Alumni Stories

 
 
Become a Duck Like These
 
Imagine what it would be like to join this group of extraordinary doers and achievers—to surround yourself with Ducks like these.
We might not be able to predict your future, but we can give you a glimpse at what others have done before you. Your path might not look like theirs—in fact, we’re counting on it. The world would be a much more boring place if everyone took the same courses, joined the same clubs, worked at the same companies. But while your route will be different, you’ll be on your way to something great at the University of Oregon. Read these stories and envision yourself as a Duck.

Korrin Bishop

Korrin Bishop

Major: Planning, Public Policy and Management
School: College of Design
Class: 2011

Korrin came to the UO with lots of ideas about what she might like to study. She explored mathematics and sociology—she even considered a degree in ancient Greek classics after studying abroad in Greece. That is, until a friend told her about the Planning, Public Policy and Management program. A few intro courses later, she knew she’d found the right fit. Her professors weren’t just talking about theories, they were giving her the tools to apply them—and hopefully to change the world a little. These days, Korrin is working for Abt Associates, a consulting firm that partners with places like the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to create systemic change across the country through federal homelessness prevention programs.


James Beké

James Beké

Major: Advertising
School: School of Journalism and Communication
Class: 2014

James started as a marketing major. Then he became a sociology major, then cinema studies, then journalism. Finally, he discovered advertising. He did exactly what we encourage UO students to do: explore, figure out who you are, and find what sets your imagination on fire. Eventually, James gathered everything he’s good at and everything he loves—art, video, music, words, and a curiosity about what makes people tick—and ended up in a completely wonderful, totally unexpected place. Today, he’s a creative director who helped create a spot for Beats by Dre that aired during the Super Bowl. He’s making advertising into art, blowing up the internet on behalf of some of the top brands in the world, and feeling pretty good about deciding to explore his options in the J-school at the UO.


Sage Limpp-Wagner

Sage Limpp-Wagner

Majors: Geography and German
School: College of Arts and Sciences
Class: 2013

With her double major in geography and German, Sage mapped her own career route—full of unexpected turns that all came together just right. She started with courses in geographic information systems and a part-time job in the UO InfoGraphics Lab, learning to create complex mapping systems that track, predict, and display information like weather patterns and traffic flow. After graduation, she moved on to Google’s GPS emergency response team, where she worked on real-time visualizations of barriers like road accidents. And now, she uses her data and mapping skills to coordinate long-term relief programs for victims of natural disasters at the non-profit All Hands and Hearts.

 
 
Kaylee Domzalski

Majors: Journalism and Political Science
Schools: School of Journalism and Communication; College of Arts and Sciences
Class: 2018

The University of Oregon’s journalism school was the deciding factor for Kaylee. With numerous student publications and multimedia opportunities, she knew that she could apply her writing and photography talents to expand her skills. Ethos Magazine, the Daily Emerald, FLUX—Kaylee dove in, produced great work, and earned a Snowden internship with Oregon Public Broadcasting. After graduation, Kaylee was eager to launch her career. She moved across the country for two video internships: first at Slate magazine in New York, then at National Public Radio (NPR) in Washington, DC. She’s been involved in a lot of big moments on a lot of big projects— like filming NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts and documenting kids’ reactions to the separation of immigrant families. Kaylee credits her professors for pushing her hard and preparing her for where she is today. She sees her future in public media, either at NPR or one of its member stations.

 
Kaylee Domzalski
Kaylee Domzalski

Majors: Journalism and Political Science
Schools: School of Journalism and Communication; College of Arts and Sciences
Class: 2018

The University of Oregon’s journalism school was the deciding factor for Kaylee. With numerous student publications and multimedia opportunities, she knew that she could apply her writing and photography talents and expand her skills. Ethos Magazine, the Daily Emerald, FLUX—Kaylee dove in, produced good work, and earned a Snowden internship with Oregon Public Broadcasting. After graduation, Kaylee was eager to launch her career. She moved across the country for two video internships: first at Slate magazine in New York, then at National Public Radio (NPR) in Washington, DC. She’s been involved in a lot of big moments on a lot of big projects— like filming the Wu-Tang Clan’s Tiny Desk Concert and documenting kids’ reactions to the separation of immigrant families. Kaylee credits her professors for pushing her hard and preparing her for where she is today. She sees her future in public media, either at NPR or one of its member stations.

Matt Keown

Matt Keown

Major: Music: Percussion Performance
School: School of Music and Dance
Class: 2013

Matt’s been playing music on anything he could find since he was a kid, a habit he picked up from his father. From marimbas and bongos to glass bottles and even a cactus, he could always find a way to tap out a rhythm. Matt came to the UO to get his BA in music, following in his father’s footsteps. He studied under a professor who’d made an impact on his dad 35 years before, joined the prestigious Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps, and even met the woman he’d eventually marry (also a percussionist). After graduation, Matt’s beats have come to a crescendo, leading him to the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins, the Eighth Blackbird Creative Lab in California, and yes, Carnegie Hall. These days he’s working on his Doctor of Musical Arts at Yale, where he’s the fourth percussionist in 20 years to have been accepted into the program.


Mary Vertulfo

Mary Vertulfo

Major: Art and Technology with a minor in Comics and Cartoon Studies
Schools: College of Design; College of Arts and Sciences
Class: 2018

Mary wasn’t sure about going to college in her hometown of Eugene, but after taking a UO class in high school, she was sold. She entered the UO leaning toward international studies. In the Clark Honors Introductory Program, Mary’s class was led by an art major. Curious about art and encouraged to dip her toes in the water, Mary took Drawing I. She loved it, and found that art students had a passion similar to her cohort in international studies. Mary pursued her bachelor of fine arts, organized student art shows, and helped launch the first-ever UO Zine Fest. A week after graduation, Mary moved to Colorado to join Legwork Studio on a three-month contract—time to make sure it was a good fit for everyone. Two months in, after working on projects for big names like Domino’s and Pandora, they asked her to stay as a full-time designer and animator.

 
 
Dylan Haynes

Majors: Biology and Biochemistry
School: College of Arts and Sciences
Class: 2014

Dylan came to the UO fired up. He poured himself into science and his Clark Honors College core curriculum. He was careful along the way not to overdo it and burn out. He worked to balance biology with liberal arts and work with play. That strategy paid off. Soon, Dylan found himself doing promising research as an undergrad in our world-famous Washbourne Labs, studying synapse formation in zebrafish. The National Institutes of Health even provided funding to help him finish it. Somewhere between pre-medical club meetings, a track event at Hayward, and volunteering at an area hospital, he decided he liked people more than fish—he wanted to be a doctor. After graduation, his job as a scribe in an emergency room served as a launch pad to medical school at Oregon Health and Science University. Dylan’s research roots are still showing—he’s been digging into the topic of antibiotic misuse and getting published by the International Society of Dermatology.

 
Dylan Haynes
Dylan Haynes

Majors: Biology and Biochemistry
School: College of Arts and Sciences
Class: 2011

Dylan came to the UO fired up. He poured himself into science and his Clark Honors College core curriculum. He was careful along the way not to overdo it and burn out. He worked to balance biology with liberal arts and work with play. That strategy paid off. Soon, Dylan found himself doing promising research as an undergrad in our world-famous Washbourne Labs, studying synapse formation in zebrafish. The National Institutes of Health even provided funding to help him finish it. Somewhere between pre-medical club meetings, a track event at Hayward, and volunteering at an area hospital, he decided he liked people more than fish—he wanted to be a doctor. After graduation, his job as a scribe in an emergency room served as a launch pad to medical school at Oregon Health and Science University. Dylan’s research roots are still showing—he’s been digging into the topic of antibiotic misuse and getting published by the International Society of Dermatology.

Diara Melendez

Diara Melendez

Major: Business Administration with a minor in Spanish
Schools: Lundquist College of Business; College of Arts and Sciences
Class: 2013

Diara first came to Oregon by way of Nevada, by way of Chile, to study physics. Whip-smart, with a can-do attitude and deep scholarship support, her path seemed pretty much set. But like many of our students, she found a new passion when she arrived. She switched her major to global management at the Lundquist College of Business and immediately dove right in. First order of business: study abroad in Spain. Next, get noticed. She became active in several organizations on campus, including Lundquist’s CEO Network, an organization for business students of color. Soon, she was being recruited by several corporations, and eventually landed a job at one before she’d even graduated. Today, Diara is thriving as a Relationship Manager at KeyBank.


Kieran Maher

Kieran Maher

Major: Business Administration: Marketing and Sports Business
School: Lundquist College of Business
Class: 2015

As a business student, Kieran found his focus by connecting with amazing professors, collaborating with peers, and joining the Warsaw Sports Business Club. He took what he was learning in the classroom and gained real-world experience while still in college. Since then, pretty much every job he’s had has been tied to the University of Oregon, thanks in part to learning the value of networking, putting himself in the right places surrounded by the best people. He’s worked in corporate partnerships for TrackTown USA, the nonprofit that organizes major track and field events including the US Olympic Trials and the World Championships, and he’s currently coordinating campaigns for big players like Nike. Kieran often meets other Ducks in the industry—they’re easy to spot when they’re sporting the “O.”

 
 
Tiffany Rose Thomas

Major: Theater Arts: Scenic Design
School: College of Arts and Sciences
Class: 2013

Tiffany was always technically minded, but when she got to the UO, she felt she needed to find an outlet for her creative side, too. She found a perfect meld of both in scenic design: the artistic possibilities of the design process mixed with the precision of building a set was just right. And as she honed her eye for design in the physical world, she was preparing herself for a career she might not have been able to predict. Post-graduation, she landed a job at Disney—initially reviewing artwork, then working her way up to designing online games, including helping to produce a Star Wars augmented reality headset and experience. Now, she works in Sweden designing mobile games for industry giant King, the makers of Candy Crush. Tiffany may have traded in her hammer and paintbrush for software and code, but she kept that perfect blend of technical know-how and creative freedom.

 
Tiffany Rose Thomas
Tiffany Rose Thomas

Major: Theater Arts: Scenic Design
School: College of Arts and Sciences
Class: 2013

Tiffany was always technically minded, but when she got to the UO, she felt she needed to find an outlet for her creative side, too. She found a perfect meld of both in scenic design: the artistic possibilities of the design process mixed with the precision of building a set was just right. And as she honed her eye for design in the physical world, she was preparing herself for a career she might not have been able to predict. Post-graduation, she landed a job at Disney—initially reviewing artwork, then working her way up to designing online games, including helping to produce a Star Wars augmented reality headset and experience. Now, she works in Sweden designing mobile games for industry giant King, the makers of Candy Crush. Tiffany may have traded in her hammer and paintbrush for software and code, but she kept that perfect blend of technical know-how and creative freedom.

Jon Colligan

Jon Colligan

Major: Chemistry
School: College of Arts and Sciences
Class: 2011

Do you ever wonder how your mint gum gets so minty? Or how each new tube of toothpaste tastes and smells exactly like the one that just ran out? Jon Colligan does. Jon provided specifications for the minty-freshness in gums, toothpastes, and hard candies for household names like Colgate and Wrigley. As a chemist for Callisons, Jon blended mint oils to match the consistent standards that companies and their consumers depend on. Though he’s moved on from mixing flavors, he can still identify each of the 30 types of mint in the US by smell alone. Today, he continues to use his chemistry background as a civilian contractor doing chemical screening for the US Navy—just minus the taste test.


Ashleigh Fischer

Ashleigh Fischer

Major: Architecture
School: College of Design
Class: 2014

Ashleigh had a bachelor’s in architecture with an engineering minor, and a passion for sustainability and competitive running. What better place to get her master’s than the lush green UO campus, surrounded by miles of running trails and home to one of the best architecture programs anywhere? She embraced every opportunity. She participated in a Passive House monitoring study and learned to hack a house to gauge everything from air quality to energy efficiency. She jumped at chances to research and get published. And she got involved with the Energy Studies in Buildings Lab that provides students with opportunities to consult with working professionals at firms throughout the Pacific Northwest—including ZGF Architecture. The connections she built at the firm during her lab led to a job there specializing in sustainable design integration.


Grant Gurewitz

Grant Gurewitz

Major: Public Relations with a minor in Geography
Schools: School of Journalism and Communication; College of Arts and Sciences
Class: 2013

Grant started his UO college career as a pre-business major intending to make the leap to sports business marketing. It wasn’t long, though, before he began rethinking everything—thanks, in large part, to the time he spent with other new students in his First-Year Interest Group (FIG). He lived, learned, and exchanged ideas with them, and they exposed him to options he’d never considered. One discovery led to another and the next thing he knew he was majoring in public relations and minoring in geography. It might sound like an odd combination, until you hear where he’s ended up today: Grant manages industry communities and events in Zillow’s marketing department. He’s telling the story of a company that specializes in merging vast amounts of real estate and demographic data with a navigable geographic digital environment.


 

These are the kinds of people you’ll live and work and collaborate with every day at the University of Oregon. Ducks from all over the country and the world, with a million passions, goals, and experiences driving them. You could be one of them—searching and creating your own path, and making the connections that propel you forward. Surround yourself with Ducks like these.