Fall/Winter 2016 Alumni Updates


Ray Silva, ’52 BA, ’56 MA, Physical Education, an agent at Pacific Advisors/Guardian Life Insurance Company, is the only agent in the history of Guardian Life to qualify for the company’s Sales Production Club 50 times. He is also a member emeritus of the Society of Financial Service Professionals.



Glenda Gonzales, ’60 BA, ’61 MA, Music, who taught music and drama at Placer High School from 1961 to 2005, received the 2016 Vernon Gould McCann Award in recognition of her contribution to the Auburn, Calif., community. “She is Auburn’s matriarch of theatre arts,” praised Bart Rudd, who nominated Gonzales for the honor. After retiring from teaching, Gonzales helped restore the State Theatre and continues to serve as a member of the Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center Board of Directors.
John Robbins, ’65 Industrial Management, ’67 MBA, CEO of Carpenter Robbins Commercial Real Estate in San Ramon, was appointed president of the board of Family Support Services of the Bay Area, a nonprofit serving youth at risk. Wife Mary Reed Robbins, ’66 History, is also a realtor and serves on the board of directors of Empire Realty Associates in Danville.



Bruce Ahnberg, ’78 Biological Science, is a furniture manufacturer representative and wedding musician based in Los Gatos.

Gordon Arnold, ’71 Business Administration, chairman of Sierra Monitor Corporation in Milpitas, was inducted into the Measurement, Control and Automation Hall of Fame at ceremonies in Nashville, Tenn., in April.

Eugene “Gene” Dominique, ’76 Photojournalism, retired as an attorney in 2015 to pursue a lifelong interest in photography. His photographs have been exhibited in the 2016 Berkeley Fine Art Photographers show, the 2016 PhotoCentral show in Hayward and the Invisible Men—Black Male Artists on Art show in Oakland.

Rick Hopkins, ’76 Zoology, ’81 MA Biological Science, co-owner/senior conservation biologist at the ecological consulting firm Live Oak Associates, gave a lecture on cougar conservation in Bend, Ore., in March. His graduate research focused on the spatial ecology of the cougar in the Diablo Range above San Jose.

Kirk Rademaker, ’74 Art, is one half of the Sand Guys, a pair of professional sand sculptors who construct giant sand sculptures for a living. Recent constructions include a six-foot-high, 15-foot-wide jackrabbit that required 26 tons of sand and was created onsite at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitors Center in Palm Desert. A former construction manager, Rademaker says: “Carving sand is the best therapy there is.”

Karen Raudsep, ’79 Liberal Studies, a teacher for 23 years in the Fremont Unified School District, was named the district’s 2016 Teacher of the Year. She currently teaches at Brier Elementary School.

Gene Silver, ’76 Radio/TV/Film, retired as assignment editor at KNBC-TV in Los Angeles after a 37-year career in broadcast journalism. The recipient of multiple Emmy and Golden Mike awards, he currently manages real estate property that he co-owns.



Verda Alexander, ’88 Art, and Primo Orpilla, ’88 Interior Design, co-founders of Studio O+A, a San Francisco-based design firm, received a 2016 National Design Award in the category of interior design. The annual National Design Awards, sponsored by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, honor lasting achievement in American design.
John Beaman, ’82 Mathematics, retired from Verizon Wireless after 20 years with the company.

Dan Beucke, ’83 Economics, an award-winning financial journalist, joined the Los Angeles Times as deputy business editor. He previously ran the business sections at the Orange County Register, New York’s Newsday and the San Jose Mercury News.

Robert Bigler, ’87 Mechanical Engineering, created a one-wheel hoverboard using gyroscopic technology that comes with a smartphone app. Price tag: between $3,000 and $4,000. Too pricey? At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Bigler revealed there’s a lower-cost version in the works that will retail between $1,000 and $2,000.

Will Borucki, ’82 MS Meteorology, is principal investigator for NASA’s Kepler Mission and heads the team that conceived, designed, built and operated the space telescope that detected possible Earth-size worlds within the habitable zone. A space scientist at NASA Ames since 1962, he recently received the Drake Award from the SETI Institute, an organization dedicated to researching the nature of life in the universe.

Fernando Delgado, ’88 Political Science, former vice chancellor for Academic Affairs/provost at the University of Wisconsin River Falls, began his new post as executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Minnesota Duluth in July.

Carol Dixon, ’81 Sociology, vice president of global human resources at San Jose’s Sphere 3D, was installed as 2016-2018 Far Western Regional Director of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority in July. She is the 25th woman to lead the Far Western Region. She began her Alpha Kappa Alpha service as an undergraduate at SJSU and currently serves as president of the SJSU Black Alumni Network.

Jennifer Francis, ’88 Meteorology, is a research professor in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University in New Jersey and cofounded the Rutgers Climate and Environmental Change Initiative. Her interest in weather and the Arctic began when she and her husband circumnavigated the world in a sailboat in the early 1980s.
David Grisham, ’86 Accounting, is a partner in the San Francisco branch of Hemming Morse, an accounting firm that specializes in forensic and financial consultation. He also serves on the accounting advisory board at Menlo College and teaches as an adjunct professor at Golden Gate University.

Richard Hanz, ’89 Economics, was promoted to CFO at San Jose’s Tech CU, a credit union serving the Bay Area. He was previously the company’s senior vice president of strategic planning.

Susan Lancia, ’86 Marketing, who joined the Cleveland, Ohio, law firm Frantz Ward last year as CFO, has been promoted to the newly created position of COO.

Doug McNeil, ’83 Industrial Technology, co-founder of Lighting for Literacy, received Rotary District 5170’s Carl G. Orne Award, honoring his personal commitment to world peace and understanding. Learn more about the Los Gatos-based nonprofit at: lightingforliteracy.org.

Ron Pasek, ’83 Finance, former CFO of Altera Corporation, was appointed executive vice president/CFO of NetApp, headquartered in Sunnyvale, in March.



Chris Alessio, ’92 MBA, previously vice president of sales and programs at Hunter Technology, is currently vice president of sales and operations for Ventec International Group’s North American operations. A producer of polyimide and epoxy laminates, the company is headquartered in Suzhou, China.

Jon Biggs, ’90 Urban Planning, is the new community development director for the city of Los Altos.

Jarie Bolander, ’95 Electrical Engineering, is co-founder/COO of Redwood City’s Lab Sensor Solutions, a company that specializes in IoT sensors for the healthcare industry. Earlier, he founded Tagent Corporation. The number one mistake entrepreneurs make, according to Bolander: “Giving up too soon.”

Kara Doyle, ’94 Business Administration, based in Pepperell, Mass., was promoted to vice president of commercial lending at Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union. She has worked for the company since 2003.

Lynn Fountain, ’92 MLS, an associate with the law firm of Pease and Gustafson in Massena, N.Y., was appointed to the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority Board of Directors by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in June.

Mark Grey, ’92 BA, ’97 MA, Music, composer and sound designer, premiered his “Frankenstein Symphony,” inspired by Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel, at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley in May. Grey has also composed an opera of the same name, his version set in 2216 and scored for a full orchestra and eight principals.

David Honda, ’92 Industrial Technology, a 25-year law enforcement veteran, took over as chief of the Watsonville Police Department in March.

Pyong Kim, ’99 Accounting, was promoted to vice president of finance at Mountain View’s Aarki, a mobile app advertising firm. He has worked previously at Seagate, WebEx and Interactive Data.

Cary Matsuoka, ’99 MA Education, who has held superintendent posts in the Los Gatos-Saratoga High School District and Milpitas Unified School District, is new superintendent of the Santa Barbara Unified School District. He began his career in education teaching chemistry, physics and computer science at Saratoga High School.

Shelly Paiva, ’99 Marketing, is owner and majority stockholder of C.H. Reynolds, an electrical contracting firm based in San Jose that was founded by her father. During the past 20 years, she has worked in every department of the company and has headed the company since 2012.

Alfred Perez, ’98 Social Work, recently joined the faculty of the College of Education, Kinesiology and Social Work at CSU Stanislaus.

Ivar Satero, ’91 Mechanical Engineering, who served as COO of San Francisco International Airport for two years, was promoted to airport director in July. He has worked in various positions at SFO for 22 years. The airport served a record-breaking 50 million passengers in 2015.

Tasha Souza, ’92 BA, ’94 MA, Speech Communication, is a professor and assistant director of the Center of Teaching and Learning at Idaho’s Boise State University. She previously taught at Humboldt State University and the University of the West Indies in Barbados.

Adam Steinhauer, ’91 Journalism, is the Sacramento Business Journal’s editor-in-chief. During his 25 years as an investigative reporter and editor, he has worked at Las Vegas Review Journal, Orange County Business Journal and The Deal, a financial news service for investment bankers.

Charles Yun, ’94 Finance, former senior vice president at San Jose’s Umpqua Bank, is current executive vice president and chief lending officer at Bay Commercial Bank. He works out of the bank’s corporate offices in Walnut Creek.



Nehal Abuelata, ’06 French, sings, composes and plays keyboards for the rock band she created, Sweet HayaH, specializing in “soul, groove, world music and even a pinch of metal,” she reports. A native of Egypt, Abuelata lived in Paris for 14 years before relocating to the South Bay and taking a Capoeira class at SJSU that convinced her she wanted to perform.

Nancy Avelar, ’07 Communicative Disorders, was inducted into the National Association of Professional Women’s VIP Woman of the Year Circle in March in ceremonies held in Garden City, N.Y. A realtor at Santa Clara Realty, she is also a member of the California Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors.

Zane Barnes, ’04 Political Science, is strategic grants manager at United Way Silicon Valley. After receiving his graduate degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he spent six years as a U.S. diplomat, serving in Afghanistan, Bangkok, Seoul and Auckland. His favorite quote, which he attributes to former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: “Always make room for chance in your life.”

Vicki Burns, ’00 MA Music, a jazz vocalist currently based in New York, returned to the Bay Area after seven years to perform at Oakland’s Sound Room this past summer. Her debut album, Siren Song, was released in 2003.
Catrina Coyle, ’08 MLIS, is a librarian at Fortuna Library in Humboldt County. She previously held positions at public libraries in Monterey, Pacific Grove and Carmel.

Jennifer Finlay, ’07 MLIS, is a librarian at Shepard-Pruden Memorial Library in Edenton, N.C.

Sharon Gerber, ’00 Business Management, is branch manager and loan originator at Peak Mortgage in Lihue, Hawaii.

Mary Gloner, ’00 MPH, is executive director of Project Safety Net, a 30-member collaborative dedicated to preventing youth suicide in Palo Alto.

Qi Li, ’05 Accounting, headed China’s first student-organized Israeli film festival at Beijing’s China Agricultural University last year. Her motivation: “to allow students to see other sides to Israel and not just the conflict often depicted in the Chinese media,” she explained. “China and Israel only established diplomatic relations in 1992. It’s important to educate the young generation about Israel.”

Jennifer Posey, ’00 Leisure Studies, owns Hedonist Artisan Chocolates in Rochester, N.Y., a “tiny” business until the New York Times featured Posey’s dark salted caramels in an article—publicity that brought in orders for nearly 100,000 caramels within days. Her enterprise has now expanded to include an ice cream and craft shop. A former parks and recreation director, Posey takes as her business motto: “If you lead with quality, success will follow.”

Leonard Tran, ’00 Criminal Justice, is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer based in San Francisco.

Jason Viloria, ’04 MA Education, took over as superintendent of the Laguna Beach Unified School District in July. He spent the previous three years as an administrator in the San Dieguito Union High School District in San Diego County.

Emily Washington, ’01 English, was promoted to senior vice president of production management at Infogix, an end-to-end data analysis firm, headquartered in Naperville, Ill. She has been with the company since 2003.



Stephen Bayer, ’13 Kinesiology, graduated from U.S. Navy boot camp in Great Lakes, Ill., in June and is currently stationed in Groton, Conn.

Jessica Cadiente, ’13 MLIS, was confirmed as new library director by the Santa Barbara City Council and will oversee all public libraries in Santa Barbara, Montecito, Goleta, Carpinteria, Buellton and Solvang. For five months previous to the appointment, she served as interim director.

Jessa Carmack, ’15 Public Relations, Santa Clara native and former San Francisco 49ers cheerleader, was crowned Miss California 2016 in July. Among her other titles: Miss Santa Clara (2015) and Miss North Bay (2016). She intends to use the $20,000 prize to pay off college loans.

Tammy Moss Chandler, ’11 MPH, is director of Mendocino County’s Health and Human Services Agency. She was previously assistant director for Placer County’s Health and Human Services Agency. She has also held public health positions in Sonoma County and Merced County.

Melissa Eleftherion, ’12 MLIS, is a reference and teen services librarian in Mendocino County and the author of five chapbooks of poetry, including Pigtail Duty (dancing girl press, 2015). She created and manages the Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange for SFSU’s Poetry Center. Read her work at: apoetlibrarian.wordpress.com.

Gina Esposito, ’12 Broadcast Journalism, is the new morning reporter for WSOC-TV in Charlotte, N.C. “I’ve made it to a top 25 market!” she reports. Previously, she worked at KKTV 11 News in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Dawn Feldthouse, ’12 Nursing, is pursuing a graduate degree in health care informatics at NYU.

Jeff Forgeron, ’14 Meteorology, a meteorologist based in San Diego, competed on “America’s Next Weatherman,” a show produced by Mark Burnett of “Survivor” fame. The Palm Springs native got hooked on the weather in elementary school and brought the local newspaper’s weather page to class for show and tell.

Jason Kapoor, ’12 Theatre Arts, starred in an off-Broadway production of Ideation, a psychological suspense thriller involving a group of corporate consultants and an “ethically ambiguous project.” After graduating from SJSU, Kapoor received a graduate degree in classical acting from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He has performed in more than 15 plays in London, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Taylor Peterson, ’14 Behavioral Science, is communications manager at Morgan Hill’s The Circle Up Experience, an experiential learning program for individuals and corporate teams. He is also pursuing a master’s in counseling psychology at Santa Clara University.

Jose Ramil Seneris, ’13 Aerospace Engineering, whose day job is at Space Systems Loral, spent two months designing and constructing a bike made from cardboard and 3D-printed parts to debut at the Bay Area Maker Faire in San Mateo. For now, his goal isn’t a production-ready bicycle—just a bike he “can ride three times along a 10-foot straight line.”

Carly Slade, ’16 MFA Spatial Arts, is 2016-2017 artist-in-residence in ceramics at the Lawrence (Kan.) Arts Center. A native of Canada, she incorporates industrial building supplies in her work and says her art is deeply influenced by her “blue collar upbringing.” This past summer, she was also an artist-in-residence at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Mont. View her work at: carlyslade.com.

Cameron Venable, ’15 Meteorology, a Southern California native, has moved to the Texas Panhandle to join NewsChannel 10’s StormTrack 10 weather team. He now calls Amarillo home.

Jody Ulate

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

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