Featured Alumni Friday


Featured Alumni Fridays is a great new series on Facebook that gives HPPA the opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of our many alumni while facilitating networking among the social media community!

If you would like to participate, please send an e-mail to info@hornetsppa.org that includes a picture of yourself and a short bio with information like your hometown, degrees, grade year, and current employment. Please also let us know what you love about Sacramento State! 

Sergio Aguilar

Sergio Aguilar, MPPA ‘13

Sergio graduated with his MPPA from Sac State in 2013. A southern California native, Sergio grew up in the Inland Empire before moving to Sacramento to begin the Sac State MPPA program. Growing up in an underprivileged community he observed many inequalities firsthand and became aware of how public leaders and policies influenced our society. This fueled a desire in him to engage in a career that allowed him to take actions that would aid communities in need. Read profile»

George Bravo



George Bravo, MPPA ‘13

George was born and raised in San Francisco, Calif. and later moved to Daly City, Calif. where he currently lives. In June 2010, George graduated with a double major in Politics and Economics from UC Santa Cruz. While attending UC Santa Cruz, he applied for the UC Center Sacramento internship program and was offered the opportunity to work for Assemblymember Fiona Ma. Read profile»

Katie Cardenas


Katie Cardenas, MPPA ‘13

Katie’s educational career started at Humboldt State University where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. Knowing she wanted to continue her education, she moved to Sacramento two years ago to pursue a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration. During her time at Sac State, Katie interned in Governor Brown’s Press Office, with Yolo County Public Affairs, and was appointed to the Associated Students Inc Board of Directors as Director of Graduate Studies. She graduated in May. Read profile»

Brandon Chaplin


Brandon Chaplin, MPPA ‘13

A lifelong Californian, Brandon grew up in Dublin, Calif. in the Bay Area. Just after graduating high school, and stuck between the decision to pursue either a Journalism or Political Science degree, Brandon became hooked on government and public policy after he interned for his local Congressman, Jerry McNerney. The chance to make government work for others made the decision an easy one. Read profile»

Monica Cortez Hernandez


Monica Cortez Hernandez ’13 (Government/Journalism)

Monica comes from a hard working Hispanic family of five. She grew up in a rural community, Tulelake, Calif. Monica recently graduated from Sacramento State with a degree in government/journalism. Currently Monica serves as a Legislative Assistant for Assemblymember Rudy Salas, where she is responsible for staffing legislative measures, committees, meetings, and issue areas such as health and human services, water, education and higher education. Read profile»

Tami Cowgill

Tami Cowgill, MPPA '17 (expected) 

Tami lived in Orlando Florida for 26 years before coming to Sacramento State for a Masters in Public Policy and Administration, which she hopes to finish by 2017. She currently works for the California Mental Health Services Authority and volunteers at a Senior Safe House for Volunteers of America. She said she loves Sac State’s “Beautiful gardens, open spaces, and the diversity of students.”

Samantha Farmer

Samantha Farmer '10 (History & Government)

Samantha is from Sacramento and received a double Bachelor’s in History and Government in 2010. She currently works for the Consumer Attorneys of California. We asked Samantha why she loved Sac State and she said, “There is so much to love about Sacramento State; on top of the natural beauty of the campus and great professors, Sacramento State has an amazing archive collection. As a double history/ government major, I really enjoyed looking at collections from California's founding and learning from firsthand accounts how California transformed from the Wild West to the great state we live in today.”

Darrell Fong


Darrell Fong '88 (Business Administration)
 

Darrell Fong was born and raised in Sacramento, California and has lived in the Pocket Greenhaven area for nearly 30 years. Darrell attended C.K. McClatchy High School, Sacramento City College, and Sacramento State University. Read profile»

Matt Gray

Matt Gray '01 (Communication Studies)

Matt is from Los Altos and received his Bachelors in Communications Studies with a Minor in Chemistry in 2001. He is currently a lobbyist with Advocacy & Consulting, which is a California lobbying and government strategies firm. Matt said he loves the university because of “The diversity, skilled instructors, and full range of educational opportunities at Sacramento State! It truly is a chance to make whatever you want of it, while having fun and meeting new people. It is so close to the best that northern California has to offer. Even the parking has vastly improved!”

Fielding Greaves

Fielding Greaves, MPPA '11

Fielding is from Santa Barbara and graduated with his Masters in Public Policy and Administration in 2011. He currently works as Senior Consultant for Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski. Fielding is also finishing his J.D. at McGeorge Law School in December of 2014 and is sitting for the February 2015 Bar Examination. When asked why he loves Sac State, Fielding replied, “The educational experience revolutionized my thinking about policymaking. The faculty were superbly professional and all had practical experience working in California State government. The network quickly lead to job that immediately became a career. My first foray into Sacramento Politics and Policy was successful because of the grounded insights I gained from the Department of Public Policy and Administration at Sacramento State.” He is pictured here with former California Speaker Willie Brown. 

Eric Guerra


Eric Guerra ’03 (Electrical and Electronic Engineering), MPPA ‘08

Eric was born in a small pueblo in Michuacan, Mexico. He immigrated with his family to Esparto, a small farm working town in Yolo County. He and his family all worked as farm workers in the harvest of tomatoes, peaches, oranges, and a variety of other agricultural jobs. Read profile»

Erik Johnson


Erik Johnson, MPPA ‘11

A northern California native, Erik has lived in the Santa Cruz area, Central Valley, Bay Area, and now calls Sacramento home. He discovered a passion for government service early on, starting an internship with a Member of Congress while finishing high school. While finishing his bachelor’s in Politics from Saint Mary’s College of California, an internship with the City of Lafayette inspired him to pursue a career in local government. Read profile»

Sheila Johnston

Sheila Johnston, MPPA '09

Sheila is from Ontario and graduated from Sac State with her Masters in Public Policy and Administration in 2009. She currently works as a Legislative Advocate for the Association of California Health Care Districts. When asked what she loves about Sac State Sheila said, “The vast networking opportunities that has continued to be fostered even after completing my degree five years ago, and the quality of professors that work at Sac State. My education was rooted in quality and the friendships gained during my studies are very dear to me.”

Devin Lavelle


Devin Lavelle, MPPA ‘11

Devin grew up in Oakland and earned his Bachelors from Pomona College in SoCal, before coming to Sacramento in 2006. He brought a background in data focused research for several non-profits to the Sacramento State Masters in Public Policy & Administration program. Devin graduated in the winter of 2011, having focused on economics and statistical analysis. He joined the firm of Andrew Chang & Company in 2012. Read profile»

Tamar Lazarus

Tamar Lazarus, MPPA '08

Tamar graduated from the Sacramento State Department of Public Policy and Administration program in 2008. A Sacramento native Tamar graduated with her B.A. in History & Political Science from Davis in 2002. She was an Executive Fellow for the Department of Health Care Services and she worked for the Little Hoover Commission. She recently got a job at the California State Auditor’s Office. Tamar was one of the founding members of HPPA and joined because she wanted to help build a stronger network of Hornets around the Capitol. 

Justin Lehr

Justin Lehr '05 (Government)

Justin is a Sacramento native who received his Bachelor’s in Government in 2005. He currently works at CalSTRS in employer education and outreach, informing employers throughout California of legislative changes and current retirement law. When asked what he loved about Sac State Justin said, “The chickens. Wait... you mean the chickens are gone? Then I would say the close ties the public policy program has in the community and the fantastic faculty.”

Angela Marin


Angela Marin, MPPA ‘13

Angela moved to Sacramento three years ago from Southern California to earn her Master's Degree from the Sacramento State Department of Public Policy and Administration. She selected this graduate program because of its unique blend of policy analysis and public administration training. Angela graduated in May 2013 having completed her thesis on the subjects of organizational theory and regulatory design. Read profile»

Kevin McCarty


Kevin McCarty, MPPA ‘11

Raised in Sacramento, Kevin attended American River College, earned a B.A. in Political Science from CSU Long Beach and a M.A. in Public Policy and Administration from CSU Sacramento. He lives in the Elmhurst neighborhood with his wife Leticia and his twin daughters, Victoria and Barbara, and their chocolate Labrador Biko. Read profile»

Michael Minnick

Michael Minnick '05 (Child Development), MPPA '07

Michael is from San Mateo and received two degrees from Sac State; his Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development in 2005 and his Master’s in Public Policy & Administration in 2007. Currently Michael’s primary job is a Prevention & Education Manager at WEAVE Inc., which is a Sacramento based nonprofit supporting survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. On the side Michael is a Community Engagement Consultant to the National Children’s Study- a Federal longitudinal study of 100,000 children from pre-birth to age 21 which aims to learn how we can best keep our nation’s kids healthy. Michael said he loves Sac State because of, “The diverse backgrounds of the students. Some students were straight out of high school and others, like me, had already been building a career before going back to school.” He added that, “As an alumni, I love being able to utilize The Well for my own health and wellness.”

Krystal Moreno


Krystal Moreno '11 (Communication Studies)

Krystal moved from Anchorage, Alaska, where she was born and raised, to the Bay Area. After attending Sacramento State, she received her Bachelor's Degree in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Public Relations (2011). She currently works in the Office of Assemblymember Tom Daly as his Executive Secretary. Krystal said she loves Sac State because "The campus infrastructure is constantly expanding. We've seen access to overall resources for current students and alumni greatly improve over time. I'm proud to be a Hornet!" 

Haley Myers

Haley Myers, MPPA '11

Haley lives in Folsom and she received her Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration in 2011. Haley said she loves Sac State because it “Offers a real-world, affordable education. It's practical, and what I learned can have practical application.” She added that, “Beyond the classroom, I love the community approach to wellness at Sac State. “

Janus Norman

Janus Norman '02 (Communication Studies)

Janus is from Cerritos California and graduated from Sacramento State in 2002 with a Bachelor’s in Communications Studies. Janus loved that Sacramento State felt like a small community. 

Berman Obaldia

Berman Obaldia '89 (Government/Political Science)

Berman is from East Los Angeles and graduated from Sac State with a Bachelor’s Degree in Government/Political Science in 1989. He owns his own Government Affairs and Business Development Firm, BFO & Associates. Berman said he loved Sac State because of the “wonderful professors and the one on one interaction I had with them. It’s a beautiful campus. I made long time and lifelong friends.”

Phil Pluckebaum



Phil Pluckebaum '01 (Philosophy)

Phil is a Sacramento native who graduated from Sac State with a degree in Philosophy in 2001. He currently works for Covered California and some know him as the Mayor of River Park. When asked what he loves about Sac State, Phil said, “The faculty, the student body, and the trees.”

Martin Radosevich

Martin Radosevich, MPPA '10

Martin is from Galt and received his Masters in Public Policy and Administration in 2010. He currently works as a Senior Policy Advisor for U.S. Congresswomen Zoe Lofgren from California’s 19th congressional district. Martin loved Sac State’s quality education at an affordable price and the great free concerts in the Student Union.

Silvia Rodriguez



Silvia Rodriguez, MPPA '05

Silvia was born in Guatemala and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles. Labeled as “high risk youth” growing up by educators in elementary and middle school, she went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts degree from Pitzer College. She came to Sac State for her Master’s of Public Policy and Administration and graduated in 2005. From 2004 through fiscal year 2011-12 she was instrumental in designing, implementing, and administering the Mental Health Services Act, which represented the largest expansion of funds dedicated to mental health services since the 1960’s in the State of California. This was a $7B operation by the time she left her post. She currently works for the California Department of State Hospitals as Chief of the Administrative Services Unit within the Technology Services Division. She is a board member of the American Society for Pubic Administration (ASPA), Sacramento Chapter. Silvia said she loves that her favorite alumni chapter is becoming more active in State Capitol, where we can truly be practitioners of public policy and administration!

Ryan Roebuck

Ryan Roebuck '10 (History & Government), MPPA '12

Ryan hails from Tehachapi, California. He graduated from Sacramento State with a Bachelor’s in Government, History, and Social Science in 2010 and with a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration in 2012. He currently works in the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development and attends McGeorge School of Law. Ryan loves that at Sac State he met life-long friends. 

Josh Rosa


Josh Rosa, MPPA ‘08

Josh Rosa made Sacramento his home in 2005 to pursue a career in public policy. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from UC Davis. But he also wanted a more applied education in his field, so in 2008 Josh earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from Sacramento State. Using that training, he served in Governor Schwarzenegger’s Office as a policy and legislative adviser. Read profile»

Dan Scott

Dan Scott, MPPA '05

Dan was born in Paradise, CA and raised in Stockton. He came to Sacramento State for his MPPA in 2005 and graduated in 2011. He is currently living the sweet life- working as a consultant to non-profit organizations and to the craft beer industry as well as a freelance journalist. Dan loves Sac State’s peaceful redwood groves, the chance to eat a Togo’s avocado and cranberry on wheat, KSSU radio and great friends!

Arianna Smith

Arianna Smith, MPPA '13

Arianna is a Sacramento local who received her Masters in Public Policy and Administration in 2013. She currently works as the Legislative and Communications Director for Assemblymember Mark Stone. She also served as an Assembly Fellow through the Center for California Studies in 2006-07. When asked about her time at Sac State Arianna said, “I loved the quality of the education for the affordable price. I also appreciated that I could do my coursework in the evening while I was employed full-time. And finally, I love the alumni network!”

Hanna Stelmakhovych

Hanna Stelmakhovych '13 (Government)

Hanna is from Ukraine. She moved to the United States seven years ago, and graduated from Sacramento State in 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Government with a Concentration in International Relations. She currently works at the American Red Cross as a National Preparedness and Response Coordinator. She coordinates and implements disaster mitigation programs, conducts community outreach and education, and manages a small team of volunteers. When asked what she loved about Sac State, Hanna said, “I was impressed with the quality of education. Professors were knowledgeable on their subjects and passionate about delivering the best education to the students. Government department programs including Model United Nations and the Odyssey Mentoring Program offered additional opportunities for academic advancement and leadership development. I had a great experience!”

Andrew Strumfels


Andrew Sturmfels, MPPA ‘12

Andrew graduated with his MPPA from Sac State in 2012. After spending 7 years managing luxury hotels in Northern California, Andrew decided to follow his passion and answer the call to become a public servant. Building upon his undergraduate political science and communication degree from Roanoke College (2005), Andrew entered the 2010 MPPA cohort at SacState. Read profile»

Shery Vang

Shery Vang '12 (Government)

Shery is from Oliverhurst and graduated from Sac State with her Bachelor’s Degree in Government in 2012. She currently works as Communications Manager for the California Association of Sanitation Agencies. Shery said that she loves Sac State because, “My experience on the campus was unforgettable. The University provided students with a variety of programs, clubs, and opportunities for all types of interests, which presented us with a sense of individuality and community. As a pathway for the real and competitive world, the professors truly mentored their students and prepared us on becoming young professionals. By providing after hour tutoring sessions and one on one consultation, the school passionately signified academics as a top priority.”