Connections: Alumni News

Connections Spring 2016

Volume 9, Issue 2
She came, she saw, she landed the job

Whether you graduated a few months ago or a few years ago, the Center for Career and Calling at Seattle Pacific University is here for you. 

English major Madison Slinker ‘11 discovered this when she wanted to return to Seattle after a stint in California. “I came to the CCC my senior year and (Career Counselor) Patty Farmer coached me on my résumé  and cover letter, which helped me get to the Silicon Valley to absorb the tech startup scene. A year later, when the itch to return to Seattle as a ‘full-time adult’ was too strong to resist, I emailed Patty from my living room in the Bay Area. 

“Before reaching out to the CCC, my applications weren’t returning any hits. Post-counseling with Patty, I landed three job offers within the span of two weeks. I was on a plane to Seattle from San Francisco and interviewing my way through opportunities with one of the largest digital ad agencies, as well as one of the largest tech giants, Zillow. Fast forward four years. I now work as Zillow's sole consumer social media manager running nine channels with a reach of more than 1.7 million followers.

“The CCC taught me that your biggest assets come from being able to market yourself. Take your résumé and cover letter seriously. They are your biggest selling points and without a strong portfolio, landing an interview will prove a serious challenge. And don't underestimate the power of your network!”

Do what Madison did: Call the Center for Career and Calling (206)281-2485, utilize our online Alumni Resources, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Alumni are also always welcome to attend any CCC events. 

Bob Schaper ‘02

Bob Schaper ’02

He flies a little closer to the angels

Bob Schaper ’02 enrolled in Seattle Pacific the first time in 1960, and became a Christian under its influence. But like most young men getting started, dreams and reality didn’t always mesh. He was engaged to Carol King, but whereas she wanted to go to the mission field, he was set on going into business.

They broke off the engagement and Schaper dropped out of school and worked for several nonprofit organizations. More than 20 years passed before he returned to SPU for a degree in psychology. He graduated at the age of 46. A few years more, and he and Carol reconnected. By now a social worker for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Schaper in 1994 finally married Carol, the elementary school teacher and reading specialist of his dreams.

A pilot of small airplanes for decades, Bob in retirement joined Angel Flight West, a humanitarian agency that provides free roundtrip air travel to doctor appointments and hospital treatment for people without means who suffer from severe medical conditions, usually cancer. In the six years since he signed on, he has flown more than 850 of the medical mercy missions across 13 states and always at his own expense. Each flight in a rented plane costs him about $2 a minute. “We live frugally,” Bob says, any extras going into a plane’s fuel tank.

Named Angel Flight West’s 2015 Pilot of the Year for Washington state, Bob says he has flown the most flights of any of the 1,400-plus volunteer pilots. 

“If you want to see Bob get animated,” says long-time friend SPU Athletic Director Tom Box, “ask him about a recent Angel Flight. His smile brightens, his speech picks up its pace, and then a tear probably streams down his cheek as he recounts the joy of flying patients for medical treatment. Bob gives all he can in helping others.”

In his lifetime, Bob has piloted more than 6,000 flights and landed in all 50 states. For five years he flew family members of prisoners from Seattle to the state penitentiary in Walla Walla to visit their loved ones.

Career Fair banner


2016 SPU Spring Career Fair
April 6, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. | Upper Gwinn Commons

Jump start your career or make a change by joining us for the 2016 SPU Spring Career Fair.  This year, we will have 70 employers from a variety of industries in the greater Seattle area, who are actively recruiting SPU students and alumni. It’s the perfect chance to meet with recruiters and get your resume into their hands.

Did you know that 80 percent of jobs available in the market are not posted? Connecting with potential employers and building your professional circle of friends is the number one way to find the next step in your career path. 

You can add to your own professional network by connecting with employers at the career fair, and following up with each of them afterwards. It’s the perfect place to get a business card, link in with employers, and start a conversation that can land you in your next job—the one you really want.

Plus, you’ll have a chance to get a professional photo at our LinkedIn photo booth. Put your best self forward with a photo that shows the world your professional side.

Be sure to drop by, and take the next best step in your career journey.

Josh Hussey

Cole Hussey

Changing how they see us

Thirteen years ago, Professor of Management Denise Daniels taught a course about psychology in business. Kylee Hussey was a freshman in that class. Now nursing graduate Kylee Hussey McCann ’07, she has never forgotten one particular story that Daniels told to illustrate the importance of physical appearance in how others perceive us. It touched McCann’s own approach to parenting with her two young sons. She picks up the story in a January email to her former professor:

“I will always remember you telling a story about your son, who had to wear a helmet for a time as a baby (to correct his plagiocephaly, or “flat head.”) You said that people treated (Josh) like he was a fragile, medical case once he started wearing the helmet. To help people not be afraid of him and interact with him normally, you painted it to look like a University of Washington football helmet. Suddenly, people treated him like a cute little boy with super fans for parents.”

Hussey graduated and went on to marry SPU electrical engineering grad Jason McCann ’07. Before too many years, they had two boys, Ashton and Cole. Cole, the youngest, was born with plagiocephaly and had to wear a helmet of his own. As soon as Kylee learned that this would be the prescribed treatment, she recalled her professor’s story and found a helmet painter who turned Cole’s head gear into an aviator’s helmet to match the airplane décor in his nursery.

“People love it,” wrote his mother. “No one has treated him strangely. Instead, multiple people have sought us out to find out where we got his ‘cute hat’ and have interacted with him more as a result of it. I loved your class and think back on it regularly. Thank you.”

For Daniels, today the associate dean of the School of Business, Government, and Economics, it is a treasured email that made her day.

Floral forager uses bits of nature as her medium

Bridget Spiro Collins, Class of 2005, has always liked to make things from other things. A self-taught artist, she learned how to paint with watercolors from her grandmother, and by reading a little and watching YouTube videos on different techniques.

Her primary artistic style she scavenged from wildflower woodlands, mossy waterfalls, and gray sand expanses. “I forage almost all of my creations from foliage and flowers plucked from our sidewalks, meadows, and neighborhood woods,” then fashions them into exquisite hummingbirds, lions, wreaths, and fairy landscapes. A twig-framed bicycle with lemon slice wheels. A hirsute man in a floral beard. A circus seal of purple shamrocks. 

Her most exotic material? Perhaps the orchid blooms that became elephant ears.

“My art, which showcases creation and my own creative gifts from God, is an extension of the Creator,” says Collins, who lives in an urban cottage she calls The Burrow. “Every color, petal, detail, and design points toward the beauty and light of God with us.”

This August marks the release of the botanical artist’s seasonal journal from Sasquatch Books. It will feature 40 of her floral images.

The mother of three boys graduated with honors in theatre. “I grew up in the wings so to speak, and am a product of all its dark, magical, sparkly world.” Long-time Professor of Theatre George Scranton made her wedding cake. 

Now she harvests seeds, berries, and ferns in the quest to give her “recreations” a fresh touch of the outdoors. 

Hiedi Staub

Heidi Staub ’10

Alumni mentor opens world of theatre marketing for student

As a high school senior and college freshman, Lauren Wolbaum and her love for live theatre received a giant boost from a theatre internship with Seattle’s legendary 5th Avenue Theatre.

As a member of the theatre’s Rising Star Project, Wolbaum, now a sophomore, learned theatre administration from professionals. At the helm of her immersion in how to ensure an audience and help bring an entire production together was 2010 SPU graduate and art major Heidi Staub. As the 5th Avenue’s public relations and communications associate, Staub was passionate about mentoring other students just as she had been mentored “in the tricks of the trade by some really smart and kind people.”

Together, Wolbaum and Staub worked on the promotion of two fully realized all-student productions, “Spamalot” and “Carousel.” Wolbaum learned to create and implement a marketing campaign and budget, organize television appearances, give radio interviews, plan fundraisers, and shadow nationally renowned theatre photographers.

“Heidi encouraged me to think outside the box and run with my ideas,” says Wolbaum. “She gave me professional guidance and the resources to make it happen. She put a lot of trust in me and taught me to stand up for my ideas and be confident in my work.”

And Staub, who today is editor and publications manager for The Seattle Symphony, urged her protégé to attend Seattle Pacific University. “I encouraged her, knowing it would be a great fit for her and her goals and for a lot of the same reasons I chose to attend SPU. It is a top tier university where she can pursue her business and artistic goals in a community-based environment in a city bursting with opportunity.”

Staub performed in “The Runner Stumbles” at SPU, while this past winter, Wolbaum followed in her mentor’s footsteps as Pridamante in “The Illusion.” 

And no surprise, mentoring has likewise become a passion of Wolbaum’s. She works as a peer career advisor in the Center for Career and Calling. “The most important thing I learned from Heidi is to invest yourself in work that speaks to your purpose and to take opportunities that fuel you. It’s gratifying to support my peers in this way. Every student deserves to have that ‘Aha!’ moment where everything comes together.”

Skills. Resources. Connections. With the help of an alumni mentor, they all came together for Wolbaum. After graduation, she hopes to work in the Seattle arts community in marketing, communications, or education.

Talon the Falcon surrounded by SPU's cheer squad

A star-studded Homecoming and Parents Weekend

Stars shone everywhere when alumni streamed back to campus to celebrate the 2016 Homecoming and Parents Weekend, January 29-30.

Nobel Prize nominee Tim Hanstad ’85 received Alumnus of the Year accolades at the Homecoming Luncheon. Retiring Professor of Music Eric Hanson conducted the final orchestra concert (featuring student and alumni musicians) of a distinguished 37-year career. Talon the Falcon mascot ate cake at his 82nd birthday bash. Alumni rowers won the Crew Regatta, and Student Talent Show fans enjoyed pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw, and gourmet cookies at an under--the--tent tailgater ahead of show time. Well-fed, the fans were then wowed by hip hop, big band sounds, and a comedic juggler who dropped pins and jokes in equal measure.

“It was great to see so many alums back to campus and having this much fun,” says Alumni Director Bryan Jones. “We’re hoping everyone turns out in droves for our historic Grand Reunion, October 7—8, a signature event of SPU’s 125th anniversary year.”

Nor is it too early to make your plans for next year’s Homecoming and Parents Weekend, February 10—12, 2017. Come out and help make the stars shine!

SPU GOLD Alumni Happy Hour at Miir's Flagship Store on April 14, 2016 6–8pm


GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) Happy Hour at MiiR

Thursday, April 14, 6 p.m.
MiiR flagship store

If you graduated from SPU within the last 10 years, you’re “GOLD” (Graduate of the Last Decade). Discover the benefits of staying connected. Bring your GOLD friends and meet us at the MiiR flagship store in Seattle’s Fremont district for appetizers and drinks. The MiiR flagship store is owned by Bryan Pape '07 and each drink purchased provides someone clean water for one day. The event is free, but make sure to register.

Come say goodbye

Retirement Reception for Ed Smyth/Kerry Dearborn
Monday, May 23, 4:30–6:30 p.m.
Upper Gwinn Commons

RSVP by May 13 to theology@spu.edu (please provide number attending).

The School of Theology invites SPU alumni to honor two professors who have made a lasting impact on countless numbers of you. Ed Smyth taught Christian Education (1975-85), served as director of church relations (1986-92), and returned to teach Educational Ministries (2000-16). Kerry Dearborn came to SPU in 1994 and has taught in the School of Theology for 22 years, including responsibility for pioneering the Reconciliation Minor.

You may also submit a letter of tribute to one or both professors. Letters/memories of appreciation and celebration are currently being collected for presentation at the reception. Email your congratulations and stories reflecting the impact Ed and Kerry have had in your life. Deadline for submissions: April 15 (send any attachments in PDF or Word). For more information, contact SOT Alumni Coordinator Bill Leese ’83, bill.leese@gmail.com.

50-Year Reunion

Friday, June 10, all day
“Reconnect and Reflect”
SPU Campus

A day to savor your unique position as the newest members of the Founders Circle! Reconnect with your Class of 1966 for Ivy Cutting, campus tour, group photo, lunch, dinner, and the 50-Year Ring presentation of pins and certificates. Come celebrate career, family, milestones, and the right to philosophize to your heart’s content! Watch for details and registration in your invitation letter coming soon and in your confirmation letter.

We need you: We can use your help on the planning committee, or in other ways such as helping at the event. Please contact the alumni Office at alumni@spu.edu, or 206-281-2586.

Founders, Class of 1966, are givers

Your 50-year reunion is a proud milestone. You can pay a one-of-a-kind tribute this year by making a donation to your alma mater in honor of the Class of 1966. Boost your reunion class participation rate during your reunion year and help students realize their dreams of a quality Christian higher education.

Grand Reunions


Grand Reunion

SPU Campus
October 7–8, 2016

This history-making reunion is a signature event of the University’s 125th anniversary celebration. Enjoy all interest groups and academic program reunions. Reconnect with your class at reunions for the years Founders ’66, ’71, ’76, ’81, ’86, ’91, ’96, ’01, ’06, and ’11. And not to be missed — the all-alumni reunion at Taste of SPU. Music, food, fun, and David Crowder in concert for the entire family. Help make this the largest alumni gathering in SPU history! Watch for details and registration to come.

Give Big
Give your BIGGEST on May 3

GiveBIG is back! On May 3, every dollar given to Seattle Pacific during GiveBIG will be partially matched by a stretch pool provided by corporate sponsors. Last year, the GiveBIG stretch pool provided an additional $4,300 for scholarships and programs at Seattle Pacific beyond what our generous donors gave on that day. Every gift counts! 

How you can be involved: Start by following Seattle Pacific on Facebook and Twitter to learn more and keep updated on the day. Together we can make an impact on May 3 for SPU by giving and using #GiveBIG2016 to share the reasons why you and your friends support Seattle Pacific.

Know any “Ones to Watch”?

SPU is on the search for 125 GOLD “Ones to Watch,” graduates of the last decade who are actively living out SPU’s mission statement to engage the culture and change the world. Those chosen will be honored at the Grand Reunion Weekend, October 7-8, 2016, and throughout the University’s 125th Anniversary year. Email your nominations today to alumni@spu.edu.

Prayer Corner

Incoming Falcons, Class of 2021: Students from across the U.S. prepare to make SPU their home this fall.

Graduating Class of 2016: God go with them!

Campus Leadership: Resident Advisors, ASSP Officer Core, and other student leaders. Next year’s student leaders, who are applying now for leadership positions across campus for the 2016-17 academic year. University President Dan Martin and his Senior Leadership Team.

SPU’s 125th Anniversary: Preparations underway for campus-wide celebration of SPU’s quasquicentennial. Founded 1891.

Campus jobs

Access Services Specialist. Provides exemplary customer service to library patrons, teaches and supervises student employees, and oversees all circulation services.

For more information and to apply for these and other open positions at SPU, visit spu.edu/jobs.