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Alumni Spotlight

Green River College Alumni are doing amazing things in the world! The Green River College Foundation is highlighting the achievements and showcasing their accomplishments by shining a spotlight on their successes!  

Melissa Curry
2018 Outstanding Alumni

Student Speaking in Class

Melissa Curry is a 2016 graduate of the BAS Software Development Program.  Since graduation and in the workplace she has been a tireless advocate and mentor to the Software Development students at Green River. She has even coached students applying to the Microsoft LEAP program, which has resulted in four students being hired.  Melissa’s road through college has taken many twists and turns but through it she persevered to accomplish her educational goals.

After being laid off from her job, Melissa decided to pursue a new direction. She enrolled at Green River College to complete her two year degree in IT Networking and Security. With funding being a significant hurdle she sought out the resources on campus that could help including Workforce, Financial Aid and Foundation Scholarships. 

After graduating with her two-year degree, Melissa decided to continue at Green River to pursue her Bachelor’s degree in Software Development. While pursuing her Bachelor’s degree, Melissa received the National Science Foundation Scholarship for two years in a row!

Melissa also faced other personal challenges that could have derailed her from completing her education, but she did not let those challenges discourage her. Following completion of her BAS degree Melissa was accepted into Microsoft’s LEAP program. Melissa is this year’s Outstanding Alum Award Recipient because she continues to be connected with Green River through speaking with students in the classroom, engages in opportunities to connect with industry partners, and she continues to serve as a mentor to those in the BAS Software Development Program.


Michael Farnum
2018 Outstanding Alumni

Man Sitting in military vehicle with mountain in background.

Michael Farnum is a Veteran of the United States Army, retired after twenty-three years of service as a Calvary Scout and Drill Sergeant. He had two combat tours in Iraq and many assignments overseas. 

Before enlisting, Mike just didn’t think college was for him, but after retiring from his Army career, Mike decided to enroll at Green River using the G.I. Bill. As he began to pursue his two-year degree, Mike was still not quite sure about being in school. Eventually he began to feel right at home in the forestry program at Green River. The Forestry Program and being in nature was the perfect transition for Michael back into civilian life.  Once he finished his degree at Green River Mike transferred to Pacific Lutheran University where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies. Today Michael continues to attend and work at PLU. He is on the cusp of completing his Master’s of Business Administration degree.

Mike has also taken on another meaningful role at PLU as Director of Military Outreach. He serves the military affiliated student population of more than 300 students and recently opened the first ever Center for Military Support!

On a recent return visit to campus, Michael enjoyed retracing his old stomping grounds on the Green River Trails and obstacle course and recounting the difference that Green River has made in his life. Michael continues to stay connected with Green River through speaking at events such as the Veteran’s coin ceremony and other opportunities to connect with Green River students.


Joe Magnuson

Alumni Joe Magnuson

My name is Joe Magnuson. I grew up in North Bend WA where I did a lot of camping and fishing as a kid. Growing up this way contributed to my love for the outdoors and the desire to follow a path to a career in forestry.

My high school biology teacher was the one who really got me interested in natural resources during High School, and from there things started falling into place. After graduation a friend gave me a list of the Society of American Forester Accredited programs - Green River was on that list, as well as other programs in Washington State.

I knew I wanted to attend a school that would give me the basics to go out and get an entry-level job in the field I wanted to work in, and work my way up from there. After looking at Spokane Falls and Green River, I went with the closer of the two, Green River. Not only would it allow me to save some money by staying in North Bend but also after I meet with Dick Hopkins and seeing the classroom where I would spend the most of my two years at Green River in it was an easy decision.

Dick Hopkins and Rob Sjogren made a huge difference while I was at Green River. Their wealth of knowledge and experience was invaluable. I have no question that having those two lead the program made it what it is today. Along with the close-knit group I graduated with, it felt like a family.

I began the program in fall of 2007, and I graduated in 2009 with my A.A.S in Natural Resources-Forestry. My last courses were in the spring of 2010 finishing my A.A.S in Natural Resources-Park Management. After Graduating, I went straight into the work force. Unfortunately, this was right as the rescission was hitting the timber industry so finding a job meant leaving Washington and going to work for the Forest Service in Montana.

I do not stay as involved with the program as I would like, but I stay in touch with a handful of the group I graduated with. My most memorable experiences of the program have to be the summer trip course with Rob when we packed one quarters worth of classes into a short camping/backpacking trip in the Pasayten Wilderness, and just the countless days spent in the school forest on the campus or the Pat Cummins Managed Forest east of Enumclaw.

Today I am back in the Pacific Northwest. I’m married and have a beautiful one-year old little girl. I am working in the woods in the as a unit Forester for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Doing what I set out to do! As a unit Forester I am in charge of planning a yearly deliverable of timber volume. I achieve this by helping manage 100,000 acres of trust land. I have three direct reports and love my job!

I have fond memories of my time at Green River and often encourage others to consider it when exploring their college options.



Heidi Sheneberger

Alumni, spotlight

“There’s nothing better than witnessing a student making a breakthrough in their learning,” Heidi Sheneberger says as she prepares to welcome students back for spring quarter. Heidi has been an instructor in the Transitional Studies Program at Green River since 2006, but not all of her students know that she was once a Green River student just like them, and has many great memories of campus.

Heidi was originally introduced to Green River College by her parents. Their date nights were spent on campus, attending the Artist & Lecture series and other community events. As a high school student, she would study and do research in the campus library, since it was more accessible than her school library and she only lived one mile away.

Once she graduated from high school, enrolling at Green River was a natural next step – it felt like home after all the time she had already spent on campus. Heidi began attending Green River in 1997 and graduated with her AA degree in 1999. With plans to go into fashion design she transferred to Central Washington University to pursue her passion. After completing school in 2001, with a downed economy and her family experiencing the recent passing of her father, Heidi once again found herself “coming home” to Green River.

After reaching out to Carol Franklin, someone she had worked with years earlier through student government, Heidi began working with Carol as a student aid in Transitional Studies. With that experience she made the decision to attend graduate school at Seattle University to earn her teaching degree. That created the pathway for Heidi to return to Green River again, this time as an instructor.

Today, Heidi looks back at the fond memories she has as a student at Green River, especially during the years her dad, John worked in the Papertree Bookstore. He thoroughly enjoyed meeting students from all over who attended Green River, and hearing about their stories. When he passed, Heidi and her mom decided to set up the John C. Sheneberger Memorial Scholarship in his memory. Each year the scholarship is awarded to a student showing academic excellence. Being able to honor his memory with a scholarship means so much to their family. 

Throughout all of her experiences at Green River Heidi sums it up as saying “Green River allowed me to figure out who I was,” and that’s the message that she shares with her students today.