Class Notes I Spring 2022
Read about the exciting things going on with our current students and alumni. Learn about job changes, professional achievements, a marriage or new addition to their families, gatherings with other YVC alumni or other significant news.
Do you have news to share with your classmates? Submit your news and photos by emailing email@example.com
Anthony Maldonado didn’t hesitate in pursuing his career goals in the medical field amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
After graduating from the University of Miami in May, Maldonado returned home and landed a job at Educational Service District 105 in Yakima as a health screening specialist.
He plans to attend medical school in the near future.
At ESD 105, he’s organized several testing and vaccination clinics for school staff and community members with anywhere from 80 to 100 vaccinations administered at each clinic. He’s also helped secure state grants to fund three support staff in the region for COVID testing in school, one in the Upper Valley, one in the Lower Valley and a third in Ellensburg.
Maldonado recently applied for a grant to help fund outreach efforts to migrant families for vaccinations. He said more information about COVID-19 needs to be offered in Spanish, something he’s pushed for. Spanish-language data reports on the virus are released weekly now.
The overall goal, he said, is to make testing and vaccinations more accessible for parents and students: “That was a barrier I definitely and hopefully am bringing down.”
Morghan Miller ’14
After graduating from YVC, Morghan Miller ’14, transferred to Western Washington University pursing a bachelor’s degree in English language literature. She had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Hull, in Hull, U.K. In 2021 she enrolled in the Nucamp Coding Bootcamp and recently got her 1st job as a web developer at Qualtrics in Seattle.
“I completed a tech bootcamp last June, and prior to that had been teaching myself programming for a few years. I’m really excited to be starting a new chapter!,” stated Miller.
Alumnus Juan Morfin was recently selected to serve as a Washington Newspaper Publishers Association (WNPA) intern. Interns provide coverage of the state legislature and write stories that appear in wastatejournal.org. Morfin was one of three students selected by the WNPA Foundation. Morfin is a graduate of Sunnyside High School and took classes on YVC’s Grandview Campus, graduating with honors before continuing his education at the University of Washington.
Yoni Rodriguez ’17
Yoni Rodriguez ‘17, who grew up in the Yakima Valley working with his family in orchards, is now working to develop tools to ensure the health and safety of farmworkers. After earning a degree at YVC, Rodriguez transferred to Washington State University. He’s now working on a master’s degree in the University of Washington Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS). Rodriguez was recently awarded a fellowship from the Latino Center for Health and named a semifinalist for a Fulbright grant. As an undergraduate at Yakima Valley College and Washington State University, Rodriguez got involved in research on lead in drinking water — finding some in his family’s own water supply — and the impact of wildfire smoke on air quality in the Yakima Valley.
He later reached out to Edward Kasner, clinical assistant professor in DEOHS, to learn more about his research on farmworker exposure to pesticide drift, which occurs when winds carry pesticides while they are being applied to crops. Such drift events may explain up to 54% of pesticide-related illnesses among US agricultural workers.
Rodriguez is now working to build a model to predict wind ramps using data from weather stations in the Yakima Valley from Washington State University’s AgWeatherNet as part of his thesis project.
Yvonne Sherwood ’08
After graduating from YVC, Yvonne Sherwood ’08, transferred to Eastern Washington University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology, women’s & gender studies. She went on to earn her master’s degree and doctoral degree in sociology with an emphasis in feminist studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Sherwood now works as an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Toronto, Mississauga.
“My work is grounded in and through Indigenous womxn’s organizing in frontline activism,” shared Sherwood. “I am Sp’q’n’iʔ (Spokane and Coeur d’Alene), and born and raised on the Yakama Nation Reservation in what is currently known as WA State. My work is informed by these places and draws from Fourth World analysis. From this perspective, I study the politics of embodied knowledge, environmental racism, climate justice, and settler law with a focus on the interplay of indigenous erasure, white supremacy, and heteropatriarchy.”
Sherwood his the author of several scholarly articles including “Native American Feminist Theory and Praxis,” co-authored with Michelle Jacob and published by Oxford Handbook of Indigenous Sociology; “The Political Binds of Oil Versus Tribes,” published by Open Rivers: Rethinking Water, Place, & Community 13 (2019); “Review of Prairie Rising: Indigenous Youth, Decolonization, and the Politics of Intervention by Jaskiran Dhillon,” published in American Indian Culture and Research Journal 41(4):148-151 (2017); “Toward, With and From a Fourth World” published in Fourth World Journal 14(2):15-26 (2017).
Ranae York ’20
After graduating from YVC, Ranae York ‘20 completed the Limited License Legal Technician program through the Washington State Bar Association. She sat for the WSBA LLLT bar exam in July and passed in September. In October 2021, York opened a family law practice in Yakima. She provides affordable legal aid for people needing assistance with their family law case, including divorces, child support, parenting plans, emergency protection orders and more.
“I am so proud of my degree from YVC as it has allowed me to achieve my dream of having my own family law firm to help those that need it most,” York said. “Thanks YVC!”