Fall 2020 Issue
Table of contents
- Alumni Spotlight
- Cougar Business Alliance
- 2020 Notable Alumna Chelsea Brown
- Celebrating Our Newest Alumni
- Albertsons and Safeway Provide Hunger Relief for VanCougs
Seti Alizadeh, ’13, B.A. Digital Technology and Culture
Tell us how you became a VanCoug.
I first learned about WSU Vancouver during my freshman year at Mountain View High School, while visiting the campus with my high school’s Diversity Council. We were introduced to the Creative Media and Digital Culture Program’s Move Lab, where students configured lights, smoke machines, music and other visuals in a way similar to a dance floor. After watching a demo, I knew which university I wanted to attend.
Four years later, although I was accepted into a few different universities, WSU Vancouver and the CMDC program still had me hooked. Director and Professor Dene Grigar recalls that I sheepishly asked if there were any projects I could participate in ahead of time. After being accepted into the program, I curated a couple of multimedia shows in downtown Vancouver and traveled to other cities to showcase examples from the Electronic Literature Library. The program taught me many skills—as well as how to continue to teach myself. Technology is ever changing, and your education never ends.
What are you doing now?
I work at Fisher Investments in the 401(k) Solutions department. I started at Fisher after graduation seven years ago. In my current role as project manager of the 401(k) team, I manage the majority of our applications and systems. I recently became Salesforce Admin Certified. I plan to obtain other certifications and to work toward being an Enterprise and Solutions Architect.
Where is the strangest place you've met another Coug?
I see other Cougs everywhere! At the grocery store, within a similar circle of friends and even at the office. It is always nice to see a fellow Coug showing their pride with a hat, shirt or a simple shout out “Go Cougs!”
Tell us something you enjoyed about your program.
The faculty, students, classes and material were all monumental to helping me get to where I am in my career now. If it weren’t for the opportunities Dene Grigar provided me, I wouldn’t have had the experiences I had, such as leading a citywide book read, curating multiple multimedia shows and working at The Library of Congress during my time as a student. Those opportunities challenged me to push myself constantly in ways I didn’t imagine and allowed me to achieve heights I didn’t know existed.
How has WSU Vancouver changed since you were a student?
Even though times have changed and the campus is filled with new equipment, buildings and students, it will always have a special place in my heart and will always feel like coming home.
How do you support WSU Vancouver as an alumna?
I am constantly talking about WSU Vancouver. I try to come back to campus and talk with students whenever I can. Recently, I spoke at CMDC’s Career Panel for graduating seniors. I have also spoken one-on-one with many students looking for advice.
How Coug are you?
Unfortunately, nearly everyone in my immediate and extended families are Huskies. Every year for Apple Cup we get together, and even though there are about seven UW grads versus myself, I always bring enough spirit and gear to compete with them.
Cougar Business Alliance
Juxtapolitico and Minuteman Press
J.D. Rossetti, ’11, B.A. Public Affairs
With a passion to contribute to our community and to help make the world a better place, Justin (J.D.) Rossetti started Juxtapolitico, his business and public relations consulting firm, more than eight years ago.
Rosetti, who calls himself an “author, advocate, alchemist, politico and entrepreneur,” brought a wide range of credentials to his consulting work. He has more than a decade of local, state and federal legislative, political and public relations experience, including serving as a Washington state representative, school board director for Longview Public Schools, president of the Cowlitz/Wahkiakum United Way, and board member of Pathways 2020 and Washington State’s Community Economic Revitalization Board.
Rosetti’s bachelor’s degree from WSU Vancouver focused on public policy and politics. He also holds an associate’s degree from Lower Columbia College. He is a first-generation college graduate.
In fall 2019, Rossetti and his other business, Minuteman Press, took part in WSU Vancouver’s Business Growth Mentor and Analysis Program. After 16 weeks, the business students he worked with recommended a product line profit-and-loss model, a marketing budget solver and a data tracking tool kit. “The team worked so hard,” he recalled. “They all went above and beyond, and it felt great to see the solutions they came up with. I absolutely recommend the program for any size business looking for growth.” Next he plans to serve as a mentor for the program.
He said his favorite thing about being a Coug is the vast network of relationships and the way alumni support one another. He considers WSU Vancouver a positive addition to the community that enhances our quality of place.
Asked to name the strangest or furthest place where he has randomly met a Coug, he replied, “I sat next to a Coug couple at Yankee Stadium during a Yankees vs. Seattle Mariners game. The couple was living in New York at the time and dressed in Mariners gear to show support for their home state at the game.”
A Pacific Northwest native, Rossetti has lived in Southwest Washington for more than 20 years. He describes himself as "a family guy who appreciates simple pleasures, outdoor adventures and the smell after it rains.” He has two children, Jude, 13, and Boston, 11.
2020 Notable Alumna Chelsea Brown
WSU Vancouver’s leadership team, advisory council and honored guests came together virtually on Oct. 8 to celebrate the 2020 Notable Alumni Award recipient, Chelsea Brown. Participants gathered via Zoom to hear remarks about Brown’s achievements in her life and career, as well as the impact she’s had at WSU Vancouver and in our community.
“Being recognized as WSU Vancouver’s 2020 Notable Alumna was incredibly special. WSU faculty and staff did a great job with the presentation and virtual reception. It was an honor to be presented with the award by Chancellor Mel Netzhammer in front of the Advisory Council, selection committee, WSU, and my family and friends. Thank you, WSU Vancouver, for the recognition and Ron Pimentel for nominating me. I will continue to work hard and learn in 2020 and beyond. GO COUGS!"—Chelsea Brown
Brown graduated from WSU Vancouver in 2017 with a B.A. in marketing through the Carson College of Business. Through her coursework, she found that she had the skill and passion for sales and was able to apply this to her work at Patrick Lumber Company, where she works today selling and buying lumber. Brown was nominated by her WSU Vancouver mentor Ron Pimentel, scholarly associate professor of marketing and faculty director of the professional sales program.
The WSU Vancouver Notable Alumni Award recognizes alumni who have made significant contributions to society and whose accomplishments, affiliations, careers and community service reflect WSU Vancouver’s legacy of excellence. A special thank you to Opsahl Dawson for sponsoring this year’s award. Congratulations, Chelsea!
Celebrating our Newest Alumni
When WSU Vancouver’s usual commencement plans were canceled, campus leaders found a way to still celebrate our May 2020 graduating class. On Aug. 6, WSU Vancouver hosted a Drive-through Graduation Celebration where VanCougs could pick up alumni swag, and receive their diploma covers, stoles and honor cords from faculty and staff.
Are you one of our most recent WSU Vancouver grads? Update your information to stay connected with your alma matter.
The Development and Alumni Relations office strives to keep you informed through quarterly e-newsletters; involved through civic engagement activities; connected through alumni events and sharing Cougar-owned businesses in the area; and invested through philanthropy.
In the year before the pandemic, the Cougar Food Pantry at WSU Vancouver served just 90 unique individuals. Since the COVID-19 “stay home/stay healthy” orders in late March, requests for food have shot up 1,011%.
In response, neighborhood Albertsons and Safeway stores stepped up to help by nominating the Cougar Food Pantry for support through the Albertsons Companies Foundation. In just the last four months, the foundation’s “Nourishing Neighbors” program donated $10,000 for Cougar Food Pantry fresh food events and $5,000 through its “Summer Meals” program to help students through the summer. The food pantry was also selected by Safeway as a charity partner to receive donations made at checkout at the Washougal Safeway store through September.
Said Josh Graisy, program support supervisor, “The Cougar Center and WSU Vancouver as a whole would like to thank Albertsons Companies Foundation for its generous grants. The money has been used to put on two fresh food events this summer to offer WSU Vancouver students and their families more food choices outside of the usual nonperishable options.”
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