world, as her mentors did when she was an undergrad. Finally, Erica leveraged her existing leadership skill set and experiences as chair of the board for Oregon Women in Higher Education in order to provide opportunities to build more women and allies into strong leaders. She was elected in this role spring 2018.


Susan Fein

Susan joined Oregon State University and the Ecampus as an instructional designer in September 2016. Prior experience includes eight years at Washington State University, also as an instructional designer for online learning, plus more than 20 years in adult education, project management, training and professional development, and curriculum design in the corporate sector. She holds a BS in business administration with a minor in marketing and an MA in organizational management. As a life-long learner, she is in the final term of graduate school for a master’s degree in educational psychology. Susan is passionate about ensuring that everyone who desires a quality education can attain it, regardless of personal circumstances or ability to attend on-campus, hence her belief in the power of effective online learning. Her research interests are to examine how active, adaptive, blended learning pedagogical approaches can help increase persistence and graduation rates, particularly in STEM disciplines.


Carlea Freeman

Carlea Freeman is the administrative manager for Oregon State Ecampus. She has spent her professional career providing executive leadership to administrators and leading teams providing administrative support. She has a cumulative 28 years working at Oregon State and considers our campus home as much as any place. Born in Corvallis and raised in Philomath, she chose to stay in the Willamette Valley to build her career and raise her family. She started her OSU career working in the student loan department and transitioned to an office manager role in Extension and Experiment Station Communications in 1998. She has been with Ecampus since 2008 and has grown professionally along with the growth of this innovative, expanding unit. Her current work includes leading the Ecampus administrative support team in the areas of reception, office management, accounting and human resources. Her role also supports the associate provost in the broad areas of facilities oversight, office culture and special projects. Carlea enjoys almost everything that Oregon has to offer, and is often dreaming of her next opportunity to be outdoors hiking or running.


Amanda Hayes (Bielenberg)

Amanda has been with Oregon State for two years, serving as Marketing and Events Manager for Outreach & Engagement, Extension Service, and Open Campus. Along with planning and executing multi-tiered events and campaigns for the division (both on campus and statewide), she helps run the LDPE program, as well as other special projects and initiatives. Amanda is a long-time resident and Beaver legacy, having been born in Corvallis, raised in Albany, and following in both her parents’ footsteps by attending Oregon State University, from which she graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor’s in English and Business (and was on the OSU Dance Team). Prior to joining Oregon State, Amanda worked for nine years as a National Marketing and Events Coordinator out of Portland, for a law firm with seven locations across the Western US. In her personal life, Amanda enjoys doing anything outdoors, including camping, hiking, backpacking, fishing, archery, BBQs, and rodeos; cooking; reading; and—most importantly—spending time with her family, especially her husband, three dogs, and one-year-old son, Owen.


Dr. Claudia Maier

Dr. Claudia Maier is currently Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Oregon State University and the Director of Oregon State University’s Mass Spectrometry Center. Dr. Maier received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Konstanz, Germany. After conducting postdoctoral research she was for 3 years a lecturer in the Department of Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry at Utrecht University. In 2002, Dr. Maier accepted a faculty position in the Department of Chemistry at Oregon State University. Her laboratory research focuses on the development and application of biomolecular mass spectrometry techniques and workflows to study the response of biological systems to stress with relevance to aging, aging-related cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and cancer, and environmental exposures including diet, the gut microbiome and radiation. Her research has been published in more 100 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and proceedings. She served as Director of the Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry Services Core of the NIH-funded Environmental Health Sciences Center at Oregon State University and successfully transitioned the core to OSU’s mass spectrometry center in 2015. The mass spec center is a regional expertise hub for mass spectrometry research, training and services and currently operates multiple high end mass spectrometry instruments and associated equipment to enable and advance biological and biomedical research at OSU.


Didgette McCracken

Didgette grew up in Eastern Oregon and attended Eastern Oregon University to obtain a degree in Math and a minor in Secondary Education. She also received a second minor from OSU in Rangeland Resources. After beginning her teaching career, she went back to PSU to obtain a Masters Degree in Math. She then later completed the Initial Administrator program at Lewis and Clark University and the Continuing Administrator program. Didgette has taught in K-12 schools for 20 years. Recently, she began work at OSU for Open Campus in Grant County as the coordinator.


LeeAnn Mikkelson

LeeAnn enjoys being a facilitator of the learning process through instructional design and flow. She oversees the design and development of high quality professional development workshops for Pre-K-12 educators and a network of 25+ facilitators located throughout the Oregon. She has been guiding people in the out-of-doors for over 30 years, from the oceans and caves to forests and streams throughout the United States. Hiking, running, gardening, and dreaming with family and friends keep her busy when she is not working. She has been with ONREP since March 2005.


Kym Pokorny

Kym was born and raised in Roseville, Calif., on her family’s plant nursery and farm. She was an early 4-H member, starting in sewing and cooking and then moving on to show her horse at county and state fairs. She received my bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in environmental sciences from California State University, Humboldt. Kym went on to be an award-winning journalist for The Oregonian newspaper for 26 years, writing about horticulture and the nursery industry for many of them. Four years ago, she joined Oregon State University Extension Service as a communications specialist. Kym still writes about horticulture, but also leads faculty trainings on impact statements and media relations, and  coordinates the Ask an Expert program and administer social media. In her spare time, she gardens, reads, travels, cooks, listens to music, and plays with her cat and dog.


Maurine Powell

Maurine (Reni) Powell has been with Oregon State University since February 2003, during which time she’s earned her BS in Business Admin/Information Systems (2010), an MBA-Management (2016) and a professional coaching certification. She began her career at OSU as the Assistant to the Director of Summer Session and has advanced to Assistant Director, having supported Summer Session and Extended Campus throughout. She also owns and operates two independent businesses and has over 30-years of entrepreneurial experience. She has served for over 10-years in leadership and management roles within two professional organizations and her strengths (CliftonStrengths) emphasize those as an achiever, arranger, analyzer, strategist and individualizer to which she draws from regularly as leader and influencer in the success(s) of others. Leadership and leadership development are important attributes to her and the opportunity to further either are welcomed with enthusiasm and open arms.


Stuart Reitz

Stuart Reitz joined OSU in the Malheur County Extension Office in 2012. Before coming to OSU, he served as a Research Entomologist and Lead Scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Tallahassee, FL for thirteen years where his research focused on the ecology of insect vectors of plant pathogens and their management in vegetable crops. He holds a Ph.D. in entomology and a M.Sc. in zoology from Clemson University.


Ramesh Sagili

Ramesh Sagili, Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture, received his Ph.D. in 2007 from Texas A&M University. Prior to this position, Ramesh served as Assistant Professor from 2011-2017, Assistant Professor-Senior Research from 2009-2011, and Postdoctoral Researcher from 2007-2009. Ramesh’s professional memberships, awards, honors and activities include: 2017 Pacific Branch Entomological Society of America Research Award; 2017 Eastern Apicultural Society Hambleton Research Award; 2015 Savery Outstanding Young Faculty Award; 2015 OSUEA Search for Excellence Award (Beekeeper Program); 2015 Oregon State Beekeepers Association Honorary Lifetime Membership Award; 2015 OSUEA Newer Faculty Award; 2015 American Association of Professional Apiculturists (AAPA) Student Scholarship; 2012 President AAPA; 2012 PBESA Symposium Organizer (Boise, Portland); 2010 Program Chair, Western Apicultural Society; 2016-present Chair, Horticulture Department Awards Committee; 2013 Chair, Entomology Curriculum Committee; 2012-2017 Coordinator of the Departmental/Plant Sciences Seminar Series; 2010 Member, Entomology web committee; 2010 Member, Graduate Admissions Committee (Hort./Crop & Soil/ENT); 2014 Chair and member of the Governor’s Task Force on Pollinator Health; 2014-2016 Member Faculty Senate Student Recognition and Awards Committee; 2010-present Member, OSU Faculty Panels for Hearing Committee; and 2009-present OSU representative for NC1173 (Multistate Research Project).


Nicole Strong

Nicole Strong, Oregon State University Extension Assistant Professor (Practice) in Forestry and Natural Resources Serving Deschutes, Crook, Jefferson Counties and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs As a Forestry and Natural Resources Extension agent, Nicole is dedicated to community-based education and service, with the desired outcomes of: a) increasing woodland owner land stewardship knowledge and skills, b) finding innovative solutions to socioeconomic and ecological challenges facing rural, forest-dependent communities, and c) creating opportunities for a growing population of residents and visitors to learn about fire-adapted forest ecosystems. Prior to taking a regional faculty position, Nicole served as a statewide educator within the Forestry and Natural Resources Program from 2004-2014, coordinating the Master Woodland Manager Program, and building several programs around emerging needs including an aspen restoration initiative, the national Women Owning Woodlands Network (WOWnet) peer learning network, and a statewide wildlife habitat enhancement program. All of Nicole’s work is based on a foundation of strategic instructional design, facilitation, and leading effective group process. In her free time Nicole is known to be a cultivator of community as well, whether it be around cycling and skiing adventures, dog rescue efforts, or simply sharing meals with family and friends. Nicole has an M.S. in Forest Resources from Pennsylvania State University (2003), a B.S. in Wildlife Sciences from Purdue University (1997), and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala (1999-2001).


Jackie Thorsness

Jackie Thorsness is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the College of Agricultural Sciences (CAS) and the Manager of the Agricultural Sciences and Marine Sciences Business Center (AMBC). Jackie has been in her current role within the CAS since May 2017, but has worked in higher education on the OSU Corvallis campus her entire career. She has served in several other roles on campus, starting as a student worker, and the longest one being in the Chancellor’s Office of the Oregon University System for nearly 20 years. Jackie grew up in Southern Oregon and came to OSU where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in business administration while working at OSU. She very much enjoys working with the great people in AMBC and CAS. Outside work she enjoys volunteering in the community and likes spending time outdoors with her family and friends.


Dr. Desiree Tullos

Desiree Tullos, PhD, PE, D.WRE is a Professor in the Biological and Ecological Engineering Department at Oregon State University. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s in Civil Engineering and her PhD in Biological Engineering. Her research team investigates the interactions between river engineering and the physical, biological, and social processes of rivers. Projects focus on questions that range from the particle to basin scale, with the emphasis on the sustainable management of water resources. Example projects include: a) Physical and biological responses to river engineering, including dam removal and reintroducing large wood; b) analysis of reservoir operations under climate and land use change and associated impacts on flood risk reduction, water supply, hydropower generation, environmental flows, and sediment transport; c) Analysis of uncertainty in water resources, d) Turbulence and habitat of flow around vegetation and wood in rivers, and e) Sustainable flood risk management and infrastructure. In addition, she currently serve on the Independent Scientific Review Panel for Bonneville Power Administration’s Northwest Power and Conservation Council and the board of directors for the Natural Heritage Institute. She has also served on two National Research Council committees/Her teaching emphasizes design-based learning in her primary classes: River Engineering, Ecohydraulic Engineering, and Ecological Engineering – Systems Analysis. She has also served as the PI of an NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program on Ecosystem Informatics for the past twelve years as part of a broader suite of activities aimed at advacing diversity in the STEM fields.


Bethany Ulman

Bethany was born and raised in Corvallis and graduated from Oregon State in 2011 and 2013. She has always enjoyed helping others and appreciated her time working as a tutor, study facilitator, and graduate assistant for Academics for Student Athletes. It was a good fit for her, as she was studying history and education, hoping to become a social studies teacher. It sparked her passion for working with students that struggle academically and taught her that she could make a difference and help student achieve success. Bethany enjoyed working with students who were different from her and faced very different challenges. It also prompted her to see and understand her own privilege, allowing her to better connect with her students. After two short years in Texas continuing her work with student-athletes, she moved back to Oregon to be closer to family. She wanted to continue working with a similar population and wanted out of the athletics world, and  started working for Oregon State University Ecampus in February of 2016. She was drawn to this position because I wanted to work with students who wanted to pursue a degree, but faced new challenges as busy, working adults and parents. She still enjoys talking with students and helping them define their own version of success. She finds being a resource and a support system for students very fulfilling. She is constantly striving to provide more community and support and likes collaborating to improve online students’ experiences. Personally, she just bought a house in Albany in March, and loves the summer in Oregon as she enjoys being outside. She loves hiking, floating the river, or spending time in the sun! Bethany is a lifelong learner and enjoys finding new growth opportunities and reading anything. Family plays a very large role in her life, so she likes being able to see her parents and close relatives on a regular basis. Her favorite place is anywhere with her nieces.

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