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Alumni Profiles

Noelle Dobson, Master of Public Health '03

Noelle received her Master of Public Health from the School of Community Health in 2003 with a focus on health promotion, advocacy, and social change. Since graduation, Dobson's work has focused on addressing the social determinants of health, including the link between the built environment and health. She currently directs Healthy Eating Active Living Initiatives at Community Health Partnership: Oregon's Public Health Institute. In addition to community-based work, Dobson works extensively on integrating health into local, regional and statewide land use and transportation planning efforts. She is actively involved in other working groups focusing on health impact assessments and policy to support physical activity in our communities and schools. Dobson sits on the Portland/Multnomah County Food Policy Council, and chairs the FPC's Food Access Committee. She is also a member of the Oregon Nutrition Policy Alliance, Oregon Coalition for Physical Activity Policy, and Metro Fruit and Veggie Coalition. Prior to her work with CHP, Dobson worked with the Multnomah County Health Department and North Portland community partners to lead a community-based assessment to identify environmental health concerns of affordable housing residents.

Bill Gray, Ph.D. Urban Studies '84

Bill was one of the first Ph.D. graduates in the Toulan School. Bill completed his dissertation in 1984 after moving to WSU's Pullman campus to administer a large Kellogg rural development grant. His dissertation topic was urban food policy - one of the first studies of its kind in this field. His research is being referenced now with the increased interest in sustainability, self-sufficiency and urban agriculture. Bill has devoted his professional career to teaching and leadership roles in higher education, and now he is making an investment in the school that he credits for his success. Bill has made a gift to create the William Gray Urban Studies Endowed Forum. The purpose of the forum is to bring a leading scholar to the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning to interact with students, faculty and community members. It is designed to inspire students, closely link the Toulan School with cutting-edge research and scholars, and provide the Portland-Vancouver metro area with access to the best thinking about cities and society. Bill felt it was now time for him to give back. Of the four degrees that he holds, he believes his Portland State degree was the one that made the largest impact on his life. Bill said,"It launched my career; it provided me with conceptual understandings that I was able to use to build institutions." He wanted to do something that would make a qualitative difference at the Toulan School. He hopes this forum will help strengthen the urban studies program and give it even more prominence on the national scene.

Kristine Chapman, B.S. Community Development '05

Kristine Chapman believes the Community Development (CD) undergraduate program was instrumental in shaping the person she has become. In her junior year Chapman was elected the Co-Chair of the Community Development Student Group (CDSG), and during her two years of leadership she enjoyed helping PSU students to understand political, social, and economic issues facing the community. Upon graduating in June 2005, Chapman participated in NEW (National Education for Women) Leadership Oregon, a week-long intensive leadership training program run through the Hatfield School of Government. The program was fundamental in encouraging and supporting her development as a leader. Chapman began her career at Portland Youth Builders (PYB) where she had been interning since her junior year. She feels the most rewarding and challenging part of her job was illustrating the amazing work and remarkable transformation these youth make while in the Youth Build program. After almost three years at PYB, Chapman was ready for her next step and she moved to Chicago in 2007 to attend law school. Chapman said, "the CD curriculum not only helped me learn how to build relationships with diverse groups of people, think strategically, and manage complex projects, but it instilled in me the desire to be an advocate for those who are unable to do so for themselves. A career in public interest, environmental, and/or consumer protection law is my dream."

Graham Bergh, Master of Urban and Regional Planning '94

Graham Bergh's idea for Resource Revival sprung from his imagination in 1991 when he got a flat tire while biking to his recycling job. That inner tube became a cradle for Bergh's stereo speakers and after three years of tinkering with other ideas Resource Revival was born in 1994. Resource Revival collects tons of discarded bicycle parts every year from bike shops all over the United States. They are cleaned using mild detergents, sorted and crafted into the cool products you see on their website: Bergh creates innovative products from recycled materials to provide meaningful, living wage jobs and to have fun. He envisions a sustainable future where commerce flourishes in a world powered by renewable energy, and where consumers are conscious of the origin of the food they eat, the energy they consume, and the products they buy. Bergh says, "Buying recycled products 'closes the loop' and helps keep used parts out of landfills. It also keeps products made from new materials from being made in the first place. Buying nothing conserves even more resources. If you want to support us but don't need more stuff, please consider making a donation. Thanks for recycling!"


Matt Jones, Ph.D. Public Administration and Policy '04

Matt Jones is currently an Assistant Professor of Public Administration at Brockport College of the State University of New York. He is the lead faculty member for the Master's in Public Administration safety track and also develops the curriculum. Jones said, "it was not until I left Portland State University that I fully realized the magnitude of the education I have received. More often than not, I am treated as a colleague rather than a junior faculty member. I believe it is because of the strong multi-disciplinary grounding that I obtained at PSU that senior faculty members value my opinion and input on practical and theoretical issues." Jones believes the opportunities to actively engage in projects with the public administration community while at PSU have helped him in the classroom and in providing higher quality professional services to local organizations.


Jean Thorne, Master of Public Administration '79

As a graduate of the MPA program in its early days (1979), Jean Thorne believes that the experience I had in the program served her well over the course of her 30-year career in state government. The emphasis on the application of the material allowed her to put what she learned to use immediately. Thorne says, "Although I don't believe there is any substitute for experience, the MPA program provided me a broader context for my work. I believe it helped me move up my career ladder more quickly, seeing how my work in one position could be transferred to other work in other subject areas. Whether it was working in human services, workers' compensation, budget analysis, education policy or health care policy and administration, the foundation that the MPA program provided me was useful throughout my career." Beyond the program's emphasis on the application of policy, Thorne found that she learned a great deal from colleagues in the program. Hearing about others' experiences in federal, state or local government, she gained a better understanding of the roles that government can play in a variety of issues.


Claudia Black, Master of Public Administration '92

Alumna Claudia Black was recently appointed as Governor Kulongoski's senior health policy advisor. Black graduated with an M.P.A. in 1992 after interning with Ron Cease, a professor and legislator during the 1991 Legislative Session. Black, who was selected as a Presidential Management Intern finalist, continued to work for Cease after graduation. While working as a legislative assistant for Cease during his Senate term, Black led the bicycle helmet bill campaign. After the bill passed the Legislature, Black became the bike helmet program coordinator at the (then) Oregon State Health Division, Department of Human Resources, before moving into a position as the intergovernmental relations coordinator for the same agency. She began working as public affairs director for the Department of Corrections in February 1999, while serving as chair of the Public Administration Advisory Committee. In September 2003, Black joined the Criminal Justice Policy Research Institute in the Hatfield School of Government as associate director. She later left PSU to become the government affairs director for the Oregon Medical Association and served in that capacity through 2007. As health policy advisor for the governor, Black's portfolio includes public health, seniors and people with disabilities, health-related licensing boards, the Oregon Health Plan, health care for children and health and wellness initiatives.


Eric Brown, Master of Public Health '97

Eric Brown joined the American Red Cross, Pacific NW Regional Blood Services in 2001 as the Chief Operating Officer and starting in January 2005 served as the CEO, utilizing over 15 years of experience in the blood banking industry. Brown led the organization in collecting over 250,000 whole blood units annually and serving over 83 hospitals in the Northwest. He left this position in January 2008 to consider other leadership opportunities. Active in the community, he serves as Board Vice Chairman for Donate Life Northwest and a board member for Hands on Greater Portland. Brown holds a B.A. from the University of Colorado and a Master's Certificate in Project Management from George Washington University.