Spring 2023 class notes

Martin Fahrer ’89

Martin Fahrer ’89

In the world of television, Martin Fahrer is killing it, in both success and subject matter. And what he does so well has earned him an Emmy for a primetime TV show.

The show is Only Murders in the Building, a mystery-comedy-drama series in which characters played by Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez work together to investigate a death in their apartment building.

Fahrer won for Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Program. He was an assistant art director on the show from 2020 to 2021.

It’s not his first killing, though. Fahrer has won six other Emmys—daytime Emmys in Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction/Set Decoration/Scenic Design, also as an assistant art director.

A haunting experience launched his career. His parents ran a Halloween haunted house attraction in Wilmington, Ohio, where they lived. As a youngster, Fahrer helped build and decorate the house, and acted in it. He was in a couple musicals in high school, which led him to enroll at Wilmington College, where “I fell in love with theatre,” he said.

“I wanted to find the best undergraduate program around. That was at Wright State.” He transferred from Wilmington for his final two years and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre design/technology. “I really enjoyed it.”

He was encouraged to pursue a master’s degree in design, which he did at New York University. He did freelance theatre design, then, “I got this gig for television. It was a small gig, but it paid really well. I thought ‘Wow, this is great.’ That’s when I realized I could make a living telling a story by creating a space.”

Now based in New York City, Fahrer said, “One of my best decisions ever was to go to Wright State—to get that experience painting, being a scenic artist.” He added that he enjoys using scenery to enhance the plot.

“Wright State’s been great to me. I’m always happy to come back to talk with students.”

Michaela Woods ’16, ’18

Michaela Woods ’16, ’18

Most who stroll in a forest think of the soil beneath their feet as just dirt. Not so for Michaela Woods.

Her study of soil and forests was part of an article in Science magazine. Woods, who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biological sciences from Wright State in 2016 and 2018, respectively, was listed as a co-author for her part in the research paper, “Termite sensitivity to temperature affects global wood decay rates,” published in the September 2022 issue. The article focuses on a global study that explored how decomposition rates vary with temperature and precipitation.

Woods said even a teaspoon of soil contains millions of microorganisms that interact with wood in forests. Dead wood in forests contains a large portion of carbon, which, when released based on microorganisms’ activity, can influence climate change.

She conducted her research in Runkle Woods on Wright State’s Dayton Campus over a two-year period.

“Being published in Science is extremely exciting since it is a top journal in the field,” Woods said. “It was really empowering to be a part of a team generating impactful results with global implications.”

Woods chose Wright State because it was close to her home in Lebanon, Ohio, with a community of student commuters. “I started with a pre-medical focus. I was interested in the health sciences. As I took courses in ecology, I got interested in living and non-living things in the environment. I started asking questions about how soil interacts with the living components in forests.

“Wright State was really helpful,” she said. “The course offerings were really broad, so I could explore a lot of topics to find what research I was interested in. The faculty was supportive and helped me find the right lab and the right people to support me and help me grow.”

Woods is pursuing a Ph.D. in biology at the University of Dayton, researching conservation and forest restoration. She added, “I’m still in contact with faculty at Wright State. It’s been a lasting, beneficial relationship for me to have their guidance.”

Arreal Riggs ’22

Arreal Riggs ’22

Army veteran Arreal Riggs said things have been improving for him since graduating in summer 2022 from Wright State’s Master of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management program. But then, the nine-year veteran had a bit of ground to make up since leaving the military as a staff sergeant. He had struggled with the transition to civilian life and with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

He credits Wright State’s Veteran and Military Center and the university in general for helping with the transition. He’s turned his attention to helping fellow veterans who suffer the same challenges with PTSD.

Riggs’ civilian job as a contractor based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base recently took him to Germany. Part of his time there was devoted to the Heroic Hearts Project. According to the group’s website, Heroic Hearts establishes “a healing community that helps veterans suffering from military trauma recover and thrive by providing them with safe, supervised access to psychedelic treatments, professional coaching, and ongoing peer support.”

The treatment with psychedelic substances takes place near Ramstein Air Force Base with local U.S. veterans, and in London with United Kingdom and U.S. veterans, Riggs said. The nonprofit group hopes the treatment will earn Federal Drug Administration approval in 2023.

The treatment is meant to heal the veterans “so they have a fulfilling life,” Riggs said.

Riggs is trying to lift the level of awareness of Heroic Hearts, not only for funding by donors, but also for the attention of veterans. “Most veterans don’t like asking for help,” he said. “But the help is critical.”

Personally, Riggs said, “My progress has been going great. I’m thankful for the Wright State family. They kept me on track. I’m forever thankful for Wright State.”

This article was originally published in the spring 2023 issue of the Wright State Magazine. Read more stories at wright.edu/magazine.

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