Meet the 2022 Outstanding Graduates from the College of the Environment and the College of Fine and Performing Arts

More than 60 Western Washington University students and graduates received Outstanding Graduate honors for the 2021-22 academic year.

Faculty members from dozens of academic departments and programs select one graduate to honor as the Outstanding Graduate of the year. Selection is a high honor based on grades, research and writing, service to the campus and community, and promise for the future.

The Outstanding Graduates from the College of the Environment and the College of Fine and Performing Arts include: 

College of the Environment

Antonia Parrish 

Environmental Sciences

Parrish channeled her passion for the outdoors and field work into scientific research. A highlight was working two seasons in the back country with the Cascades Carnivore Project collecting rare montane carnivore scat and installing wildlife cameras and wolverine bait stations. For her Honors Capstone Project, she used subsequent DNA data to compare Canada lynx and coyote diet and distribution in the North Cascades Ecosystem. Parrish was also a research assistant for Biology Professor Alejandro Acevedo's Marine Mammal Ecology Lab, observing harbor seal behavior, and completed Wildlands Studies programs in the Channel Islands and New Zealand.  Since graduating in December, Parrish has been working as a field biologist for the USGS Herpetology Lab, performing aquatic salamander surveys in Oregon.  She plans to attend graduate school in a few years.

Jessica Peterson

Environmental Studies 

On top of her classroom prowess, Peterson earned a Climate Leadership Certificate in her time at Western. She also served her community – both human and nonhuman – as a Stream Steward intern for the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association. She also helped Common Threads Farm provide people with aquaponic and self-watering systems. She wants to find a job in Bellingham or her hometown of Redmond.

Brandon Whitmarsh

Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy

Growing up in Bothell, Whitmarsh watched his neighborhood of small farms become a suburban housing district – and learned about how important it is for communities to plan for growth. In Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy, Whitmarsh is known as a valuable team player who brings great ideas, strong organizational skills and a friendly demeanor to team projects. He spent a year on a group proposal to revitalize downtown Bellingham by bringing more life to the alleyways. In another project, he worked with a fellow student to create a website for a local park district. And for his senior project, he created a communication plan for Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy to help the new department reach out to students. Whitmarsh also played upright bass in the WWU Symphony Orchestra and sang in the WWU Glee Club. Now, he’ll put his GIS certificate to work in his new position as an assistant planner with the city of Spokane.

College of Fine and Performing Arts

Carly Cloward 


Cloward has been an incredible leader in Theatre as she participated in both departmental productions as well as student clubs and community performances, performing and writing works for Plays4Us, regularly volunteering to direct scenes outside of her own course work, and staying active in STP and Dead Parrots Society rehearsals and shows. Cloward is also a political science major and works actively to improve civic engagement and education in all of Whatcom County. She is currently working as a campaign associate on Sharon Shewmake's campaign for State Senate of the 42nd Legislative District and is planning a backpacking trip through Europe after the November election. When she returns, she’ll audition for shows and work on political issues that are important to her. 

Emma Rose DeSantis


Throughout her time at Western, De Santis created her own choreography and perfected it on stage. She worked with Whyteberg, a contemporary dance theatre that emphasizes free spirit and playfulness, for her BFA solo. She explored and improved upon new dance styles with Western’s dance clubs, including SINI-HHA, the Hip Hop Dance Team, and Salsa and Bachata. She plans to dance and work for a catering company in Seattle.

Alex Marbach and Jordan Marbach


In four short years, Alex made incredible improvements as a musical performer.  His professors say that his positivity lifted other students up in the program and even helped the instructors keep their morale up. Outside of class he worked for the music office livestreaming performances for everyone everywhere to see. He is excellent at the trumpet, as evidenced by his accomplishment as a finalist in the WWU Concerto Competition. He will be joining his twin brother and fellow outstanding student in music, Jordan, at Bowling Green State University in Ohio to earn his master’s degree in music.

Jordan brought an infectious sense of enthusiasm and eagerness to learn to the classroom, to performance ensembles, and to the offices of his professors. He won the WWU Concerto Competition with his excellence on the saxophone. If you livestreamed a Western musical performance recently, he helped record them. He will be joining his twin brother and fellow outstanding student in music, Alexander, at Bowling Green State University in Ohio to earn his master’s degree in music.


Antonia Parrish uses stakes to climb a tree trunk
Jessica Peterson smiles for the camera
Brandon Whitmarsh with his cello
Carly Cloward smiles for the camera
Emma Rose DeSantis poses mid-dance move
Alex Marbach holds a trumpet while standing on the PAC plaza
Jordan Marbach stands on the PAC plaza while holding a saxophone