The Stories

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Aileen Calletano

Synthetic Chemist


Aileen Calletano is a synthetic chemist at Cascade Chemistry, a chemical manufacturing company in Eugene, Oregon. Like a cook perfecting a dish, Calletano makes compounds for clients and refines their recipes.

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Brandon Larrabee

G.I.S. Specialist


Brandon Larrabee is a geographic information systems specialist for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Larrabee works to create digital representations of geographic areas to help with land restoration projects and environmental analysis.

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Ayanna Richiliano

Graphic Designer

Hood River

Ayanna Richiliano is a freelance graphic designer in Hood River, working on creative projects for small businesses and the city of Mosier. From layout and illustration to branding and communication, her job doesn’t just check one box.

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Hanin Najjar

Media Entrepreneur


Whether it’s at her desk managing livestreams or social media accounts at KPTV, or creating her own digital publications for Gen-Z women of color, Hanin Najjar understands the power of storytelling and the need for diverse voices in the newsroom.

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Nathan Kahler

Digital Marketing


Nathan Kahler is a digital marketing producer and social media manager for the world-renowned Bandon Dunes Golf Resort on the southern Oregon coast. With his team, Kahler crafts messages about the resort to the public.

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Natalie Millar

CEO | Terminal Gravity


Natalie Millar is the CEO of Terminal Gravity Brewing in Enterprise, Oregon, managing the small town’s popular brewery and supporting a staff of over 60 people. Her primary focus is working to build a strong company culture.

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Nicole Rodriguez

Victim Services Advocate


Nicole Rodriguez is a victim services advocate for the Peace at Home Advocacy Center in Roseburg Oregon. She helps people who’ve faced domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking begin to overcome their experiences.

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Brian Schaudt

Physical Therapist


Brian Schaudt is a physical therapist for Wheeler and Gilliam Counties in Oregon. As the only physical therapist in the remote area, he’s proud to keep patients from making a four-hour round trip for care.

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Miranda Allen

Park Guide

John Day

Miranda Allen is a park guide at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in Eastern Oregon. With hundreds visiting daily, she’s ready to answer any question a curious visitor has about the area’s natural and cultural history.

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Mariah Stacona

Tribal Liason


Mariah Stacona is the Native American community liaison at Madras High School in central Oregon. She works closely with students to bridge the gap between members of the Madras community and the Warm Springs Indian reservation.

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Mahima White

Fisheries Biologist


Mahima White is a fisheries biologist working to protect native fish populations across Oregon. With the encouragement from her teachers, she was able to channel her love of animals into a career in biology.

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Connor Lysne



Connor Lynse is a Lego robotics and technology teacher at Steins Pillar Elementary School in Prineville. He loves coming to work every day to see his students. In the summer, he leads a natural resources team in remote areas of Southern Oregon. 

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Emma Overmyer

3D Artist


Emma Overmyer is an associate 3D artist at Pipeworks Studios, a video game developer in Eugene, Oregon. As a 3D artist, Overmyer works on a variety of creative projects with the goal of building immersive worlds. 

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Jake Blackburn

Real Estate Agent


Jake Blackburn is a broker at his family’s real estate business in Burns. Where he works hard helping clients find their dream property, whether it’s commercial, residential or recreational. He specializes in rural properties.

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Jocelyn Garcia

Medical Assistant


Jocelyn Garcia knows the importance of healthcare, having grown up in an area with no nearby hospital. After moving to Portland, and visiting OSHU for an appointment, she knew one day she wanted to be helping people in the same place.

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Jonathan Van Roekel

Non-profit Director


Jonathan Van Roekel is the interim executive director of Lake County Resources, a nonprofit in Lakeview, Oregon, that bolsters the resilience of rural communities to the impacts of climate change and economic hardship.

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Lynn Tran

Transportation Engineer

La Grande

Tran developed a passion for robotics in high school. She then pursued an engineering degree – and through internships she gained a deeper understanding and interest in transportation and traffic design, before eventually working for ODOT.

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Justin Huntley

Construction Manager

Eagle Point

Justin Huntley is a project manager for a home-building company, where he oversees the development of custom housing. From design to construction, he’s familiar with all aspects of the building process.

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Daniel Garcia

Automotive Technician


Daniel Garcia is an automotive technician in Gladstone, Oregon. He leads a four-person crew that carries out repair orders for customer vehicles. Garcia loves working with his hands and helping his customers.

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Madeline Lau

Hotel Manager


Madeline Lau is the general manager of the Wallowa Lake Lodge in scenic Joseph, Oregon. She wears many hats as she works to make this seasonal business – a community fixture for nearly 100 years – accessible to all.

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Fabian Carter

Communications Strategist


Fabian Carter is a communications consultant for Portland General Electric. As a communications strategist, Carter tells stories about his organization and its goals. His strong writing background helps him excel in his role.

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Cassandra Fleckenstein

BLM Officer and Wildland Firefighter


Cassandra Fleckenstein is a wildland firefighter, instructor, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officer in Vale, Oregon. She helps combat wildfires and runs a yearly camp aimed at educating young firefighting recruits. 

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Anabel Manzo



Anabel Manzo is a caseworker for developmentally disabled adults in Salem, Oregon. She helps her clients find transportation, jobs, and providers who can assist with their day-to-day life.

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John Kish



John Kish is a horticulturist and owner of Somewhere That’s Green, an indoor plant shop in Bend, Oregon. He educates people about greenery and connects customers with plants. He also directs community theater initiatives.

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Jared Robeson

Sheet Metal Worker


Jared Robeson is an apprentice at Local 16 — the Sheet Metal Workers Union. On various construction projects, Robeson is welding, installing air conditioning units, and putting equipment together.

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Jessica West

Health Sciences Teacher

Klamath Falls

Jessica West is a health and sciences teacher at Henley High School. She teaches students about opportunities in the health and medical field. West loves living in a small town where everyone knows each other and community ties are strong.

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Derian Handfield

Police Officer


Derian is the first to admit his career journey wasn’t smooth. Growing up, he faced homelessness and struggled in school. But he remembers being inspired by his high school resource officer and wanted to follow a similar path. 

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Jordyn Coon

Agriculture Marketing


Jordyn is a communications and marketing consultant for the agriculture industry. Whether it’s creating educational content or developing a website, Coon helps farmers tell and share their stories with customers. It’s work that’s close to her heart.

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Eddie Ramirez, DMD



Eddie is a dentist at the Virginia Garcia Memorial Hospital in Hillsboro, Oregon. He knew he wanted to be a dentist since he was eight-years old, but after learning of his undocumented status, he also knew the journey wouldn’t be easy.

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Olivia Crowley

Product Designer


Olivia Crowley is a product designer for Urban Lumber, a custom furniture shop in Springfield, Oregon. She creates designs for tables, chairs, and other furniture items on the computer, and helps translate them to the workbench.

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David Van Hook

Director of I.T. (Information Technology)


David Van Hook serves as the Director of Information Technology (IT) at Living Opportunities, a non-profit organization in Oregon. His role involves managing the organization’s technological infrastructure and exploring the use of technology in assisting people with disabilities.

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Erica Carmona

Instructor at Talent Maker Space


Erica is the elementary education lead at Talent Maker City, a nonprofit in Talent, Oregon. Their goal is to provide hands-on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) education to students and community members. She also teaches beginner courses on computer science and Spanish.

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Dominic Herrera

Construction Teacher

Klamath Falls

Dominic Herrera is a CTE (Career Technical Education) teacher at Eagle Ridge High School in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Despite years in construction, he had never envisioned himself as a teacher. Yet, this unplanned shift opened a new avenue where Dominic found his true calling.

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Ryan Demello

Construction Project Manager


Ryan Demello is a project manager at Outlier Construction in Medford, Oregon. His journey from a curious student to a skilled professional shows the passion, skills, and adaptability needed to thrive in the construction industry. Ryan wanted to find a career that balanced desk work and manual labor–this ultimately led him to a career as a project manager.

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