Going Places

Spring 2012

Sac State is Going Places

Presidents Message
The Buzz
Sac State Alumni are Going Places
Globalizing the Classroom
Joe Mohamed: A Hornet Classic
Shari Herout: Lessons Learned
Class Notes

From the President

It is a time of great change at Sacramento State.

The recent years of deep cuts in state support to our campus have forced us to take a hard look at how we deliver education and services to our students and how we provide value to the region we serve. Part of this examination included reaching out to the Sacramento State family—alumni, faculty, staff, students and business leaders—and studying their feedback on the future of our campus.

During this process, two points became very clear: Our campus community is ready to move forward and become a university for the 21st century. And “business as usual” is no longer an option because of the current budget realities.

As such, our new initiative to shape the future of Sacramento State is called “Redefine the Possible.”

“Redefine the Possible” reflects much of the work we have done since the culmination of Destination 2010. We are revising curriculum, enhancing how our students interact with colleges and departments and exploring ways we can not only improve, but how we can reinvent ourselves.

In this issue, you can read about some of the work we are already doing to extend the University’s reach. Faculty and alumni are earning international acclaim for their work, and more students from other nations are choosing Sacramento State to pursue their dreams. 

To accompany this initiative, we also developed a set of values to help guide our work. Based on the input of the campus community, a university for the 21st century is: excellent and accessible, agile and efficient, modern and attractive, and a source of pride for the region and beyond.

Our work to create a university for the 21st century will require a major commitment to looking beyond the limitations we now perceive, and we set up these values to unleash the creativity of our students, faculty, staff and supporters.

And as alumni, you will be crucial to our new initiative.

I invite you to read more about “Redefine the Possible” and to provide feedback at csus.edu/redefinethepossible, and I look forward to working with you as we redefine the possible at Sacramento State.

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The Buzz

High times for familes

To those dreaming of conquering Everest, keep dreaming. But if your son or daughter fancies belaying 40 feet up a rock wall, read on.

The Well, Sac State’s recreation and wellness center, now offers family climbing on its indoor climbing wall. The Saturday sessions are open to Sac State alumni, faculty and staff, plus their guests and kiddies, too.

“As a father myself, I am constantly thinking of fun things to do with my daughter on the weekends,” says Sam Braband, The Well’s coordinator for the climbing wall and group facilitation. “Family climbing is a great way to expose your family and friends to a new activity while getting a little exercise as well.”

At nearly 40 feet tall, The Well’s indoor climbing wall stands as the largest in the CSU system. With 12 rope-climbing stations, it also includes a 13-foot freestanding boulder and a bouldering cove. The wall sees about 60 to 70 users daily, but that doesn’t mean only regular climbers need apply.

No experience? No gear? No problem. The Well provides lessons to novice adventurers, as well as climbing shoes, harnesses and belay devices. With a family-friendly atmosphere and safety top of mind, attentive climbing instructors supervise kids, parents—and parents who act like kids—to make sure everyone on the wall has a ball.

“Climbing draws people in,” Braband says. “It’s exciting, it challenges you mentally and physically, and most importantly it’s fun!”

And after a few of these outings, Everest, beware.

For more information on family climbing at The Well, call (916) 278-1784.            

London calling?

Sacramento State alumna and track and field standout Lea Wallace has her hopes set high—a spot on the 2012 Olympic team in either the 800 or 1,500 meters.

She told the State Hornet, “I’m probably going to have to run the fastest I’ve run in my entire life if I plan on making that team.”

Wallace’s 2011 season was one of the greatest in Sacramento State history. She was the Big Sky champion in the indoor 800 and mile and the outdoor 800 and 1,500. She qualified for the NCAA Div. I Indoor Championships in the 800 and became the first Hornet woman to advance to the outdoor championships in both events. At the outdoor meet in June, she earned All-America honors in both the 800 and 1,500.

She left Sacramento State as the school-record holder in the indoor 800 and mile and the outdoor 800 and 1,500.

Wallace was selected to represent the United States at the Pan American Games in October but she was unable to compete because of an ankle injury.

Cody Tudor:Class of 2012

From Delinquent to Dedicated Dad

Long before Cody Tudor became a student at Sac State’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, he was educated in the school of hard knocks.

Tudor dropped out of high school, spent time in juvenile detention, had a few brushes with the law and became a single parent raising two girls. And he’s only 25.

He credits the birth of his two daughters with his decision to turn his life around—he is a senior who will graduate with a degree in electrical engineering and works three part-time jobs on campus, including lead undergraduate researcher at the University’s Smart Grid Center. He also provides engineering consulting with a company building power supplies for linear accelerators used by the medical field to attack tumors. Last fall he was awarded the Henry T. Roche scholarship.

Q: Why did you decide to go to college?

A: My first daughter, Juliana, came along and I began to realize my purpose was greater than just having fun for myself. I needed to be a father and provide for her. I decided to return to school as a psychology major, and from there, my life pretty much started to go up.

Q: How did you jump from psychology to engineering?

A: I have always been interested in systems and how things work. I thought I wanted to go into psychology because I was interested in how the human brain works.  Eventually, I realized that I wasn’t actually interested in how all human brains work, I was interested in how my brain works. I moved on to computers because I found that working with electrical devices and computers was a passion, and that eventually led to electrical engineering. 

Q: As you look back on your life, do you wish you had done things differently?

A: It has been a windy road, but I’ve learned a lot along the way. I wouldn’t change a thing because I feel like everything I had to overcome was essential to becoming who I am, and that has helped me to become a better person.

Q: What are your plans after you graduate?

A: I hope to attend grad school here. I finished with a 4.0 grade point average last semester, so hopefully there are scholarships that can help make that happen.

CCE turns 60

The College of Continuing Education held a weeklong series of events to celebrate its 60th anniversary. Among the highlights was a campus community awareness day where participants from its programs for international students shared everything from karate demonstrations to food samplings to dance performances. The event also introduced new dean Guido Krickx.

The college was created in 1951 as Educational Services at Sacramento State College on the site that is now Sacramento City College. It moved to its current home in Napa Hall in 2002 and offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs, global education experiences,  professional certificates in areas such as green business operations and meeting and event planning, and leadership programs for government executives and managers.

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Alumnus named police chief

Mark M. Iwasa (’90, Economics and ’93 Master’s, Public Policy and Administration) took on the role of Sacramento State’s new campus police chief at the start of the new year. Iwasa, formerly Sacramento County undersheriff, brings more than 25 years of experience to the job, including criminal investigation, coordinated communication with neighboring municipalities and administration of community-oriented programs.

Bigger, better Veterans Success Center opens

Current and former service men and women and their families have a new home base at the refurbished Veterans Success Center. Double the size of the previous office, the Center offers a place where students can receive their GI benefits, navigate the admission process and register for courses. Services also include helping vets use campus resources, participate in leadership activities and transition into the civilian work world. And the Center serves as a gathering place to encourage camaraderie among the 1,350 veterans and dependents on campus.

Sac State lands federal opportunity grant

Sacramento State’s Department of Ethnic Studies and the College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies received a $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to bolster recruitment, retention and graduation rates among Asian American and Pacific Islander students by at least 10 percent. The five-year grant, “Where Opportunity Comes Full Circle,” also is designed to encourage student involvement in leadership programs with Sac State’s 65th Street Corridor Community Collaboration Project.

Professor nominated for Grammy

Sac State music professor Richard Savino was in some pretty rarified company in February. As a nominee for a Grammy Award, he attended the annual awards ceremony in Los Angeles. His group, El Mundo, was nominated for its album, The Kingdoms of Castille, in the Best Small Ensemble Performance category. Formed by Savino in 1999, El Mundo performs music written by Spanish, Latin American and Italian composers of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries using instruments appropriate to the time period.

Sac State launches entrepreneurial incubator

A boon to students and start-ups, Sacramento State’s College of Business Administration unveiled its Center for Entrepreneurship in Folsom Hall. Professor Seung Bach will direct the program designed to generate momentum for start-up enterprises less than a year old, particularly regional niche industries. The center will provide free office space in Folsom Hall for at least six months for individuals to hone their ideas and receive mentoring from faculty, advisory board members and student-volunteer interns.

RPTA 186: California Wine Tourism

Description: Providing wine education and real-world industry experience in winery hospitality and marketing, this one-unit course explores the California wine tourism industry from tasting room management to wine clubs and winery events. The curriculum includes an exploration of the history and mythology of wine, wine making and pairing, and insights into wine’s evolution, geography, agricultural attributes and economic impact in the Central Valley. Professor Greg Shaw discusses wine’s influence on society, cuisine and even how the entertainment industry—through films like Sideways—embraces the gift of the grape. “Wine is culture,” Shaw says. “It really is more than just a beverage.”

Classwork: Shaw exposes students to several local wine regions on the class’ four field trips. “This year we’ll be going to d’Art, Lava Cap, Clarksburg Wine Co. and Benziger,” he says. Shaw also lectures each week to prepare students for excursions, and students may also choose to participate in winery internships. “Lava Cap will only hire young people if they’ve taken my course,” Shaw says.

Assignments: After each field trip, students write an assessment of the winery’s hospitality and tourism operations, from appearance to marketing to customer interaction. The final exam tests students’ wine knowledge and, new this year, Shaw’s students also will produce their own mini-publication highlighting 15 or so regional wineries.

Students say: “His class gave a more esoteric and arts backing to my wine knowledge and made me fall in love with wine tourism,” says McKensie Pimley, a recreation, parks and tourism administration major who recently graduated. Jenna Karuza, who graduated from the same department in summer, currently manages the tasting room at d’Art Wine in Lodi. “I run my tasting room with the idea of providing hospitality and education,” she says. “Thanks to Dr. Shaw, I learned valuable information that keeps my tasting room running smoothly.” 

Tasty Test

Research at Sac State has become a little more delicious.

Family and Consumer Sciences Professor Seunghee Wie used her department’s “Kitchen Stadium”-worthy test kitchen in Mariposa Hall to conduct a study commissioned by the Korean Food Research Institute to identify potential Korean menu items to add to the American palate. She submitted her findings to an Asian food journal in the fall.

“My goal was to find the optimal toppings, portion size and overall preferred taste of Korean dishes to U.S. consumers,” she says. The findings will give the government guidance in how to advertise and globalize these dishes as they reach out to the international market.

When Korean officials asked Wie to conduct the research, they told her she could choose any location in the U.S. to perform the study. She chose Sac State.

With the campus’ state-of-the-art food lab providing five fully stocked kitchens—plus connecting rooms with additional kitchen, pantry and meeting space—the professor says she had all the necessary resources at her fingertips.

“If we didn’t have the food lab, I may not have accepted their offer because I wouldn’t have had a facility to prepare the food,” she says.

Wie then sent out a call for participants from around campus and more than 200 took part, including staff, students and even administrators like Provost Joseph Sheley.

Jeff Dillon, manager of web support for Information Resources and Technology, was among the study subjects. “It’s such an interesting kind of research,” he says. “Plus, I thought, ‘They’re going to pay us $10 to eat? I can’t lose on that one.’”

Dillon and others were served traditional Korean dishes bibimbap, a rice bowl with mixed vegetables, meat and egg, as well as japchae, a noodle stir-fry with vegetables and meat—both with a side of the Korean red sauce gochujang—and were asked to document their perceptions.

“After we ate it, we filled out a questionnaire of how we thought it was presented, the quantity, the quality, and other questions about what we thought of the two different meals,” Dillon says. “I loved it.”

Wie evaluated their responses, weighed each participant’s plate waste and then compared the findings.

“When foreign food is introduced to other countries,” she says, “they need these preliminary studies to find out what the other culture thinks, what their recommendations are and how they can be accommodated.”

Her conclusion: “I can see potential for japchae and bibimbap to be accepted by the U.S. consumer, to be developed for consumers and enjoyed more as a more familiar food,” she says.

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Sac State Alumni are going places

She showed children in South Africa how to cope with losing a parent to AIDS. He fought for equality in a former member of the Soviet bloc. She looks after America’s most enduring symbols of democracy while he keeps its music alive for future generations.
Around the country and across the globe, Sac State alumni are making the world a better place. One Hornet at a time.
Steve Turre

Trombonist, Saturday Night Live Band and
Jazz Professor, The Juilliard School

“Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night.” For the last 27 years, that familiar refrain has been part of Steve Turre’s workweek.

Turre is the trombone player in one of music’s most enduring acts—the Saturday Night Live Band. And while that kind of high-profile job would be enough to keep some people busy, not Turre.

He’s also a professor at the renowned Juilliard School, a respected session musician who has played with such legends as Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie and Woody Shaw, and a musical innovator who incorporates seashells as instruments in some of his many side projects.

“’Saturday Night Live’ has only 20 or maybe 22 shows a year. And I only go in the day of the show,” he says.

That’s not to say it’s easy. Show days are long days. “It’s a totally different show every week—different music, different skits, different performers,” Turre says. “I come in at 11 in the morning, rehearse in the afternoon and the show goes until 1 a.m.”

He landed the SNL gig after being asked to audition for the show. But the audition route is not routine for Turre. The only other job that came through audition was when he was asked to try out for Charles in 1972. That led to a yearlong tour.

“I got the rest by sitting in with other musicians, in jam sessions,” he says. “Usually I would ask, or was invited, to do a song. Then later, when they needed a trombone, I’d get a call.”

Turre’s affinity for playing conch shells was inspired by one of those collaborations. “I used to work with a great sax player, Rahsaan Roland Kirk. He had a shell and just the tone of it, it was so beautiful,” Turre says. “It captivated me. It was only a matter of time that I got one.”

While the shell finds its way into a number of Turre’s recordings and performances, he also likes to explore a variety of musical styles—Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, salsa, blues and, of course, jazz. “If I hear something I like, I check it out. The world is not one-dimensional,” Turre says. “I try to explore, to learn, and sometimes I end up participating.”

Turre says his position as a teacher of jazz trombone, first at the Manhattan School of Music and now at Juilliard, is his way of keeping the music alive. He says that what children in this country are taught as “classical” music is actually orchestra, which he considers European classical music.

“Jazz is American classical music. But kids don’t get to see it on TV. That’s why I have to keep it alive. I have to pass it on.”

Turre knew he wanted to play jazz even as a student at Sac State in the late ‘60s, though the University did not have a jazz program at that time. He credits one of his music professors with not only encouraging him to pursue his dream but also for giving him a musical foundation to build on.

“At Sac State I had such a wonderful music teacher, Herbert Harrison. He made a difference in my life,” Turre says. “He taught me music theory not only so I could understand and comprehend music, he made it fun. He made it enjoyable. That’s what good teachers do.”

After two years at Sac State, Turre went to college in Texas and then began playing professionally. He would later earn his bachelor’s degree at the University of Massachusetts and master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music.

“Sac State is where I learned to read and write the music. I learned to play by playing,” he says. “Working with Ray Charles, working with Rahsaan Roland Kirk, working with Dizzy Gillespie, working with Woody Shaw—this was school. There are a lot of aspects of education that are beyond institutional walls.”

Kaye Thompson

Therapist, Peace Corps Veteran

It took her three decades to do it, but Kaye Thompson (‘80 Master’s, Social Work) finally landed “the toughest job you’ll ever love.”

“I first applied to Peace Corps in 1973,” Thompson says. “But I was screened out because I had a boyfriend. I think they thought I wasn’t fully committed.”

Instead, Thompson went into a successful practice as a therapist working with state and county agencies around the Sacramento region. But she never forgot her early interest.

“It was always in the back of my mind,” she says. “Then I reached a stage in my life when I said, ‘Okay, this is it, I’m ready for something else.’”

In 2008, Thompson was assigned to a health clinic in Peka, Lesotho. The small mountain kingdom in the middle of South Africa has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world. Thompson was charged with conducting outreach efforts related to the disease, but faced significant hurdles.

“The plan was for you to go out to other villages. But there are no roads,” Thompson says. “And there was no money for cars or gas.”

Instead she set out to develop a program for dealing with a virtually ignored outcome of the HIV/AIDS crisis: coping with loss.

“The most meaningful thing I did was using my background and skills in mental health to help people deal with grief,” she says. “Everyone I dealt with had lost someone—to ‘tuberculosis’ or ‘pneumonia’—no one dies of ‘AIDS,’” Thompson says ruefully. “The stigma is so great.”

She brought together health workers to talk about how they deal with grief and then incorporated her findings into an eight-week training course. That led to a second program for orphans and displaced children. Thompson trained more than a hundred people how to help children cope with grief and even wrote a children’s book about grieving.

“They’re not used to thinking about grief. After someone died they would just go to school,” she says. “They didn’t know how to talk about it.”

While in Lesotho, Thompson also worked closely with the African Library Project, which connects volunteer book drives in the United States with schools that need libraries.  Thompson says they started nine libraries and brought in thousands of books. “It was amazing.”

Her Peace Corps tour ended in 2010 and she quickly made arrangements for her next assignment: a contract with the relief and advocacy agency The Center for Victims of Torture, this time based in Cameroon.

While there she conducted therapy sessions with people experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder—villagers who had been the target of intertribal conflicts, prisoners who had been held for years without being charged. She also developed a curriculum from scratch for The Center for Victims of Torture staff, none of whom had received therapy training.

Thompson credits the opportunities she had while a student at Sac State with helping her throughout her career. “The placements I had, with Napa State Hospital and Eskaton, gave me a good grounding in mental health,” she says.

While her penchant for making a difference beyond the borders of her home state may have got a late start, Thompson is just getting going.

Her next stop? Perhaps another tour with Center for the Victims of Torture. “They have employees in 10 countries around the world, so I’m interested in that,” she says. “Maybe with the International Medical Corps, or maybe Doctors without Borders.

“We’ll see.”

William Lee

Program Manager, U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief

At the 2011 World AIDS Day, President Obama spoke of the “The Beginning of the End” of AIDS. And while he wasn’t mentioned by name, William Lee (‘99, MBA) can be considered an agent of change to that end.

Lee, a program manager with global security company Northrop Grumman, oversees the technology that pipelines medication and health products for HIV and AIDS prevention, care and treatment to developing countries. His program, Supply Chain Management System, a project under the Partnership for Supply Chain Management, works to advance the information technology systems under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

“One of my key responsibilities is to create change with the use of technology,” Lee says.

To operate the Supply Chain Management System at peak potential, Lee installed software that better predicts                medical supply and demand, facilitating relief to people in need and helping eliminate costly issues like emergency orders. To reduce an already stressful workload on staff, he implemented technology that automates tasks such as quote gathering and vendor selection for incoming medical supplies. Lee also introduced “virtualization” to the organization’s computers, multiplying their processing power to conduct more tasks more efficiently. 

“I’m taking a non-profit and making it operate like it’s a commercial enterprise,” he says.

Lee attributes his philosophy of innovation to his Sac State education in change management, a field he describes as the art of determining, preparing, implementing and maximizing change to grow business.

“Every single bit of what I learned from my MBA applies here,” Lee says. “There’s the financial piece, the logistics piece, the HR piece, the thought leadership. I wouldn’t have, or be able to do, this job without my MBA.”

One elective on change management taught by former professor Thomas Cross particularly prepared him for tasks ahead. “That class gave me a lot of background on what to look for when you prepare an organization for change, how to implement the change and how to follow up on the change,” he says.

Lee hopes to advance to the position of senior vice president at Northrop Grumman, where he would eventually direct several programs at once. He’s driven by the millions of people across the globe dependent on his efforts.

“Our folks in the field travel to places in Africa and work with the ministries of health that bring back incredible stories and photos of the work we do,” he says. “We’re all very motivated to do our best.”

Joe D’Alessandro

President and CEO, San Francisco Travel Association

Tempting travelers to leave their hearts in San Francisco wasn’t always on Joe D’Alessandro’s job itinerary. No disrespect to Tony Bennett...

 D’Alessandro’s role as president and CEO of the San Francisco Travel Association is his latest stop as tour guide to some of the top travel towns in the world. But it wasn’t a planned trek.

“I didn’t think I was going to go into travel and tourism,” D’Alessandro (’78, Italian) says. “I was just open to let things happen and pursue what interested me most.”

The former State Travel Director of the Year remembers the special major—and some special mentors—at Sac State that sent him on a trajectory from passion to profession.

“I created my own special major that involved taking classes in Europe,” D’Alessandro says. His course of study, “European civilizations,” combined history, philosophy, art and foreign language with time at Italy’s University of Florence.

Sac State Italian professors Rosabianca LoVerso and Mario Pietralunga gave D’Alessandro the encouragement to explore the new educational territories and elevate his worldview. It was LoVerso who helped form his personal curriculum. “I owe a lot to her because of her willingness to be creative and flexible,” he says. “That’s the kind of philosophy I take to my staff.”

Today, D’Alessandro taps those innovative ideals in advancing San Francisco Travel. “I instituted a new program here called the Tourism Improvement District that established a revenue stream independent of city government that provides stable growth opportunities for us,” he says.

The program has enabled San Francisco Travel to more than double its budget in five years to $26 million, and expand sales offices to Washington, D.C. and Chicago, plus more than a dozen additional offices around the world. He also spearheaded the organization’s refresh at its centennial year, reinventing everything from its name to its business plan.

“Tourism is San Francisco’s leading industry, so our involvement is critical for the whole region’s economic success,” he says. The city draws more than 16 million visitors each year.

Before his position in San Francisco, D’Alessandro spent 10 years as CEO of the Portland, Ore. visitors association where he rebranded the city, embracing its regional quirks as well as the forward-thinking assets that characterize the city today. He began his career at a Sacramento travel agency specializing in outbound trips to Europe.

D’Alessandro credits Sac State with giving students the tools to find their own career paths. “The years you’re at the University broaden your mind and your perspective,” he says. “Students should really maximize that and pursue their dreams.”

Karen Cucurullo

Deputy Superintendent for Operations, National Mall and Memorial Parks

Karen Cucurullo (’80, Recreation and Park Administration) endured a week last summer that her classes at Sac State probably never prepared her for. It involved an earthquake, a hurricane, the opening of new national monument and the unexpected closing of an old one.

Cucurullo is the deputy superintendent for operations for the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington D.C.—the expanse of land and landmarks located between the U.S. Capitol Building and the Washington Monument. It is home to dozens of monuments, historic buildings and museums including many of the musuems of the Smithsonian Institution. “My job is to provide the best park experience for the more than 25 million people who visit each year,” she says.

She had her hands full in August, when the capital area was hit by an earthquake then a few days later, a hurricane.

The quake caused cracks in the Washington Monument, forcing the closure of the 127-year-old obelisk. “When you have something that’s 555 feet in the air, during an earthquake the top shakes a little bit,” says Cucurullo.

Hurricane Irene threatened the opening of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. “We were wringing our hands. We wanted the dedication ceremony to happen as scheduled, but sometimes in this job, no matter how much you wish for something to happen, weather changes things,” she says.

The Washington Monument is closed indefinitely while repairs are being made. The MLK monument opened on schedule, but the dedication ceremony was pushed back two weeks.

“They were the right calls,” Cucurullo says.

While that week was a logistical nightmare for Cucurullo, it was all part of the job for the Sac State alumna who says she dreamed of being a park ranger since she was in the sixth grade. On a nearly daily basis she deals with protests, terrorist threats and occupiers, as well as weddings, celebrations, and television and movie crews on the Mall.

Cucurullo began preparing for her park service career as a student at Humboldt State University in 1975, but transferred to Sac State because the University’s recreation and park administration’s curriculum better suited her aspirations.

“I wanted more of the administration and operations of a park system,” she says. “Sac State’s program was exactly what I wanted.”

Like many of her fellow students, Cucurullo had internships and jobs in California’s state parks, but she had hopes of becoming a national park ranger, a job she describes as, “the holy grail of careers in the park service.” Her quest began in a place few people would want to live or work. “I applied for Death Valley in the summertime and got picked up as a park ranger,” she says laughing. “It turned out to be a wonderful experience.”

She went on to stays at the Manassas National Battlefield Park, Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the President’s Park (the land surrounding the White House). After twice serving as acting deputy superintendent for operations for the National Mall and Memorial Parks, she was named permanently to the position in 2010.

“The National Mall and Memorial Parks is a dynamic and exciting place to be,” Cucurullo says. “It’s one of the gateways to our country and represents democracy and the sacrifices Americans have made. If someone had told me long ago that I’d eventually become the deputy superintendent for operations where the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial are, I would have said, ‘Really? How did that happen?’”

Justin Knighten 

Volunteer Media Officer, Harvey Milk Foundation and Senior Account Executive, Lucas Public Affairs

For most of his adult life, Justin Knighten (’08, Public Relations) has lent his skills to spurring shifts in social thought. While a student at Sac State, he interned at the California Environmental Protection Agency legislation office and helped work on the landmark Assembly Bill 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act.

Now a senior account executive at Sacramento public affairs firm Lucas Public Affairs, Knighten’s work typically focuses on renewable energy, biotech, water policy and the like. But he has also taken his talents beyond the U.S. to fight for global equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Last summer, Knighten traveled to Hungary to serve as volunteer media officer for the Harvey Milk Foundation during Budapest Pride, Hungary’s largest LGBT event. It culminated in a history-making march to Constitutional Square.

“It was a significant moment in Hungary’s culture,” he says. “I really wanted to see it for myself.”

The Harvey Milk Foundation advocates globally for LGBT and marginalized communities and is a pro bono client of Lucas Public Affairs. Since the foundation’s launch in 2010, Knighten has volunteered his time to support co-founders Stuart Milk and Anne Kronenberg, nephew and campaign manager, respectively, of the slain San Francisco supervisor. They invited Knighten to help promote the cause abroad.

“Hungary is experiencing their own political issues with a new parliament trying to limit media laws, redo their constitution and limit the rights of LGBT people,” he says. “It’s pretty dire circumstances.”

Along with coordinating meetings with state officials and diplomats, Knighten attended a Hungary Pride committee meeting with Milk where dozens of representatives from surrounding countries—Sweden, Germany, Ireland, Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania—expressed their frustrations at the persecution against the global LBGT community. They also went over the logistics of the march, specifically if it became violent or was shut down as it had been the previous year.

The march remained open, but countless protesters lined the streets. “There were more there against us than for us,” Knighten says.

Knighten navigated press for Milk while walking with thousands of participants, many of whom covered their faces out of fear. Knighten became concerned for his own safety when he encountered a threatening group of anti-Pride protesters away from the march route, an experience he wrote about in a piece published by The Huffington Post.

After Budapest, Knighten’s next international outreach effort was with the British press, serving as liaison for Milk when he addressed the House of Lords. 

While Knighten got a clear view of the oppression still prevalent in many parts of the world, he says there is evidence of a shift bolstered by LGBT supporters.

He says, “They’re changing the way people think, the way they act and how they look at the world.”   

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Globalizing the Classroom

Through research and teaching, faculty are making a world of difference

 Like a stone striking a placid pond, Sacramento State faculty are creating ripples globally with their research, technical assistance and teaching.

From Asia to Europe, Haiti to Canada, the Middle East and all points between, University faculty are making an impact on educational, environmental, economic, political and cultural systems—and in the process bringing a rich set of experiences back to the classroom.

And they’re just getting started, says Joseph Sheley, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

“We have always had a strong group of internationally-focused faculty, strong in teaching and research. On top of that, we have faculty who are foreign-born who have relocated here,” Sheley says.

“These two things together contribute mightily to students’ worldview and teaching from a greater, global context.”

James DeShaw Rae agrees. An assistant professor of government, Rae is teaching American politics and foreign policy this year at China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing.

This trip, his 11th to China and made possible through a Fulbright scholarship, provides him with authentic teaching experiences he’ll convey to students when he returns to campus this fall.

“First-hand teaching experience (abroad) is really important to teaching our students,” says Rae, who specializes in world government, politics and international law classes at Sac State, including “China: Politics of Rule and Change.”

Rae has seen positive changes in China the past several years, including increased openness and questioning of governmental practices by Chinese students. Economic strength has fostered a “burning desire for more openness and transparency in government,” he says.

“It’s exciting to be on the ground and watching these changes happening,” Rae says. “That becomes the heart of my teaching at home.”

Bringing the world to the classroom also drives EunMi Cho, a professor inspired to study and teach students with mild, moderate and severe disabilities while developing inclusive practices for students of all ethnic backgrounds.

Cho traveled to China, Cambodia and Vietnam last summer on sabbatical to present an education inclusion handbook, train special education teachers and conduct follow-up research to an earlier study on the cultural differences of Asian societies and their teaching of children with disabilities.

“The more I’m able to understand and compare (culture and teaching), the more I see the commonalities, but I also feel that I can train our teachers to understand the differences,” Cho says.

“Ultimately, teaching is sharing information,” she says. “You’re constantly learning, teaching, sharing.”

As a result of her most recent trip—her fourth to China—a school in Beijing now has ramps and a playground for physical therapy practices, a full-inclusion program for children with autism, and training for nearly three dozen Chinese parents in how to assist their children with their educational needs.

The work in Cambodia and Vietnam was more basic, she says.

“In these countries, I was struck by the serious need of inclusive educational practices. Many children with disabilities were left abandoned on the streets without any form of proper care,” Cho says.

“Providing all children with an educational opportunity regardless of their social and economic status and ability was not a priority that was visibly upheld by the cities that I visited. I was able to teach many children that did not have proper clothing and learning materials,” she says.

Cho is now writing a paper on best practices for Sac State students with an eye on special education teaching, comparing the common—but sometimes unique differences—between Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Cambodian children in the United States.

“We need to educate everybody,” she says. “And they can teach us a lot on how to do that better.”

Jean-Pierre Bayard, director of the University’s Academic Technology and Creative Services, makes regular visits to his native Haiti to consult on improving the country’s higher education system.

This spring he expects to spend a week in the island country advising leaders on the use of technology in education and training. He says the challenges are broad, deep—and cultural, too.

In Haiti, 100 percent of the people speak Creole, but most educators don’t, Bayard says. “Delivery of information is a barrier. You cannot deliver education in Haiti like you can in the United States and elsewhere.”

Then there is the damage of the catastrophic Haitian earthquake. More than two years after the magnitude 7.0 temblor, much of the Port-au-Prince area is still recovering. Academic training is critical for fields such as nursing and construction management, he says.

“The earthquake sensitized a lot of people and brought a responsibility to all of us,” Bayard says. “No matter how bad things are, you just want to give back.”

Bayard sees hope in corporate funding from Intel and other technology companies, as well as a potential joint venture between Sac State and Solano Community College. Bayard says Solano President Jowel Laguerre is working on a concept for a nonprofit technical school in Haiti, using American students as instructors.

“Imagine if the campus could get built and Sac State students could be involved,” Bayard says.

Helping rebuild higher education in his native land drives Ramzi Mahmood, as well. The Iraqi-born professor of civil engineering earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Baghdad before immigrating to the United States.

Mahmood was invited by the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education three years ago to help rebuild the university system “decimated” by the late Saddam Hussein, he says.

He made his first visit in 2009, delivering a series of engineering lectures and observing faculty, teaching methods and administrative practices. It was his first trip home in three decades, and he wasn’t prepared for the sights he witnessed.

Initially, Iraq boomed economically under Saddam’s reign, Mahmood says. Major infrastructure and transportation systems were built, changing the way people moved around Baghdad. Then came the years of civil strife and the Iraqi War, and much of that infrastructure was destroyed.

“The university system fell with the bombs and buildings,” he says.

“Higher education in pre-Saddam Iraq was the best in the Middle East. But when he took over in 1979, he decimated higher education as part of his effort to control. The situation isolated many of the faculty, and a good number of them left the country,” Mahmood says.

Through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization­—or UNESCO—Mahmood has returned the last two years, providing quality assurance consultation and contributing to a higher education strategic plan.

Mahmood is encouraged by what he has seen on recent trips. Despite continued challenges with electricity and Internet coverage, Iraqi educators work under very difficult conditions and still do the best they can, he says.

When he returns to Sac State from his trips, Mahmood always conveys his stories and experiences with students, and hopes that educational exchanges will be possible in the years ahead.

“I’m motivated to help because I received one of the best educations I could ever get (in Iraq). This is my way to give back,” he says. “It’s important for students to understand their role in society, in this world. There will be possibilities, over time, for students and faculty to get involved.”

As Cho, Rae, Bayard and Mahmood impart their academic expertise with the world, Donald Kendrick has been sharing the artistic talents of Sac State students for nearly a quarter century.

A music professor and director of choral programs, Kendrick has taken choral students to Canada, France, Italy, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and China, to name a few. His students have performed for national leaders and small congregations, sang in spectacular concert halls and cathedrals, harmonized in small churches and at the Great Wall.

No matter the location or conditions—thick fog lifted just as he raised his baton at the Great Wall—Kendrick says each performance is magical in its own right. For the students, some traveling abroad for the first time, their voices become a joyous passport that often leads to other international studies.

“Many of our choral students are in other programs with different majors and degrees. They take choral classes and fall in love with the culture of choral music,” Kendrick says.

“Music becomes the avenue for them to learn about the world. They become international ambassadors for music and the University, and many end up studying abroad,” he says, adding choral students have followed concert tours with study trips to Montreal, Ottawa and Italy, among other locations.

Sheley is proud of the global impact of Sac State faculty and students. He says an Academic Affairs committee is discussing ways to integrate international studies throughout the University curriculum.

 “What if we took a whole year on an international subject, such as water, and made it a vehicle for framing all global environmental and economic issues being studied at the University?” Sheley asks.

“We want students to see the parallels between the U.S. and the rest of the world, and we want that to be more than an accidental find.”

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Joe Mohamed

A Hornet Classic

Distinguished. Noble. The words evoke Joe Mohamed’s favorite architectural feature: the column. But they also could describe Mohamed himself—successful Sacramento-area developer, 32-year Army veteran and one of Sac State’s original graduates.

Mohamed (‘55, Business Administration) says he is partial to columns because they remind him of classic architecture found in his family’s homeland in the Middle East. He’s included the design feature in many of the projects he’s built, including his own home.

In fact, he is so fond of columns that Mohamed fought to keep them as part of the design of the Alumni Center.

“Columns give buildings a distinguished look. When you build something, you always want to build it so it makes people want to be there and makes them want to come back.”

Mohamed was a member of the Alumni Center’s Foundation Committee, which helped raise funds to build the Center. He says the original plans called for columns and verandas, but fundraising challenges almost caused them to be deleted from the design.

“I pushed pretty hard to get them retained,” Mohamed says. “I got a friend who was in the business of making these concrete columns to help out.”

Mohamed grew up working on his father’s farm outside of Lodi. His father, who was born and raised in Jerusalem, eventually settled in San Joaquin County and established the first Arab-owned farm in the region. “I started driving farm trucks with produce into the canneries when I was 13 years old and never had an accident or anything,” he says.

During World War II, Mohamed joined the Army as a private and eventually became a drill sergeant. He received a commission after an officer essentially ordered him to apply for Officer Candidate School.  “He said, ‘Your IQ is the highest I’ve seen around here and I want you to apply.’ I did but thought, ‘I’ll never make this,’” Mohammed says.

After the war, he transferred to the Army Reserves and served in Korea and Vietnam. “I spent most of my time as an aviator, flying fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.” He eventually retired as a colonel in 1978 after 32 years of service.

Mohamed used his GI Bill benefits to attend Sacramento State, becoming one of its earliest students. He attended classes in the evenings and during the day, worked in landscape construction to pay for school and support his wife and son. “By the time I graduated, I had about 20 guys working for me.”

His company—Joe Mohamed Enterprises—has continued to expand, developing numerous subdivisions, shopping centers and houses throughout the Sacramento region.

He also keeps ties to the University, including attending the annual Golden Grads reunion in the Alumni Center he championed. Mohamed says they put so much effort into making the Center a reality because they felt it was a “vital” part the University experience. “An alumni center is the heartbeat that keeps graduates associated with the University.”

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Shari Herout

Lessons learned

Miracle workers. That’s how Shari Herout always thought of her teachers. “It started way back when I was in kindergarten,” she says. “All the way through school I’ve had miraculous teachers.”

In November, Herout (’92, Liberal Studies and ‘93 Credential, Education) was recognized for the miracle worker she turned out to be. The kindergarten teacher at Vacaville’s Foxboro Elementary was named one of five 2012 California Teachers of the Year by the Department of Education.

Though Herout always knew she wanted to be a teacher, it wasn’t until she was encouraged by two Sacramento State professors, Edward Arnsdorf and Daniel Orey, that she decided to go on to get her master’s degree. “I never thought that was the direction I would go in my life until I met these amazing teachers,” she says.

Along with the edge she received from her advanced degree, Herout observed in her professors how a dynamic classroom can be better achieved by listening to students. “Teaching can’t be a path that is mapped out, because you don’t know where the interactions of your students will take you,” she says. “That was a huge lesson.”

Herout’s receptiveness applies to more than just lesson plans. In her 17 years of teaching—including teaching special education students and students too ill to attend classes—Herout came to understand the importance of adapting to the needs of the entire classroom as a unit and to each student in it. “What works in one classroom or for one student doesn’t always work in the next. You’ve got to be cheerfully flexible,” she says. “That’s a challenge, but that also keeps it fun.”

Not only does her Teacher of the Year honor prove she’s conquered that challenge, praises sung by Herout’s colleagues at Foxboro Elementary highlight her other qualities.

“Shari makes learning come alive for students,” says Cristina Eva Martinez, who co-taught with Herout. In addition to providing a creative, hands-on classroom, Herout also gains recognition for the comprehensive behavioral, emotional and academic care she shows for her students, says Foxboro Elementary’s Principal Lisa Eckhoff. “She is a highly sought-after teacher,” Eckhoff says. “Even our teachers want their children in her class.”

To students, this Teacher of the Year offers the gift of not only education, but the confidence to succeed in school—a feeling Herout says is similar to what she experienced upon completing her master’s degree at Sac State.

“With my master’s degree, I achieved something I never imagined possible that changed my outlook on life,” she says. “We so often don’t reach our potential because we don’t allow ourselves to see ourselves as great. Getting my master’s instilled in me the drive to be more and to expect that from my students.”

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Class Notes


Gregory Kondos (’51 and ’57 Master’s, Art) is one of the top contemporary landscape painters in the country. He recently donated his Sacramento painting “River Palms” to hang in the Sacramento Room of the Sacramento Public Library in memory of his parents, Steve and Kanela Kondos.

Richard Tessen (’57, Chemistry) was a member of the first class to come to the present Sac State site in 1953. He graduated with the first and only degree in chemistry in the year 1957. After a 40-year career in rocket science and aerospace, he and his wife are retired and living in Capitola, Calif.


Frank Beyer (’61, accountancy) a St. Helena native, was honored along with five fellow 1961 Sac State business administration graduates by the College of Business Administration as it celebrated its fifth decade of accreditation.

Richard (’68, Business Administration) and Karen (Jensen) Bilyeu (’69, Business Administration) of Bend, Ore., celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary on Dec. 23. High school sweethearts, they have two children and one grandchild. Until their retirement, they owned and operated R. Bilyeu Insurance Agency and Bilyeu Construction and Development, in Bend.

Ritch K. Eich (’66, Speech Communication), after running his own company, recently retired as the first vice president for marketing and communications at Cal Lutheran where he continues to teach on a part-time basis. His new book, Real Leaders Don’t Boss, was released in February.

Patrick Murphy (’64, Drama) has retired from leading the acting program at the renowned Goodman School of Drama in Chicago for 25 years. Since then he’s been steadily treading the boards at theatres all around Sacramento. He will be featured in the Vietnam-era drama Medal of Honor Rag, directed by Janis Stevens.


Richard Barlupi (’75, Finance and Marketing) spent more than 20 years in financial management, working in the building materials supply industry. For the last 10 years he has been a business coach enabling owners and managers to operate more profitably, efficiently and effectively. He is also a published freelance travel writer.

Michael Blake (’76, English and ’06 Master’s, Education) was named principal at his alma mater, Nevada Union High School, in March 2011. While a student at Nevada Union he won a section tennis title with his doubles partner Stu Paine. He also spent 10 years teaching English and coaching tennis at the school.

James Blickenstaff (’75, Mathematics) has been employed by the U.S. Postal Service for 34 years and is being honored at the 13th annual Million Mile Club awards ceremony for having driven more than one million accident-free miles on the job.

Lauren Hammond (’77, Government) is currently serving as a commissioner for the State of California Gambling Control Commission.

Pamela Harris (’78, Accountancy and MIS) of Placerville, Calif. has been appointed as the new director of the California Employment Development Department. She is also a part-owner of the Harris Tree Farm near Camino.

Joe Mariscal (’79, Art), a ceramic sculptor, taught at Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, Calif. He now has a gallery called Jay Jay in Sacramento where he is featuring a show “Dolores’ House,” which pays tribute to the keen eye of collector Dolores Dietler.

John McNamee (’75, Marketing) is the owner of Echo Shirts, an imprinted sportswear company in Sacramento. He also is the head track coach at Christian Brothers.

Manuel J. Pickett (’76, Drama) is a retired professor of theatre and dance and head of the Latino theatre program at Sacramento State. He is also the artistic director of Teatro Espejo and was an original member of El Teatro Campesino.


Brent Adams (’81, Accountancy) and his wife started Hope Abides, a charity for orphans in India. This year, they were able to pay the education costs of more than 70 children, replaced rotting rafters in a dormitory, and they are arranging for the purchase of a computer and Internet access for a home for boys.

Pono Aiona (’87, Physical Education) is a chiropractic doctor who works closely with football players as a coach and sports doctor on the Milpitas High School (Calif.) campus. 

Lori Barudoni (’87, Communication Studies) recently joined Lyon Real Estate’s Folsom office, working with buyers, sellers and investors throughout the greater Sacramento area.

Roxann Burns (’87, Business and ’96 Masters, Public Policy and Administration), a senior vice president and SBA manager, has been named 2011 Instructor of the Year by the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders.

William Darnell (’86, Communication Studies) is the founder/director of SacGroom.com, the No. 1 Google search resource for men who find themselves serving as a fiancé, best man or groomsman. They host the Green Lantern Children’s Hope and Wellness Tour.

Ronald Graham (’81, Criminal Justice) has joined Henley-Putnam University as the dean of intelligence management programs. His experience includes the U.S. Army, the California Sheriff’s Department and police academy leadership. He has also been a California criminology professor and a director at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Jarvio Grevious (’80, Finance and ’84, MBA) has been named to the board of advisors for e-LYNXX Corporation, a leader in procurement innovation and management in the United States and Canada. He was previously with CalPERS and the California Department of Social Services.

Carol Heape (’86, and ’90 Master’s, Social Work) is the founder of Elder Options, the only geriatric home care management agency in Tahoe County. She has also been on the board of directors of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers for the past four years, this year serving as treasurer.

Cindy Hyden (’89 Master’s, Counseling), a social worker at South Mississippi State Hospital, was honored as the facility’s employee of the quarter. The former California resident began working at the hospital in 2004.

Christopher Lehmann (’85, English) became the executive creative director and general manager at Landor Associates, LLC in Chicago in October.

Wendy Lofing-Rossotti (’89, Finance) is the third generation co-owner of Lofings Lighting, a midtown Sacramento institution that recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Nancy (’86, History) and Greg (’77, History) Purcell are a couple that, together, are attempting to create big change in the Sacramento school system. Their focus is setting students up for success, so they have asked teachers to adopt a school-wide grading policy that aligns to the California Standards Testing measurement. It essentially gives students a better chance at getting a D instead of an F and a C instead of a D.

Lisa Saunders (’81 Master’s, Education) retired in June 2011 from Redwood Middle School after 33 years with the Napa Valley Unified School District.

Daniel Sipes (’89, Biological Sciences) was recently elected to the board of directors for the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening, a multi-disciplinary, non-profit scientific association spanning diverse industries and technology sectors.

Russ Stanton (’81, Government/Journalism), a former Tulare Advance-Register and Visalia Times-Delta reporter, ended his four-year tenure as The Los Angeles Times editor and executive vice president in December.

Baldwin Wong (’87, Music) identifies himself as a military bugler, but he also has a full-time job. In his day job, he oversees and repairs $2 million worth of musical instruments that belong to the music department of Sac State.


Michelle Cordova (’97, Art) participated in the Sacramento News and Review Newsstand Art Project—Making News Beautiful, which is featured on the paper’s website (newsreview.com/sacramento). Painting and traveling have been an important part of her life.

Derrick Gutierrez (’96, Construction Management) was recently hired as vice president of the project and development services group for Jones Lang LaSalle and will lead the firm’s mission critical solutions group. He will be supervising project management upgrades to City National Bank’s data center in Los Angeles.

David Harvey (’90, Accountancy) works for Waste Management, overseeing its education segment in northern California. He is also the amateur race program director for the Hangtown Motocross Classic.

Rob Klotz (’95, Government) is currently a Live Oak City Council member and is planning to run next year for the District 1 seat on the Sutter County Board of Supervisors.

John Lagios (’97, Criminal Justice) was sworn in as an officer for the City of Piedmont Police Department.

Rodney Montgomery (’90, Marketing) was recently appointed vice president of corporate sales for Limos.com. He has more than 20 years of sales experience, including regional sales director roles at both MCI and Focal Communications.

Nicole Naditz (’92, French) was named San Juan Unified School District and Sacramento County Teacher of the Year 2012. In addition, she won the inaugural Jane Ortner Educating through Music Award in December 2010.

Liz R. Newman (’98, Communication Studies) is a writer. Her first published novel, An Affinity for Shadows, is a mainstream literary romance that is now available throughout the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.

Kevin Nishioka (’96, Accountancy) has joined PwC US as a tax partner specializing in the real estate industry, based in their San Francisco office. He is also a certified public accountant in California and Hawaii.

Alex G. Paman (’93, Art) is a freelance writer and artist. Originally from the Philippines, he has focused his works on Asian culture and the supernatural. He is a contributing writer to Filipinas Magazine and the author of The Asian Supernatural. His latest book is Filipino Ghost Stories.

Ken Rudulph (’94, Communication Studies) works as a television personality for the Television Games Network but is returning to his native Sacramento to join the cast of “Good Day Sacramento” as a host.

Dana Shigley (’91 Master’s, Public Policy and Administration) recently transitioned to the position of city manager for American Canyon City Council after serving the city of Anderson for 11 years.

Christopher Smith (’96 and ’96 Master’s, Civil Engineering) has been promoted within GEI Consultants, Inc. A senior civil engineer, he has more than 19 years of water resources, flood management, energy management and technical assessment experience.

Scott Tincher (’95 Master’s, Civil Engineering) was recently selected as the new chief of the Engineering Services Office—Regional Engineer for the Department of Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Region office in Boulder City, Nev. He had been the region’s deputy regional engineer since 2009.

Sean Tucker (’99, Government), an El Dorado County manager for Placer Title Company, was recently appointed to the Cameron Park Community Services District board of directors.

Patricia M. Webb (’89 Master’s, International Relations) recently retired as colonel after a 33-year career in the Air Force. She now works as a civilian consultant at Science Applications International Corporation, specializing in technologies supporting airborne reconnaissance, counterterrorism/special operations and national security issues.

Kristina Werner (’97, Communication Studies) works at FOX40 News as chief meterologist. She is an avid sports fan, loves exercising and dedicates her spare time to her daughter, Kailey.


Robert Brewer (’00, Credential and ’07 Master’s, Education) was honored as one of the Elk Grove Unified School District’s teachers of the year for Florin High School.

Scott Brown (’05, MBA) is one of three cyclists in the Sacramento area who were invited to the Furnace Creek 508 race, a world-class ultra-cycling event. An avid cyclist, his favorite event is the world-famous tour of the “California Alps,” better known as the Death Ride.

Kelly Butler (’07 Master’s, Nursing) works as a nursing professor at Modesto Junior College and was recently honored by the Alpha Phi chapter of Chi Eta Phi sorority with a Nurse of Distinction award. She has worked primarily as a nurse in cardiac care and staff development.

Erica (Fernandez) Caitham (’05, Marketing) has been named senior vice president, commercial banking for American River Bank, a community bank serving the greater Sacramento area and Placer, Sonoma and Amador counties.

Tony (Joseph) Carlos (’06, History), a Sutter County deputy district attorney, will join the congressional race, saying his views on immigration “set him apart from other Republican candidates.”

Pam Dempsey (’08 and ’10 Master’s, Art Studio) teaches a workshop at the Elk Grove Fine Arts Center for beginning and intermediate artists, covering traditional methods of working with acrylic paint as well as more contemporary ideas including transfer, stencil and gel mediums.

Sean Dinnell (’08, Psychology) is an Air Force 1st lieutenant with the 461st Air Control Wing out of Robins Air Force Base, Ga. He recently participated in Angel Thunder, the world’s largest combat search and rescue exercise, as a liaison officer.

John Dryden (’09, Theatre Arts) recently played Judas in Frida Kahlo at the Wilkerson Theatre in midtown Sacramento. Reviews noted that his movements, comments and narrative were delivered with great precision.

John Gabby (’04, Marketing) is running for another term on the Dixon Unified School District board. He is a 1995 graduate of Dixon High School.

Michael Greene (’06, Criminal Justice) serves as the treasurer for the Yamhill Soil & Water Conservation District and will run for county treasurer. He also serves on the county budget committee.

Nicholas Kramer (’03, Marketing) has been appointed vice president and business banking officer for Rabobank in Stockton, Calif. He was previously with Affinity Insurance Agency and US Bank.

Mark Leibenhaut (’02, MBA) was recently appointed to the Impact Corelab, Inc. board of directors. An experienced administrator and principal investigator in several important oncology trials, he currently serves Radiological Associates of Sacramento as medical director, multispecialty division, and a member of its executive committee.

Adrienne Moore (’02, Journalism) is a reporter for CBS News 8 in San Diego. Her experience includes stops at KHSL/KNVN in Chico and KSBY in San Luis Obispo. She has covered stories ranging from the Michael Jackson molestation trial to wildfires to shark attacks.

Christopher Palamidessi (’05, Business Administration) and his partner have opened a new residential real estate company, Capital West Realty, Inc. in West Sacramento. He is involved with Our Lady of Grace School and parish and is an active member of the West Sacramento Rotary Club.

Patricia Quiroz (’08, Sociology and ’11, MSW) is a case manager for the Veteran’s Program in San Leandro, Calif. and an employee of Building Futures with Women and Children.

Donna Robinson (’02 Master’s, Criminal Justice) was recently appointed chief deputy probation officer for Solano County (Calif.) She began her career in 1990 as a juvenile hall group counselor. She also works with the Solano County Children’s Alliance and is the department representative for the Mental Health Services Act and Interagency Collaborative.

Jennifer (Stark) Rodden (’00 Master’s, Education) is an associate professor of communication studies and film at Sacramento State and will be a judge for “Open Reel,” a film competition hosted by the Center for Contemporary Art, Sacramento, as part of the center’s sixth annual Capitol Artists’ Studio Tour.

Meghan Salter (’09 Master’s, Education) has taught seventh grade for nine years at Union Hill School, where she was once a student. She was also recently named Nevada County’s Teacher of the Year.

Joshua Schlottman (’08, Family and Consumer Sciences) is a certified personal trainer in Napa and enjoys writing articles about health and fitness.

Nathan Schmidt (’05, Humanities) was recently named executive vice president of marketing for San Diego County Credit Union, San Diego’s largest locally-owned financial institution.

Emily L. Smith (’07, Communication Studies), after teaching high school English at the Royal Palace School in Bangkok, moved to Munich, Germany in 2009. She works for Siemens Healthcare in corporate communications in Erlangen.

Bruce Stallings (’06, Mathematics) is teaching geometry and algebra at Rosemont High School. He is also an assistant coach for the Wolverines’ varsity girls’ softball team.

Janay Swain (’06, Social Work and ’09, MSW) says the support she received at Sac State helped her “get my degree while juggling work and a baby. This support matters, and that’s why I work with a local organization supporting foster youth, the Foster Youth Education Fund, to raise money to help former foster youth stay in school and obtain their degrees.”

Jessica Williams (’03, Recreation Administration) is currently employed with the International Au Pair Exchange as a local exchange coordinator. In addition, she is the president of the Rotary Club of Midtown Sacramento.


Jason Coffman (’10, Psychology) has successfully completed California Highway Patrol cadet training and is assigned to duty in the Garberville/Laytonville area.

Donte (’11, Management) and Dominic (’11, Marketing) Morris are helping baseball in Sacramento extend its reach. The Morris brothers’ baseball league is now producing podcast shows. They are also launching their clothing line online.

Travis VanZant (’10, Film Studies) has worked with film for about three years and will show his film, Filegen, at the Crest Theatre for “Open Reel,” a film competition held by the Center for Contemporary Art in Sacramento.

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