Phi Beta Rock at Glacier National Park (1999)


Geology is People!  Please let us know what you’re doing! If you have photos you would like to share, please send them, too!  (jvantass@eou.edu)


Theresa Hill Abordanodo e-mails: “Today I was in the shooting of episode #8 of Hawaii 5-0, which airs on Mondays at 10 pm Pacific Time. I am in episode #8, which should air on November 8th or 15th.  I showed up at “base camp” at 1:00 p.m.  Signed in…getting paid $65 + 10 for bringing my own wardrobe.  We finally shuttled to Aloha Tower Market Place (a few blocks away).  Right away I saw the actor Scott Caan.  He’s about Avory’s height.  I always thought I was taller than that!!  Next I saw Daniel Dae Kim…not at this point, but later, I was watching the actors, Daniel caught my eye and smiled….aHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH  loved it!  I smiled back.  We did quite a few scenes…maybe about 8 in all.  One was really exciting…Alex (McGarrett) was shooting right by me and 2 other girls, then after he passed us, we had to run.  Oh to be running on national television…HOW EMBARRASSING!!!!  We’ll see what happens.  Everyone was so nice, welcoming and supportive!  I was in a green top and jean capris.  Keep your eye out!!!   I loved it…maybe they’ll call me back and I can be a regular!!!  I’d quit my job!  Love to all! (10/11/10)

Theresa and Avory celebrate at their wedding!


Eric and Carli (Morris) Bergey are expecting a Baby Bergey in June 2014! (1/2/14)

Carli and Eric’s wedding in 2009.


John Bishop and his wife, Helena, returned to Eastern Oregon from Arizonato visit John’s family.  John stopped by EOU to see the new science building and brought us some presents:  A current meter, a noise meter, an air photo stereoscope, and other neat things.  Thanks, John!


Judy (Brasure) Bowman is living in Richland, Washington.  She writes: ” I have traveled all over the world and got to see many places and as always have kept my interest in rocks alive.” (12/29/08)


Misty (Davis) Bork and her husband Mark are the proud parents of a baby girl, Athena Nicole Bork.  Athena was born on February 4th, 2008 in Baker City at 4:37 a.m.  She weighed 6 lb. 14 oz. and was 21 1/4 in. long at birth.  Athena wants to be a geologist when she grows up! (9/19/08)

Athena identifying the Tempskya fossil in the EOU geology lab.


Bryce Budlong is living in Gates.  He and his wife, Kayla, have two daughters– Natalie is 18 months and Elsa is 4 months.  They keep Bryce and Kayla busy!  Bryce just passed the 3 year mark as a log scaler and is still enjoying it.  His brother, Casey, works fire crew here in La Grande  (3/5/14)


Candice Burnette is finishing up her degree in geology at the University of Wyoming in Laramie and is working on a drilling rig in the Hanford area on an environmental remediation project (3/1/14).

Candice (center, in red t-shirt) and the other students in the 2009 Juneau Icefield Research Project group.


Jenny Campbell stopped by in September 2013 with her daughter, Siddhana, and their dog, Roxie, to say hi and see the Ice Age fossils found in the Grande Ronde Vallley in 2010.  Jenny is a professor of Biological Anthropology at Salt Lake Community College and is now the field coordinator at the University of Utah Natural History Museum.  She is actively involved in primate conservation work in Costa Rica.  Siddha identified all of the skulls in Jay’s office, which is amazing considering she is a kindergartner!  (8/22/14)


Kelly Clever writes:  “I graduated in May of ’05 with a BS in Interdisciplinary Science with am emphasis in Geo/Paleo. I bought a house a couple of years ago with my partner, Karyl. She is working on her Master`s in counseling. Given the recent laws passed here in South Dakota we are hoping to move to Oregon after she graduates.   I love the Black Hills (will be hard to leave them) and try to go rock hunting whenever the weather allows. I have lots of garnet, geodes, and ever some Fairburn Agates. I really enjoy going to the mines and looking through the tailings. I have found some precious beryl on these adventures…I am working at Quality Service, Inc. We work in Archeology, Paleontology, History, GIS, Tribal, and Training.” (8/27/07)


J.R. Collier, his wife Lisa, and their 6 kids are living in Chiloquin, Oregon, about 30 miles north of Klamath Falls.  J.R. works at Collier State Park, home of one of the largest antique logging equipment collections in the U.S.  In case you’re wondering, the park is not named after J.R.!


Calvin Davis married Kathy Kittell on July 19, 2014.  They met while working together at the State Crime Lab and Calvin proposed after they went skydiving together.  They got married at a beautiful country estate near Sandy, Oregon, that was once part of Calvin’s family farm.  Bryce Budlong and his wife came to celebrate.  It was a great wedding (7/25/14)


Calvin&Kathy 1

Welcome to Calvin and Kathy’s wedding!


Calvin&Kathy 2

The vows!


Calvin&Kathy 3

The kiss!


Calvin&Kathy 4

The reception!


Wade deBraal is working in the computer field and wonders “whatever happened to Jerry Potter?”


Tyler Dretke is a senior geology major at OSU.  He just finished field camp in Northern California and is in the middle of a sedimentology/stratigraphy course.  He is the vice president of OSU’s geology club!  (10/12/09)


Tammy Dunlavey lives in Mingo, Ohio, a farm town northwest of Columbus with her partner, Brent.  Her MS has progressed over the years, so she had to give up her dream of being a geology professor.  She is an artist now and illustrates books for her best friend, a former vertebrate paleontologist whom Tammy met in graduate school.   Tammy went to a talk about the geology of Cedar Bog, a nature preserve near Tammy’s home town and ended up being the geologist at the nature preserve.  Tammy has a granddaughter named Molly-Jane who is 4 now.  (5/15/2014)

Tammy's illustration of "Isograptus rainbowencis".  See her Facebook page for more of her illustrations and book covers!

Tammy’s illustration of “Isograptus rainbowencis”. See her Facebook page for more of her illustrations and book covers!


Peter Farnam is living in La Grande and is working hard to save the old growth trees in the new Mount Emily Recreation area (MERA).  He has a new granddaughter in Czechoslovakia! (12/3/09)


Alyse Fischer and Sterling Shetler were married on August 14, 2010 in Enterprise.  They had a barn dance reception in Joseph following the ceremony. They are living in New Plymouth, Idaho.(11/28/10)


Lynna Fischer-Butler e-mails:  ” My hubby and I just had our 2nd little girl, last Monday so we are enjoying a fun 3 yr old and a newborn!!!  I hope all is well with you!”  (5/29/2012)

Lynna, her husband, and her two kids.


Lisa Fox finished her MTE program at Eastern.


Glen Fromwiller e-mails:  “After graduating with a Masters in Education from EOU, I spent five years teaching in southern California in Palm Springs.  Taught Earth Science and AP Environmental Science at Palm Springs High School.  Also coached Football and Baseball.  Two children later, the heat and lack of seasons finally forced our family back to Oregon. Since 2006 my family and I have spent a wonderful time in beautiful Astoria, Oregon.  I am currently teaching and coaching at Astoria High School.  Current classes include Physics, Geology, Climatology and Integrated Science.  Among other field trips, each spring we take groups of student white-water rafting on the Deschutes River.  I also spend several weeks each summer in Alaska working during the commercial fishing season.  We love the area and being closer to family.  The continuous rain gets old, however, it makes for a beautiful landscape. Still, I will always prefer the Wallowas and Eastern Oregon to anywhere I have seen.

Astoria schools (and others in the area) were closed on Friday March, 11 due to the tsunami threat after the Japan earthquake.  Although there was only a small wave serge on the North Coast, it was interesting anticipating the arrival and witnessing the evacuation process.  Earthquake and Tsunami preparedness has been the talk of the region for some time even before Fridays threat.”  (3/13/11)


Jamie Harmon, her husband Kelly Cline, and their kids Alma (8 years old), Timothy (5 years old), and Kyle (2.5 years old) traveled to Alaska this year and took a cruise on Resurrection Bay.  They also took a road trip in June and visited 11 western states, including Mt. St. Helens, Crater Lake, Lava Beds, Bryce Canyon, Mesa Verde, the Grande Canyon, and Great Sand Dunes.

Alma loves reading, Timothy is into dinosaurs, science and superherroes, and Kyle is good at puzzles.  Kelly continues to enjoy teaching physics and math at Carroll College and Jamie likes being a full-time mom.  (New Years letter, 1/19/2014)


Kristin (Hanford) Pintok Moore contacted April via Facebook:  ” I am doing well, busy with 5 kids, I have 4 boys and one girl. Ages 17, 15, 13, almost 8, and 5 1/2. I’m very blessed to be self-employed at home. I have a small orthodontic lab with a few accounts. Works out great. I have stated a new business dealing with telecommunications, it has been a great adventure, with lots of traveling and helping people.”  (5/16/09)


Kim Haynes and her husband, who works sells oil drilling equipment, have moved back to La Grande to raise their two girls (7/2/12).


Sally House e-mails: ” I am doing well at the University of Nevada, Reno.  I am currently in my senior year of geology and I expect to graduate in the summer of 2013.  After graduation, my plans are to pursue a master’s degree.   I am currently working on a senior research project with Dr. Noble that involves the study of diatoms and Miocene paleolimnology.  I am very interested in this project, and would like to be able to pursue it further as part of a master’s program.  Although I am considering other universities, my preference would be to continue my project at the University of Nevada, Reno. ” (12/4/12).


Steve Howland is living in Boulder City, NV.  He-mails “I was doing some research today for a book I’m working on to find out what kind of rocks I was sitting on one day in the Elkhorns. Next thing I know I found your website—nice! Wow, mammoth tusks, bison bones, fossils . . . very cool! And how about those field trips; Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, California, etc. Hmmm, I think we went down to the Snake River . . . I’m not complaining, I’m just saying … Hopefully, in a little more than a year from now, I will be moving back up there (in the general Hell’s Canyon area) to semi-retire and retire. I will certainly come by and say hello.” (4-7-11)


Adam Isaacson e-mails: ” I am living in Star Valley, Wyoming, a little town called Afton. We are about 125 miles from Yellowstone Park and right at the foot of the Salt River and Wyoming Ranges. I don’t understand all the geology here, but am working on it a little at a time. (12/9/09).


Clint Johnson was last heard from when he was teaching at the La Grande Middle School and helping coach Eastern’s football team.


Wes Jones is still working as a ranger at Wallowa Lake State Park.  He was recently treated for cancer in Salt Lake City and is doing much better! (2/15/14)


Dan Kalmbach is a project geologist for International Enexco in Filer, Idaho.  He is working on a huge copper prospect in the Idaho Batholith in Western Idaho and a silver deposit in Owyhee County, Idaho.  (9/4/11)


Jackie Kennicott completed her Bachelor of Science degree in geology at the University of Oregon and has moved back to La Grande.  She loved field camp.  She is hoping to pursue a career in economic geology or hydrology. (1/28/14)


Rob Ledgerwood e-mals: ” I decided to return to oit and take the 9 remaining classes and get a B.S. in GIS. With the geology, land survey, and gis I hope to find a job! I’ll be done in December with no summer classes.  I am applying for a job at an environmental science firm that does lots of remote sensing, hydrology, geodesy, and GIS. I’m hopeful. (4/15/11)


April Leithner graduated from the MTE program at Eastern.


Greg Lemon just had his first book published. It is a biography of the Governor of Montana called Blue Man In A Red State. He just was hired as editor in chief for the Big Sky Sun, a newspaper out of Bozeman, Mt.(8/1/08).


Patrick Lewis and his wife, Heather, stopped by La Grande on their way home to Boise after visiting Portland for Thanksgiving.  They have two very cute little girls! (11/28/10).


Jon Lundak stopped by to say hi and look at the new fossils from the Always Welcome Inn.  He e-mailed later:   “I miss being involved in geology.  I’m going to be here at Whitman working for residence life for another year or two and then I’m off to OSU for the Student Services Grad School program.   Let me know if anything exciting comes out of the dirt!” (9/24/07)


Bryce Mertz writes: “How are things in La Grande? I am still in Burns working for Harney County as the GIS Coordinator. I married Erron Hanley a 1999 Eastern Oregon graduate, in May of 2005 She is working as a 4th grade teacher in Burns. We enjoy traveling to far away places. June 8, 2007 we are leaving for Thailand for two weeks. If you are ever in our area look us up. Hope all is well.” (6/5/07)


Jacob Miller e-mails: ” I spent this last summer up in the Interior of Alaska working in the exploration mining field and doing some placer gold geology. I logged a bunch of diamond drill core and did a bunch of other grassroots exploration sampling. I came back home to Juneau, AK in August and am now working for Hecla Greens Creek Mining Company. I am an Exploration Geologist – Core Logger. I am logging a bunch of different core for grassroots exploration, definition of ore body drilling and production drilling. It’s really fun to be working for a mine that’s in production and producing a number of metal products everyday. The mine deposit is a Volcanogenic Massive Sulphide deposit. It is producing Gold, Silver, Lead and Zinc. Very interesting rocks!!!!

I’m having a blast with the wide world of mine geology. It has given me many different opportunities to learn many new things. My mining experience has been so good to me that I decided to go back to school and get a masters degree. I am working on that while working full time. It will be in Mine Engineering. I have a few pictures from some of the places that I worked that you might enjoy or want to share with students.” (11/4/09)

 The Greens Creek Mine, where Jake is currently working (top).
Picture of an old gold placer gold mining dredge taken from a drill rig in Fairbanks (bottom). There are still about 20,000 ounces of gold around where the dredge currently sits.


Story Miller is living with her husband Enrico in Italy.  The town they live in has been relatively stable apart from a few tremors and is slowly rebuilding after the devastating earthquakes of 2012.  She is learning how to work with her bosses and is enjoying teaching sceince.   Story passed her test for he Italian driving license!  She and Enrico celebrated their first anniversary by splurging with the best pizza in the world and going to Krakow, Poland, where they visited Auschwitz, the incredible Wieliczka Salt Mine, the Oscar Schindler Museum, and the Jewish quarters in Krakow.  They have also traveled to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, where they went diving and Story danced with an octopus and investigated the volcanic geology of the island.  They have also took a trip the Isola di Elba for a dive trip.  They got to see a manta ray from the boat and flying fish racing along with them as they cruised along.  Add in trip to Molveno; Florence, Rome, and Spain; Tuscany; and Sparta (Oregon, that is!) and you get an idea of how much fun she’s having! (Christmas letter, 2013, which traveled through the Italian mail system and arrived on 2/27/14)


Kim (Muir) Merrill e-mailed from Nevada:  “I am planning my spring/summer vacation for my family and we are planning a trip around  and through Oregon and down to the Redwoods in California. We are planning to stay at the treehouses we stayed at as a Geology club (in 2004) after we drive down the coast. I was hoping to take my girls to the tidal pools we went to as a club, but I have no clue where they are. We also are driving to LaGrande, through Columbia River Gorge to Portland and then Seaside. Then heading down he coast, camping in the Redwoods, over to the treehouses, Crater Lake, then home to Nevada. Miss you, Phi Beta Rock, and EOU.  (2/2/2014)

Kim and familyKim (Muir) Merrill and her family.


Karen Pease came to Avory and Theresa’s wedding.  She is teaching in Milton-Freewater and her husband, who is from Jamaica (by way of New Jersey), is working for an electronics firm in Walla Walla.  Their daughter loves going to school in Milton-Freewater.  (7/5/07)


Mark Peterson is teaching 2nd grade in California.


Jerry Potter was last seen working for a mining company in Nevada.


Bradley Savely is teaching fifth graders in a Native American village in the far north of Alaska.  After this year he is planning to move to SE Alaska to be closer to his family (12/23/13)


Kate Asplund Samp and her husband David announced the birth of their new little baby boy, Henry David Samp, born August 4, 2013 @ 2:24 p.m.  He weighed 8 lb and was 21.5 inches in height. (9/3/13)

  Kate and David’s wedding in 2009 (top); David and Emily (bottom).


Timothy Schwehr Well, it’s been a while since I wrote to you and much has changed in our lives! We have a daughter now! 10 months old and her name is Laura!  Andrew my son just turned 4 and my wife is enjoying being at home with them. I moved to Japan late August and am currently teaching at a DoDEA school here in Sasebo Japan!  I teach 4-6th grade now!   After the heat in Arizona it’s sure nice to experience rain and cooler weather!  I’ve enclosed some photos of my family and myself of course!  No matter where I travel I am always trying to figure out the Geology in the area! (10/3/10)

  The Schwehr family in San Franciso (top); Tim at a shrine in Sasebo, Japan (bottom).


Sarah Smith writes: ” I recently got back from a trip to Hawaii!  My boyfriend, Ed, took some band students on trip and I was invited to come along.  They played a concert on the USS Missouri and the rest of the trip was spent sight-seeing.  It was incredible!  We spent the whole time on Oahu, and stayed at Waikiki Beach.  Went to Pearl Harbor, the Polynesian Cultural Center, International Marketplace, hiked up Diamond Head (volcano!), snorkeled at Hanauma Bay (volcanic crater!)… one of my favorite things was the blow hole – water flows through a lava tube and shoots up like a whale spout!  We saw actual whales too!  Fun on a bun!  Other than that… no new news for me :)  Still living in Baker, working at the paper, living with my 2 dogs and seeing my horse every weekend!  Ed still teaches in Arvada, CO and we’re living proof that for the right person, distance doesn’t mean a thing.   “(3/9/12)

  Sarah and Ed (left); the view from Diamond Head (right).


Lorna Spain has been traveling around the Pacific Northwest.  The carillon that she planned for her senior thesis is making beautiful music on-campus and a clock tower has been completed.  She loves her grandkids!  She is now retired from being president of the Grand Ronde Symphony Orchestra Association (5/25/10).


Sandra Staab is back working in La Grande!


Tanager Stanhope is teaching here in Oregon.


Klista Starner is the mother of a beautiful baby girl! (7/23/08).


Maggie Swanger got married to an anthropologist who is doing research in Mesa Verde, Colorado. She writes:  Greetings from the Southwest.  My husband, Michael, and I have been having fun here Cortez, Colorado. for the past two years.  The country is so beautiful and we never tire of hopping over to Southern Utah to backpack through the canyons or canoe the Green River.  I see you forced your geology students into going to Puerto Vallarta.  That must have been rough!  Enjoyable as bumming around at the nursery and coffee shop has been, I feel that I’m ready to go back to school and perhaps get a “real job.”  She is now working as a librarian.


Jayne Leigh Thomas completed her MS in Resource Management at Central Washington University.  She writes, from Scotland: “I’m doing really well.  I am currently attending the University of Edinburgh in Scotland for my Ph.D.  I should probably back up a little and tell you about my summer-it was fascinating!  After graduation I was the teaching assistant on the Wenas Creek Mammoth excavation which is actually less than 3 miles from my house in Selah, Washington.  The site was first discovered in February 2005 when a member of a construction crew cutting a new road for the landowner ran over the left humerus with the backhoe.  He immediately stopped and collected what he could and delivered the bone fragments to Central Washington University (there are still rumors that the bones made several trips to the local taverns with the construction guys, so we are unaware if we have all of the pieces that were originally recovered).  I was part of an initial research team that returned to the site in May of 2005 and we uncovered the distal end of the humerus that had been hit in February.
As you know, we had our first field season summer of 2005 where we recovered the right humerus of the Mammoth in addition to a metacarpal and hundreds of bone fragments.  We returned this summer and during the course of our eight-week field school uncovered two cervical vertebrae (one being the axis), a thoracic vertebra, a scapula, and several ribs of the mammoth.  One large surprise from this summer is that located less than 10 cm away from the mammoth vertebrae at the same stratigraphic layer was the metapodial of a prehistoric bison.  There are three main layers at the site, the upper layer being a grey loess, followed by a colluvial layer and then an alluvial layer on the bottom, which may have been from Wenas Creek which is 70 feet below the site to the north.
Although not completely certain, our mammoth has been determined to be a Columbian mammoth.  We are unaware of the sex of the mammoth, but know that it was over 12 years old when it died.  We also uncovered a chipped stone artifact made of chert 5 cm above the mammoth and bison bones.  There has not been a direct correlation made between the bones and the artifact, but it changed our site from being strictly paleontological to archaeological.
During spring quarter, I was accepted into the University of Edinburgh’s Ph.D. program.  I am currently working in the stable isotope analysis lab, extracting collagen from human remains that wil be used for radiocarbon and stable isotope analyses.  My dissertation will focus on forensic osteoarchaeology in Slovenia.  I have been here for about a month and absolutely love it.


Lauri Russell Waisanen sent a neat postcard of the Cape of Good Hope.  He writes “Just wanted to say hello from South Africa.  I’m on a short-term study abroad at Nelson Mandela Metro University!  I got to see lots of great things here, including the Cape of Good Hope and Point Cape.  Hope all is well!”  The stamp on the postcard has a dinosaur fossil on it! (4/1/13)

Russ in Hawaii!


Wayne Whitley e-mails:   Hi all!  We finally decided on a name for our newest addition……  Levi Andrew Whitley.  He was born August 23rd, weighs 7 lb. 4 oz. and 20 inches long.  Both April and Levi are doing great, and were allowed to go home after the standard 24-hour hold time.
April went into labor around 1 am Monday morning and had Levi at 3:47 in the afternoon.  Brett was born via C-section, but April was able to give birth to Levi naturally as a VBAC.  She decided to have an epidural to help with the pain, but Levi arrived before the anesthesiologist…  and before his doctor for that matter.  The nurses could tell the baby was coming quickly so they grabbed some random doctor out of the hallway just in time to make the catch.  So April did it all on her own without the epidural and without her doctor, who arrived about 1 minute after the baby did.  I bet that’s the easiest $6,000 he ever made! (9/25/10)

Levi and his proud parents!


Mike Woydziak is working for an environmental geology consulting firm in Boise, Idaho.  He and his wife just had a baby!