Fall/Winter 2015 Alumni Updates


Mari Lyn Henry, ’63 Speech/Drama, is founder of the Society for the Preservation of Theatrical History and a League of Professional Theatre Women board member. Learn more at: societyforthepreservationoftheatricalhistory.com.

Charles Jepson, ’69 Economics, joined the board of directors of GoGo Labs, the company that created the Rezzly brand of gamified learning technologies, headquartered in Boise, Idaho. He has served as president and CEO of several companies, including Extended Systems, Interlink Computer Sciences and Inference Corporation.

John Massey, ’67 Art, discovered “finger-style guitar playing,” a style that blends melody, chord, bass and rhythm, in the 1960s. “San Jose in 1961 was a kind of Mecca for the folk music revival,” he said. Although he played and hung out with the likes of Paul Kantner and David Crosby, the life of a touring musician wasn’t “his future.” Instead, he taught school in Lincoln until his 2011 retirement and continues to serve as the children’s guitar instructor at the annual California Autoharp Gathering in Dunlap. He’s also still performing, most recently at Dave’s Cave in Auburn.


Emma Amiad, ’75 BA, ’76 MA, Social Science, a real estate broker and community activist based in Vashon Island, Wash., was selected grand marshal of Vashon’s 2015 Strawberry Festival. A U.S. Army and Vietnam War veteran, she serves on the Interfaith Council to Prevent Homelessness.

Gary Davis, ’79 Civil Engineering, owns Gary Davis Group, an architecture and engineering firm based in Tahoe City, Calif.

Barbara French, ’75 Political Science, vice chancellor of strategic communication and university relations at UCSF, was listed as one of the “Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business” by the San Francisco Business Times. She joined UCSF in 2005 after successful careers in journalism and public relations. “UCSF is making a tremendous difference. My job is to ensure that people have a high awareness of what we do so that our faculty, staff and students receive the support they need to contribute even more,” she said.

Timothy Grant, ’79 Political Science, an attorney at Fredrickson, Mazeika & Grant in San Diego, specializes in the fields of commercial liability, construction law, personal injury and product liability. He divides his time between the firm’s San Diego and San Francisco offices.

Roger Grimsley, ’72 Civil Engineering, is city manager of San Juan Bautista. He was previously Hollister’s director of public works.

Jean Langley, ’76 MLS, retired as director of the Northborough (Mass.) Free Library after 39 years of working for the library in various posts, starting as children’s librarian in 1976.


Parvin Ahmadi, ’83 Health Science, former superintendent of Pleasanton Unified School District, became the superintendent of Castro Valley Unified School District on July 1.

Casey Beyer, ’85 MUP, a public policy specialist, is new executive director of the Santa Cruz County Business Council. He served as senior advisor to the president of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group for four years and earlier chaired the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

Dale Boyles, ’86 Marketing, is managing director of Alliance Residential Senior Housing in Phoenix. He was previously vice president of Emeritus/Brookdale Senior Living.

Bradford Chambers, ’88 Finance, joined Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Los Angeles as market manager. He is responsible for business and middle-market client development.

Ken Cowan, ’81 Electrical Engineering, is director of operations at STI International, a firearms manufacturer based in Georgetown, Texas. A U.S. Navy veteran, he previously served as the general manager of Oxford Instruments in Austin.

Robert Duncan, ’89 Physics, joined the board of directors of Vapir Enterprises, a San Jose-based firm that designs and manufactures medical-grade vaporization devices. For more than 25 years he has worked for startups and Fortune 500 companies and holds several patents.

James Hibberd, ’88 Finance, current senior vice president of Gexpro Electrical Distribution, joined the board of directors of Hutting Building Products, a building materials distributor. The 130-year-old company operates 27 distribution centers that serve 41 states.

Dave Hober, ’87 Political Science, is the city of Monterey’s interim police chief. He joined the Monterey Police Department in February as assistant chief and previously served as deputy chief of the San Jose Police Department.

David Johnson, ’80 Economics, reverse mortgages expert and associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, presented his research at the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association’s annual conference. “There has always been a lot of misinformation about reverse mortgages. That is why I became interested in this area in 2005,” he said. “As a loan originator, I spent much of my time trying to clear-up the misconceptions.”

Shozo Kagoshima, ’82 Aeronautical Operations, previously general manager of the Winchester Mystery House, is the new executive director of Hakone Gardens, acquired by the city of Saratoga in 1966. Among his objectives: “I want to make sure Hakone becomes known to people beyond Saratoga and Santa Clara Valley…a destination for tourists,” he said.

Julie Mar-Spinola, ’84 Chemistry, is chief intellectual property officer of Finjan Holdings, a cybersecurity licensing company headquartered in East Palo Alto. Co-founder of ChIPs, a nonprofit founded in 2005 to promote women in IP and technology, she received a law degree from Santa Clara University.

Simon Pennington, ’88 Art History, who teaches art history at Foothill College, gave a presentation titled “Designing the Future: Modern Design and the Creative Economy” at The Morning Forum, a members-only lecture series held at Los Altos United Methodist Church.

Albert Rios Jr., ’88 Political Science, directs the city of San Jose’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services. He has worked in various management roles at City Hall since 2000. The PRNS department has a budget of approximately $65 million, employs 545 people and oversees the operation and maintenance of nearly 200 neighborhood and regional parks.


Lisa Bergh, ’99 MFA Spatial Arts, is executive director of the Hutchinson Center for Arts in Hutchinson, Minn.

Dana Chahidi, ’99 Political Science, of San Jose, was recently named vice president and government affairs chair for the California Association of Mortgage Professionals.

Ken Geisick, ’99 MA Education, is superintendent of Orland Unified School District in Northern California. He began his career in education in 1992 as a high school teacher in San Jose and is the former superintendent of the Riverbank Unified School District. Most recently, he served as chief educational services officer of THINK Together, a nonprofit headquartered in Santa Ana.

Eric Goddard, ’92 Psychology, is associate superintendent of human resources for Los Altos Union High School District. Previously he served as director of human resources in the Palo Alto Unified School District.

Rosa Gomez, ’98 MSW, was appointed assistant deputy director of the Specialized Services Division, California Department of Rehabilitation, by Gov. Jerry Brown in May. She has served as staff services manager of the division since 2012.

Mark Hoffman, ’93 Kinesiology, former associate dean of the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University in Corvallis, was recently promoted to vice provost of international programs. He has been a member of the university’s faculty, teaching exercise and sport science, since 2000.

Dustin Leno, ’95 Aeronautical Operations, former operations supervisor at San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, is new general manager at Big Bear Airport. Among his priorities: increasing air traffic and strengthening the airport’s commercial ties. “I’m very interested in developing a strong relationship with the business community…in making the airport an important partner in getting people in here and spending their money in the community,” he said.

Graeme Logie, ’99 Business Administration, teaches at Homestead High School in Cupertino and received the 2015 Charles Dee Cox Outstanding Local Chapter Adviser Award from the California chapter of Future Business Leaders of America.

Derrick Marion, ’97 MS Criminal Justice, previous deputy chief of the Office of Correction Safety, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, was appointed chief of that department in April by Gov. Jerry Brown. Marion has taught as an adjunct at American River College in Sacramento since 2001.

Federico “Fred” Méndez, ’92 Economics, joined MUFG Union Bank as managing director and national community outreach officer. Based in San Francisco, he also serves on the board of Valley Vision, an economic development advisory board that focuses on Northern California.

Jeff Novitzky, ’92 Accounting, a federal agent at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 2008, joined Ultimate Fighting Championship as vice president of athlete health and performance. “I am thrilled to be joining a world-class organization like UFC that is committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure all of its athletes are competing in a clean sport,” he said. At his previous post, he investigated companies suspected of illegally distributing dietary supplements and designer steroids.

Vince Voron, ’90 MBA, vice president/executive creative director of global brand content marketing at Dolby Laboratories, won a Daytime Emmy for the animated short film Silent. The film tells the story of two street performers who wander into an abandoned theater where a magical device “spins” them through a history of the cinema.

Keith Yurdana, ’90 BFA Art, a mixed-media artist, exhibited his work at the Tinkerville Gallery in Long Beach, Wash., in May. Based in Honolulu, he has also shown his work at the Seattle Art Museum and the Sunshine International Art Museum in Beijing, China. Learn more at: keithyurdana.com.


Galit Breen, ’00 MA Education, freelance writer, responded to an attack of cyberbullying by publishing a book on the topic: Kindness Wins—A Simple No-Nonsense Guide to Teaching Our Kids How to Be Kind Online (Booktrope Editions, 2015). Read her blog at: theselittlewaves.com.

Matt Brown, ’06 MS Mass Communications, a reporter at the Press Democrat for the past two years, was hired to edit Petaluma’s Argus-Courier. After graduating from SJSU, he moved to Kenya and reported for various U.S. news organizations on the wars in Africa.

Alicia Forbrich, ’08 MBA, is founder and owner of San Jose Learning Center, a foreign language school that offers group classes and private lessons. “I am proud to say that we have educated more than 3,000 students,” Forbrich reports. The school celebrated its fourth anniversary in March with a fiesta attended by San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and other distinguished Bay Area guests.

Mary Kay Going, ’02 MA Education, former assistant superintendent of educational services in the San Mateo-Foster City Elementary School District, is the new superintendent of San Jose’s Moreland School District. She is completing a doctorate in educational leadership and social justice at CSU East Bay.

Ashwin Kotian, ’06 MBA, is vice president of product management at RF Code in Austin, Texas. He was previously chief product officer at Artisan Infrastructure, also headquartered in Austin.

Cheryl Lee, ’06 MLIS, is branch manager and program coordinator of Santa Clara’s Northside Library.

Anup Mehta, ’07 Marketing, joined Long Beach’s Garcia, Artigliere & Medby, a law firm that specializes in elder abuse litigation. He received his law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego and is a member of the Los Angeles County Bar.

Yash Nelapati, ’08 Engineering, who joined Pinterest as the company’s first full-time engineer in 2010, was named one of the 20 “Most Influential Indians in U.S. Technology” by Business Insider.

Hemanth Puttaswamy, ’05 MBA, is CTO/senior vice president of products and technology at Revitas, a Pennsylvania-based provider of business solutions for channel and contract management. He held previous posts at Saba, Coremetrics and Chordiant Software.

Larissa Robideaux, ’08 MPA, is executive director of JW House, located on the Kaiser Permanente campus that borders Cupertino and Sunnyvale on Homestead Road. A nonprofit home for families facing medical crises, the home and organization are named for Jan-Willem Knapen, who died of cancer in 2005.

Cynthia Siegel, ’06 MFA Spatial Art, was a recent Fulbright-Nehru Scholar in Kolkata, India, where she studied clay sculptural traditions. She documented her experiences in a blog called “Dusty Clay Diaries.” Read about her adventures at: cynthiasiegel.net.


Lynn Baker, ’15 MLIS, based in Frankfort, Ky., published Counting Down to Kindergarten: A Complete Guide to Creating a School Readiness Program for Your Community (American Library Association, 2015). She is a youth services specialist at Paul Sawyer Public Library in Frankfort.

Chris Brown, ’10 MLIS, former community library manager at Contra Costa County Library, is Santa Clara County Library’s deputy county librarian in community development. His War Ink project, a virtual exhibit/forum that helped California veterans reconnect with their communities, received the American Library Association’s 2015 John Cotton Dana Award for Excellence in Public Relations. The project was also nominated for a Webby, an international award honoring excellence on the Internet. Learn more at: warink.org.

Joy Marie Doan, ’14 MLIS, is a music librarian at UCLA.

Gustavo Flores, ’14 Applied Anthropology, archaeologist and adjunct lecturer at Evergreen Valley College, gave a talk at the Santa Cruz Archaeological Society’s May meeting on the region’s Native American resistance to Spanish conquest, 1769 to 1846. The presentation focused on three Native American leaders: Pomponio, Estanislao and Yozcolo.

Marianne Lettieri, ’13 MFA Photography, artist-in-residence at the Cubberly Artist Studios in Palo Alto, mounted six installations of her work at the Peninsula Museum of Art in July. The exhibition was titled “House/Work.”

Carly Marmaduke, ’14 Health Sciences, is a Sonoma Life Support paramedic based in Santa Rosa. “Being a paramedic is not always about a major medical emergency,” she said. “Sometimes it’s being able to hold someone’s hand…to say: ‘It’s OK. We’re going to get you the help you need.’”

Tom Sanders, ’14 MFA Art/Photography, a Bay Area photographer whose coffee table book The Last Good War: The Faces and Voices of WWII (Welcome Books/Rizzoli) received Foreword Reviews’ Nonfiction Book of the Year award, has photographed athletes, cowboys, pole dancers, Hollywood celebrities and more. His portrait of Louie Zamperini, the World War II POW and subject of Angelina Jolie’s film Unbroken, was featured on a “Dateline NBC” broadcast titled “Unbroken—A Real Story.” See his work at: tomsandersphoto.com and tomsandersart.com.

Michelle Tayler, ’14 Dietetics, is president of MagicKitchen.com, a home-delivered, special diet meal provider, based in Mountain View. This year she completed her dietetic internship at Nutrition Therapy Essentials and Il Pastaio Foods in San Jose.

Justina Vega, ’13 Nutrition Science, is supervising nutritionist at Women, Infants & Children/Community Bridges in Watsonville and a program associate at The Health Trust.


Jody Ulate

Jody Ulate, '05 MA English, is editor of the Washington Square blog and printed alumni magazine.

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