Alumni: Fall 2018
Author: Stephanie Argy, Kathryn Kirkland
Posted: September 17, 2018

PSU alum Trent Teyema

A digital path to the FBI

AS THE section chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cyber Division, Trent Teyema ’91 finds himself at the heart of one of the most volatile areas of national security. During the Obama administration, his expertise was recognized with an assignment to the White House as director of Cybersecurity Policy for National Security Staff. “I couldn’t believe I was there,” says Teyema. “I never thought I’d be assigned to work in the White House.”

Teyema’s journey to the FBI began when he was 12 years old and growing up in Portland. He went on a middle-school tour called Landmarks of Democracy, which included a stop at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. At the end of the tour, an FBI agent pulled out an old tommy submachine gun and did a shooting demonstration. “That cinched it for me,” says Teyema, who decided right then that he wanted to become an FBI agent.

His goal was not an easy one: Teyema says that for every FBI job available, 10,000 people apply. He worked his way toward the FBI through other law enforcement agencies, starting at the age of 15, when he became a Boy Scout Law Enforcement Explorer in the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. When he turned 21, he was made a reserve deputy.

At the same time, Teyema attended Portland State. “It was easy to go to class and keep working,” he says. He earned a bachelor’s in Administration of Justice in 1991, and in that same year, while still a senior, he started working with the U.S. Marshals Service.

TEYEMA was involved with digital investigations from the very beginning of his career. The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and the Portland Police Bureau were among the earliest law enforcement agencies to work with digital forensics, and as an Explorer with the sheriff’s office, Teyema was asked to pull data off of seized computers. “We had to write our own software and code to forensically preserve evidence.”

He joined the FBI in 1995. The agency had been doing digital forensics since the mid-1980s, but in 1996, it began getting into cyber investigations, which made Teyema’s experience and skills uniquely valuable. Most recently, he founded a Cyber Readiness Program at the FBI, which he leads.

Teyema encourages those who would follow him into the FBI to focus on the areas that fascinate them the most. “If you’re interested in working for the FBI, get your college degree in something you’re interested in, not just something you think we’re looking for, he says. “You don’t have to be a police officer or former military. We hire from all walks, all different sectors.”

Among all of Teyema’s many accomplishments in his FBI service, one in particular brought him full circle: he got to demo the tommy gun for tour groups visiting the FBI.

Alumni in the news

Steve Forrester ’71 has received an inaugural Go Fourth Award from U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden for his impact on the freedom of the press. Forrester retired in 2016 after 28 years as editor and publisher of The Daily Astorian. He remains president and CEO of EO Media Group, his family’s company that operates 11 newspapers in Oregon and Washington.

PSU alum Angeline Sohler

Angeline Sohler MS ’72, a sister with Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, was celebrated recently for her 75 years of commitment to the order. Sister Sohler taught in parish schools in Oregon and Washington for over 40 years.

Neil Lomax ’81 will receive the 2018 Award for Alumni Achievement at the University’s Simon Benson Awards Dinner, Oct. 25. A former quarterback for the PSU Vikings, Lomax had an eight-year NFL career. He recently became head football coach at Fort Vancouver High School in Vancouver, Washington.

Mark Prater ’81, chief tax counsel for the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and a major contributor to tax policy for nearly three decades, retired from the committee in June. Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch paid tribute to Prater on the Senate floor June 21.

Sunita Pailoor ’91 became the new head of Woodinville (Washington) Montessori School in July. She is only the second head in the school’s 35-year history.

Matthew P. Donovan MS ’04 is a senior software engineer at Ursa Space Systems, an Ithaca, New York-based company that builds data analytics products based on satellite images.

PSU alum Kathy Wai

Kathy Wai ’07 was the youngest person ever to be elected to the North Clackamas School Board in 2017. Now Wai, 32, is the youngest person ever to serve on the TriMet Board of Directors. She was nominated by Gov. Kate Brown. Wai is field director for the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon.

PSU alum Rachel Stegner

Rachel Stagner MEd ’08, MST ’13 was named an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow for 2018-19 by the U.S. Department of Energy. She will take a one-year leave of absence from Madison High School in Portland, where she teaches chemistry and forensic science, to work at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Annica Eagle ’12 was voted the Most Valuable Punster at the O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships held in Texas in May. She has created Punderground, a punning competition in Spokane, Washington, where she lives.

PSU alum Dominique Merriweather

Dominique Merriweather MS ’12 recently joined the Riverview Community Bank in Vancouver, Washington, as a vice president and commercial loan officer.

PSU alum Taylor Ballard

Taylor Ballard ’15  was crowned Miss Oregon in July. She is competing in the Miss America Pageant in September.

PSU alum Emily Lui

Emily Liu ’15 was named manager of the Lake Oswego Farmers Market in June. She had been volunteering for the city’s Parks & Recreation Department since she was 15.

PSU alum Brad Richardson

Brad D. Richardson MA ’15 is executive director of the Clark County Historical Museum in Vancouver, Washington.

Michael Morgan ’18 is a financial analyst with Milestone Systems in Beaverton, a global company that provides software for video surveillance systems.

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