How long have you been at Oregon State?

I’ve been here 20 years. I’ve worked in the College of Forestry and the College of Agricultural Sciences. I moved back to the College of Forestry for good in 2006, and I’m currently the administrative manager for the department of Forest Ecosystems and Society.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

The people. That’s why I came back to the college. Everyone is very friendly and fun to laugh with. We had so much fun at the college’s holiday party this year.


What do you do outside work?

I like to go camping all year long, ride four wheelers and travel.

Where are some of your favorite spots?

My latest trips were to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks, and also to Arizona. I like to see new things.


Are you a native Oregonian?

Yes. I’ve lived here my whole life and graduated from Philomath High School. I don’t think I’ll ever leave. My kids are here and my new granddaughter.

What’s your favorite food?

Mexican food!


How do you unwind after work?

I play a lot of mindless Facebook games.


If you could eliminate one thing from your daily routine, what would it be and why?

Probably vacuuming my long-haired cat’s hair.


What is your favorite part of the holidays? 

Probably just spending time with my kids and laughing together.


You have a lot of bears in your office. What’s that about? 

I collect bears! I like them because they seem so soft and cuddly, not that I’d like to run into one in the wild!

How long have you been at Oregon State? How did you end up here? What’s your career been like?

Two and half years. I moved to Oregon with my husband in August 2016 because of his job at OSU.

I was a stay-home mom for the first one and half years, and started my job at OSU College of Forestry in January 2018.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is the people I work with. They are kind, warm and supportive.

What does your life look like outside work? Tell me about your family and your hobbies.

I have two kids. My daughter just turned six, and my son is four years old. My husband is an anthropologist.

I like piano, harp and classical Chinese music (Zheng, or Zither), and I also like gardening, trying different food, watching films, reading books and travelling.


Have you read, watched or come across anything in pop culture, or just in life lately that you’d like to share with the CoF community?

I’m afraid I am a bit old-fashioned and don’t know much about pop culture…..I’d like to share some of my favorites: all Miyazaki’s cartoon films, Into the West (2005) by Steven Spielberg, Amélie (2001) by Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

Did you celebrate Chinese New Year earlier this year? What does that mean to you? Tell me about your heritage.

It’s a festival of family reunion. In my family, we make dumplings after dinner at New Year’s Eve and eat dumplings as the first breakfast in the New Year.

On the first day of New Year, young members of the family receive red envelops from seniors as a symbol of good luck.

When I was little, my grandparents and parents always put the red envelops under my pillows to ward off evil spirits and protect me from sickness.

Now it’s my turn to put red envelops under my kid’s pillows. I guess that’s part of my “heritage.”

Iain Macdonald has been selected as director of the TallWood Design Institute (TDI), a unique research collaboration between the Oregon State University College of Forestry, College of Engineering, and the University of Oregon School of Design. It is the nation’s only research collaborative that focuses exclusively on the advancement of structural wood products, and serves as a national research, education, and outreach hub focusing on multi-family and non-residential wood buildings.

Macdonald has served as Associate Director of TDI since November 2016. Previously, he led the Centre for Advanced Wood Products at the University of British Columbia for nine years.

Since his arrival, TDI has collaborated with a wide range of community and industry partners to help develop new and innovative products, provide testing services for manufacturers, engineers and designers, conduct educational seminars, round table events and networking meetings for industry, and carry out applied research projects. In January, TDI hosted the Oregon Mass Timber Development Summit in partnership with Business Oregon, attracting over 180 elected officials, economic development personnel, investors and industry representatives to Salem to discuss how to grow Oregon’s mass timber supply chain.

The institute’s applied research program, drawing from the deep expertise within OSU’s Wood Science and Engineering and Civil and Construction Engineering departments and University of Oregon’s Architecture department, is eliminating barriers to widespread adoption of mass timber technology. Data from product testing and development enables building code officials to evaluate and propose changes that make it easier to permit mass timber buildings in the United States. Last year, Oregon was the first state in the nation to adopt new code provisions that bring buildings up to 18 stories within code.

In May 2019, TDI will move into the Oregon State University College of Forestry’s new A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory, a state-of-the-art facility that includes sophisticated manufacturing equipment, a robotic machining cell, and one of the largest structural testing areas in the US. Simultaneously in Eugene, University of Oregon is preparing to build a Timber Acoustic Testing Facility to fill yet another major research and development need.

As director of TDI, Macdonald will lead a growing interdisciplinary team that will continue to support and grow the research and testing program, offer innovative educational programs, and work closely with industry to identify and address opportunities and barriers.

“I’m excited to lead the TallWood Design Institute and partner with two outstanding universities,” Macdonald says. “Our affiliated faculty members are conducting collaborative, world-class research that will advance new solutions for designers, manufacturers and engineers, and enable us to build taller, larger and smarter with wood.”

How long have you been at Oregon State?

I started in my position in March a little while after I finished my master’s degree in applied anthropology here at Oregon State. Applied anthropology is an interesting subset of anthropology because it solves real-world problems, and the program here at OSU is very unique in actually being labelled an applied anthropology program.

That’s great! What does your job look like?

As the online program coordinator, I manage the master of natural resources program and the three certificates we have in FES. My job resembles that of an academic advisor at times, though I do a lot of admin work as well. I really like helping guide our students through a process that may feel overwhelming. That brings me a lot of satisfaction.

You came here for your master’s program, so where are you from originally?

Oklahoma, but I’ve been in Oregon about five years now, and I don’t think I’ll ever move back there. I love the weather and the people here.

What do you do when you’re not working?

I live with my sister. She moved here last year, and we do a lot of cooking and baking together. Our mother always used baking to relieve her stress, which isn’t necessarily ideal, but we inherited the habit. My sister has also been filling our home with plants, which is nice because I usually kill them.

What’s your favorite thing to bake or cook?

I love to make ginger snap cookies. I got an apple coffee cake recipe from one of the grad students that I want to try soon. I also love to cook soup. I just made a great chicken tortilla soup.

Have you watched or read anything interesting lately?

I really like scary movies. One of my favorites lately is ‘Hereditary,’ It’s not for everyone, but it’s very good. Right now I’m reading a book called ‘The Cooking Gene,’ which is very interesting.

What is something you can do better than anyone else you know?

Hmm. I can snap pretty loud with pretty much all my fingers, and we just figured out that my sister can’t snap at all, so that’s kind of weird.

Which of the seven dwarves do you identify with?

Right now, Sneezy, because the Willamette Valley hit me hard in 2018. I’ve heard from several people that if you don’t have allergies when you start living here, you will get them anyway because there’s so much grass pollen.

Anything else?

I love to chat, if anyone ever wants to visit the FES office. I especially love to hear about people’s travels or a new scary movie recommendation.

  • How long have you been at Oregon State?

Seven wonderful years. I started in FERM as a student worker. I did a short stint in FES as graduate coordinator before moving to the dean’s office five years ago. I just stepped into a new position. I’m now the event, outreach and administrative manager. I plan all the events for the College of Forestry and I will be taking on more of an administrative role in my new position.

  • I hear you took an interesting path to your current career. Tell us about that.

I was a stay-at-home mom for ten years and was living in Florida when I went through a divorce. I moved to Oregon with my three daughters. We lived with my mom, and her neighbor helped me get a job as a student worker at the College of Forestry, and that turned into a full-time position. I also went to school full time and got my bachelor’s degree in business in four and a half years. I graduated in 2016.

  • That’s amazing. What is your favorite part of your job now?

I love working with students when I can. Whether it be having the ambassadors help me at an event or hosting them in my home for Thanksgiving, I just like spending time with them and getting to know them and about their experiences.


  • What does your life look like outside work?

I have a husband who is going to nursing school at OHSU. I have three daughters ages 18, 15 and almost 13. All three of them are cheerleaders, God help me.

I own my own wedding and event planning company: Bella Fontaine Events, so I do wedding and corporate events on the side. Last year I did about 20 events.

When I’m not working, I like crafts, reading , hanging out with my husband and family and decorating my new house.

  • Seen any good movies lately?

Ralph Breaks the Internet. It was a feel good movie that kind of poked fun at all the things on the internet that we’re obsessed with like eBay. It was just cute.


  • What else are you into?

My favorite food is chips and salsa. My favorite music is anything from the 80s. My favorite color is pink.


  • Why pink?

I’m not a very warm, fuzzy person, but pink is just such a happy color. I have a black heart, but I just love pink.

  • How long have you been at Oregon State?

I came back here in 2006, so it’s coming up on 13 years. I first came to Corvallis to work for the EPA in the mid-‘80s and worked some with the College of Forestry then. After about six years, I decided to get my Ph.D. and the program at Oregon State was an obvious choice.  I started to look for funding and ultimately found John Tappeiner and the project that would become my Ph.D. But my first faculty position was at Northern Arizona University.

  • What is your favorite part of your job now?

I love my job. I love the people: the faculty, staff and students. I love working on such an important topic that has breaking ideas and applications all the time. I love teaching and seeing graduate students develop and get established. I’ll keep going as long as I can.

  • What does your life look like outside work?

I have a 25-year old son in an Air Force technical school in California and a 22-year-old daughter in her fifth year of the architecture program at the University of Oregon. Their mom passed away about the same time I moved to Corvallis 13 years ago. I remarried last year, though, and Bobbi and I just celebrated our one-year anniversary, and we have a seven-year-old son who keeps us busy.

I work a lot, but I still think work-life balance is important. I’m able to do things at my son’s school and get down to Eugene to see my daughter, and I enjoy a lot of gardening and home improvement projects.

  • What are your hobbies?

I’m pretty handy, so I do a lot of household projects. I also love to cook.


  • What’s your favorite food?

In the summer time, there’s nothing better than a hamburger off the grill with homemade tomato and onion from the garden. In the winter time, a pot of chili. I’ve won a few chili cookoffs.


  • Wow, can we have the recipe?

Nope. It’s heavy on meat and beans and a couple of Virginia secrets I got from my momma.


  • You grew up in Virginia? What was that like?

My father was a general contractor, so I grew up working on houses. He always told a story about one time when I was working on a hot summer day on a roof, and I threw my hammer down. I knew then that I wanted to go to college and have a different kind of life outside of Virginia. I have about 40 cousins in my big, country family, and I’m one of the few who ever left central Virginia.


  • If you were a vegetable, what kind of vegetable would you be?

Maybe a carrot? They’re tall and thin like me.


  • You don’t watch much TV, so what do you do for entertainment?

In the summer, I get season tickets to the Corvallis Knights. There’s no better way to spend a Corvallis evening than with your kid and a bunch of other kids at a baseball game. My son loves it too.

  • How long have you been at Oregon State?

A long time. I came as a student in 1992. I went to work in the Klamath extension office when I finished my master’s degree in 1994. I moved to Corvallis in 2005.

  • How did you end up in the wood science industry?

I wanted to be a veterinarian as a kid growing up in the Chicago area, but I fell in love with forestry and wood science during a community college class and went to Colorado State University to study forestry. There, I worked for the Colorado State Forest Service for two summers, and my favorite part of that experience was dropping in on the sawmills for fun. I didn’t know wood science was a thing I could study until someone told me, and it’s been my passion ever since.

  • What is your favorite part about your job?

I love the variety. Each day is different. I teach students, teach workshops, do product development testing, visit mills, go to conferences, travel. No two days are alike. Except for Wood Magic, which just happened in early October.

  • Why is Wood Magic different from your typical day to day? Why is it important?

I man the “daily wood” station. I’ve been involved in almost every Wood Magic since it started in 1999. It’s an important outreach opportunity as we continue to talk about the importance of forestry and wood products. At the station I do, I focus on all the products we get from trees. We’re talking to kids, of course, but often the teachers and parent chaperones are just as engaged as the kids because this is all new to them too. I said that ‘the days are alike’ there because at my station, I do a 10-minute demonstration, and then repeat it for a dozen or so classes, several days in a row.  I’ve been known to repeat myself a time or two as a result…

  • What does your life look like outside of work?

I’m married to Vikki, and we have two girls. Abby, 21, is a senior at the University of Oregon studying psychology. Katherine, 19, is at the Lane Fire Authority Fire Academy studying to be a firefighter. We’re very involved in our church, Calvin Presbyterian, and since we’re empty nesters now, I recently took up playing guitar. I haven’t had a hobby in years, and I’m really enjoying learning to play, even though I’m not sure I’ll ever play outside my house (I keep the windows closed now so I don’t annoy the neighbors).

  • What was the last exciting thing you did?

I went skydiving with my younger daughter for my birthday in early September. She’s an adrenaline junkie, and I’d always wanted to go too.

This summer, I also got to travel to Slovenia to visit a former graduate student of mine. We did a research project in Slovenia and the Netherlands. I barely survived the 100-degree weather there.

  • You’ve lived and traveled all over Oregon. What’s your favorite spot?

I’ve been to Crater Lake National Park probably 15 times, since we used to live nearby in Klamath Falls, but the coast is my favorite. I love the mountains as well, and I’m happy I don’t have to choose between them.

  • Anything good on TV lately?

Ever since I took a sabbatical to New Zealand during the summer of 2016, my wife and I enjoy watching TV set in that area. Right now we’re watching ‘800 words.’ It’s pretty good. We also spend Sunday afternoons watching NFL football, especially the Chicago Bears.

  • Would you rather have unlimited tacos or unlimited sushi?

Tacos, but my favorite food is shrimp. It doesn’t get better than shrimp alfredo.

  • What was your first car?

A ’75 Buick Skylark. It was a rust bucket that needed a muffler. Now, I have an ’87 Suburban that just keeps running. I use this example in my class when I talk about the quality of the products we buy now.

  • What’s the craziest fashion trend you’ve ever rocked?

When I was in high school, break dancing was all the rage, and I did wear parachute pants back then. My family still gives me a hard time about it.

  • You just started here in August! How did you end up here at Oregon State?

I did my undergrad here and played soccer for the Beavs. I originally studied elementary education, but I’m an introvert and decided that standing up in front of a group every single day was too exhausting. At the same time, I was doing some tutoring for the subjects I was studying and enjoyed working with adults, so that’s how I found my way to being an advisor. I became a liberal arts major and I got my master’s in college student services administration. After I graduated, I advised student-athletes at Oregon State and the University of Colorado. Then I wanted to be closer to my family, so I took a position at UC Santa Cruz helping students find the right major for them. During that time, I started a family, and we wanted to be somewhere more family friendly. Since I loved living in Corvallis so much as a student, I decided to take this position and move back up here.

  • What’s your favorite part about your job?

I think it’s really fun, complex work, so advising the natural resrources and TRAL majors, I’m learning a ton about things I never knew before, so, it’s really fun.  Mostly, it’s the students that make this job so enjoyable. This is the first time I’ve advised Ecampus students, and I love getting to know them. Everyone is so friendly, and I love the atmosphere here with my fellow advisors.

  • What does your life look like outside of work?

I’ve been married for almost 9 years. I met my husband playing soccer. We’re both soccer players. Any chance we get, we like to play pickup soccer, and we’re looking for games to play. My son Conor is 7, and my son Liam is 5, and we’ve just been getting acclimated and getting them started in school. In our free time, we love to hike and go to parks and spend time in nature as much as we can. We’ve been exploring.

  • What are your other hobbies?

When I have time to myself I like to jog, read and do yoga. It’s also been fun taking my family to places I remember going as a student like American Dream. We’re big fans of the local library and go at least once a week. I’m also trying to figure out what kind of plants are in my new, large yard as well as what to do with all the apples from my apple tree!

  • What’s your favorite meal?

I would forgo meals to eat chocolate chip cookies.

  • In your dream house, what one weird feature would you include?

I’ve been a baby about acclimating to the weather here in Oregon, so maybe some kind of towel warmers and heated floors.


On Thursday, November 8, the college held its first ever chili cook-off! More than 75 members of the college community were on hand to sample, serve and judge. Thanks to all of our participants. Due to your efforts we raised $367.00 for the Linn Benton Food Share just in time to help with Thanksgiving baskets. A special thanks to our judges Seri Robinson and Adrienne Wonhof!

Awardees by Category:
•Red Chile: ‘Virginia Country Burner’ by John Bailey
•Chile Verde: ‘Miguelito’s Chile de los Campeones’ by Michael Gordon
•Home-style: ‘It’ll Start a Forest Fire!’ by Michael Collins
•Vegetarian/Vegan: ‘I’m not a Vegetarian, but this is a Vegetarian Chili’ by Jeremy Felty
•Honorable Mention for spiciest chili: ‘Fire Every Lunar Second to Your Mouth’ by Jeremy Felty

  • How long have you been at Oregon State?

21 years.

  • How did you end up working with computers and technology?

Well, both my dad and grandfather graduated with forest engineering/civil engineering degrees from Oregon State. My dad is a civil engineer, and I decided in high school that I needed to be an engineer, but I didn’t want to be a civil engineer. I was really excited to learn about computers, so I became a computer science major.

  • How do you make sure you’re keeping up with the changes in your industry?

Google is your friend, and it’s important to be able to fly by the seat of your pants and keep at it.

  • What does your life look like outside of work?

I like knitting and sewing. I also have a beautiful, two-year-old granddaughter that I love to engage with. We live on 10 acres, so I do a lot of outdoor wandering with my two dogs.

  • How did you get into sewing and knitting?

My grandmother taught me to sew when I was a member of 4-H. In my early 20s, I went to a quilt-in-a-day class and got hooked, so most of my sewing now is quilting. I’ve only been knitting for about 10 years. My mom taught me, and it was something fun we could do together. Now, it keeps me from falling asleep on the couch at night.

  • Any other hobbies?

Beaver sports! I’ve maybe missed a handful of home football games since 1984. We go to football, basketball, gymnastics and baseball events on a regular basis, rain or shine, and sometimes we even travel to see the Beavers.

  • If you were an athlete –  in the Olympics – what would be your sport?

Maybe curling? My husband and I play bocce ball on the beach, so maybe it’s kind of similar.

  • What’s your favorite breakfast food?

Waffles with peanut butter and syrup.