Meet the Staff
The Orientation staff is here to welcome you!
Denise Price-Giesbers ‘00
Director of Orientation, Office of Transfer Student Services, Greek Life, Veteran Services, and Pacific Information Center
Major | Music, Emphasis on Vocal Performance
Minor | Art
Year | 2000
Hometown | Ontario, OR
My Pacific Story | I was a transfer student. When I decided to transfer I had visited, registered for classes, bought a sweatshirt, and a bumper sticker—all for another university. My mom was adamant that I needed to visit at least one other institution. One of my high school teachers had been talking to me about Pacific for a couple of years, as his middle son was a current student and his youngest son (who was in my class) was looking at attending there as well. He kept insisting that Pacific would be a good fit for me.
I was scheduled to be in this area for state solo and ensemble festival so I figured why not, it doesn’t hurt to go visit and get them off my back. We arrived on campus in the pouring down rain, yet on the campus tour I realized this is where I was supposed to be. For the record, I detest the rain with a passion. But I truly appreciated that people knew each other, took the time to say hello, and seemed to care about their peers. I would not be another number but a part of a community that I now know as the Pacific family.
Advice for Incoming Students | Your experience at Pacific is what you make it. If you go to class and go back to your room, that is an experience, but not one I would recommend.
If you go to class, get involved with a club or organization, join a study group, etc…that is a much more enriching experience. The outside the classroom experience is designed to enhance and put into practice everything you are learning inside the classroom. You may not realize it now but in 5, 10, maybe 15+ years from now, you will realize just how important creating your own experience and all that you learned outside the classroom really was.
Advice for Family Members | You did it! You have successfully supported your student through their first steps (and the many more that followed) in their educational career. Now you become their support system, most likely from a distance, as they continue their journey of exploration to further their academics in pursuit of a career they are passionate about. The process of learning how to be supportive of their decisions when it isn’t exactly how you want them to do it can be very difficult. Just remember, you raised them to be who they are. Trust that you did your job well and when they need you, you will be there.
Aloha! I’m Janalei Chun, also known as, “Aunty Jana” on campus. I’m originally from Hilo, Hawai’i and graduated from Pacific University in 1989 with a BA in Elementary Education and a Master of Arts in Teaching in 1997. I was an elementary school teacher for 28 years and am blessed to be back at Pacific as the Director of Hawaiʻi Outreach and Programming, and also the Advisor of Nā Haumāna O Hawaiʻi. My main focus is to support the students from the 50th state, but am thrilled to be able to join the Orientation team to welcome you to the Boxer ‘Ohana! See you soon!
Hi, my name is Natona Derleth and I am originally from Medford, Oregon but spent seven years living and working in Binghamton, New York. My role on campus is our Residence Life & Student Conduct Coordinator, where I supervise two of our residence halls: Burlingham and Gilbert, and I am extremely excited to be helping coordinate Orientation this year. This is my third year working at Pacific and I fall more in love with it each day and I hope you will find our campus to be a home away from home. While my main job responsibilities are within Residence Life, I have a passion for welcoming new students to campus through orientation programs and can’t wait to meet each of you and your families!
Hello, my name is Evangeline Van, and I graduated from Pacific in 2015 with a BA in Integrated Media and Business Administration-Marketing. While in undergrad, I worked for various university offices, held numerous student leadership positions, and went on tour to Taiwan with the Chamber Singers Choir. My time as a Boxer was filled with so many opportunities to discover what I love and I am so excited for you to find your passions as well! Since graduation, I have worked in various positions within higher education and have been working as an Art Director for a media company. This year, I’m excited to be joining the Orientation Team; Pacific University has such a special place in my heart and I am so excited for Pacific to become your home and community!
Hola! I’m Kalie Nation and I graduated from Pacific in the class of 2020. I am from Port Orchard, Washington, which is just a ferry ride from Seattle. At Pacific, I studied Education and Learning and minored in Spanish. I am also a graduate student in the Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program at Pacific, and will graduate in the class of 2022. During my time as an undergraduate at Pacific, I was able to participate on a few of the university’s athletic teams. I also studied abroad in York, England, participated in intramural sports, hosted a show at our campus radio station, worked in the mailroom, and worked for athletics. I also spent a large portion of my time working off-campus at a local restaurant called Taqueria Corona, where I had the opportunity to practice my Spanish daily. Through volunteering for classes and doing research for my Capstone, I was able to start making connections at local elementary schools that specialize in dual-immersion (Spanish/English) programs. When I am not in class, you can find me at campus sporting events, watching or working. As a Pacific alum, I am very excited to introduce the incoming class to Forest Grove and all that Pacific has to offer. Go Boxers!
Hi there! I’m Alani Vo and I am from Sherwood, Oregon. I am a junior this year majoring in Environmental Science with an emphasis in Chemistry and Toxicology while also minoring in Spanish. I am taking the 3+3 route in Pharmacy so next year, I will be moving to the Hillsboro campus where I will be attending Pacific University’s School of Pharmacy! I will be working on some research for my senior capstone project in the Pharmacy lab that I am excited to begin. An interesting fact about me is that I have played piano since I was 5 years old. Overall, I am super thrilled to be able to work with Orientation and am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of your experience at Pacific! Go boxers!
Hello! I’m Karl Ficken and I hail from Portland, Oregon which is just down the road from Pacific University. Before attending, Pacific I served in the United States Marine Corps for four years as a French Horn instrumentalist. Now I study Mathematics and Economics under the most intelligent people I have ever met. While at Pacific, I have had the rewarding opportunity of working in the Center for Learning and Student Success (CLASS) as a tutor, where I help students learn and use effective study strategies while working through tricky problems. Going into my Senior year, I am looking forward to doing research for my Capstone in both Mathematics and Economics. The professors and staff members at Pacific have led by example and been so supportive and encouraging. After graduating, I hope to follow the example set by the professors and staff I have worked with and learned from by continuing to serve others and utilize the skills I have developed while at Pacific.
Hi! My name is Anjolina, I am from The Dalles, Oregon, and my pronouns are she/her. I am a senior majoring in Politics and Government and double-minoring in Spanish and German. On campus I am very involved with the Association of Latinx and Ally Students (ALAS) and I work at the CLIC. I went to a rural K-12 school in Dufur and then graduated from Columbia Gorge Community College before coming to Pacific in the fall of 2019. As both a transfer student and a first-gen student I understand how stressful and overwhelming it is to move away from home to a place where you don’t know anyone, so I am excited to be working with the Orientation team to welcome students to Pacific and help them connect with communities on campus. Outside of school I enjoy traveling, hiking, practicing archery, and taking care of my plants.
Hi friends! My name is Kathleen Ward, though most people call me Kate. My pronouns are she/her/hers. I am from the small city of Troutdale, OR which is just a short drive or max ride from the heart of Portland. I am looking forward to starting my senior year at Pacific as an education and learning major/theatre minor. I plan on going to grad school for a masters in teaching before becoming an elementary school teacher. If I am not in Berglund (the college of education building) or the library doing work, you can most likely find me in the Transfer Student Support office where I work for work study or the Greek lounge. Extracurricular activities have been a huge part of my experience at Pacific and are what have made it as special as it has been. I am a student leader in my positions both in my own Sorority of Theta Nu Alpha and also the Pacific University Greek Senate (we call ourselves PUGS for short). I am also a member of the Teacher’s Alliance club and have acted in and worked on props and costumes for a few of our plays. These leadership roles and incredible groups that I get to be a part of have shaped me into the boxer I am. I love strawberries and sunflowers, rainy days inside, and being with the people that I love. I am honored to be working with Orientation to welcome home our new and returning boxers!