2007 Briefing Booklet Research Team
Sopicha Bovornassavaurai is a 21-year-old senior at the University of Washington is double majoring in Communication and Political Science as majors. She will finish her last quarter as an undergraduate student in December 2006. She was born in Thailand and lived there until the age of thirteen. She moved to the United States in 1999 and attended Hanford Middle School and Hanford High School in Richland, Washington. She was involved in many school activities, such as Key Club, Math Team, and Math Club. She volunteered in projects that helped improve her communities. After she graduated from high school in June 2003, she started her first quarter in college at the Columbia Basin College in September 2003. She was a senator in the student body government and a representative for the Art Club. In March 2005, she transferred to the University of Washington. Sopicha’s lifestyle changed when she moved to Seattle. She tied knots of friendship with many like-minded individuals. She also exposed herself to various situations that allowed her to grow. Her greatest life experience was the summer 2006 when she interned at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC. This trip was truly and inspirational experience for her. Not only did it expand her knowledge about the American government system, but it also transformed her view of the world.
Ian Bresnahan is a senior at the University of Washington. He hails from Spokane, Washington where he attended Lewis and Clark High School. His parents still live in Spokane and his one sibling, Brie, now lives in Seattle while also attending school at the University. Ian’s interests include soccer, skiing, and traveling. Ian played for the local soccer club throughout his childhood and for his high school. He still enjoys playing soccer and applauds Italy for capturing the World Cup last summer. Ian will be taking the winter quarter off to indulge his other primary interest, skiing. Hiking into the back country and skiing powder is Ian’s main activity from November to March. Just having returned from San Diego, Ian plans on visiting the British Virgin Islands and Vail, Colorado within the year. Surfing is currently Ian’s new hobby.
Hailey Buser was born in Newport Beach, California in September of 1985. She grew up in Mill Creek, Washington with her parents, younger brother, and Shetland sheepdog. Hailey spent her youth dancing ballet and sailing with her family. She attended Jackson High School where she was involved in numerous clubs as well as the captain of the cheer squad. She is currently a senior at University of Washington majoring in Communication and Spanish. She spent four months studying abroad in Granada, Spain the past year. While in Granada she was enrolled in an intensive Hispanic Studies program. She is a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. Hailey is extremely involved in her sorority. She has held the position of Director of Social Enrichment which entailed planning all of the sorority’s social events. She has also worked as a member of the Executive Board for her sorority. Hailey loves pilates, yoga, dance, and traveling, and being with her friends and family.
Aaron Cahoon is currently a 21 year-old Junior at the University of Washington. He is majoring in Communication with a focus on Public Speaking, as well as pursuing a minor in English. He grew up on Mercer Island, and has one brother as well as two parents named Scott and Barbara. In 2004, he graduated from Mercer Island High School, and was very involved in extra curricular activities as well as two sports. The most influential experiences during his high schools years were three springs breaks spanning from 2001-2003, when he participated in Mexico Mission trips with the Mercer Island Presbyterian Church. They took place in Tijuana and were a vital part to his experience in world diversity and opening his eyes to developing parts of Mexico. He was extremely involved in sports in high school, more specifically in wrestling. He participated in the Washington State tournament three of four years, as well as being a member of Team Washington which traveled to Virginia to compete in the NHSCA national tournament. After completing his degree in 2008, he hopes to pursue a possible career in broadcasting or commercial real estate with hopes of including some travel around the nation as well.
Rena Choe is a senior at the University of Washington majoring in Communication. She was born in Seoul, Korea and moved to Seattle, Washington at the age of four. She grew up in Federal Way, Washington with her parents, James and Helen Choe, and younger siblings, Katrina and Andrew, until graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School. She then moved out on her own at eighteen to attend the University of Washington. Her area of study in the Department of Communication is rhetoric and critical studies and plans to use the skill and knowledge for public speaking and leadership qualities for her career. Currently living in Seattle at the age of twenty-one and looking brightly towards to graduating and working for Nordstrom’s in Fall of 2007.
Michele Eakins is a senior in the Political Science department in the University of Washington. Graduating in the spring of 2007, she has decided to make the most of the rest of her short time there, spending the spring quarter of her junior year in Rome, Italy. While she spent three months there, she managed to pick up some Italian but had previously taken five years to learn French (which she did not use). After the quarter she returned to Seattle at the start of the summer for an internship at a political consulting firm as well as a legal assistant position in a U-District law firm. The internship allowed her to work independently or as a team with her coworkers, enabling her to become a stronger individual but also a better team player. Working with campaigns and creating press releases made her realize law school is not for her. Her focus in Political Science is in political Communication and international relations, while she also has an interest in the law. This fall she is taking two classes at UW as well as an internship through the UW Pipeline Project and the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department working with kids to get them involved as citizens in their community.
Elizabeth Evans is a junior at the University of Washington Seattle campus. She is currently a Communication major, intending to broaden her coursework to focus on psychology as well over the next few years. Elizabeth plans to make a career in marketing or sales, and is developing the skills to do so with an internship for Luna/Cliff Bar this fall. She has an affinity for traveling, and hopes to spend some time studying or working abroad. After being born and raised in the Seattle area, she is ready to leave and try something new. An upcoming trip to London is the highlight of this year for her. She has the opportunity to spend a few weeks in the outskirts of London, so it will be a great experience to draw on for future abroad adventures. Currently, Elizabeth works as a teller part time at Wells Fargo, in retail at Banana Republic, promotes the Luna internship and juggles a full course load at the University o f Washington, thus time management is of utmost importance to her. All the while she still manages to make memories that will last a lifetime with her sorority sisters of Alpha Gamma Delta.
Bretta Fogerty is a senior and is majoring in Geography and Communication. She desires to be a middle school social studies teacher, possibly teaching 7th and 8th grade history. Upon graduation she wants to join Teach for America, an organization that sends college graduates to teach in underprivileged areas of the United States. Bretta has been a tutor in the English Writing Center for a year now and finds joy in helping students. She is also the Vice President of Membership Development in Panhellenic Association and is a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority. In her free time, Bretta likes to shop, make jewelry, cook, bake, and spend time with family and friends. Bretta hopes to travel someday to Thailand, tour Europe, and return to Cuba.
Jaime Garrand is a senior at the University of Washington and is a Communication major with an emphasis in international Communication. Traveling is one of her main interests and she has plans to study abroad during winter 2007 in Rome, Italy. In addition to the many opportunities to travel while overseas, Jaime also hopes to broaden her perspective on foreign culture and strengthen her degree in the process. Jaime is a member of the Iota chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta and holds the position of Vice President of Member development. As Member Development, Jaime is responsible for planning various programs that cater to the different needs of the members. These range from health workshops to resume building and financial management programs. Her other main focus is to ensure that all members of the Chapter uphold house standards. Jaime is also part of the support staff team for the Ram Big Horn Brewery in the University Village. After graduating, she would like to work for an organization that promotes simple and positive alternatives to many current lifestyle trends. Ideas of particular interest to Jaime include supporting local organic growers as well as the use of public transportation.
Sophia Gray was born in Seattle, Washington. She has family on two continents as her mother was born and raised in Brazil and her father is a lifelong Washington resident. She has one brother named David and as a family they spent many summers and some holidays in Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo, a small town in southern Brazil. During her time spent in the States, she was somewhat musically inclined and took lessons to expand her talent. She toyed with the idea of becoming a Music major while attending the University of Washington but shortly switched to Communication after deciding that she wanted to continue on with her current employer Starbucks, specifically in the international department. She has been married for three years and has a dog name Rocco who occupies much of her time. When not at work slinging coffee or on campus, she enjoys playing the piano and giving lessons to those she works with. She also loves to hike and hopes to be able to travel more when she is done with school. After school, she plans to enter the marketing department at Starbucks and work to maintain good relations with the farmers and bean growers they purchase from.
Philip Howard is an assistant professor in the Communication Department at the University of Washington. His book New Media Campaigns and the Managed Citizen (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006) is about the role of information technology in campaign strategy and political culture. He has published a co-edited collection entitled Society Online: The Internet In Context (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2003) as well as articles in New Media & Society, the American Behavioral Scientist, and the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Howard has been a Fellow at the Pew Internet & American Life Project in Washington, D.C., and the Stanhope Centre for Communications Policy Research in London. He served on the advisory board of the Survey2000 and Survey2001 Projects, and as co-PI on the large project called Information and Communication Technologies in Central Asia. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts. He has worked as a consultant to the World Resources Institute, the Canadian International Development Agency, and development assistance projects for Haiti and Mexico. His current research and teaching interests include political Communication and the role of new media in social movements and deliberative democracy, work in new economy and e-commerce firms, and the application of new media technologies in addressing social inequalities in the developing world. He teaches courses on research methods, politics online, organizational behavior and international media systems.
Amber Kercmar was raised in a small rural town, Lyle, in southern Washington. Throughout school, Amber was very active within the school and community, participating in student government and several sports teams. Upon graduating from high school, Amber decided to spread her wings and move to the city of Seattle to attend the University of Washington, where her sister was completing a degree in Geography. Now a senior at UW, Amber is a Communication major, with a concentration on cultural studies. After taking a health Communication course her junior year, Amber discovered her interest in health Communication, which led her to volunteer at the Bailey-Boushay House, a facility for people living with AIDS and HIV. Outside of school and volunteering, Amber works several jobs to pay for her education. These include retail, a recent position at an insurance office, a Radio Disney event staff position, and a position as the assistant coach for an eighth grade volleyball team. After graduation, Amber plans on directing her experience and education towards a career in event planning, preferably in the health care arena. While she still holds a special place in her heart for the rural country setting in which she was raised, Amber plans on staying in the Seattle area upon graduating from UW.
Robin Marie Luedke was raised in Des Moines, Washington, but she will always tell you she is from Federal Way because that was her school district boundary. Currently, she is a senior at the University of Washington. She is majoring in Communication with a focus in technology and society. Robin spends the majority of her extra curricular time participating as captain and a member of the Husky Cheerleading Squad. Robin has also been a member of the Alpha Phi Sorority since her freshman year. When she is not in class, practice, or out on the field, Robin focuses her energy on spending time with friends and family. Her three bubbling nephews think the world of her and her sister Larena is her best friend although they are ten years apart in age. She is also definitely a Daddy’s girl, but not in the annoying stereotype sort of way. Robin loves coaching cheer and is particularly fond of dealing with the Pee-Wee age bracket of four to eight year olds. Her random passions include astronomy topics, Greek mythology, and reading the top stories of the newspaper. Robin giggles at mostly everything and one would be surprised if they ever saw her without a smile.
Rebecca McCoy-LaForce is a senior at the University of Washington, where she is a Communication major, with a minor in Political Science. While at UW, she is vice-president of the University of Washington Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, and is a literacy tutor for inmates at the King County Correctional Facility. She will finish her degree in 2007, after spending the winter studying in Paris, where she will attempt to become fluent in the French language. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she plans on attending law school in California or on the east coast, in hopes of a career working in constitutional law. In addition to attending school and peripheral activities, she is a property manager for a small, Seattle-based commercial real estate firm, an office assistant at the University of Washington’s Alumni Association, and is a former Washington State Senate intern. Her personal interests include playing in the dirt at the park, pretending to be a fire-fighter, and coloring (all with her four-year-old son), as well as horseback riding, pilates and yoga.
Chelsie O’Neill-Dewing was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 18, 1985. At the age of five her family moved to Hansville, Washington where they still reside today. Chelsie graduated from North Kitsap High School in Poulsbo, Washington in 2003 and in the fall of 2003 she moved to Seattle where she is currently a student of the Communication and Spanish Departments at the University of Washington. With her Communication degree and background in Spanish, Chelsie hopes to one day pursue a career in public relations. Outside of school, Chelsie is a bank teller at Washington Mutual Bank in Lake Forest Park, Washington. When she isn’t going to school or working, she enjoys traveling around the world. Her love for the Spanish language, the Latin American people and their culture keeps her coming back to Central America. Her other interests include sports, especially soccer and skiing, as well as reading and spending time with her family and friends.
Sara Pete was born and raised in Seattle, Washington on Queen Anne Hill. Her mother, Consuelo Francisco, moved to America from the Philippines in the 1970s and works as a research technician at the University Hospital. Her father, Michael Pete, has been the Chief Operating Officer of United Way of King County for many years and is originally from Enumclaw, Washington. Sara has an older brother named Ryan. She is currently a senior at the University of Washington and studies International Communications. She studied abroad in Italy for three months in early 2006 and was an intern in Rome at the Italian Chamber of Commerce. She also traveled to Calabria to volunteer as an English language teacher in southern Italian elementary schools. She has played the violin for twelve years and is currently practicing her fourth year of guitar lessons. Sara spent six weeks in Los Angeles during 2004 to study drama at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She will pursue a career in entertainment media Communications and public relations.
Jordan Reffett was born in Moses Lake, Washington on September 9th, 1983. He is a 2002 graduate of Moses Lake High School. Jordan is a Political Science major at the University of Washington, where he also plays on the Washington Huskies football team at the defensive tackle position. He is in his final year at the University of Washington. Jordan was married in June of 2004 to his wife Nicole, also from Moses Lake. Jordan and Nicole had their first child together in January 2006, a baby girl, Kendall Marie Reffett. Jordan has plans of playing in the NFL, but if that doesn’t work out he will return to Moses Lake with his family and continue the family business of farming in the Columbia Basin. Jordan enjoys spending time with friends and family, and hunting and fishing during the off-season.
Colin Richardson was born on August end, 1983 in Bremerton, Washington. He graduated from Central Kitsap High School in 2002. After a summer backpacking in Europe, he entered the University of Washington as a freshman in the fall of 2002. Colin’s high school academic preferences were liberal arts courses, including history, English, social studies government and politics. This was the direction of his coursework at the outset of his University experience. During the winter of 2004-05, Colin chose to study abroad in South India through a joint program that included Political Science, the Comparative History of Ideas, and the Program on the Environment. After his studies in the international community of Auroville, he chose to stay in India and travel throughout the subcontinent. On return from his travels, Colin chose to pursue Political Science and Communication at the University. He is now a senior at the University of Washington, and plans to graduate at the conclusion of Winter Quarter. He is twenty-three years old, and during the summer works as a first mate at Emerald City Charters on Seattle’s waterfront.
Rissa Shallenberger is a junior at the University of Washington who is studying and planning to major in both Communications and Economics. She was born in Redmond to her two loving parents and shared her childhood memories and experiences with her older sister Jenna, of whom she is very close. Rissa attended Lake Washington High School and graduated at the top of her class in 2004. She is currently a member of and greatly involved with the Alpha Chi Omega sorority located in the Greek Community just off campus. At this time Rissa works at the Marian Gould Gallagher Law Library in order to get more involved with the University community and to learn about the campus. Her hobbies include singing, walking around Pike Place Market and sharing a good cup of coffee with her closest friends at the local Starbucks. She is looking forward to the second half of her college education and her plans after graduation include the following: backpacking around Europe, primarily Italy and Spain, and finding a marketing job somewhere in the wonderful city of Seattle.
Sally Spohn is a senior at the University of Washington. She will graduate in the spring of 2007 with a degree in Communication and an emphasis in social interaction. She hopes to work one-on-one with people, perhaps in a social work environment or in education. She loves working with children and sees herself possibly working as an elementary teacher in the future. Sally was born in Mission Viejo, California and moved to Olympia, Washington where her family currently lives. She is the middle child in a family of five and grew up traveling to various national parks all across the United States. She has set foot in more than half of the fifty states. Although she has only left the country twice she hopes to some day travel to Europe and experience life overseas. Sally is very close with her family including her older brother and younger sister who is also attending the University of Washington this year. Sally sees herself settling down in the Seattle area after graduation because she loves the water and many trees all throughout the west coast.
Sarah Tompkins was born in San Francisco, CA on October 10th, 1985. After living in California, Minnesota and New York, Sarah and her family moved to Issaquah, WA where she completed high school. She is currently a senior at the University of Washington majoring in Communication. During the fall of her sophomore year at the University, Sarah was a Freshman Interest Group leader. She also completed a study abroad program in Cape Town, South Africa in the winter quarter of her junior year. The program allowed her to work with the South African Department of Social Services on a drug awareness campaign in the Western Cape of South Africa. In 2006, she attended the NEW Leadership Puget Sound Conference, a weeklong event that focused on advancing the leadership skills of the women from the Seattle area. After graduating from the University of Washington Sarah plans on attending law school.
Michelle Trias was born in Seattle and raised in Edmonds, WA. She was born and raised into a traditional Filipino family. Throughout her childhood, Michelle’s elders taught her the importance and value of an education. School has always been an important part of Michelle’s life and began with her enrollment at Westgate Elementary and College place Middle School before graduating from Edmonds Woodway High School in 2003. While her education became an important factor in determining her future, Michelle also spent a significant amount of time participating in school and community activities. An activity that she would eventually find to be one of the most important learning experiences was student leadership. Throughout middle school, high school and college, Michelle was elected into positions which not only allowed her to develop skills of being a hard working leader, but also gave her the opportunity to learn how to work with different types of people. Outside of school and work, Michelle loves to spend time with friends and family. She cherishes the relationships and friendships that have been built throughout the years and hopes to continue to strengthen those bonds. One of Michelle’s lifetime goals is to be able to give back to her loved ones the love and support that they have brought to her life.
Rachel Twenge is an out of state student from Oregon, double majoring in Communication and Political Science. She will be graduating in the spring and hopes to continue on to grad school and travel throughout Europe and parts of Asia. Through her studies in Europe, and classes taken at the university, she ahs become knowledgeable about the global divide concerning technology and culture between the North and the South and hopes to combine that knowledge with the research done in this class. She is interested in attending law school after graduation and is currently going to participate in an internship program through the Attorney General’s office. Her interests specifically include international studies with a focus on the political connections among different countries throughout the world. She recently returned from a study abroad program in Rome through the Communication department, where she studied Europe and cultural Communication and was able to witness these cultural differences firsthand. After traveling throughout Italy, she became aware of the many dichotomies among Italians in different parts of the country, and hopes to study these types of differences in other countries as well. She ultimately hopes to broaden her interests by studying many different types of cultures and how they compare with one another with regards to Communication technologies and political structures.
Laura del Valle was born on October 4, 1984 and raised in the state of Washington. Currently, Laura is in her fourth and final year at the University of Washington, majoring in Communication. While attending school, Laura has kept a steady job as a barista with Starbucks, which is a job and company that she truly enjoys. Upon graduating in the winter of 2006, Laura plans to spend the next couple of years traveling around the world. Somewhat of a self-proclaimed thrill seeker, Laura plans to go snowboarding at various mountains around the world. She also has hopes for working in the cruise line industry, and seeing the world via cruise ship. Upon returning from her travels, Laura would like to eventually settle in the state of Washington, but hopes to find a job which will allow her to continue traveling the world.
John Voigt is a 22-year-old senior at the University of Washington in Seattle. He was born in Spokane, Washington on July 13, 1984 to parents Jerome and Kathleen. His current studies at the University are composed primarily of Communication, but also include some Political Science. The fantastic schools and environment Spokane offered made the decision to come to Seattle to study an easy one for him. Before attending college, John had the opportunity to study abroad in England and Ireland with the prestigious People to People Program, established by Dwight D. Eisenhower while he was still in office. The experience was certainly a catalyst which sparked his interest in Communication, and consequently led to the ensuing studies at the University of Washington. In John’s leisure time he enjoys playing soccer, skiing in the winter, and a variety of other outdoor activities including traveling. Growing up as the only child has taught John the importance of social interactions and has developed him into the affable, dedicated person he is today.
Anna Voloshina is a senior at the University of Washington, majoring in Communication and International Studies. She is hoping to get accepted to law school at the University of Chicago soon after she has completed her bachelor’s degree. She immigrated to the United States from Ukraine at the age of eleven. She is fluent in Russian and English. She participated in a Study Abroad program during the winter quarter of 2006 in Cape Town, South Africa. In Cape Town, Anna worked on a drug awareness program with the Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation. She also researched the effects of Post-Apartheid South Africa on the country’s diverse population. June of 2006, Anna went back to Ukraine to see family and observe the changes and problems the country is facing after the fall of communism. One of Anna’s main interests is researching and learning about developing countries and their struggle in the digital divide.