Emerging Leader Award
Emerging Leader Award
Alumni recognized for outstanding leadership in their vocation, community service, and/or service to the University. Nominate an alumnus online or print out a nomination form today. Alumni are eligible through their 10 year class reunion. Alumni celebrating 10 years will be given special consideration. Learn more about the nomination process at pacificu.edu/AlumniAwards.
Award Winner Profiles
Christopher T. Veazey '01
Veazey was always interested in science, but became intrigued in the teachings in chemistry from Professor Kevin Johnson. A later study of lithium ion batteries with Johnson became his senior thesis, and he won an award from the American Chemical Society as one of the region’s top chemistry majors. While in the California Institute of Technology’s materials science doctoral program, he caused a stir with the development of an exotic, foaming metal “bubbloy” with glass-like characteristics. He is married to Pacific alumna Kristy Drafahl ’02.
Gina Bell '00
Bell served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay where she taught organic farming practices. She continues this work in Forest Grove with the Spanish-speaking community as development associate for Adelante Mujeres, a non-profit organization committed to the holistic education and empowerment of low-income Latina women and their families. In this capacity she manages the Forest Grove Farmers Market, also a project of Adelante Mujeres; and began the organization's first annual fundraising event "A Fiesta of Hope."
Ty Kovatch '01
Kovatch serves as Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard's Chief-of-Staff. He oversees the office's operations and policies, and is the liaison to the Water Bureau. He has also worked as a Legislative Assistant to Leonard in Oregon's House of Representatives.
Melissa (Alexander) Timm '98
Timm has taught for 10 years at Joseph Gale Elementary School in Forest Grove. As past-president and current member of the College of Education Alumni Council, she has helped coordinate the "Touch the Future" program, which annually brings high school students of color to campus for a day of activities. Timm works with Pacific's undergraduate education program by mentoring students as classroom assistants
Carlye Krohn '98, MAT '01
Carlye Krohn '98 MAT '01 and her husband, Wendell '97, founded the nonprofit "Charity Bolivia" after working and volunteering abroad for two years. The organization relieves poverty and improves standards of living in Bolivia through funding of education. She supports the charity through leadership of fundraising, development, resource allocation and networking. She is also a substitute teacher for the Beaverton School District, volunteers for various community organizations and committees, including and a girl's camp for survivors of sexual abuse, and coaches volleyball.
Jill Hertel '98, MAT '03
This sense of community was one of the things Hertel loved about the University, along with its small size.
Hertel transferred to Pacific as a sophomore and studied social work as an undergraduate. During the time between her undergraduate and graduate studies, Hertel joined a Jesuit Volunteer Corp., in which she helped homeless kids in California.
Currently, she works in the Forest Grove School District as a special education teacher. She has actively assisted in Special Olympics Oregon and helped create a unified sports program in Forest Grove that allows children with special needs to play on the same sports teams as other children.
P.J. Pitts, Pharm.D. '09
Pitts provided immediate triage care following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. She continued service there for nearly two years, offering pharmacy care as well as education in hygiene and health care for residents. She now teaches pharmacy courses at D’Youville College in New York, mentors students who make service trips to Haiti and is founding a nonprofit organization supporting orphans and community health there.
Ami (Heaton) Halvorson OD '07
Heaton has been awarded the 2013 Pacific University Young Alumni Leadership Award. Halvorson started her career in private practice before joining Pacific EyeClinic Southeast, where she served underinsured patients until the clinics closure. She was heavily involved in the design of the Beaverton EyeClinic, where she is now the director. She has volunteered at the Interprofessional Diabetes Clinic, at various community vision screenings and in Belize with Amigos. Today, she enjoys being a clinician and a mentor to students while working to become an American Academy of Optometry fellow.
Alex Winn PharmD '10
Winn achieved great success by following his life-long interest and career path, pharmacy. Winn secured a job with Volunteers In Medicine – Clinic of the Cascades in Bend, Ore. upon graduating from Pacific. A year later, he found a job at St. Charles Health System hospital as a clinical pharmacist. Winn is now the Director of Charitable Pharmacy at the clinic and continues to work full time at St. Charles hospital.
Michael Bridges PT '08
Michael Bridges PT ’08 began his career in engineering before deciding that the most impressive machine is really the human body. After earning his doctorate in physical therapy at Pacific, Bridges went on to private practice and then returned to Pacific, first as an adjunct, and now as a full-time professor at his alma mater. Bridges also has put his engineering background to work: He created and patented a device to hold ice packs more efficiently on injured shoulders. Still early in his career, Bridges is improving care for patients through his innovation and dedication to the next generation of physical therapists.
Kaely Summers '08
Kaely Summers ’08 started volunteering at her Tacoma church’s food pantry when she was just a middle-schooler. That first introduction to hunger and poverty, however, opened her eyes. At Pacific, she majored in international studies, traveling extensively and broadening her understanding of social issues globally. Today, her focus is local, as the manager of Adelante Mujeres’ Forest Grove Farmer’s Market, which is both a business incubator for Latina women and a source of healthy food and fellowship for the community. Early in her own career, Summers has already made a mark, expanding the market and tackling significant community issues one step at a time.
Peter Agbo PharmD '09
In 2003, Peter came from Nigeria to study in the United States. In addition to his degree from Pacific University's School of Pharmacy, he has also earned a master of public health and a medical doctor degree. He is an advocate for the right to access medications and treatments for all patients. Peter uses his degrees to build interprofessional teams and provide volunteer medical care in impoverished rural communities around the world.
Breanne McGhee '16
McGhee was described by former College of Optometry Dean Jenny Coyle as “a powerhouse” who has shown has shown “graceful persistence, maturity and dedication not only to the profession of optometry, but the greater world around her.” As a student, she was a leader in university and professional organization and was awarded the Dean’s Award in 2016. She is practicing optometry in her native New Orleans, but most notably, is deeply committed to humanitarian work, from encouraging diversity in the profession of optometry to assisting with COVID-19 testing in her community. She founded a nonprofit called EYES, which offers disadvantaged, underserved community members with free comprehensive eye exams and eyeglasses.