Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Alumni Give Career Advice at Career Launch: A Team Sport

Aritcle written by Kathleen Rohde
Photos by Jonathan Schell

Pacific alumnus Forrest Barnes licked one hundred envelopes filled with job applications. He walked over to the post office here in Forest Grove and sent 100 resumes out to companies. The year was 1984 and Barnes had to use a pay phone to check up on his applications. In 1985, even though he had the credits to graduate, Barnes withdrew from Pacific to take a job. In those times, he didn’t have much of a choice and he was the only senior in his graduating class to have a job.

Reyes '03

But in 2014, there’s still competition. A group of alumni visited Pacific for the event Career Launch: A Team Sport on March 2. They hosted a panel and spoke with Pacific athletes from every sport. Football, tennis, track and field, swimming and wrestling among others sat side-by-side to get inside tips from those in their dream careers.
It became clear that stepping out of their comfort zone was the most helpful advice all the alumni wish they’d heard.
“I’ve always been an introvert, but one thing I learned was to be comfortable being uncomfortable,” said Cisco Reyes, an associate professor at Concordia University in Portland since 2011. “I got a late start, because I wanted to be comfortable and I’m very fortunate to be where I am today. The benefits of being uncomfortable paid off and made it easier to take two steps forward the next time.” 
Reyes teaches exercise physiology, biomechanics, high-performance training and programming. Reyes graduated Pacific in 2003 with a degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science. He played as a Baseball Boxer during his time in Forest Grove.
Others chimed in on this idea of challenging comfortability in order to succeed.
“Go visit speakers on campus, go to events,” said Barnes. He graduated from Pacific in 1985 majoring in Business and Economics. “They’re not much different than I am— they have two legs and two hands. I looked at them and thought, ‘they took risks and benefited.’”
Brown '03
The panel advised students to challenge their comfort zone by doing internships. Yep, even if they’re unpaid.
Naomi Brown works for the Hillsboro school district as a student case manager, and a resource to find students job/careers or colleges. She works with children who come from a variety of backgrounds. Whether teenagers are finding high school isn’t working for them or have bigger personal issues, Brown has seen it all. She credits her level of experience to handle her current job from an internship she held at the ChristieCare Residential Treatment Center in Lake Oswego working with abused teens. She worked there for two years and continued on with even more experience to search for the career she really wanted, the job she has now.
“Because of my internship, the Hillsboro School District hired me,” said Brown. She also worked with the Hillsboro Parks and Recreation Department and a early childhood school. “After four years I found my dream job where I’m not always in the classroom. My undergraduate years helped me learn the background, the standard. But the internship helped prepare me for where I’m at now. For the real thing.”
One alumnus found that an internship was just what he needed— just what he needed to decide he wanted nothing to do with that job.
Both Brown and David Slick participated in summer internships between their junior and senior years at Pacific. While Brown found job opportunities closer and closer to what she wanted, Slick was narrowing his search.
“It was great life experience to see what it’s all about,” said Slick. He worked the summer going into senior year at the National Science Foundation doing research. “But I realized I didn’t want to be in the lab.”
After Slick threw his graduation cap in the air, he took another internship. Four months after that a large company purchased the business he was working for and offered him a full-time position.
“From there my career took off,” said Slick. He now works as a software quality assurance manager at InComm.
For the final panelist, he’s working his dream job and did it by standing out.
“I made a position for myself,” said Brian Pan, a 2009 Pacific graduate who played on the golf team and majored in integrated media and business. He works as a digital media video manager for the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Sounders Football Club. “I do it better than it’s ever been done before.”
Pan’s been with the Seahawks for five seasons now and the only draw back so far about his job was being kicked in the face during the 2014 Super Bowl.
Alumni spoke on the panel for the event Career Launch: A Team Sport
All the panelists agreed that talking to everyone, even teachers, was important to make connections and network. Slick was sent a link to his first internship from a professor at Pacific.
All agreed that internships, yes even if they’re unpaid, are vital to getting real life experience, and good thing for Slick because he realized that wasn’t what he wanted to do.
“If you love what you do it makes it so much easier,” said Reyes.
Each stressed the importance of getting a foot in the door.
“As you network you get to know those people,” said Pan. “They move and they bring along their own people. They know their work and ability.”
Reyes challenged the audience of about 50 athletes in the Boxer Learning Center.
“I wish I stepped out of the box more. I wish I could’ve taken the time to work for free,” said Reyes. “When an opportunity arises, take it. You’re going to fail, but by trying you’re going to only gain more connections along the way.”
“You can still be competitive in the workplace,” said Pan.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Alumnus Achieves his Dream Job

By Berkley Holzschuh '14
Pan '09
"Do it better than it's ever been done before" is how Brian Pan '09 strives to live his life. Coincidentally, this quote was said by Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete
Carroll, a person Pan is in close contact with throughout the year.
Pan is the Digital Media Video Producer for the Seattle Seahawks. His love for film began at his high school’s TV station in Pullman, Wash. Like most students, Pan knew as soon as he visited Pacific University that this was where he was supposed to be.
Initially when starting college, Pan wanted to pursue broadcast journalism, but after taking some website based classes with Professor Mike Geraci, he veered in a different direction. Geraci helped him broaden his knowledge of the web and was one of Pan’s biggest influences at Pacific.
Pan reflected on the Internet and social media when he was a freshman in college. He discussed how Facebook was the new social media platform in 2005.
Looking back, I never thought about how big the Internet would become,” said Pan. The position Pan has now as Digital Media Video Producer did not exist when he was a student at Pacific.
“Work hard!” is the advice Pan gives to students. “It’s all about hard work and having a passion for what you do.”
Working hard and living by Coach Pete’s quote made Pan’s managers realize that he was essential to their success. He was offered a full-time position at the end of his internship with the Seahawks.
Pan loves his job. Part of Pan’s job requires him to ask famous athletes he has always looked up to for interviews. This challenges him to be “comfortable with being uncomfortable,” which is necessary for personal and professional growth.
Pan also gets to travel with the team. In 2013 Brian went to Hong Kong with the Sea Gals Cheerleaders as they performed for the Chinese New Year. More recently, he even got the chance to travel to Metlife Stadium in New Jersey and watch his team win Superbowl XLVIII.

“I go to work and get paid to watch and film sports; I can’t imagine anything better.”

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Navigating the Stormy Seas of Publishing

Calcaterra '99
By Garrett Calcaterra '99

Last month I wrote a guest blog post for Diversion Books, the publisher of my debut fantasy novel, Dreamwielder, and I remarked on the odd publication path my book took: an initial launch in e-book format only, then audiobook format through a few months later, and finally in trade paperback format almost a year after the initial release. 

It’s a big departure from the traditional book release process, but this is the reality of the book publishing world now. There is no tried and true route to publication success, and if you want to make it as an author, you have to navigate your own path.

The modern publishing world is a double-edged sword. On one hand, there are more opportunities than ever to reach readers directly thanks to e-books, self-publishing platforms like KDP and Smashwords, and Print-on-Demand services like CreateSpace and Lulu. On the other hand, these opportunities will do nothing for you if you fail to write quality books or if you don’t understand the business side of publishing. And the fact of the matter is, unless you already have a large following, publishers still offer you the best shot of getting your book in front of readers.

Sure, I could have self-published Dreamwielder, but I never would have procured a Barnes & Noble Nook First Look selection on my own. never would have turned it into an audiobook. And before all that, Dreamwielder never would have gotten the great editorial attention it received with Diversion Books if I self-published. That’s something a lot of newbies to the writing world neglect to consider: publishers ensure that they only release a high-quality, polished product.

For me, what’s worked so far is handling each writing project on a case-by-case scenario, and I don’t do it alone. I am in regular contact with my literary agent, Elizabeth Kracht, and together we game plan what to do with each book project I have. For Dreamwielder we went with Diversion Books. Diversion Books turned me on to Wattapad, an e-book app and community that houses 40 million free e-books. 

There on Wattpad, I self-released a prequel story to Dreamwielder, and also an unrelated fantasy novelette, The Knight’s Dog, which got picked up as a featured Wattpad story. As the time of writing this blog post, the novelette has racked up almost 17 thousand reads in little over a week! That’s how volatile and crazy the e-book market is.

On the self-publishing front, I’ve self-released The Knight’s Dog as an 99 cent e-book for the Kindle and Nook, and I’ve also self-released two quirky humor titles, knowing traditional publisher wouldn’t be willing to take a risk on them. 

I also experimented with selling my previously published short stories as DRM-free e-book singles directly from my website. That was a complete and utter failure! Still, I’m glad I tried it. I learned a lot about self-publishing and the e-book marketplace with the experience, and that knowledge is invaluable.

In the meantime, I’m working on the sequel to Dreamwielder, which is already contracted with Diversion Books, and I’m keeping my eyes open for new opportunities. I know writing novels is how I’m going to turn my writing into a sustainable career. I need to have a new book every year, which my agent and I will find the best possible market for, and I’ll continue to try out homes for my shorter work. 

Those 17 thousand downloads on Wattpad don’t earn me a dime directly, but now 17 thousand new people have seen my name, and the next time they see it on front of a book online or in their bookstore, hopefully they’ll deem it worthy to spend their money on.

Calcaterra ’99 was an applied science major with a minor in creative writing at Pacific University. He teaches writing at Chapman University and the Orange County School of the Arts. His new novel, Dreamwielder, is available in e-book format at all major retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Boxer Love Story: Al Ross '55 and Caroline (Seay) Ross '56

By Written by Al Ross

After graduating St. Helens High School in 1951, coach Harvey Roloff from Pacific offered me an athletic scholarship. I had no money and my family had no money and this sounded good. I had an older friend, Phil Poff '54, who encouraged me to check things out. He was a sophomore at Pacific at the time. We ended up rooming together in what apparently was the old McCormick Hall. It was down by the old gymnasium that was used primarily as a PE and practice facility.
The college had offered me the opportunity to work for money and that was going to help cover expenses. I was assigned to clean classrooms each day at the end of the last class. I got to know Marsh Hall, Old College Hall, the library and Warner Hall very well. I would guess there were under 600 students in attendance in 1952, but there was still lot of sweeping, dusting and desk straightening.
During my sophomore year, I was offered a job that enabled me to make a little more money but it was certainly a great deal more work. Several of the buildings had wood furnaces for heat. I was basically responsible for going over to the girls’ dorm, which at the time was called Herrick Hall, each morning seven days a week, and starting a wood fire in the furnace which was down in the basement. If you stood in front of Marsh Hall looking at Old College Hall, Herrick Hall was located to your right down near what was then apartments for married students. It was a tough job and I had to go over and toss in more wood all day long between my classes. The girls needed their heat.
To get into the basement of Herrick Hall at 4 a.m. each morning, I had to go around the back of the building and walk down a long sidewalk to the door the gave me access to the basement and the furnace. I noticed that each morning there was a light on in an apartment about the third floor. There was a young lady sitting there doing something. I later learning she was studying. I could not see her clearly but we began to wave at each other very innocently and it went on for many more mornings before we got to actually know each other.
Our paths finally crossed in the basement as this was where the girls’ washing machines were and I was over there tossing cord wood in the beloved furnace. She was a cute little chick from Salem, Ore., and we had a great deal in common. Neither of our families could support us and she was on an academic scholarship and also took every job that was offered her. We both wanted to be teachers. During the time there she was paid to get up early and make a continental breakfast for dorm sisters. She later worked in the science labs as a lab assistant and also worked in the cafeteria over at McCormick Hall.
We began to date as time and money permitted and our dating was quite simply but very enjoyable. We spent time at the Tip Top which was a local college hangout and went to an occasional movie at the local theater or even drove to Hillsboro for some activity. We were together at games and other college activities but most of our time was spent studying and working. Caroline was a great student and much in demand to assist in the science labs. We have very fond memories of the years at Pacific and we were certainly treated well by the faculty and the administration.
I graduated in 1955 and was immediately drafted into the US Army and was soon on my way to Korea. Caroline had another year at Pacific and we decided to get married during the summer of 1955. She graduated with great honors in 1956 and was offered a job teaching math and science at David Douglas High School in Portland. She taught one full year before I was discharged from the Army. I also was offered a contract in the David Douglas district after my discharge.
Caroline and I lived and worked in Portland and this is where we raised our family. Our two boys still live in the Portland area as do our grandchildren. I worked at the David Douglas School District in a variety of jobs for about 34 years. Caroline taught advanced science and math, and also worked at Mount Hood Community College in the math department. She was a fabulous teacher. We retired in 1988 and since then have lived in San Diego and Charbonneau outside of Salem and presently reside in Sun City Grand, Arizona, but do return to Oregon to see family and friends.
We had many close friends at Pacific and would love to hear from anyone who might end up reading this. We can be reached easily at

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Notes from Under the Oaks | March 2014

Do you consider yourself an athlete? A former athlete? An athlete at heart? A Monday morning quarterback? A couch potato waiting for the right challenge?
In the interest of full disclosure I’ll confess, I've never considered myself an athlete. In fact, I was actually asked to leave my PE class in 10th grade for refusing to play basketball. I now reflect on this moment of rebellion with humor and a healthy dose of embarrassment. I never played team sports, but I have had two big athletic moments as an adult-- in 2005 I rode a bicycle from Portland to San Francisco and in 2010 I ran a (slow) marathon.
Given my lack of athletic background, I was especially honored to have the chance to participate in an event last week where we connected some of our athletics alumni with our current athletes. About fifty percent of Pacific undergraduate students participate in either varsity, intramural or club sports. I'm willing to wager that number goes even higher when you consider the athletic careers of both our undergraduate and graduate students in high school or at another University.

At Career Launch, we tried to tap into what all that sports activity gives a person. We knew it was more than just knowledge of how to play a game and we had some idea of what our alumni might share as they were providing advice to students on how to use their athletics experience as they begin to navigate professional life. For example -- the ability to be an effective part of a team or how to use competitive spirit to one's advantage.

The panel was going great -- each of the alumni had great things to say and students were taking notes. Then my classmate Cisco Reyes '03 spoke and said something that shaped the way everyone in the room saw the evening. He said, “to succeed you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable."

Suddenly every student in the room relaxed ever so slightly. Someone had just given them permission to feel the anxiety most of them must have been feeling. And in that moment every one of them was infused with a shot of confidence. It was the career development equivalent of the moment just after a touchdown.
After a decade spent working on college campuses I feel privileged to have witnessed the transformational impact of athletics on students who otherwise may not have considered college. Sports aren't simply a doorway to college -- they are a window through which students can visualize themselves at college on a path to graduate school and/or a successful career.
Athletic achievements are in themselves life changing. When I pedaled across the Golden Gate Bridge on that foggy July day, I knew anything was possible. If I could cycle 800 miles, I could do anything. I not only channeled that energy when I ran my (slow) marathon, I use it every time I face a challenge at work and in every sleep-deprived moment of parenting young children.
I'd love to hear your sports story. Are you like me -- 100% clumsy, but realized later in life that running doesn't require hand-eye coordination? Or were you an athlete in high school and/or college? How did sports shape who you are?
I look forward to hearing your sports stories -- especially the tall tales about the Cannery Field.
Keep in touch and best wishes,
Martha Calus-McLain '03
Director of Alumni Relations
P.S. I’d be remiss if I didn’t encourage alumni who are interested in supporting athletics at Pacific, thus providing transformational experiences to future students, to join Boxer Club.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Why Pacific?

By Jim Silkensen '67

I grew up in Denver and in high school was very shy and bashful.  My high school counselor recognized this and recommended that I pick a college far enough from home that I would be on my own and not going home every weekend.  

From two vacations in the Pacific Northwest,  I loved Oregon and wanted a smaller university, so I picked Pacific out of a college catalog. A very lucky choice!

Pacific had a student body of about 1,200 at that time  and I was quickly able to make friends. In addition, class sizes were small enough that I got to know my professors and it was obvious that they cared about their students and imparting knowledge that would help us succeed following graduation.  

I particularly remember Dr. Prince's English literature courses that fostered my love of reading and writing, Dr. Chips bringing history to life and his "blue book" essay questions that forced us to really study and see the big picture, Doc Roberts' biology courses that were great fun and great learning experiences, band/orchestra/choir under the leadership of Mr. Shaw, Mr. Busch & Mr. Spiro and Art Wilcox's speech class that forced me to get up and speak in front of others and started me on my way to a skill that turned out to be essential in every job that I held.  

Gamma Sigma fraternity pushed me into asking girls to dances, working as a team with my fraternity brothers on various projects and running for class office. Pacific's traditions were also very meaningful to me, including the annual Wassail Party, the Hawaiian Club's annual Lu'au and the Noise Parade & Freshman Bonfire at homecoming. 

I also met the love of my life and my wife of 45+ years, Candace (Willson) Silkensen '69. We were married by Professor McDowell at First Congregational Church and had our wedding reception in Washburne Hall. 

Silkensen '67 submitted this blog as a response to the Notes from Under the Oaks column from the February 2014 Alumni eNews. To read more news from the University and alumni, please visit

Notes from Under the Oaks | February 2014

For an alumnus from rural eastern Washington or from Leeward Oahu the answer might be “because Pacific changed my life.”
For our 2,356 alumni couples the answer might be “because I met my love at Pacific.”
As an alumna, before coming to work for Pacific, my answer might have been summed up with the previous two responses. Now, after seven years as an employee, I’ve gotten to know this place even better. I now can’t answer this question without acknowledging the many ways our students and alumni aspire to make the world better.
For the students in Dental Health Science who are preparing to Give Kids a Smile later this spring or Optometry students preparing for spring break in Costa Rica with Amigos the answer might pertain to making kids healthier. These are just two examples of dozens of service-based, life-changing programs supported by our students and alumni.
Photo from the Dental Health Science program "Give Kids a Smile"
I believe all Universities possess the power to transform lives, but each place has deeply meaningful stories attached. (I'm also a tad biased in believing Pacific has more of these stories than other Universities).
For example Michael Sproyles ’15 tells a story of participating in the Speech and Debate team and finding incredible confidence.
Jackie Mrachek ’00, PT ’03 tells a story of developing necessary skills at Pacific which she now uses to help build confidence in others.
David Cook OD ’78 found the inspiration for a novel along with the ability to give the gift of sight.
Mike Geraci ’91 tells us about the coaches, faculty and staff at Pacific truly believe in students.
I’d love to hear your story. Did Pacific change you? Did your time here allow you the opportunity to improve the lives of others? How do you answer the question, “why Pacific?”
Send us your story and, as always, don’t hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance.
Best wishes,
Martha Calus-McLain ‘03
Director of Alumni Relations | | 503-352-2764

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Notes From Under the Oaks | January 2014

By Martha Calus-McLain '03 | Director of Alumni Relations

A sketch of the earliest building on the Forest Grove
As I look ahead to 2014, only two weeks gone and the rest full of possibility, I have many resolutions. Among them is a hope to acknowledge people who make a difference. This week I am thinking about the great teachers I had throughout my education.
Over the past six months my husband has been reading the Little Housebooks to our daughter, who is completely enthralled with them. I recently overheard them reading a passage describing conditions in the one-room school house where Laura is teaching in negative forty degree weather.
    “At half past three they were all so cold that she thought of dismissing school early. The mile that Martha and Charles must walk, worried her. On the other hand, she should not cut short the pupils' opportunity for learning, and this was not a blizzard.”
      This passage brought to mind the spirit of the pioneers who founded Pacific in 1849 in the face of immense adversity.
      It makes me think of the students who were so deeply committed to their education they found time for it among the competing responsibilities of frontier life.
      It reminds me of the courage of teachers, both in 1882 when they commanded one room school houses throughout the west and today when they risk, and sometimes sacrifice, their lives to save the children in their care.
      I shared this passage when I welcomed a dozen new students into our special ed program earlier this week. In a few years, these students will be alumni who spend their days dedicated to the success of young people. Based on the reactions of the students it was clear the passion and dedication Laura conveyed in her memoirs is still true of aspiring teachers.
      Last night we hosted the Student Teacher Alumni Reception on the Forest Grove campus. During the evening we got to hear teachers speak earnestly and candidly about their experiences. Again, the passion and dedication was evident.
      I hope none of our alumni are teaching kids who have to walk a mile in negative forty degrees, but I’m sure these alumni have a few stories of their own to share.
      I’d love to hear from alumni who are teachers. What inspires you? Do you have a great story to share about students who walked a metaphorical cold mile for their education?
      I’d also love to hear from alumni about the teachers who helped them. Who was your favorite teacher at Pacific, before or after? How did they inspire you? Did you ever walk a cold mile for your education?
      Send us your stories and as always don’t hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance.
      Best wishes,
      Martha Calus-McLain '03
      Director of Alumni Relations