2017 Alumni Award Recipients
Each year, the Linfield Alumni Association honors dedicated individuals for their hard work, innovation and generosity of spirit. Here’s a look at Linfield’s 2017 award recipients.
Brittany Baguley ’00 fought crime and injustice from inside a laboratory.
For her accomplishments as part of Nevada’s Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Forensic Science Division (WCSO-FSD), Baguley has been named the Linfield College Distinguished Alumna of the Year. She passed away in 2016 and is being honored posthumously.
Baguley joined WCSO-FSD in 2006, where she became an expert in the areas of primary examination and trace evidence examination. She examined evidence for the presence of biological fluids such as blood, semen and saliva, and performed testing on those specimens. She also became an expert in many aspects of trace evidence examination, including: glass analysis, arson and fire debris, vehicle lamps to see if they were on or off at the time of impact, and physical matches.
In 2009, Baguley became a criminalist in the DNA Unit, where she continued to use her primary examination skills to screen cases for biological material suitable for DNA testing.
Baguley was promoted to DNA technical leader in 2013, where she oversaw the technical operations of the Biology Unit. She continued to complete casework, and was passionate about processing cold cases. Because of her work, an individual was released from prison after serving more than 30 years, and someone else was arrested for the crime.
Throughout her career with WCSO-FSD, Baguley completed an astonishing 726 cases and testified 42 times. Her work was cited by auditors, who frequently commented on the quality of her case packets and the intelligent answers she provided. Baguley also received exceptional testimony evaluations.
Baguley entered Linfield College in the fall of 1996. She chose Linfield because her father is an alumnus, it was close to home and it offered the power of a small college where she could develop strong relationships with both faculty and her peers.
She majored in chemistry and minored in mathematics, and spent two years on the cross-country team. Baguley also spent two summers conducting research with chemistry faculty. She learned to be meticulous in her experimentation, data collection and data analysis.
She also took research methods and scientific writing courses with Elizabeth Atkinson, professor of chemistry. Baguley finished her Linfield College career as the top chemistry student of her class, and earned her Ph.D. from Ohio University. She also completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of South Carolina.
Baguley is remembered fondly by Wildcat friends and family, as well as faculty at Linfield and beyond. Her postdoctoral advisor, Stephen Morgan, said that she was a gifted advisor.
“She led a range of students, from high school to graduate students, through the process of setting up instruments, designing and executing experiments, and analysis of the results,” Morgan said. “That [she] could explain scientific concepts in simple language made her an exceptional mentor.”
Some alumni lend a helping hand to their alma mater. Eric and Robin (Burmeister) Nichols ’81 and ’82 have, between them, lent four to Linfield College, and haven’t flagged in their support for more than 30 years.
Since graduating, the Nichols have become two of Linfield’s most stalwart supporters.
This Linfield power couple have recommended the college to countless prospective students. They have supported athletic and cultural events at Linfield, and not surprisingly, as Eric came to Linfield to play football and attend small classes with great professors, are football season ticket holders.
They’ve been active in connecting Linfield students to careers. They participated in Linfield for Life, a program hosted by the student alumni group, to talk about life after college and to share their expertise. Robin has ensured Linfield accounting students have opportunities for employment—she arranged for her employer, Boldt, Carlisle & Smith, LLC, to participate in the Meet the Firms event that is held on campus every September. She also speaks to classes.
In 2011, the Nichols joined the President’s Circle Leadership Team, a volunteer group that is committed to developing a culture of philanthropy at Linfield. The team promotes giving to the college at the level of $1,000 or more per year, and has a goal of expanding membership and developing the resources that will advance Linfield’s mission.
Eric encourages alumni to take leadership roles for the college.
“We should work to make the 'Linfield Experience' available for current and future students," he said. Eric hopes that Linfield will continue to make the college affordable for students, expand programs and opportunities on campus and around the world, retain excellent and caring professors and staff, and maintain and upgrade classrooms and campus grounds.
Robin joined the President’s Circle Leadership Team because she believes alumni leaders are crucial to the school's success.
"It is important to give to the college that was so influential in shaping who I am," she said, adding that her dream for Linfield is "to continue to be one of the finest liberal arts colleges for generations of students to experience."
As a featured speaker at the President’s Circle dinner in 2013, Robin talked about the tremendous impact Professor emeritus Mike Jones had on her academic growth and accounting training to prepare her for success in the business world.
Over the years, the Nichols have volunteered their time, expertise, contacts and resources to the college. Linfield is grateful for their humble and enthusiastic service.
Many alumni can call their Linfield educations transformational. Seth Prickett ’05 credits his life’s path back to one crucial experience at Linfield.
While a student, Prickett took the History of Modern Ghana class, and spent a January Term in the country. It completely changed his life.
“That trip was an amazing eye-opener for me,” he said. “It made me think of more than just my everyday life in the United States and realize that life is so much more than that.”
During the study abroad program in Ghana, Prickett and his classmates saw the need, and hunger for, education. They left the country with a dream of building a school there someday.
Prickett put his dreams into action. He founded Framework International, a nonprofit that builds elementary schools in Ghana and provides free education to thousands of poverty-stricken students.
Framework International has built four schools, and is currently expanding the campus of their second school in Small London. The organization was recognized by the Ghanaian Minister of Industry and Trade for their work during the commissioning of the Small London school.
Additionally, Framework International partners with Building for the Future Generation, and this partnership provides work to local architects and skilled laborers during the building and expansion of the schools.
But Framework International isn’t the only way that Prickett has given back to communities. As the co-owner of The Waypost in Portland, he has provided free space for many nonprofit organizations to hold events and fundraisers. He’s even given back a percentage of sales at The Waypost, the oldest standing bar on North Williams Avenue, to assist these organizations.
Prickett has also worked as a political advisor. For 10 years, he advocated for environmental issues, expanding access to health care and promoting career technical education. He became a licensed realtor, and even there he practices his philosophy of giving: 10 percent of his earnings go to three nonprofits focused on the environment, education and people with disabilities.
Prickett has returned to Linfield to talk to students about Framework International and life in Ghana. He’s also given back to current students by holding informational interviews, participating in various career panels and guest lecturing in classes, bringing his transformational experience full circle.
“What is the essence of life?” Aristotle wrote. “To serve others and to do good.”
Debbie Day lives this aphorism every day, as she has given Linfield College countless hours of volunteer time and energy. To honor her work on behalf of Linfield, she has been awarded the Walker Service Award.
Day has been a strong supporter of Linfield for years. She has attended numerous Linfield events and has been an advocate for students in Reno and northern Nevada who were considering Linfield.
She also established and continues to give generously to support a number of student scholarships. Since 2013, she has hosted a variety of events for alumni as well as prospective students and their parents. She has also promoted the college to potential benefactors.
Day, a Portland native, graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in art history and a master’s degree in early childhood education. She taught in Alberta, Canada, and volunteered in church, school and recreational organizations there.
In 1978, she and her late husband, T.J. Day ’71, moved to Reno, Nev. She continued teaching until she joined the Reno Gazette-Journal as a graphic artist. Day also continued her volunteer work in Nevada: she serves on the board of trustees for Saint Mary’s Hospital Foundation, served as the governance and performance improvement chair at Saint Mary’s Hospital and served as chairperson of the Saint Mary’s Gala for two years.
Day was active with the Junior League of Reno for many years, holding positions on the board of directors and executive committee. She has also served on the board of directors for the Sierra Arts Foundation and has worked closely with both the Nevada Museum of Art and the Reno Philharmonic Association.
For more information, contact Debbie Harmon Ferry '90, director of alumni relations, by email or call 503-883-2607.