Learning briefs | TheUnion.com

Learning briefs

Christopher Tassone graduated on June 12 with honors from Santa Clara University with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. While at Santa Clara University, he worked for NASA in partnership with the University researching self-assembly nanostructures. He has accepted a fellowship at UCLA where he will complete his Ph.D. in chemistry.

He is the son of Debbie Tassone of Pacifica and John Tassone Jr. of Sebastapool.

He is a 2000 graduate of Nevada Union High School.


Janice McKelvie, a retired teacher from Grass Valley, spent two weeks in late March and early April in Italy as part of a group of international volunteers teaching English to Italians in the Puglia region of southern Italy. The volunteers also engaged in light construction projects, including painting, assisting local medical staff, providing computer training and caring for at-risk children.

Volunteers pay their own tax-deductible participation fees, and the organization, Global Volunteers, is not subsidized by any government or religious agency.


Alexander Gammelgard of Nevada City received a Bachelor of Business Administration, cum laude, on May 9.


Serenity Kramer, 10, who just completed third grade at Hennessy School, was recently awarded recognition from the California State Senate for her academic achievement at the school. State Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, presented Serenity’s family with a certificate of recognition on May 17.


Emily Pettijohn, a student at Nevada Union High School, was nominated for a national English award by the United States Achievement Academy.

She was nominated for the award by NU English teacher Lynn McDaniel. Pettijohn, the daughter of George and Ramona Pettijohn of Grass Valley, will now be featured in the United States Achievement Academy official yearbook, which is published nationally. Winners are selected on the recommendation of teachers and are considered for the award based on academic performance, leadership and school spirit.


Ryan Speas graduated magna cum laude in May, a year early, from the University of San Francisco. He received a B.A. in politics and a minor in legal studies.

While at USF, he worked for the dean of Arts and Sciences, the provost, and the politics department as a research assistant. He is a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, a Jesuit honor society. He has also been accepted into Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society.

He will continue his studies as he earns his master’s degree and teaching credential at USF. He is the son of Jeff and Linda Speas of Grass Valley; grandson of William and Vivian Speas of Sutter Creek and Liese Koegler of Grass Valley; has a great aunt, Phyllis Pursley of Davis; and a sister, Genevieve Speas of Grass Valley.

He is a 2001 graduate of Bear River High School.

oooJanet Lee 6/22/04 with photo

Reynold Strossen of Nevada City graduated with highest honors from Cate School on May 31. He will be attending the University of Chicago next fall.


Janet Lee 6/21/04 with photo

Aiyana Worden has graduated with honors from the University of California at Davis. She earned a bachelor of science degree in environmental policy analysis and planning. She will enter a Doctor of Physical Therapy program in Fall 2005. The UC Davis Ultimate Frisbee team, in which she participated for four years, won the National Championships this spring.

She is the daughter of Betsy Abrams and Daniel Worden of Nevada City.

She is a 1999 graduate of Nevada Union High School.

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