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Alumni News
Winter Performance. Photo by Wolf Photography
Photo by Wolf Photography

Alexander Anderson (Class of 2013) Alexander is attending NAU and is currently taking 18 credit hours. His focus is on Hospitality Management in the School of Hotel Restaurant Management and Photography in the School of Communication. With help from his photography mentors, he has launched his photography business which has given him additional opportunities. Alexander is also working as a freelance photographer for NAU Athletics and a staff photographer for the Lumberjack, the student paper.

Rachel Beck (Class of 2013) Rachel is in the middle of her sophomore year at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, CA. Her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts amounts to a double major in philosophy and theology and a double minor in math and science. After she graduates, she hopes to spend at least a summer engaged in missionary work, and then to proceed into a career centered on international education.

Caleb Eckert (Class of 2013) is attending Haverford College. Caleb took an environmental anthropology class last semester, which piqued his interest and he’s now considering an anthropology major and an environmental studies minor. Along with a small group of other Haverford students, Caleb is organizing a campaign of fundraising and advocacy for the nonprofitPartners In Health, that works for equitable health care for the poor.

Caleb works at Haverford's library in the Digital Scholarship Program as the Design & Media Assistant, where he provides support/office hours for faculty and students seeking to integrate media into their academic endeavors. He’s also part of the Re:Humanities Working Group, which is a conference organized by and for undergrads doing academic work with new media. On the side, he’s the tech guy for a college news web journal called "FreshPress".

Caleb co-created two experimental short documentaries: "Two Phone Calls" and "A Sample". "Two Phone Calls" was shown at the Tri-Co Film Festival this year. He has also been making video recordings for a few musician friends for auditions. This summer, Caleb is interning as a photo assistant for John Burcham, a photographer in the area who is part of the National Geographic Creatives team and does some pretty cool freelance work.

Rebecca Prizznick (Class of 2013) is currently a sophomore studying piano performance and private voice at the NAU school of music. She’s working as an accompanist and also as a private piano teacher through the music and dance academy for kids. Rebecca is the treasurer for the local collegiate chapter of MTNA (Music Teacher's National Association) and also a member of ACDA (American Choral Director's Association).

Talia Brienza (Class of 2012) is studying abroad in Florence, Italy through the academic year. She’s studying photography, the history of the European Union and Italy, and of course, Italian. She also has an internship as a teacher’s assistant in an English class at a high school in Florence. When she gets back to Sarah Lawrence College in New York, she plans on finding an internship in fashion and advertising.

Aaron Burr (Class of 2012) Aaron is attending Northern Arizona University as a secondary music education major with an emphasis in instrumental music. He’s the public representative for NAU's chapter of the National Association for Music Education or NAFME. NAFME visits schools in Flagstaff and assists with the music programs and also produces clinics for the musicians at NAU. Aaron plays tenor in a saxophone quartet that is always looking for gigs in Flagstaff. After college, Aaron is considering getting his masters in saxophone performance, then ultimately a DMA in saxophone performance as he’d like to teach at a university. Aaron says, “If there are students coming to NAU for music it is a fantastic program and they should definitely check out NAFME, and there are also several other organizations that promote music education but they are focused on choir and strings.”

Karli (Dumdei) Haviland (Class of 2011) Karli is attending NAU on a full-ride scholarship and will graduate in May with a BA in Secondary English Education and is excited to student teach in FALA's middle school in the spring. Karli is a member of Canyon Movement Company and had the chance to perform in theaters in Flagstaff, Las Vegas, and Tucson. She also recently achieved her dream role of dancing the role of Sugar Plum Fairy this alongside husband and FALA sweetheart, Nathaniel. FALA re-inspired her love of reading and helped her hone her writing abilities, and as a result, she’ll be a certified English teacher in five months!

Nathaniel Haviland (Class of 2011) Nathaniel graduated a semester early from NAU with a Bachelor's of Science in Biology and a certificate in Wildlife Ecology and Management—a feat he was able to do because FALA offered so many AP classes. Nathaniel is a member of Canyon Movement Company and has performed in shows and dance festivals in Flagstaff, Las Vegas, and Tucson. Nathaniel remarks that he met his wife, Karli in the FALA dance room and that without FALA, he would have never taken a dance class!

Burrell Jones (Class of 2011) Burrell is attending Northern Arizona University, majoring in Applied Indigenous Studies and minoring in Political Science. He expects to graduate in 2015. He's involved with Connecting Higher Education Indigenously (CHEI), a student group at NAU. Burrell continues to pursue photography and art on his own and is contemplating applying to law school.

Lindsey Jones (Class of 2011) Lindsey is currently attending Northern Arizona University and just recently declared a major in Interdisciplinary Studies of Speech-Language Science and Technology. She is a member of the NAU chapter of Sigma Alpha Lambda, a national leadership and honors organization. Lindsey works in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Orientation. She plans to open her own Speech Pathology practice specializing in children's speech after obtaining her Masters.

Sean Loritz (Class of 2011) Sean is attending Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, majoring in Liberal Arts with focuses in Baroque Opera Performance and 16th Century English Literature. He has been active in theatre on campus, appearing in student-run productions of "Pippin" and "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," and has also been involved in some of the school's LGBT groups. Sean will be studying opera, art history, and Italian language in Florence, Italy next year, and after his graduation in 2015 plans to attend graduate school in literature and music, going on to pursue a career as a professional opera singer. His favorite FALA memories include being approached by a very traditional-looking, elderly woman after the performance of the extremely avant-garde play Small Lives, Big Dreams raving about how much she enjoyed the show.

Alexandria (Zander) Myers (Class of 2011) Zander transferred from West Virginia University to Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and is finishing her last year there. She’s worked with the previous head of the English department to copy edit an index for her upcoming book. In her final semester, Zander will be doing two independent studies: one in the History department looking at sexuality, criminal, and deviant practices in Europe throughout the 18th and 19th centuries as well as in the English department studying the sub-genre of Sensation fiction in 19th century British fiction. She’s also applying to be a Research Assistant to the Medieval scholar in the English department. Zander plans to take a year off before going to graduate school in the Toronto area.

Bailey Schneider (Class of 2011) Bailey is attending Arizona State University majoring in Creative Writing with a minor in Music. She has been active as a member of several reading and writing related clubs on campus and uses her spare time to make YouTube videos. This summer she plans to attend Vidcon (a conference for people who make online videos) to learn to get better at producing them. After graduation in 2015 she hopes to continue to write as an author. Her favorite FALA memories include Mr. Anderson's morning discussions of "What's Going On in the World" and all the craziness that was Mike Levin's The End of the River.

Emily Dove (Class of 2010) After graduating from Hobart and William Smith colleges in May 2014, Emily is living in Geneva, NY and enjoying the life of a non student for the first time. Emily is working at FF Thompson hospital and loves her work as a critical care tech there. She is also dancing with a wonderful African dance group called Bush Mango, which is located in Rochester, NY. She is continuing to enjoy emergency medicine, working on completing her Care certification, and is greatly enjoying post college life despite the increase in expenses.

Rose Haag (Class of 2010) graduated from Whitman this past May after completing a double major in Economics and Sociology. She’s now living in DC and just recently started working as a paralegal with the Department of Justice in the Antitrust Division. Rose also recently found a dance studio with African dance classes and will be volunteering and dancing there!

Riana Johnson (Class of 2010) is a junior at NYU majoring in politics with a minor in studio art. Riana is involved in an Americorps program called Jumpstart where college students help children in the Lower Eastside prepare for kindergarten by promoting literacy. When she I graduates, she hopes to join the Peacecorps and then attend law school. Riana would like to pursue a career in painting and politics-- hopefully combining them in some way.

Michelle Olguin (Class of 2010) Michelle graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a BA in Studio Art in the spring of 2014. She currently works for Canyon R.E.O. in Flagstaff as a river guide and head rigger while doing plein air painting on the river as much as possible. FALA introduced her to ideas of intersectionality between the arts and science. At the time she did not realize how critical this is, however in retrospect she feels blessed to have had early exposure to a concept she would later return to in her artwork.

Sharilyn Scott (Class of 2010) Sharilyn graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale in May 2012, and has been working at New Frontiers Natural Market in Sedona as a baker. She was just promoted to Bakery Supervisor.

Thomas Scott (Class of 2010) Thomas will graduate from Middlebury College in Vermont this year. Thomas just sang the part of Marius, the revolutionary and Cosette's love interest, in Les Miserables. He also continues to dance in, and choreograph for, Middlebury's own hip hop group 'Riddim'.

Marta "Sol" Soledad Serpas-Guardado (Class of 2010) - Sol is a junior Philosophy major at NAU and is part of their Philosophy Mentoring Program. Through this mentoring program, Sol and her colleagues give between 10-15 presentations per semester to local high school students. She was recently back on FALA's campus to mentor our students and guide them through the thinking required to grasp abstract and complicated ideas and concepts. Here's a short article about the program and this mentoring effort.

Sarah Sumita Kosso (Class of 2009) Sarah is finishing her fourth and final year at the University of Nevada in Reno, Nevada. She is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a minor in Psychology. Sarah has been involved in the field of Student Affairs and has been a Resident Assistant representing the Residential Life, Housing, and Food Services Department for two years. She has also enjoyed her part-time job as a Student Worker in the Office for Prospective Students, working with recruitment for the University. Finally, she has volunteered as a Student Ambassador for three years, giving prospective students and their families tours of the campus. Sarah has been a member of a variety of clubs on campus including the Dance Co-op, Center for Student Cultural Diversity, and Undergraduate Students Social Work Association. Sarah is applying to graduate school to study Higher Education, Leadership, and Policy Studies. She intends to complete a PhD and travel as much as possible. She has many favorite FALA memories. A couple include helping FALA organize one of their largest canned food drives creating the "Grand CANyon," as well as participating in the search to bring author Sherman Alexie to FALA after being inspired by Mr. Paul's class, and finally taking a community service field trip to Hopi and baking bread in bread ovens with Mr. Anderson's group.

Mariah Alexander (Class of 2008) Mariah attended Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR, graduating with a degree in International Affairs and a minor in Art in 2012. Mariah wrote her thesis on the Military Coup in Thailand in 2006 and graduated on the dean’s list. She moved back to Flagstaff because she wanted to go to Graduate School in Arizona. She feels fortunate to get a job with Saint Mary’s Food Bank and to launch her career helping people in the community she grew up in. What Mariah will always remember the most about FALA is the sense of community that FALA fosters. “I loved working hard on all our dances, plays and art shows and seeing what amazing things we were capable of with the support of our teachers! I’ll always remember lying out on the old FALA decks in the sunshine and doing homework or working on a class project.”

Cosmo Diskan (Class of 2008) Cosmo graduated with a Bachelors in Technology Management with Honors from Northern Arizona University, and an Associates of Applied Science in Computer Network Engineering with Honors from Coconino Community College. He currently works as the Lead I.T. Technician for Grand Canyon National Park and provides technical support, server management, network design, and IT project management for an 850,000 square mile service area. He is also active in a Computer Technical Specialist position on a Southwest (Region 3) U.S. Forest Service Type 2 Incident Management Team during the wildfire season. Cosmo thanks FALA for providing a safe and supporting learning environment during difficult points in his life and also wishes to pass on his congratulations to the upcoming FALA class of 2014, including his sister Noor!

Melissa Nowinski (Class of 2008) - Melissa graduated from NAU with a Bachelors in Biomedical Science and from CCC with an Associates in Criminal Justice last May. She has been certified in three states as a veterinarian technician and is now working on getting accepted to Vet School in Colorado. Melissa says this about FALA: “It was a wonderful place for me to grow and mature. I miss the arts, especially dancing and music. The teachers are just not the same in college, I wish they were more like the FALA group. (Mr. Paul, Mr. Anderson, Mrs. Bell, Ms. Henes, Ms. Buss, Mr. Levin and Mr. Corbin). I couldn't believe how big the world really is and I thank my teachers at FALA for teaching me things I probably wouldn't have learned anywhere else. The new campus is stunning. I wish the best of luck with the graduating classes to come. It can't get any better at FALA.”

Ryan Lawrence was recently featured on the cover of the University of Arizona's Master of Fine Arts dance brochure. Ryan started dancing while a sophomore at FALA and currently lives in New York.

FALA Prom 2012. Photo by Jake Bacon.
FALA Prom 2012. Photo by Jake Bacon.

Katie King (Class of 2006) After studying in Switzerland, London, New York City, Hollywood, Costa Rica, and The Gulf Coast, Katie King received her BA from The Evergreen State College, creating her own interdisciplinary degree and focusing on performance and photography. She now owns her own photography business, A Sense Of Place Photography as well as a touring one woman show. Her self-published poetry book, The Breath Between Whirscapes & Landwinds is available at your local library. She is currently writing songs and doing freelance work in the Mariana Islands. She wants to thank all the FALA faculty for the immense support they gave her.

Lauren Ayrey (Class of 2005) Lauren moved to Olympia, WA after graduation. She attended Le Cordon Bleu for Baking and Pastry Arts in Portland and now owns a wholesale bakery in Olympia. Lauren is currently pursuing a degree in education.

Erin Joyce (Class of 2005) recently moved to California, having returned from her studies at the Sotheby's Institute of Art in London. She is currently the editor-in-chief ULTRA:EXTRA, an online magazine for discursive conversations about art and visual culture based in San Francisco, as well as serving as an arts and culture writer for Art Wednesday (London), and Hyperallergic (New York). Erin is a current MA candidate at Johns Hopkins University in Museum Studies.In addition to her scholarly activity and her journalism/art criticism, she is an independent curator and has/will organize exhibitions with HENSE, Alice Anderson, Toby Christian, and Nicholas Galanin, and has projects in development in the UK, US, and UAE.

Summer (Long) Rush (Class of 2005) Summer graduated from the University of Arizona in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and Spanish.She currently lives in Utah with her husband who is stationed at Hill AFB. She is a social worker at an inpatient psychiatric facility for mental health patients who are in crisis or are considered a danger to themselves or others. She plans on going back to school in the next year to work on a degree in nursing.

Katherine Tesch (Class of 2005) Katherine received her BA in English, Spanish and Portuguese from the U of A. While in college she joined the touring group Flam Chen Pyrotechnic Theater and currently works for them as an aerial acrobat, acrobatic stilter, fire spinner and dancer. She has traveled with them for the past 5 and half years and also helps to run their educational branch, Tucson Circus Arts, teaching aerial and circus arts to kids (and adults) of all ages. In addition, she writes and performs her own dance and aerial works. Highlights up to now include working with Tim Burton at the Scream Awards, performing with and directing groups for the All Soul's Procession and doing aerial acts hanging from helium balloons!

Zach Woods (Class of 2005) Zack is attending Pima Community College for a science degree to transfer to the University of Arizona and pursue a double major in mathematics and sociology. Zack has maintained a 3.5 GPA as he works his way through college.

David Smith (Class of 2004) is the School of Art Representative at Arizona State University, working with incoming freshman orientation and retention at the Herberger Institute for Arts and Design.

Marja van der Loo (Class of 2004) With no desire to leave FALA, Marja bid farewell to Flagstaff and attended Smith College. It was too cold in Massachusetts, so for her junior year Marja studied abroad in Brazil. She majored in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies and Art History. For two years she worked in museums in the States and in The Netherlands, but the Flagstaff vortex pulled her back. She now works for Flagstaff Cultural Partners at the Coconino Center for the Arts-very close to the FALA campus. This is wonderful because she sometimes gets sneak peeks of the celebrities of her past like Ando-man, the ever patient Ms. Bell, the notorious Levin, the stop-your-crying-you-can-do-it Henes or in Marja's day, the tapping storm- Mr. Bowie!

Atira Zeoli (Class of 2005) moved to Maryland soon after graduating from FALA. While studying at Montgomery College she won multiple awards for both her academic and creative writing, and interned with the literary journal, Potomac Review. Atira is now a minister at Kunzang Palyul Choling, a Vajrayana Buddhist temple outside of Washington DC, and leads semi-annual poetry workshops at a local elementary school.

Whitney Couture (Class of 2002) Whitney graduated from the University of Oregon with a BA in English and Art History and is working as a Congressional Aide for US Representative Peter DeFazio in his Eugene district office, focusing on Veteran/Military issues. Whitney has lived in OR for about 10 years and has a two-year-old son named Jude. She worked as a bartender on a train in Alaska fora couple of summers, along with a few other FALA graduates as well as travelling abroad and living with FALA friends over the years, one of whomofficiated her wedding last year

Kristin Robyn (Class of 2002)  Kristin graduated from NAU in May 2010, and is a member of the Peace Corps.  She left for Mali in Africa on June 30, 2010 and will be there for 2 years working in education, health education, and will be teaching English to French speaking students.

Laurah Hagen (Class of 2001) Laurah's undergraduate degree is in psychology from Whitman College, and her master's in experiential education is from Prescott College. Laurah currently works at NAU out of the Gateway Student Success Center. They have a lean team that focuses on career development, and her role is to develop learning objectives and workshops for  the four-year career development progression. She wasn't expecting to find a position that so perfectly matched her academic background. As part of this position, she advises an honors society comprised of friendly, motivated NAU students.

Karen (Feinsinger) Hackler (Class of 2000)  Karen graduated from Oberlin College. At Oberlin, she created her own interdisciplinary major in Irish Studies, comprised of the study of Irish history, literature, language, sociology, archaeology, anthropology and politics. She also created a new study-away program in Ireland, and attended the National University of Ireland, Galway, for a year and a half. After graduating in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in Irish Studies and a minor in English, she attended and graduated from the Denver University Institute of Publishing. She returned to Flagstaff to be the Marketing and Sales Director of Salina Bookshelf, Inc., a publishing company specializing in children's books. While at Oberlin she had developed an interest in social work, education and sexual health, and so when an opportunity opened at Northland Family Help Center to be a community educator, she was excited to be offered the position. At Northland, she works within the broader Northern Arizona community to educate youth and youth-affiliated adults on the primary prevention of sexual assault. Last year I was the coordinator of The P.E.A.C.E. Project, a joint project between NFHC and Theatrikos Theatre Company that trains local high school students in the primary prevention of sexual assaults. These teens then create skits and use other creative expression techniques to educate their peers on these important issues. This year she is creating and coordinating a new program, the P.E.A.C.E. Club, a program with goals similar to those of The P.E.A.C.E. Project, but aimed at middle school-aged students. Karen returns to Ireland frequently to visit friends and take classes, and plans to live there permanently some day soon.She’s a stepmother to eight year-old twins and had her first child earlier this year. Her family lives happily with their two dogs.

Julia Fiske (Class of 2000)  Julie is the Director of Performing Arts at the Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts in Massachusetts.

Kari Barton (Class of 1999) After graduating from FALA, Kari attended NAU. Her sophomore year at NAU, she studied abroad in Limerick, Ireland. She returned to NAU and then transferred to Columbia College Chicago to complete her undergraduate studies in Performing Arts Management in 2004.

Kari returned to Flagstaff and NAU in fall of 2004 to pursue her Master of Music in Violin Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy. She graduated in 2006 and has remained in Flagstaff, teaching a studio of 40 violin and viola students. She performs with the Flagstaff Symphony and Verde Valley Sinfonietta and is a member of The Knockabouts. She also runs two companies, Living Traditions Presentations (founded in 2004), which promotes concerts of Celtic music, and the Grand Canyon Celtic Arts Academy (founded in 2009), which brings in instructors of Celtic arts to Flagstaff each summer.

In her spare time, Kari enjoys hiking with her dog, camping, river rafting, and enjoying the company of friends and family.

Elizabeth (Markle) Solinga (Class of 1999) Elizabeth moved to Boston following her graduation from NAU in 2004 (degrees in Anthropology and Humanities). Her husband and she welcomed a delightful baby boy in 2011. She received her Master's degree from Harvard Extension School last May (2013) with a focus in Museum Studies. She has been working as a Research Administrator for the Stem Cell Program at Boston Children's Hospital since 2010 and is actively involved with the Creative Arts Program at the hospital.

Frances (King) Vance (Class of 1999) Frances briefly attended ASU on the Regents Scholarship in dance before leaving for Chile to travel and immerse herself in the language, history, and culture. Upon her return, she earned a degree in Anthropology from NAU and one in Spanish from ASU. She continued to travel and continued dancing. Frances married a Cowboy and lives with him and her two sons in central Arizona where she is working on an inaugural event celebrating women in ranching called Home on the Ranch.

Laurel Clohessy (Class of 1997) Laurel received her B.A. in Theatre Performance from NAU in 2002, and also attended Hunter College CUNY and Stella Adler Theatre Conservatory in New York City for a short time. She tries to keep at least her pinky in theatre when she can with Theatrikos or other local random performances. Those skills come in handy when you need funny mom-voices/impersonations…Laurel has two wonderful sons, Liam is almost 10 and Kahlil is three. This is Laurel's fifth year as a Program Coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff. She spent four years running a college-access program for low-income high school students called GEAR UP, and now runs BBBS' local School-Based Mentoring. As a Senior at FALA, she volunteered as a Big Sister, and continued to Mentor for three years. It is a great opportunity for H.S. students to be a friend and make an impact in a young person’s life! Another part of her life is teaching yoga at Northern Arizona Yoga Center. She is currently loving the modern dance class at CCC in which she is enrolled. Her husband, Johnny Swoope, and she are part of the team that puts on Firefly, a growing Arts and Consciousness festival." My FALA year and the awesome wacky big-hearted friends created stories and bonds that last far beyond 1997. "

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