Alumni Updates

Marie (Laurey) McHaffie, History, 1996

Submitted: July 6, 2023

Marie never thought she would be living in Arkansas, but there she is in a truly beautiful state. Marie teaches English, Journalism, Yearbook, and Theatre in a small rural school. She earned her MA in English in 2017 and is entering her 19th year of teaching. She's also studying art, too, and loves it! She carries a piece of Humboldt with her in my heart. Marie appreciates all the trees and waterfalls out there. She hopes she can get back to campus for a visit someday. 

Joel Heng Hartse, English, 2007

Submitted: June 29, 2023

Joel Heng Hartse is a Senior Lecturer at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. His latest book is A Very Brief Guide to Reading & Writing in University.

Leah Rankin, Psychology, 2018

Submitted: May 24, 2023

Leah started at Humboldt as a single mom juggling homelife, work, and school. They obtained a job in the behavioral health field and learned quickly that supporting individuals living with co-occurring disorders was their calling. They've been providing services in the field for ten years and have worked up to becoming the Program Administrator at a Social Rehabilitation Program that prepares our persons served for community reintegration. Leah encourages people to continue to follow their passions and dreams, to stay focused on what they wish to accomplish, and to remember it's never too late to get started. 

Crystal Betances, International Studies, 2019

Submitted: May 18, 2023

Crystal is working with Politics4her on a research project in partnership with the Apolitical Foundation, an organization based in Berlin. The project’s focus is on regions with ongoing programs to increase women’s political involvement, seeking to create deep partnerships with those leading the Political Leadership Incubators (PLIs) in the region. The project will also highlight the barriers to women’s political participation. Crystal attributes her interest to this project from her time as an International Studies undergrad, and takes with her the research skills learned during that time. 

Rick Meilan, Forestry & Wildland Resources, 1983

Submitted: May 14, 2023

Bill Bigg died on 13 April 2023. He was hired as a professor by the Forestry Department at HSU in 1979 (retired in 2007). He taught several courses in Forestry, including Tree Physiology, Tree Improvement, and Regional Silviculture. Bill also taught courses in a variety of other departments. He was respected and admired by his students for his knowledge, lecturing style, fairness, sense of humor, and approachability. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him. He is survived by his wife, Donna, who faithfully assisted Bill in all aspects of his life. Donna can be contacted at

G Shellye Horowitz, Psychology, 1995 (Social Science) and 1998 (Psychology)

Submitted: May 11, 2023

Promoted to Hemophilia Federation of America's Director of Education, Shellye leads the Mild Matters initiative fostering dialogue between patients and health care providers at federally funded hemophilia treatment centers. Mild Matters advocates for patients with mild bleeding disorders regarding equitable access to diagnosis and treatment and standardization of care throughout the USA. Additionally, Shellye increases patient and provider understanding of inherent systemic biases women face seeking diagnosis and treatment for bleeding disorders. She works to eliminate barriers perpetuated through continued use of outdated x-linked inheritance nomenclature. If your biology book tells you hemophilia is rare in women, IT IS WRONG!!!

Javier Rojas, Journalism, 2016

Submitted: May 5, 2023

After taking on various reporter roles in Southern California, in April Javier accepted a dream job as a media relations specialist at Cal State Northridge. The transition from daily reporting to a communication position in higher education is something that Javier has been working towards since graduating from Humboldt State. While his love for writing never wavered, he's excited to return to a role in the CSU system where he can highlight the work of students. 

Rita Carman, Forestry & Wildland Resources, 1978

Submitted: May 5, 2023

Carman graduated from HSU in 1978 with a degree in Forestry Science and a minor in Geology and worked for the USGS Water Resources in Carson City, Nevada, from 1979 to 1998 as a Hydrologist. She then went on to Nevada State from 1998 to 2016. She has been happily retired since 2016, is involved in the community, and a member of the Carson City Kiwanis since 1991. Living the good life!

Merle Hagbo, Elementary Education (Liberal Studies), 1957

Submitted: April 11, 2023

Merle Hagbo ('57, Education) made his biggest mark as a prep football player and went on to quarterback the Humboldt State team during the mid-50's. He graduated from HSU in 1957, where he met his wife Georgia. They were married for 63 years before he passed away in 2020. Clover Park School District has assembled a committee that is considering a request to name the Clover Park High School baseball field after former this long-time educator and coach. During his career, he received the Outstanding Official Award for District 8 in 1998 from the National Federation of Interscholastic Officials Association.  

Anne Howard, English, 2022

Submitted: April 5, 2023

Anne Howard (English, M.A. 2022) has accepted a position as Communications Manager for Tacoma Arts Live. The English department wishes to congratulate Anne on her new role!