Community News

Brazil, China, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guatemala, Tanzania, Nigeria, Peru, Thailand

By JoAnna Haugen on Friday, January 13th, 2012


Bernard F. Blanche (65-67) recently published the book, Bonefish Bob: A Tribute, a tall tale biography of legendary fly fisherman, Robert E. Berger, which is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Blanche is also the author of Iracema’s Footprint, and is working on a third book, Black Dad/White Dad.


The San Marcos Education Foundation and the San Marcos High School Alumni Association recently honored Helen Lowman (Thailand 88-91) as a distinguished alumni. In addition to her Peace Corps service in Thailand, she has served as country director and associate director of the Peace Corps in China and as the acting country director in Mongolia. Lowman is currently the regional director for Peace Corps programs in the Europe, Mediterranean and Asia regions, which means she oversees programs in 22 countries. She has also worked for the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. Lowman has a master’s degree from the University of Denver.


Sue Fritzke (82-85) has been named deputy superintendent for the East Bay national parks near San Francisco. These include Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site, John Muir National Historic Site, Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Monument and Rosie the Riveter/World War II National Historic Park. She began her National Park Service career in 1985 at Yosemite National Park. Fritzke has also worked at Mount Rainier National Park, Redwood National Park and Golden Gate National Recreation Area.


Richard Allen (Ecuador 64-66, Honduras 99-00) is on a mission to donate used bikes to day laborers in his town so they can get around town easier. He is a former sales engineer in the construction industry and has worked in commercial real estate. Allen has participated in numerous volunteer projects in Honduras, Nicaragua and post-Katrina New Orleans.


Thomas Weck (65-67) is writing a series of children’s books with his son, Peter Weck. The books are about Lima Bear and his friends. Three books–The Megasaurus, The Cave Monster and How Back-Back Got His Name–are completed, though ten books are planned for the series. Each book includes information on how to extend the educational component of the book’s message and related activities. Thomas Weck is the former president of Louis Berger & Associates, a consulting firm. He is a graduate of Harvard Business School.


Bonnie Lee Black’s (96-98) book How to Cook a Crocodile: A Memoir with Recipes, received three awards from Gourmand International in the categories of Food Literature, African Cuisine (Gabon) and Charity and Community (North America). Black is an instructor at the University of New Mexico-Taos.


Niki Woodard (01-03) recently opened her own public relations and marketing firm, Spiral-PR, which offers a full suite of communication services. Prior to going into business for herself, Woodard was the communications and development director for Sequoia Riverlands Trust, a research associate with The Pew Research Center: Project for Excellence in Journalism, a research assistant at Georgetown University, an intern with Media Access Project and a news intern at the San Francisco Bay Guardian. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree from Georgetown University.


Earl M. Brown, Jr. (Tanzania 64-66, 92-94; Guyana 02-04) has been hired by Livingstone College to establish the N.C. Study Abroad/Global Engagement, a consortium of North Carolina’s historically black colleges and universities meant to ensure more African American students study abroad and more faculty members spend time teaching outside the United States. He has worked in various capacities on four continents including positions as senior development planner for the Research Triangle Institute, director of the Office of Program and Field Operations for the African Development Foundation and country director for the Peace Corps in Guyana and Papua New Guinea. Brown worked at Elizabeth City State University from 1988 to 1998, where he helped design and implement a study abroad consortium. He has written several articles and authored a chapter in International Handbook on Land Use Planning. Brown has a master’s degree from Hunter College CUNY and has done doctoral study as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Floyd Sandford (64-66) recently hiked 56 miles in five days in northern England; 48 of those miles were along Hadrian’s Wall. The retired Coe College professor hiked alone from west to east. He is currently planning a hike along the Superior Trail from Duluth, Minn., to the Canadian border. Sandford is the author of African Odyssey.


Mosaicist Isaiah Zagar (64-67) created folk art all around Philadelphia when he returned from the Peace Corps. One of his projects involved taking a rowhouse on South Street and covering it with mosaics—more than 3,000 square feet worth—including pieces of mirror and original poetry. This is now known as Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, which was noted by The New York Times as one of the top five attractions in the city.


Thomas Rhoden (05-07) is the most recent author to research and write a travel guide for the new publishing house, Other Places Publishing. Writing under the pen name T.F. Rhoden, he has published five Southeast Asia-inspired books including his most recent, Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand. One of his books is on the Thai language and another is on the Burmese language. Rhoden also has an edited collection of letters from Burmese refugees and a book of literary fiction entitled The Village. He is currently pursuing his doctorate degree at Northern Illinois University and hopes to establish a career in academia. Rhoden currently resides outside of Chicago.

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